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Ephraim Seeley

EPHRAIM SEELEY was a grandson of Joseph Seeley, one of the original settlers of Fairfield, who arrived there as early as 1699 from New England, and was an elder in the old Cohansey Church. His father was named Ephraim, and he purchased a part of the Indian Fields tract, and built the mill on what is now called East Lake. By his will, dated March 9, 1722 (1723), he leaves his house, lands, and mills to his wife, Mary, during her widowhood; at her death or marriage to go to his son Ephraim, he paying certain legacies to his daughters of twenty pounds each. He also leaves to the congregation, inhabitants in and about the town of Fairfield, forty shillings per year, for and toward the procuring and support of a Protestant Dissenting minister for ten years.

The subject of this notice was born in the year 1709, and in 1736 married Hannah Fithian, daughter of Josiah Fithian, of Greenwich, whose brother Samuel married his sister, Phoebe Seeley. After his marriage he resided at the house built by his father, which stood on the high ground about opposite Elmer Street and faced the south.

Mr. Seeley was for many years one of the leading citizens of Salem County and of the county of Cumberland after it was established in 1748. He was a judge and justice, colonel of the militia, and member of the Assembly, and accumulated a large amount of real estate. His wife survived him, dying in 1797, at the age of eighty-three.

Col. Seeley, as he was usually called, a few years before his death removed to the brick house next east of Charles E. Elmer’s residence, which he had purchased, where he died June 22, 1774.

There were nine children born to Col. Seeley and his wife, Hannah, two sons and seven daughters.

Sarah, born in 1758, married Rev. William Ramsey and left descendants; in 1779 she married Rev. Robert Smith, of Pequea, Pa., father of Rev. Samuel Stanhope Smith, president of Princeton College. She died in 1801.

Esther, married, first, John Gibbon, who was taken prisoner by the British and perished aboard the horrible “Jersey” prison-ship. They left numerous descendants. Her second husband was Benjamin Holme, of Salem County. They left descendants.

Ephraim, born in 1744, married his cousin, Elizabeth Fithian. He was one of the judges of the court. He was commonly known as Judge Seeley, and built the house at the northeast corner of Commerce and Bank Streets, late the residence of his nephew, Judge L.Q.C. Elmer, in which he died in 1799. None of the large property he owned remains in the possession of his descendants, of whom none now reside in the county.

Mary, born in 1746, died 1819, married Jonathan Elmer. They had eight children, four of whom died in infancy, – Sarah, born in 1775, died 1814, married Dr. Samuel Moore Shute, and left no descendants; Dr. William (1st), born in 1788, died in 1836, married Nancy B. Potter, and had three children. – Jonathan, Dr. William (2d), David; he then married Margaret K. Potter, and had three children. – Mary, wife of Charles E. Elmer, Esq., Nancy, wife of Hon. William G. Whiteley, of Delaware, and Benjamin F. The children of Dr. William Elmer are all living, and his descendants are quite numerous.

Rachel, born in 1748, married Col. Abijah Holmes. They had children. Sarah married Jeremiah Buck, had children, – Robert S., Francis, Sarah, and Jeremiah; Jonathan left descendants; Mary married Enoch H. More, left no issue; John left descendants. Ephraim left descendants.

None of the many descendants of Col. Ephraim Seeley bear the family name except the grandchildren of Mason G. Mrs. S. Ward Seeley is a daughter of Mason G. Seeley, but her husband is descended from a remote ancestor in another line.

Josiah, born 1755, died 1832. He married Rebecca Gibbon, and they had children, – Mary, married Dr. Francis G. Brewster, and died in 1858, leaving descendants; Richard, left two daughters, Mary, who married Rev. Benjamin Tyler, and Harriet, who married Maskell Ware; Mason G., married Henrietta Potter, and left descendants; Harriet, married Dr. William Belford Ewing, and left one son, James Josiah.

Hannah, born 1757, died 1832, married Dr. Ebenezer Elmer, and had children, – Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus and Sarah Smith, who married Rev. Dr. William Neill.

Pages 618-619, Thos. Cushing, M D and Charles E Sheppard, Esq, “History of the Counties Of Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland, New Jersey With Biographical Sketches Of Their Prominent Citizens, Philadelphia: Everts & Peck 1883 Press of J S Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia

[Ephraim is SGS # 104 – Ephraim, Ephraim; Joseph; Nathaniel; Robert]

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