Francis McLain Seely
Birth Place: Na-au-say Township
Birth Place: Na-au-say Township
SEELY, Francis McLain, one of the progressive and public-spirited citizens of Kendall County, is a native son of this locality, having been born in Na-au-say Township, on the same farm he now owns and occupies. His father. Edmund Seely, 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, whence they immigrated in 1692 or 1694. The great-great-great-great-grandfather of Francis McLain Seely, Jonas Seely, an Englishman, settled in Connecticut, and the next in line of descent was Ebenezer Seely, born in Stamford, Conn., in 1696. He married Mary Dean, and eleven children were born to them.
One of the descendants of Ebenezer Seely, Josiah Seely, located in Orange County. N. Y., and there occurred the birth of the great-grandfather, Jonas Seely. Dr. Townsend Seely, the grandfather, was born in Orange County, N. Y., in 1794, and when he arrived at maturity, he commenced the study of medicine, being graduated from the medical college of Albany, in 1815. He was a resident of the latter city when the first steamboat went on its trial trip up the Hudson River, and continued to practice his profession in the Empire State until 1837, when he came to Illinois, via Pittsburgh to Ohio, on the river of that name, then up the Mississippi River and the Illinois River to Peru. He opened an office at that point, and practiced there three years, while the Illinois and Michigan Canal was in process of construction. After this, he moved to what is now Kendall County, and there he continued to reside until his death in 1877. Dr. Seely was an important factor in the successful operation of the “Underground Railway.” The wife of Dr. Seely bore the girlhood name of Millicent Turtle, and she was a daughter of Captain John Tuttle, a soldier of the War of 1812, whose ancestors also came from Lancashire, England.
Edmund Seely, son of Dr. Seely. and father of Francis McLain Seely. was born in Orange County, N. Y., January 10. 1827, and in 1837, came with his parents to Illinois. He remained with his father until he readied manhood, and in 184on the farm now owned by his son, where the rest of his long and useful life was spent. At first he bought 300 acres of unimproved land, and erected a log house, 16×20 feet in dimensions. The present house was built in 1839, and with the modern Improvements, since put in, is one of the most comfortable and convenient residences in the county. For a number of years, Mr. Seely was obliged to haul his crops to Chicago, and during the Civil War, he was extensively and profitably engaged in the raising of livestock. 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. Seely 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 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 generous 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.
Mr. Seely was married December 20, 1855, to Jane G. McLain, a native of Ohio, born In Ripley, Brown County, September 30, 1830, daughter of James R. and Hannah (Gilliand) McLain. Three children were born of this marriage: Charles T., born January 25. 1857, died August 31, 1860; Francis McLain, born March 1, 1861; and Clara L., wife of Harry L. Jones of Geneva, Ill., born November 28, 1864.
Francis McLain Seely was reared a farmer, and has always followed that vocation. He received his education in the schools of his county, and the Jennings Seminary of Aurora. He was married in Kendall County, January 27, 1887, to Miss Emma Louise Hills, born In this county, October 13, 1863, daughter of Frederick B. and Louise (Bushnell) Hills. Mr. and Mrs. Seely have had five children: Bessie Mae, born August 9, 1889, married February 14, 1914, to Clarence E. Wheeler, son of G. C. Wheeler, whose ancestors came from Vermont to the county, Edmund H., born February 29. 1892, married Elizabeth F. Merrill, a native of the State of Washington, on June 12. 1913, making their home In Kendall County on the Seely Homestead: they have one daughter, Alma Louise, born March 27, 1914; Francis, born September 12. 1893, deceased; Jennie Louise, born June 14, 1897; and Clement R., born June 5, 1899. Mr. Seely is in his political faith, a Republican, and while not an aspirant for public office, served three years as Highway Commissioner of Na- au-say Township, and while on the board, was Treasurer. He is now School Treasurer of Na- au-say Township, having held the office for the past seven years. The Modern Woodmen of America hold his membership, and he and his wife belong to the Presbyterian Church, which he has served as Elder and Trustee for the past eleven years.
Page 1047, “Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Kendall County,” edited by Newton Bateman, LL.D. and Paul Selby, A.M., Volume II, Munsell Publishing Company, Chicago, 1914.
[Francis McLain is son of Edmund Seely, SGS# 3815 – Francis McLain; Edmund (#3815); Townsend, Dr.; Jonas; Josiah; Ebenezer, Jonas; Obadiah]