Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Selker Family: Hermann George and his son Joseph William, cigarmaker

Hermann George Selker, my 3rd great grandfather, and his family are included in the Genealogical and personal history of the Allegheny Valley Pennsylvania. The excerpts featuring the family faced are included below. We know now that Hermann George Selker was the son of Hermann Selker and Marianne Overhuis, my 4th great grandparents.

Page 839

George Selker, the first member SELKER of this family of whom we have any definite information, was born November 15, 1814, in Bentheim, in the province of Hanover, Germany, where he died April 30, 1906. His father had been a soldier in Napoleon's army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812, and was later warden of the government prison in Bentheim. George Selker was a carpenter and bricklayer. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Wilhelm Hofhaus, of Fuerstenau, Hanover, Germany. Her sister Lotta married George Daldrup, of Lingin, Germany.

Children of George and Elizabeth (Hofhaus) Selker:

  • Anna, married Emil Altenbeck, a surveyor and later a railroad division inspector in Germany; 
  • Gerhardt, died January, 1912, married Mary Rakers; 
  • Gertrude, died aged thirty-two years, married John Breggenkamp; 
  • Karl, now living in Germany; 
  • Joseph W., referred to below. 
(II) Joseph W., son of George and Elizabeth (Hofhaus) Selker, was born in Fuerstenau, in the province of Hanover, Germany, October 8, 1865. He received his early education in the local schools, and when sixteen years of age was apprenticed for three years to learn the trade of a cigarmaker, at which he worked for one year in Germany after finishing his apprenticeship. In 1885 he emigrated to the United States and worked at his trade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until March 15, 1887, when he settled in Clarion, Pennsylvania, and entered the employ of Michael Zacherl as a cigarmaker. In April, 1889, he entered the cigar manufacturing business on his own account with a capital of three hundred dollars, in which trade he still continues, having by his industry and ability enlarged the capacity of his business until his establishment manufactures over five millions two hundred thousand cigars annually, for which he finds a ready market in Pittsburgh and the neighboring country. He is also a wholesale dealer in tobacco and cigarettes, having in 1893 bought a large warehouse at 248 Main street, Clarion, Pennsylvania, adjoining which he built in 1895 the commodious dwelling in which he now resides. He served for several years as a member of the city council of Clarion. He is a Democrat in politics, and a Roman Catholic in religion. He married, November 4, 1890, Frances Philomena, daughter of Leopold and Theresa (Loll) Gutts, born in Clarion, Pennsylvania. Children:
  • Leopold
  • William, deceased ; 
  • Edward
  • Frances
  • Frederick
  • Ambrose
  • Vincent
  • Mary
  • Celia
  • Anna.
Joseph W. Selker Home
248 Main Street, Clarion, PA

Left: Joseph W. Selker Cigar Right: Joseph W. Selker Home
248 Main Street, Clarion, PA

Plate on the front door of the Joseph W. Selker Home
248 Main Street, Clarion, PA


  1. John Woolf Jordan, LL.D., Genealogical and personal history of the Allegheny Valley Pennsylvania, III vols. (New York:  Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913), Page 839. View the book here:

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