By Tom Hymer, Chairman, Fannin County Historical Commission. Date of article unknown
Settlement of the area around the future townsite of Selfs began in the 1840s , when John Western Jones, his wife, Tomagine, and their son, John, came to the area from Cincinnati, Ohio, and settled one mile north of the present community.
Jones and his son built a steam powered flour mill on a nearby creek. An explosion of the boiler killed three men and the mill was then run by horse-power. The Joneses then built a cotton gin and the settlement which grew up around these businesses was called Jones’ Mill.
A large Indian camp was located near some springs between the present communities of Shiloh and Selfs. Local residents call this area the “Sand Banks’’ because for many years sand was taken from this area and used to make concrete.
A school was built and later a lodge, Grange Hall, was erected. Because of the Grange Hall the community was also known as Grange. In the early 1880s, George W. Self and his brother, G. T. Self, built a cotton gin and grist mill at the present location of the community, near some flowing springs. Since Grange’s water supply was short, the residents moved to the new location.
The earliest school in the was built prior to 1880 and was located about a mile east of the community. Later, a three-room school building was erected at the site of the present community center site. The school was closed in 1958.
In the late 1890s. C. B. Hammett opened a business college at Selfs and called it North Texas Business College. The college offered courses in office machines, telegraphy and other business related subjects. Students came from Arkansas, Oklahoma and other parts of Texas and boarded with the residents of the community. The college was in operation for 15 years.
The New Salem Cemetery was started near Fox Springs when a boy died. He was possibly a member of a wagon train of immigrants passing through. At any rate, his identity was never known for his marker bore no name.
The Christian Church was built in 1896 on land donated by Dr. Thomas Armstead Jones. Later, a Baptist Church was organized. Both churches are still active.
From 1895 to 1910 a Mr. Hayden operated the Selfs post office in a general store. One of the earliest stores operating before 1880 was owned by William Baggett and Holly Bell.
In the early 1900s, Selfs had more than 800 residents. Business was on the upswing with two gins, a grist mill; two blacksmith shops, a post office, confectionery, two barber shops, a store that sold furniture and coffins, a college, a school, Woodmen and Odd Fellows halls and three doctors
Selfs in recent years has had an industrious syrup mill operation. Sorghum molasses has been the Taylor Syrup Mill specialty and is popular in Fannin County.
Jeremiah F. Dobbs and his family moved, in 1857, to a place north of Honey Grove. In 1869, he bought 235 acres of land, near Selfs, for $500. About 1869 the children of Jeremiah moved to Arkansas with the exception of Jabez remained in the area and fathered the Dobbs descendants in Fannin County. Jabez served in the Confederate Army.
In 1881, David Deyhle, his wife, Agatha, with their children, settled on a farm north of Honey Grove in the Selfs community. Agatha was a native of Grombach, Germany. In 1866, unable to speak any English, she came to New York as a governess. Later, she joined her sister in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She married David Deyhle in 1877. They came to Fannin County to join a colony of German people that had settled in a community called Michitan Prairie located northeast of Honey Grove.
David Deyhle died of typhoid fever in 1892. Agatha Deyhle, in spite of being widowed at a young age, and responsible for children, acquired several farms, and city properties in Honey Grove.
William Andrew Broadfoot, born in 1855 in Alabama, came to Fannin County in I860. He was a long time resident of the Selfs community. In 1878, he married Miss Emma Pitts. Their son, Albert S., was elected four terms, as County District Attorney of Fannin County; three times to the Texas Legislature and served three terms as District Judge. Another son, Malcolm, now lives in Bonham.
Names of pioneer settlers of the Selfs community include, Newbury, Fox, Banker, Hawley, Newhouse, Todd, Wright, Jones, Pitts, Massengale, Elam, Gaston, Nicholson, Smith, Bennett, Fults, Carraway, Reed, Ramsey, Whittenberg, Bell and Denison.
(This article was compiled from information submitted to “Fannin County Facts and Folks” by Phyllis Newhouse Ryser and from "A History of Fannin County” by Floy Crandall Hodge.)