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Henry James Seeley


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: February 22, 1849

Birth Place: Jericho, VT

Henry James Seeley, of Bridgeport, is entitled to mention in this volume, both because of the notable measure of success which he has gained as a photographer and because of his activity in the Grand Army of the Republic, of which he is now department commander for the Department of Connecticut. He was born an Jericho, Vermont, February 22, 1849, and is a son of Samuel Hamilton and Catherine Elizabeth (Nash) Seeley, natives respectively of Keysville, New York, and Jericho, Vermont. The father, who was a machinist by trade, removed in early manhood to Winooski Falls, Vermont, where he was for a number of years in charge of the machinery of woolen mills. Subsequently he removed to Wisconsin and was employed as a machinist there until his death in 1855. Afterward his widow removed with her children to Lafayette, Indiana, and after the Civil war to Carbondale, Illinois, and later to Centralia, Missouri, where her death occurred.

Henry J. Seeley was very young when the family removed to Wisconsin and was only about six years old when he was taken by his mother to Indiana, where he received his education. In 1864, although at that time only fifteen years old, he enlisted in the Tenth Indiana Battery, Light Artillery, for service in the Civil war. Even previous to this time he had attempted to join the army but was refused on account of his age. Not long after his enlistment he was transferred to the gunboat Stone River, which was doing patrol duty on the Tennessee river, but later he was with his battery at Fort Johnson, Huntsville, Alabama. After the close of the Rebellion the battery returned to Indiana and Mr. Seeley was mustered out in July, 1865. He then went to Carbondale, Illinois, where he taught school until the fall of 1867, when he came east and entered the Essex Classical Institute at Essex Junction, Vermont, there preparing himself for more efficient work as a teacher. He followed his profession at Rome, New York, for one year and also taught at Worcester, Fall River and Bridgewater, Massachusetts. At the latter place he also took a special normal course, as it was his desire to fit himself as well as possible for his work.

On the 10th of January, 1872, Mr. Seeley came to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and took up the study of photography, while on the 1st of May of that year he opened a studio in a building at No. 922 Main street. During the intervening period of forty-five years he has engaged in business in that same building, which he now owns. He is the oldest photographer in the city and has numbered among his patrons many of the famous men of the nation. The prestige which he has gained in his chosen line is the result of a thorough understanding of its technical points, a realization of the importance of artistic considerations in such work and the following of businesslike methods. As the years have passed his resources have steadily increased and he is now financially independent.

Mr. Seeley was married in 1881, at Bridgeport, to Miss Ella D. Carr, a native of New York city. To them have been born two children: Mabel Ella, the wife of Frederick A. Marsh, of Easton, Connecticut; and Henry Arthur, who is a graduate of Cornell University and is now practicing civil engineering in New York city. Mrs. Seeley passed away May 23, 1917.

Mr. Seeley endorses the policies of the republican party but at local elections votes for the men best qualified to fill the offices in question without regard to their political affiliations. He is one of the most widely known men in the country in Grand Army circles, as for forty years he has been active in that order. He holds membership in Elias Howe, Jr., Post, No. 3, of Bridgeport, of which he has served as commander, and he has a number of times been called to office in the state and national organizations of the order. In 1912 he was assistant adjutant general of the Department of Connecticut, which office he held for two years, for one year was assistant quartermaster general, and in 1913 was honored by election as adjutant general of the national body at a reunion held in Los Angeles, California. He was one of the most active officers that ever served and made the unusual record of visiting on official business all of the states of the Union except two during his term of office. He is now department commander of the Department of Connecticut. He is also prominent in the Masonic fraternity, being a Knight Templar and thirty-second degree Mason and a member of the Mystic Shrine. He belongs to Corinthian Lodge, No. 104, A. F. & A. M.; Jerusalem Chapter, No. 13, R. A. M. ; Jerusalem Council, No. 16, Hamilton Commandery, No. 5, K. T.; Lafayette Consistory, S. P. R. S.; and Pyramid Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S. In the Senior Order of United American Mechanics he is likewise well known, having held state and national offices in the order as well as having filled all the chairs in Waldemere Council, No. 6, of Bridgeport, of which he is the only surviving charter member. He belongs to Arcanum Lodge, No. 41, I. O. O. F., the Odd Fellows Veteran Association, the Seaside Club and the 49 Club. His has been indeed a successful life, as he has gained material prosperity, has served with honor in important positions of trust and has won the sincere respect and the warm regard of those who have been intimately associated with him.

Page 337-338, “History of Bridgeport and Vicinity, Volume II,” The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, New York – Chicago, 1917

[Grandson of Samuel Hamilton SGS # 2065 – Henry James; Samuel Hamilton; Samuel Hamilton (# 2065); Seth (#641); Seth; Nathan; James; Nathaniel; Nathaniel; Robert]

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