Tuesday, February 24, 2015


© Kathy Duncan, 2015

Frank B. SELPH - son of  Duncan Hyder and Lavinia (Burton) Selph,was born 1 February 1866 in Tennessee. He died on 9 Nov 1892 in Murfreesboro, Rutherford Co., TN.

In 1888 Frank Selph had been made guardian of his younger brother Iley N. Selph. Their uncle G.W. Burton of Louisville, KY had been Iley’s guardian since 1874. After Frank's death, Iley Nunn Selph sued his uncle's estate for his inheritance.

Frank B. Selph was involved in a shooting in 1889 that was reported in newspapers around the nation:

“Tragedy in a Law Office” Murfreesboro, Tenn., Dec. 9 - This morning in the law office of Leland Jordan, Mr. Frank B. Selph, a young attorney, shot and instantly killed Mr. Edwin F. Fletcher, one of the first young men of this place. The difficulty grew out of a recent article which appeared in the Free Press of last week. As near as can be learned Mr. Fletcher, accompanied by his step-brother, Mr. Morgan Perkins, went to the office of Selph this morning demanding an apology or retraction of the article. Selph, it appears was first badly hurt by a blow on the head which knocked him down, and while prostrated and being severly punished, he drew his pistol and fired. The ball struck Fletcher under his left jaw, coming out near the temple. Excitement is intense. All parties concerned are highly connected.
[Source: Dallas Morning News, 10 Dec 1889, p. 2]

Murfreesboro's Tragedy
Young Fletcher's Remains Buried in Evergreen Cemetery
Murfreesboro, Dec. 10 [Special]
All that remained mortal of Edwin E. Fletcher, the young man who was killed yesterday morning, was placed in the grave this afternoon at Evergreen Cemetery at 3:30 o'clock. His funeral was preached by Revs. J.B. West and E. A. Ramsey at the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the church being crowded with friends and kindred long before the services began. The services were indeed appropriate and touching, there being hardly a dry eye in the vast congregation. The pall-bearers were W.T. Patey, W.C. Frost, J.W. Sparks, Jr., J.S. Baird, Frank Avent, D.F. Cex, R.L. Jetton and S.B. Davis. Tender and loving hands decorated the interior of the grave with ivy, and numerous flowers were placed on the grave, presented by devoted, true and grief-stricken friends.

This community has never before been so shocked by anything similar to the death of this young man. The severest criticisms are heard on all sides of the editor of the Free Press, the paper in which the articles appeared which led to the sad tragedy. Young Selph who did the killing, was in town today in his buggy, but was not seen by your representative. The sympathy of the entire people goes out to the families of both young men.

Mrs. D. P. Perkins, the mother of the dead man, is in a most critical condition, and has been so since the sad news was broken to her; his step-father, brothers and sisters are bowed with the deepest grief, and one of his step-brothers, Morgan Perkins, the young man who was with him when he was killed, is almost utterly dethroned of his reason. So great was the shock that he has been confined to his bed until this afternoon, when he attempted to go to the burial. Upon arriving there, while the coffin was being lowered into the grave, he fainted and had to be carried hurriedly home in a carriage.
Your correspondent neglected to mention in the report yesterday that no powder burns were noticed on Fletcher's lace or shirt front, and the bullet which was showed him today is a 38-calibre instead or 32, as stated.

Dr. Byrn also stated to him this morning when he cut the ball out, it was in the back of Fletcher's neck, just under the skin, and went straight through from where it entered in the throat, instead of ranging upward, as he first supposed.
[Source: Daily American; Nashville, TN; 11 Dec 1889]

Frank Selph Discharaged
Justice Henry Decides That the Killing of Fletcher Was Justifiable
Murfreesboro, Dec. 12 - [Special]
Frank B. Selph was arraigned for trial today before M. M. Henry, Esq., charged with the murder of E. E. Fletcher. The evidence of the witnesses who testified before the Coroner's jury was taken, and the Magistrate decided that the shooting was in necessary self-defense, and he was discharged. 
[Source: Daily American; Nashville, TN; 13 Dec 1889]

“All Over the South” Tennessee - Edwin E. Fletcher was shot and killed at Murfreesboro by Frank B. Selph. Both were popular society young men. The difficulty arose from charges made by Selph to the effect that Fletcher had misappropriated funds in a thanksgiving social event. Fletcher was on top of Selph striking him over the head when the fatal shot was fired.
[Source: Dallas Morning News, 15 Dec 1889, p. 18]

The story of Fletcher’s shooting was picked up and run in several national newspapers, including The Macon Weekly Telegraph  [Georgia], and The Abeerdeen Daily News [South Dakota].

Prior to his death Frank Selph had been purchasing race horses. The New York Times reported that he purchased $44,000 worth of horses just months prior to his death. 

In February of 1890 the newspapers were reporting Frank's anticipated move to Nashville, but it is unclear if he ever relocated.

Mr. Frank B. Selph, a Murfreesboro attorney who will shortly move to Nashville, was in the city yesterday.
[Source: Daily American; Nashville, TN; 19 Feb 1890]

Miss Kimbro and Mr. Frank B. Selph will be married April 22 at 5 o'clock at Murfreesboro. They will leave for New York that evening. The bride is the daughter of the late John B. Kimboro, President of the First National Bank of Murfreesboro. Mr. Selph is a member of the law firm of Burton & Selph and is the grandson of Col. Hardy Murfree for whom Murfressboro was named.
[Source: Daily American; Nashville, TN; 13 Apr 1890]

F. B. Selph married La Salle Kimbro on 22 April 1890.
[Source: certificate #2447]

Barn and Dwelling Burned
[Special Telegram to The American.]
Murfreesboro. Nov 16 - Last night a barn and dwelling-house, which was about ready for occupation, belonging to F. B. Selph, and situated about two miles rom town on the Salem pike, were destroyed by fire. Almost covered by insurance. His dwelling was burned one before last spring. Cause incendiary.
[Source: Daily American; Nashville, TN; 17 Nov 1890]

Frank Selph was shot to death by Joseph Boehms in Murfreesboro:

Verdict of Self-Defence - A Sensactional Murder on Main Street in Murfreesboro. Special to the journal. Nashville, Nov. 9 - There was a sensational killing at Murfreesboro this evening at six o’clock when Joseph Boehms shot and instantly killed Frank Selph, a young lawyer and trotting horse owner. They were on Main Street near the square discussing a gambling transaction when Boehms told Selph he had better not follow him and started out on the square. Selph walked along beside him remarking, “I am not following you but want to go by this way.” Selph passed Boehms and suddenly turned and started to draw a revolver, but Boehms was too quick and got the drop on him. Selph then started to run but Boehms emptied his pistol, and one ball passing through Selph‘s side and abdomen, causing a wound from which he died almost instantly. Selph was highly connected and leaves a young wife. The coroner‘s jury returned a verdict of self defense”
[Source: The Knoxville Journal, 10 Nov 1892]

The lawsuit that Iley N. Selph brought against his uncle Dr. George W. Burton revealed that Frank Selph was insolvent at the time of his death. Frank must have spent any funds that he was holding for brother Iley with the hope that he would catch up later, but he died before that happened. Obviously, Frank, disparate for funds, must have pressed Boehms for money owed him on a recent horse race, and Boehms, rather than pay Frank, killed him when the opportunity presented itself. Conveniently, he was able to avoid charges by claiming self defense. If the article is accurate, though, a man running away does not pose much of threat! 

The horses that Frank B. Selph purchased for the sum of $44,000 were returned to the seller when Frank's estate proved to be insolvent:

Murfreesboro, May 13 [Special] - The suit of D. M. Harris, of Zanesville, O., vs. the administrator of Frank B. Selph and Mrs. F. B. Selph, of this place in the Chancery Court was decided this morning by Chancellor Walter S. Bearden, of Shelbyville, in favor of the complainant. By the Chancellor's decision all the horses that Harris sold Selph are restored to him except one, Evil Dictator, who was bought by Selph in a separate trade from the other stock, and the Kissam note, which Selph paid Harris for the horses and which Harris claims were worthless are directed to be turned over to Mrs. Selph. Harris sold Selph the horses at the price of $40,000, and all the payment made by Selph was in notes he held against a Mr. Kissam, of New York, and #3,000, with which Evil Dictator was bought, and for this amount Selph gave his individual notes, and it was on this account that Harris failed in having Evil Dictator returned in the decision of the other sales. It is not definitely known whether the defendents will appeal from the Chancellor's decision or not.
[Source: Daily American, 14 May 1893]

Rutherford County--The News.
Mr. Tom Tobias has bought the Kimbro farm on Salem pike from Mrs. LaSalle Selph, paying $8,200.
[Source: The Liberty Herald; 10 July 1895]

Real Estate Transfers. 
Pattie W. Hendricks and D. S. Hendricks to Mrs. Lasalle Selph, land on Hayes street, $1,640.
[Source: The Nashville American; Nashville, TN; 23 Aug 1895]

Tennesseans at the Hotels. Nicholson Hotel: Mrs. LaSalle Selph, Murfreesboro
[Source: The Nashville American; Nashville, TN; 5 Sep 1895]

By late 1896, the widow, La Salle (Kimbro) Selph, had at least one would be suitor:

Murfreesboro, Oct 9 (Special) - One of the swellest germans ever given in Murfreesboro was that Thursday night at the Armory. The Italian Band, of Nashville, furnished the music. The german was led by Doc Ledbetter. At 2 o'clock the dancers enjoyed an elegant lunch. Those present: Mrs. Selph and Samuel Henry Hodge [a couple].
[Source: The Nashville American; Nashville, TN; 10 Oct 1896]

Murfreesboro, May 28 - Mrs. LaSalle Selph spent several days at the Centennial this week.
[Source: The Nashville American; Nashville, TN; 30 May 1897]

Residence at Abilene
Abilene, Tex., March 26--Last night a residence on Cedar street belonging to Mrs. La Salle Selph of Murfreesborough, Tenn., and occupied by E.J. Waters was burned. Valued at $2,000; insured in the Phoenix of Brooklyn for $1,500. Furniture uninsured, very little of it being saved.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Sun. 27 Mar. 1898]

Mrs. LaSalle Selph has returned to Murfreesboro, Tenn.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Mon. 11 Apr 1898]

La Salle Selph married Joel Allen Battle on 7 July 1898 in Murfreesboro, TN.
[Source: certificate #2733]

26 June 1900; ED 106 Civil District 7; Rutherford County, TN, p. 79A:

Battle, J.A. Head W M Oct 1866 33 M-2 b. TN fb. TN mb. TN
-----La Salle Wife W F Apr 1871 29 M-2 0-0 b. TN fb. TN mb. TN

2 May 1910, Dist #111, Civil Dist #12, Davidson County, TN:

106 White Creek Pike
Battle, Joel A. Head M W 43 M-1 11 b. TN fb. TN mb. TN
-----La Salle Wife F W 38 M-2 11 0-0 b. TN fb. TN mb. MS

La Salle (Kimbro) Selph Battle and Joel Allen Battle divorced between 1910 and 1913 when he married his second wife.

Mrs. LaSalle Battle, h 1711 West End av
[Source: 1915 Nashville, Tennessee City Directory]

LaSalle Battle, r131 4th av N
[Source: 1922 Nashville, Tennessee City Directory]

La Salle (Kimbro) Selph Battle died in 1936 in Davidson County, Tennessee and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, Tennessee.

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