Local News

Internet Reunites Sampson County Man With His Father

Posted January 6, 1999

— A father and son separated for 47 years finally found each other through the internet. This week, they bridged a gap two countries wide to reunite in Sampson County.

In 1951, Seldon Nichols had a new son, Steve, in Massachusetts.

But his marriage was strained, jobs were few, and he wanted to go back home to Canada.

"I went back to the farm because that was my life," Nichols says. He left behind his marriage, and his son.

Steve Muller later discovered the man who raised him was not his biological father. The mystery was a frequent topic of conversation with his wife Vicki.

"It would drive her nuts," Muller says. "She wanted me to do something."

Nichols had remarried and started a new family in Ontario, Canada. His daughter, who is Steve's half-sister, worked with a cousin to find their relative over the internet.

They found him working as Superintendent of the Sampson County Correctional Institution.

Fear of rejection was the only barrier. "I was the guy who went away, so I really felt that why would he want to talk to me?" Nichols says.

Muller was also afraid. "I didn't want to get rejected. I mean, it was, I know where he's at and sometimes it's better not to know than to know that he doesn't care anything about you," Muller says.

Both took heart, and on Wednesday father and son met.

Nichols says he can take no credit for Muller's life. Nevertheless, "I think he's done wonders and I'm very proud of him," he says.

His father's approval means a lot to Muller. "That's an important thing to hear from a parent, whether it's one you've known all your life, or whether it's one you just met after 47 years," he says.

Muller is looking forward to meeting his four half-brothers and three half-sisters this summer. And Nichols will be a new grandfather when Steve's wife Vicki gives birth to a new son in a few weeks.

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