Green Lawn Abbey

Sells, Lewis

Lewis Sells
Born 11/12/1841
Died 9/5/1907
--Was One of Famous Brothers Who Founded Well Known Shows.--
--Spent Last Day in Atmosphere of Tented City Which He Loved--
Lewis Sells, the last of a quartet of circusmen by that name, died at his residence, 1223 Neil avenue, at 8:45 o\'clock, Thursday night, from Bright\'s disease. Although the veteran showman has been complaining for some time, he has been comparatively robust in health and spirit and his death came as a distinct shock to the members of his family. Up to a week ago he was in good physical condition, but on Wednesday, after paying his last visit to a big white circus tent of the Buffalo Bill aggregation, he became bedfast and was not able to get on his feet again. Thursday, all day, he was in a comatose condition and during the early night died.
About thirty years ago, the famous Sells Brothers\' circus made its first appearance. It was a small deal then and composed of only one tent and a few sideshow stunts. It traveled the country in wagons, and it was only a short distance between stops. The four brothers in charge of the circus were Ephriam, Adam, Peter and Lewis, and although their father traveled with them during the first years of the show\'s existence, he owned no interest in it.
The first of the noted quartet to die was Ephram, who passed out about nine years ago. He was followed by Adam, and he by Peter. Thursday night the last, Lewis, passed out.
After the death of his three brothers, the third of whom died about four years ago, Lewis who had been associated all his life with his brothers and had helped build up the \'mammoth shows,\' grew despondent and had the great shows sold at public auction at Sellsville, the winter quarters of the circus. One-half interest was purchased by James A. Bailey, and the other by the Ringling Brothers aggregation. Even now the old shows are appearing throughout the country as the famous Sells Brothers show.
During its infancy, the show had a home on Main street between Grant and Washington avenue, but as the city grew it was compelled to remove from these quarters and take up a new home on the banks of the Olentangy river, at about King avenue. This property later became known as Sellsville. About a year before the death of James A. Bailey, his half interest was transferred to Ringling Brothers and they are now full owners of the circus.
Even unto the last, Lewis Sells, was a lover of the great white tent and on Wednesday last, prevailed upon a friend to permit to take what he declared might be his last look at this area of canvas which was so much to his eye. He went with this friend to Buffalo Bill\'s show Wednesday and was so weak that he was removed home with difficulty.
\'I oughtn\'t to have come here, but I just couldn\'t help it,\' he said.
Mr. Sells was born in Columbus 65 years ago, and Columbus has always been his home save for twelve or thirteen years, which he spent in the Cleveland public schools, and at Hiram college, where he was graduated. Following the end of his schooling, he entered the auctioneering business and later became a showman.
He was married twenty-four years ago to Miss Mary Cross of Topeka, Kansas, who survives him. Although his life was filled with the hardships of his business he was one of the most remarkable and pleasant men in the public eye. Mr. Sells is survived by these sisters: Mrs. Rachel Colby of the Normandie, Mrs. Mart Green of the Lenox, Mrs. Hannah West of Columbus, Mrs. Minnie Holt of Cleveland and Mrs. Rebecca Barrett of Delevan, Wis. One sister, Mrs. W. Willis Cobb, died recently at Cleveland.
Funeral arrangements so far completed provide for services at the residence of the late Mr. Sells, at 2 o\'clock Monday afternoon, the Rev. Mr. Jackson officiating. The interment will be made in Green Lawn.
Burial Location