One of the most respected men in early Osborne County history was Selah Burlingame Farwell. Farwell was born in Denmark, Lewis County, New York, on August 26, 1841. The son of Selah andNancy(Plank) Farwell, he moved with his parents in April 1857 to Whiteside, Illinois, where he was the schoolteacher during the winter of 1860-61. During the Civil War Farwell enlisted as a private in Company A of the 33rd Illinois Infantry. He was captured and held in a Confederate prison in Mississippi until February 1864, when he was paroled and sent home.
After discharge from the army Selah went to Ames, Story County, Iowa, and engaged in the mercantile business. On June 11, 1867, he married Nancy L. Ware. They had nine children: Lena, Gue, Roy, Mable, Grace, Clay, Edwin, Nancy, and Selah. On November 15, 1869, Selah closed his business and the Farwells moved to Waterville, Kansas, and the next year they moved again, this time to a homestead in Corinth Township of Osborne County. Selah divided his time between farming and serving in public office. In 1872 he was elected Osborne County’s first coroner. He served two terms as county probate judge in 1873 and 1874, and was the county’s representative in the Kansas Legislature in 1875-76 for two terms.
In 1874 Farwell started the first Masonic organization in the county. Saqui Lodge, Number 160, was begun in Osborne with Farwell serving as the first Worshipful Master. He remained a member for sixty years. Selah was also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the G.A.R. In 1881 he moved his family into Osborne to further his children’s schooling, and in 1884 he was elected to the first of two terms as Osborne County Register of Deeds. For years he owned and operated the oldest lumberyard in Osborne before he sold it to the Hardman Lumber Company in 1903. He held the position of president of the bank in Lucas, Kansas, for five years. By 1914 he was in the loan business, specializing in farm loans, and owned some eighteen hundred acres of land scattered across Osborne County. A deeply religious man, Selah was an active member of the Congregational Church for over fifty years.
Selah’s wife died in 1905. OnMay 28, 1907, he married Mattie (Ludlow) Smith of Downs. She died in June of 1910. On October 15th of that year he married Lucy (Ware) Hullinger, a half-sister of his first wife. The couple lived comfortably in their home in Osborne until Selah’s death on May 11, 1934, after which he was buried with honors in the Osborne Cemetery.