Guy Stokely Selman and Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney
Guy Stokely Selman, born October 24, 1886 was a son of Joseph Landrum Selman and Nannie L. Abercrombie of Douglasville, GA. In the early 1900s, the Selmans came to have connections with Ray City and Nashville in Berrien County, GA.
Guy Selman’s father was a doctor, and the family had many social connections with other physicians. As Guy grew up and completed school, he and his siblings were influenced by this exposure. The Selmans were staunch Democrats; Guy’s father, as well as his uncles James H. Selman and Thomas Hurt Selman, were Douglas County representatives to the state Democratic Convention in 1906.
Society items from the Atlanta Constitution show the mix of Guy Selman, his brothers, sisters, cousins and classmates with the doctors and social set of Atlanta. A spring social in 1902 in honor of his sister, Bessie Selman, was attended by Guy and also by his brother Paul Selman. Another guest of the party was his soon-to-be brother-in-law, Dr. Foster Pierce Key:
The Atlanta Constitution
April 13, 1902
Miss Camp Entertains.
Miss Jessie Camp delightfully entertained a number of her friends last evening in honor of her guests, Miss Bessie Selman and Miss Coburn Morris, of Douglasville, at her home on Mitchell Street. During the evening delicious refreshments were served. The invited guests were Misses Annie Kate Bondurant, Bessie Selman, Ida Sewell, Birdie Dunlop, Coburn Morris, Bessie Northen, Annie Lou Keown, Edith Thomas, Maggie Dunlop, Alice McLauchlin, Daisy Brown, Clifford Layfield, Tenine Aderholt, May Layfield, and Beatrice Anderson and Messrs. F.P. Key, M. O. Colston, A. F. Campbell, Clevland Kiser, Emmet Harding, Paul Selman, Frank Hanle, D. H. Camp, Morris Askew, E. W. Livingston, John Keown, Charlie Wheeler, Guy Selman, John Camp, Loy Campbell, A.T. Dunlap, John Knight, Willie Selman, J. J. Barger, Irvin Barge, and Joe Keown.
In 1903 Guy’s sister, Bessie Velma Selman, married Dr. Foster Pierce Key and moved with her husband to Nashville, GA . Guy Selman continued his social networking, while attending Mercer University.
The Atlanta Constitution
August 15, 1905
HOUSE PARTY AT CAMPBELLTON.
Campbellton, Ga. August 14. – (Special.) A delightful house party has been in progress at the country home of Missess Sue Ola and Carrie Henley, at Campbellton. Those present were Mrs. R. B. Marsh and Mrs. E. A. Moore, of Atlanta; Misses Mattie Lee and Nettie Burton, of Smithville; Miss Mamie Little, of Carnesville, and Miss Elizabeth Marsh, of Atlanta; Messrs. Tom Selman, Emmet Marding and Dr. J. W. Whitley, of Atlanta; R. L. Henley, of Campbellton; Furman Bullard, J. A. Johnstone and Dr. E. A. Smith, of Palmetto; B. H. Bomar, Guy Selman and Sanford Abercrumbie, of Douglasville.
When Bessie Selman Key died in 1907, Dr. F. P. Key continued to live in Nashville for a while, boarding with Jonathan Perry Knight and his family. In 1911 he remarried and moved to Atlanta.
After graduating from Mercer University in 1905, Guy Selman entered the Atlanta Medical College. He must have been a good student, for he completed the four year program in only three years, graduating on April 22, 1908. (Other Ray City alumni of Atlanta Medical College include Dr. John Thomas Clower, 1862)
Shortly after graduation from Medical School, young Dr. Selman came to Ray’s Mill to enter practice. The town, on the verge of municipal incorporation, was being formed by the likes of Dr. Charles X. Jones, who served as its first elected Mayor. It was situated on the route of the new Georgia & Florida Railroad, and the headlines of a local booster article read “Ray’s Mill has Arrived.”
From the Atlanta Georgian and News, Jul. 5, 1909 — page 6, comes the following Society item:
Miss Nannie Love Selman has returned home [to Douglasville] after spending several weeks with her brother, Dr. Guy Selman, at Rays Mill, Ga.
Dr. Guy Selman was one of the first medical doctors in the town of Ray’s Mill, GA . He set up his office in H.H. Knight’s old mercantile store which stood on Pauline Avenue. Dr. Selman was one of the men named to serve as city councilmen for the newly incorporated Ray City until the first elections were held on January 10, 1910.
Did Dr. Selman step out of the office and on to the diamond? Maybe. In the summer of 1909, the on the mound for the Ray City baseball team was pitcher Sellman. But more information is needed on that point.
On April 14, 1910 Guy Selman and Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney were married in Lowndes County, GA. The bride, 23 years old, was a daughter of Patrick Mell Cheney, of Valdosta, GA. Her father was a former school teacher from Penfield, GA who entered the insurance business in Valdosta. The groom, young doctor Selman, was 24 years old, of medium height with a stout build, brown eyes and dark hair. The marriage ceremony was performed by John E. Barnard who was pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Valdosta, and President of Oaklawn Baptist Academy, Lakeland, GA.
In the 1910 Census, Guy S. Selman was listed as a physician practicing out of his own office. He and Bessie were boarding with Austin Bridges in a house on Jones Street; Mr. Bridges was a dry goods merchant working on his own account.
The Selman’s were prominent citizens and continued on the social of Ray City, Nashville, and Atlanta. Mrs. Selman was a member of the Nashville Womans Club.
In 1912, The Georgia annual : a compendium of useful information about Georgia : needed by every business and professional man in the state. A.B. Caldwell, Atlanta, Ga. listed Selman as one of three doctors in Ray City, the other two being Dr. Charles X. Jones and Dr. Manning G. Scherrer.
It appears from society page announcements in the Atlanta newspapers that the Selmans relocated from Ray City to Nashville, GA in the spring of 1912.
July 14, 1912
A very enjoyable entertainment was given by Mrs. Guy Selman in compliment to Miss Ruth Selman, of Douglasville. “Fishing for Love” and “Wink” were played. Cream and wafers were served. Those present were Misses Clarice Askew, Ina Askew, Myrtle Tyson, Nettie Snead, Jewel Giddens, Ruth Selman, Tyson Fitch, Thelma Knight, and Miss Britt; Messers. James Stephens, Noble Hull, Dewey Knight, Willie Peeples, Bob Hendricks, Dan Buie, Wallar Wood, Jessie Fitch, Maston Avera and Hobart Alexander.
The Atlanta Constitution
July 21, 1912
Miss Ruth Selman, of Douglasville, who has been visiting her brother Dr. Guy Selman, has returned home….Miss Louise Cheney, of Valdosta, who has been the guest of her sister, Mrs. Guy Selman, has returned home.
By 1915, Dr. Guy Selman was exercising leadership of the Berrien County Medical Society:
January 15, 1915
Berrien County Physicians.
Nashville, Ga., January 15. – (Special.) The Berrien County Medical society held its monthly session here Friday night. Dr. G. S. Selman was elected president; Dr. Lacy Lovett, vice president, and Dr. D. E. Carter, secretary and treasurer.
The Medical Association of Georgia places Dr. Selman at Nashville in 1917, along with Dr. William Carl Rentz; the Ray City doctors at the time were Dr. Francis Marion Burkhalter and Dr. Lawson S. Rentz.
With America’s entry into World War I, the medical men of Ray City, GA were called into service, along with many other men of Berrien County. Dr. F.M. Burkhalter was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, then to France with the American Expeditionary Force. Dr. Lawson Rentz went to Camp Wheeler, then to the Embarkation Service in New Jersey. Dr. Gordon DeVane was busy treating the victims of Spanish Influenza at home in Berrien County; he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corp, but died before he was deployed.
The June 8, 1918 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association included updates on the Medical Mobilization for World War I and the Orders to Officers of Medical Reserve Corps. The Honor Roll of physicians who had applied for or accepted commissions included Dr. Guy Selman:
To Camp Jackson, Columbia, S.C., for duty, Lieut. Guy S. Selman, Douglasville, GA
Dr. Selman was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the Medical Corps on May 27, 1918. He was stationed at Camp Jackson, SC. By the time Lieutenant Selman, M.D. arrived at Camp Jackson, more than 42,000 men had reported there and more than 1,500 buildings had been constructed. The base hospital was a medical complex, with more than 80 buildings covering 12-15 acres of land. There were 32 hospital wards adequate for the treatment of 1,000 patients. The hospital was staffed by about 450 men and nurses. Selman was one of the fifty doctors and dentists assigned to the group.
That September, 200 cases of “Spanish Influenza” suddenly struck Camp Jackson. The Spanish Flu quickly spread through the camp, infecting more than 5,000 people. At Camp Jackson alone there were 300 deaths from the disease. No doubt, Dr. Guy Selman played his part in treating the stricken soldiers of Camp Jackson.
The Spanish Flu of 1918-19 was the worst epidemic in history, killing over 600,000 Americans and over 40 million people world-wide. A little children’s rhyme attributed to popular comedian Joe Cawthorn appeared in print by October, 1918, making light of the death that touched everyone:
I had a little bird,
And its name was Enza.
I opened the cage,
And in flew enza.
A month later, November 11, 1918 the Armistice ending WWI was signed. Lieutenant Selman’s service at Camp Jackson continued another two month until his discharge came through January 8, 1919. After the war, Dr. Selman and Dr. Rentz returned to Berrien County. Dr. Burkhalter died in France of Lobar Pneumonia, probably induced by the Spanish Flu, as was Dr. DeVane’s death in October, 1918. Many other Ray City men were Veterans of World War I, some gave their lives (Armistice Day Memorial to Soldiers from Berrien County, GA Killed During WWI).
As a veteran of stateside service Selman would have worn silver chevrons on the left cuff of his Army uniform denoting service on American soil. Gold chevrons were for men who saw foreign soil, worn on the left cuff to denote overseas service, or on the right to indicate a wound or gassing received in combat. For many who did stateside service the Silver stripes instead of gold became a badge of shame.
In the 1920 census, Guy Selman continued his medical practice in Nashville, GA. His wife was teaching public school. They were boarding with Jesse D. Louetie. Another boarder was Barnert Hall, Clerk of the Superior Court.
Some time after 1920 the Selmans moved to Florida. In 1928 Dr. Selman was elected president of the Seminole County Medical Society, Seminole County, FL.
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- Hod P. Clements and the Dixie Division
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- J. H. Gaskins and the Draft Board Scandal
- Kiss of the Red Scorpion
- More on Sergeant Owen Leonard Clements
- WWI Registration Certificate of James Isaac Lee
- Armistice Day Memorial to Soldiers from Berrien County, GA Killed During WWI
- Death and Repatriation of Private Gordon Williams
- Lawson Rentz Serves Country and Ray City, GA
- Bivouac of the Dead