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First-ever use of a 140-year-old family baptismal garment in Arkansas



Hot Springs, Arkansas – A baptism gown that has been preserved for almost 140 years has traveled the nation before arriving in Arkansas today.

The same gown that so many of the previous newborns in Gretchen Seller’s family have been baptized in is being used for the son’s baptism.

Their family has worn this gown for more than fifty babies, and it all began in Pennsylvania in 1884. The now-family heirloom has traveled almost the entire length of the country, inspiring customs and memories in the process.

This Christmas Eve, in addition to celebrating the holiday, the Seller family and others convened to baptize Charlie Seller, the infant, on his first Christmas.

“Charlie is wearing a baptism gown that has been in my family for just about a 140 years,” Gretchen Seller said.

Gretchen Sellers’ relatives received the long, white gown with lace detailing as a gift in the late 1800s.

“The first one was in 1884, it was in Pennsylvania, it’s been all over the country, so PA, New Jersey, in Texas, a couple of baptisms in Texas, a couple in South Carolina, this is the first in Arkansas which is really special,” Seller said.

Her son Charlie Seller will be another name added to the long list of people christened in this garment.

“My siblings my mom, all of my cousin, and I think almost 50 different people have worn it,” Seller said.

As his parents have delegated to him, her Uncle George is the official custodian of the garment.

“He keeps it really well preserved and keeps of a record who all wears it and when and where, and we always hand deliver it to the next person,” Seller said.

To protect it, it is only delivered by hand in a preservation box.

The church where Charlie is getting baptized has strong ties to his father’s side of the family, which only serves to heighten the sentiment.

“It’s so special, my sister got married in this church, my parents renewed their vows here, I’ve been coming here for 35 years, I was baptized in this church so to add this to a long line of special memories is pretty awesome,” Brett Seller said.

Charlie’s father, Brett Sellers, likes to examine the gown’s past with his family and discover commonalities across the several generations.

“Charlies also looks just like his mother, and she wore this baptism gown as well, so to see pictures of her in the gown they look identical, it’s really sweet,” Brett Seller said.

The Hahn Christening Dress, according to the family, is a treasure they will always treasure.

“It’s been really fun to continue on the tradition and the legacy,” Seller said.

The family claims that to preserve the clothing as much as possible, they put it on and take it off soon away. The dress will next go to Arizona for Charlie’s twin cousins’ baptism.


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