December 5, 1846: Birth of Captain Joseph Sellwood 

On this day in 1846, future Duluthian Captain Joseph Sellwood was born in Cornwall, England, where he earned his title working in the mines in his native land beginning at the tender age of nine years old and, later, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where he mined copper. After partnering in several mining operations in Michigan and Minnesota, Sellwood moved to Duluth in 1888; ten years later he was in charge of every mine owned by the American Steel and Wire Company. He later invested in his own mines and branched out into various businesses, including banks and what would become the region’s largest drug company. The News Tribune’s tribute to Sellwood upon his death in February 1914 included this description of the man: “A big man physically, with a will of iron, never admitting fatigue, he drove himself relentlessly. He always delivered what was expected of him and more. He never failed to do what he undertook. He never disappointed those who depended on his efforts…. He succeeded by sheer force of muscle, will, and an inborn intelligence. [he was a] rough miner who became the gentlemanly banker and capitalist, but without pretense, without gloss, without softness, always simple and genuine. He simply wore off the roughness that hid the diamond.” Read more about Mr. Sellwood here, and about his Duluth landmark, the Sellwood Building, here.

Captain Joseph Sellwood. (Duluth Public Library)

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