As newspapers continue to be digitalized, we can recover information about family events that have been lost in our oral traditions. Little is known of Rev. Duncan H. Selph's son Washington Selph. He was named after his eldest brother who died as an infant. He, in turn, also died young. This event from his early childhood is a particularly poignant account of one evening in the life of the Selph family household.
"Badly Burnt - Little Washington Selph, youngest son of Rev. D.H. Selph, President of the Baptist Female College, was badly burned, last Wednesday evening. Dr. Selph was at prayer-meeting and Mrs. Selph had just left the room for a few minutes, when the little fellow, in endeavoring to get something out of a bureau drawer, upset a candle against himself. His linen waist instantly took fire, and in a moment the upper portion of his person was wrapped in flames. His screams brought Miss Fickle to the rescue, and she promptly extinguished the blaze, by throwing her shawl around him. He is very painfully burned on the chest, throat, and face: but Dr. T.S. Smith, who was called in to attend him, thinks no serious or permanent injury will result from it."
[Source: The Weekly Caucasian; Lexington, Lafayette Co., MO; 28 Oct 1871]