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Delbert Milo Seely


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: February 21, 1880

DELL M. Seely – A wide-expert whose experience and enterprising operations have proven of great benefit to the Modesto motor world, is Dell M. Seely, a native son, proud to have been born in that city on February 21. 1880. His father was Martin V. Seely, the son of Charles R. Seely, who, as an early pioneer, came from Iowa across the plains in 1848 and settled in California. He took up farming on Government land, and was long known for his activity in the San Joaquin Valley, and particularly in the section about Modesto. Martin V. Seely married Miss Emily Mahoney, the daughter of John B. Mahoney, of Schenectady, N.Y., a rancher, who was also a pioneer of Stanislaus County and acquired large tracts of land. A son, a brother of Mrs. Seely, was West B. Mahoney, who recently passed away, honored as one of Modesto’s best citizens. Martin V. Seely became a large grain farmer, owing a large tract of land between Oakdale and what is now Waterford, at one time being the largest wheat raiser in the county. Afterwards, he spent some years as a fruit grower in Santa Clara Valley, then returned to the San Joaquin Valley, where is a farmer and stockman at Ripon, and there he and his estimable wife welcome their old friends of pioneer days. John B. Mahoney died in Modesto about 1906, while his widow is still living in San Jose. On his maternal side, Mr. Seely is a lineal descendant of Stephen Girard of Philadelphia. They are also proud to know that Thomas Edison is of the same family.

Having profited by the grammar schools of Santa Clara County, Dell M. Seely attended the San Jose Normal and also Heald’s Technical School in San Francisco, after which he served an apprenticeship as a machinist in the Union Iron Works of the bay city. He remained with the latter firm for seven years, and in that time had worked up to the rank of outside installing engineer and covered the entire western country west of the Mississippi. He had charge, among other contracts, of the setting up of the Miami plant of 22,000 horsepower, at Miami, Ariz., the Can Balm Young plant at Honolulu, the North Beach power plant in San Francisco, and other important plants over this territory. While with the Union Iron Works, Mr. Seely was in trial trips on the different Government war vessels built at the works for the Pacific fleet while he was with the company. He worked on the first submarine built on the Pacific coast and was on the submarine when it made its trial trip, which was the first underseas trip on this coast.

On his return to San Francisco Mr. Seely engaged in the automobile repairing business, and had a shop much patronized. In 1916 he came back to Modesto and bought and operated the Reliable Garage over California until he sold it in 1917 and engaged as an electrical contractor over California until July, 1920. He then purchased the garage at 809 Thirteenth Street, where once more he established a reputation for general automobile repair work. He is not only a machinist and electrical engineer, but is able to do anything in the line of the iron trades.

In San Jose, on September 30, 1903, Mr. Seely was married to Miss May Zurcher, a daughter of David and Elizabeth Zurcher, and a native of Kansas. Her father was a millwright, and he passed away in 1910. Her mother died at their home in Modesto in November 1920. Now Mr and Mrs. Seely have two daughters and a grandson. Alva has become Mrs. Clifford Gaar and lives at Modesto, with a son, Robert Gaar, while Della Seely lives with her parents, and still attends the grammar school at Modesto. Mr. Seely belongs to the Druids, and is a standpat Republican. He was one of the first members of the California Automobile Trades Association in Modesto. He is a member of the American Technical Society and is consulting engineer for the Master Aeronautical Engineers, both of Washington, D.C., and during the World War was a member of the National War College.

History of Stanislaus County California with Biographical Sketches, History by George H. Tinkham, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1921 pages 955-956

[Great Grandson of Norman B. SGS # 2665 – Delbert; Martin V.; Charles B.; Norman B. Seely (SGS # 2665); Jeduthan/Juduthen; Ebenezer; David; John; Benjamin; Nathaniel; Robert]

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