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Alfred Barns Seelye


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: December 20, 1870

Birth Place: Marshall County, IL

Alfred Barns Seelye.—Success in any line of occupation, in any avenue of business, is not a matter of spontaneity; but represents the result of the application of definite subjective forces and the controlling of objective agencies in such a way as to achieve desired ends. Mr. Seelye has realized a large and substantial success in the business world and his career has well exemplified the truth of the foregoing statements. He occupies today a prominent place among the men of affairs in Kansas, is the controlling force in one of her important commercial enterprises and one of the distinctively representative men of the State. Progressive and energetic in the management of his various business interests, loyal and public-spirited as a citizen, he holds a secure position in the confidence and esteem of the community and has contributed in large measure to the advancement of the city of Abilene, in whose still greater commercial and civic prestige he is a firm believer.

Alfred Barns Seelye is a native of the State of Illinois, and was born on his father’s farm in Marshall county, December 20, 1870, a son of John Mason and Ellen (Seely) Seelye, a review of whom precedes this article. He received his early educational discipline in the public schools of his native county and in 1888 entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Chicago, where he remained for one year, and then entered the literary department of the University of Michigan, where he remained for a like period. In 1890 he came to Kansas, and on June 8 located in the city of Abilene, where he established a small laboratory and engaged in the manufacture of “Wasa-Tusa,” a proprietary medicine. This preparation met with a favorable reception on the part of the public from the start, and other remedies were added until the line numbers nearly one hundred different articles. The year 1913 was an eventful one in the history of the business, marking the placing on the market of “Fro-Zona,” which is proving a rival of “Wasa-Tusa” from a selling standpoint, and the drawing of plans for a new laboratory building, to cost when complete $100,000; and made necessary through the growth of the business. The present home of the company, which was incorporated in 1897, as the A. B. Seelye Medical Company, and of which the founder is president, was formerly the Bonebrake Opera House building. It is one of the largest buildings in the city, covers a ground space of 60×120 feet, and is three stories in height, with a basement extending the full lot space. It was purchased in 1900 by Mr. Seelye, and remodeled at a cost of over $15,000. The west end was arranged as a theater, and is one of the best in the State in a city of Abilene’s population. Its seating capacity is nearly 800, and it has the best of equipment and the accoustic properties are unequalled. The rest of the building is used by the company for laboratories, offices, shipping and store rooms, and although giving many thousands of feet of floor space, the growth of the business has been such that larger quarters are necessary, hence the new building. The company employs a corps of expert chemists, who are under the supervision of Dr. S. S. Fisher, a man of wide reputation and an expert on formulas; its manufacturing department requires a large number of skilled operatives and over three hundred local and traveling salesmen constitute its sales force. The A. B. Seelye Medical Company is one of the extensive manufacturers of family remedies in the United States, a distinction rightfully theirs through volume of business transacted, their products are used in thousands of homes, where they are known for their high standard and uniformity. In the organization, development and administration of the business of this institution Mr. Seelye has been the controlling spirit, and to his progressiveness, energy and resourcefulness is due its phenomenal growth. Its success has not been confined to volume of business alone, as its remedies have been of untold value in the home. Mr. Seelye has valuable interests in farm lands near Lawton, Okla., improved residence property in Kansas City, Mo., and is a stockholder in a number of corporations. Essentially a business man, he has never had inclination for public office. He has always taken a deep interest in the civic welfare of his home city, and has generously supported, both with time and money, measures which have had for their object the advancement and betterment of the community. He is a progressive Republican. His fraternal affiliations are with the Masonic order.

On August 10, 1893, Mr. Seelye was united in marriage with Miss Jeannette Taylor, the daughter of William H. and Mary C. (Wrightsel) Taylor, who is a native of Kansas, and was born in Dickinson county, on February 9, 1874. Her parents became residents of the State in 1872, where her mother died on February 11, 1876, and her father on June 18, 1907. They are survived by Mrs. Seelye and a younger sister, Ella, born February 11, 1876.

Mr. and Mrs. Seelye are the parents of two daughters: Marion Eleanor, born January 19, 1895, who was graduated from the Abilene High School with the class of 1914; and Helen Ruth, born February 21, 1896. Mrs. Seelye is the vice-president of the A. B. Seelye Medical Company, and has taken an active part in its affairs since its incorporation. The family have long been prominent in the social life of their section of the State, and the Seelye home on Buckeye avenue is one of the most imposing private residences in Kansas, its grounds are extensive and beautifully landscaped, and it is known for its gracious hospitality.

Mr. Seelye is in all respects a high type of the conservative, unassuming American, diligent in his duties and commercial affairs and conscientious in all things. He has been of material value in furthering the advancement of the city of Abilene, and it is probable that within the limits of his activities the town has never had a more useful citizen.

Pages 402-403 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar.

[Son of John Mason SGS # 2351 – Alfred Barns; John Mason (#2351); Thomas Barnes; Ephraim; Ephraim John; Benjamin; Nathaniel; Robert]

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