Chauncey B. Seeley
We requested Mr. Seeley to give us some points in his history that we might by their aid prepare a biographical sketch for our work, but when his memorandum was handed in it proved so unique in its contents we prefer to publish it just as it was written, without change of word or sentence. The sparkle of humor noticeable in all of this gentleman’s writings is ever coming to the surface, like the phosphorescent trail following a ship in southern seas, and we feel confident the reader will enjoy this recital in its present form all the more if untouched by alien hands.
“I am of New England ancestry, born of rich but respectable parents (I may add that the unexpected closing of a Boston bank wrought a disastrous change in their financial affairs at the time). The ‘Star of Empire’ was moving ‘westward” and my ancestors followed after, eventually to find a ‘local habitation’ in the village of Kirtland, a few miles of Erie in the state of Ohio, where, February 11, 1835, I first was the light. The ‘Star’ was still on its westward course and was still followed until there seemed final pause in southern Indiana, then comparatively a new state, taking its name from the numerous Indian tribes that once infested those primeval forests that bordered the banks of the Ohio, and where immense Indian mounds of pre-historic era are still to be seen. Here in the then ‘far west’ I vegetated, working on the farm when a boy and in after years teaching during the winter months and attending the academy in summer. Still westward moved the ‘Star’ and still its line of light was followed until I reached the Pacific coast, in 1864. Everything was new in those days, the inhabitants were mostly ‘new-comers,’ no ancestral homes were to be seen, and since most anybody could be elected to office at that time I ventured to take chances myself, and fortunately for me I won out. I have served in some official capacity during the many years that have followed – a favor for which I am truly grateful, trusting I may have made some return to the people.
“In politics I consider principle paramount to party whenever the two shall come in conflict. I regard Abraham Lincoln the greatest, noblest and wisest American statesman in our country’s history, with William J. Bryan a close second. Albeit he is discredited by the ambitious and jealous leaders of both political parties. I am a friend of inventors and hail with delight every discovery in the interest of progress and the betterment of social conditions.
“I am of Revolutionary stock, though my wife, formerly Mary White, and a native of Pennsylvania, claims superior lineage for the reason she had four grandfathers in the revolutionary war, whereas I had but one. I protested at the announcement when made, but had to yield on presentation of the proofs. Patriotic days those, when father and son fought side by side on the contested field.
“My enemies are all dead save one or two and with them my relations are not otherwise than most agreeable, as we pass without recognition. Am optimistic, believe there is hope for the race, discouraging as appearances may seem. I never worry over the faults of others, or my own. Have excellent health, to date, – am at all times sober and serene.”
We may add that during the many years of Mr. Seeley’s residence in Napa he has served the interests of the people well and faithfully. Twenty-seven years as secretary and treasurer of the Napa State Hospital, state appointment; eighteen years in the city council, during which time he had much to do with constructing the streets of the city, in fact, is called the “father of the macadam streets:” ten years as county clerk; and for many years was engaged in the banking business under the firm name of Seeley & Bickford. He is always the “genial gentleman” wherever found.
Pages 599-600, History of Solano and Napa counties, California: with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the counties who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present time, By Tom Gregory, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, CA – 1912.
1880 Census Place: Napa, Napa, California Source: FHL Film 1254069 National Archives Film T9-0069 Page 283B Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace Chancey SEELEY Self M M W 45 OH Occ: Banker Fa: VT Mo: VT Mary SEELEY Wife F M W 45 PA Occ: Keeping House Fa: PA Mo: PA Ah Wing Other M S C 34 CHINA Occ: Cook Fa: CHINA Mo: CHINA
[Chauncey Barton is SGS # 2425 – Chauncey Barton; Benjamin; Jonathan; Ephraim; John; Benjamin; Nathaniel; Robert]