SELLON-L ArchivesArchiver > SELLON > 2009-06 > 1245673596
From: Andrew Sellon <>
Subject: Re: [SELLON] Fw: PML Search Result matching Sellen or Sellon
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 13:26:36 +0100
Vicky Drake wrote:
>> Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe (May 1, 1764 - September 3, 1820) was a
>> British-born American architect best known for his design of the United
>> States Capitol, as well as his design of the Baltimore Basilica, the first
>> Catholic Cathedral built in the United States. Latrobe came to the United
>> States in 1796, settling first in Virginia and then relocating to
>> Philadelphia where he set up his practice. In 1803, he was hired as
>> Surveyor of the Public Buildings of the United States, and spent much of
>> the next fourteen years working on projects in Washington, D.C. Later in
>> his life, Latrobe worked on a waterworks project in New Orleans, where he
>> ended up dying in 1820 from yellow fever. He has been called the "Father
>> of American Architecture".
>>  Biography
>> An engraving (circa 1807) by George E. Blake of one of Latrobe's Water
>> Works buildings in Centre Square
I am sure that many list members will have found your Benjamin La Trobe,
(English, as distinct from American spelling), spiel of great interest.
He, along with Sir Benjamin Brodie, the great surgeon, must be amongst
the three most eminent persons to have married into the Sellons, the
third being Sir Cosmo Melvill, the last Chief Secretary of the
Honourable East India Company who, when the British government took over
responsibility for India, joined the government as the Under Secretary
of State for India, and continued to undertake much the same functions.
La Trobe took over the redesign of the White House after it had been
burnt by the British, becoming a friend of Jefferson. He was the
business partner of the Roosevelt, (of the family that produced two
Presidents), who designed the first steam powered vessel, named the 'New
Orleans', to voyage down the Mississippi and also married his daughter.
She gave birth to their first child during the voyage, probably the
first birth on a steamer!
You have probably, without knowing it, seen a portrait of Benjamin
Latrobe. It could be seen, above a fireplace in the White House, behind
the President when he re-took his Oath of Office. I have to confess to
using the photograph to decorate my computer desk top for a short while.
A year or two back I had the pleasure of having 'Sandy' Latrobe, keeper
of the Latrobe website, to stay. He of course laid claim to the money
said to be owed by the Sellons to the La Trobes following the death of
his first wife's father, Rev. William 'Silvertongue' Sellon. I am not
sure that I fully convinced him that the claim was based on a
misapprehension, the La Trobes having both misread and misinterpreted
Sir Benjamin Brodie, (who married another of Silvertongue's daughters),
became Serjeant-Surgeon to King William IV, having treated George IV
through his last illnesses. He had also, at a party of the Archbishop of
Canterbury, performed an emergency tracheotomy on Isambard Kingdom
Brunel who had swallowed a golden guinea whilst attempting to perform a
trick. Brodie was the first President of the General Medical Council,
having been elected in 1858. Within a week after receiving this honour
he became President of the Royal Society.
I have not as much on the Melvill side; Air Chief Marshall Sir Phillip
Joubert de la Ferté is a connection, his mother wrote a biography of the
Melvills but I have not seen it. Strangely a grandson of Sir Cosmo
Melvill, also a James Cosmo, was an eminent conchologist as was a gr gr
grandfather of mine on the Dundas side of my family, John Gwyn
Jefferies, JP FRS LLD. He was Treasurer of the Linnean Society of London
and the Geological Society of London for many years, he also conducted
extensive deep-sea dredging researches. Not many can claim two
conchologists in the family!
Yours Aye Andrew Sellon.
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