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Edmund Seely


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: January 10, 1827

Date of Death: March 21, 1900

Birth Place: Chester, Orange County, NY

EDMUND SEELY, deceased, late proprietor of Larch Grove stock farm, in Na-au-say Township, Kendall County, was one of the honored old-time residents of this county, where he dwelt for three-score years. He was a worthy representative of one of the sterling New England families originally from Lancashire, England, when they emigrated in 1692 or (cut-off) The great-great-grandfather of our subject, Jonas Seely, an Englishman, settled in Connecticut, and the next in line of descendants was Ebenezer Seely, born in Stamford, Conn in 1696. He chose Mary Dean for a wife, (cutoff) eleven children were born to them. One (cutoff) descendants, Josiah Seely, located in Orange County, N.Y., and there occurred the birth of our subject’s grandfather, Jonas Seely.

Dr. Townsend Seely, the father of Edmund Seely, was born in Orange County, N.Y., 1794, and when he arrived at maturity commenced the study of medicine, being graduated in the Medical College of Albany in 1815. (Cutoff) was a resident of that city when the first steamboat went on its trial trip up the Hudson River. He continued actively engaged in professional practice in the Empire state until 1837, when he came to Illinois by way of Pittsburgh, Pa. (cutoff) Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and up the Ill… cutoff .. River to Peru. He opened an office at that place and practices there three years, while the Illinois & Michigan canal was in process of construction. He then removed to what is now known as Kendall County, and here continues to dwell until he died in 1877. At an early day he espoused the cause of the Abolitionist and later became a strong free-soil worker and eventually a Republican. He was active in religious enterprises for many decades, loyally supporting the Presbyterian Church. He wife of Dr. Seely bore the girlhood name of Millie Tuttle, and their marriage took place in New York state. Mrs. Seely was a daughter of (cutoff) John Tuttle, who was a soldier of the war of 1812, and whose ancestors also came from Lancashire, England.

Edmund Seely was born in Chester, Orange County, N.Y., January 10, 1827, and it was not until he was in his eleventh year that he came to Illinois. He remained with his father upon that fine homestead in Na-au-say Township, where the rest of his long and useful life was spent. At first he bought three hundred acres, on which no improvements had been made, and here built a log house, 16×20 feet in dimensions, subsequently adding wings to this structure. The present house of the family was erected in 1859, and later additions and improvements were instituted thus making it a thoroughly convenient and comfortable home. For a number of years Mr. Seely was obliged to haul his crops to Chicago, and during the Civil was he was extensively and profitably engaged in the raising of live stock, including horses, cattle, sheep and hogs. The land, comprising three hundred and ten acres, was reduced to a high state of cultivation by the thrifty owner, and the judicious use of tiling greatly improved the property. At the Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago, in 1893, he exhibited the old wooden plow which had been used by his father on the farm of Major Davis, south of Oswego, many decades ago.

Following in the footsteps of his honored father, Mr. Seeley gave his political influence to the Republican party from the time of its organization. For nearly sixty years he was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and during much of his mature life he held the office of an elder in that denomination. He was one of the charter members of the Na-au-say church and was present and read a history of the same at the time of its half-century anniversary, in September, 1898. In 1870 he was appointed as a delegate to the Presbyterian general assembly at Philadelphia, and at all times was looked up to and considered an authority by his associates. He was faithful in the performance of every duty and in his daily life exemplified the lofty, noble Christian principles which had been instilled in him in his youth. His generosity, kindliness and hospitality endeared him to all who knew him, and his memory will be cherished in the hearts of his innumerable friends. His life came to a peaceful close at his home, March 21, 1900.

Thus, after forty-five years of happy married life, the union of Mr. Seely and wife was severed. The widow, whose maiden name was Jane G. McLain, was born in Ripley, Brown County, Ohio, and was married to Mr. Seely in December 1855. Of her three children, the eldest died at the age of three and a-half years and Frank and Clara survive. The son, an enterprising famer, married Emma Louisa, daughter of Frederick B. Hills, of Aurora, and four children bless their union. Mr. Hills was born in a log cabin at Big Grove, Kendall County, in which locality his father was a pioneer. The latter, Eben M. Hills, was born in Goshen, Conn., October 8, 1801, and in 1833 removed with his family to this section of Illinois, making the entire journey from New York in a covered wagon, which served as a shelter until a cabin could be constructed. Later he made a claim near Lisbon, and there built one of the first frame houses erected on the prairie. He also aided in the organization of the first church in Big Grove Township and the building of Stone Academy. He was influential and widely respected, and his death, February 17, 1859, was considered a public loss.

Pages 354 – 355, Genealogical and Biographical Record of Kendall and Will Counties Illinois”, Published Biographical Publishing Company, Chicago 1901, donated by Bette Lou Nienstedt.

[SGS #3815 – Edmund (#3815); Townsend (#1733); Jonas; Josiah; Ebenezer, Jonas; Obadiah]

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