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J. G. Seely


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: March 23, 1828

Birth Place: Knoxville, PA

J.G. SEELY. Covering the long period of his years of activity, Mr. Seely has been engaged in many enterprises, all of which have developed more or less satisfactory results, and have contributed to render his life one of interest and usefulness. The apparent misfortune attending his entrance to the territory in 1889, at which time he failed, owing to his tardy arrival, to secure a claim, was later proved to have been a blessing in disguise. In 1896 he again tried his luck, and succeeded in homesteading a claim near Watonga, which for wealth of resources in the marble and salt line could hardly be surpassed. By developing either of these commodities one might reap an independent fortune, so practically exhaustless is the supply.

Although radically differing from our preconceived ideas of the claims in Oklahoma, this particular one has many interesting features that appeal to the enterprise of all would-be purchasers of land in the territory. Mr. Seely located on his claim in 1896, and bought up adjacent property, until at the present time his land is composed of nearly half a section, upon which are several large salt springs. They empty at the rate of seven and a half barrels per minute, the solution containing thirty-three and one-half per cent of salt, and representing a capacity of three thousand barrels a day. The springs are located eleven miles north and one mile west of Watonga, Blaine county, fourteen miles from O’Keene, and thirty-eight miles from Kingfisher, near a canon with natural bridges and resplendent with fine scenery. The canon is three hundred feet deep, and contains a vein of marble seven feet thick, without a crack in it. This valuable marble deposit would in itself constitute a vast source of revenue, but it is as yet undeveloped. Over this canon Mr. Seely has built a public swing one thousand and four hundred feet long, which is open for public use, and is a great convenience as well as pleasure. Mr. Seely has justifiably bright expectations in regard to the resources of his claim, and is putting forth every effort towards their realization.

Previous to taking up his residence in Kingfisher, Mr. Seely led a somewhat eventful life. He was born in Knoxville, Tioga county, Pa., March 23, 1828, and is of Scotch-English descent. His father, Eleazer Seely, was a native of Steuben county. N.Y.; his mother, Mary (Conant) Seely, was born in Onondaga county, N.Y., and was a daughter of Samuel Conant, a Methodist Episcopal minister, who moved to Steuben county at a very early day, and when at an advanced age came to his death from the accidental falling of a tree. Mrs. Seely died in Corning, N.Y., in 1896, at the age of ninety-three years. To Mr. and Mrs. Seely were born eleven children, seven of whom reached maturity J. G. being the sixth oldest. One brother, Eli, was in the Civil war, enlisting in a Wisconsin regiment, and is now living in Oshkosh, Wis. The paternal great-grand father, Ebenezer Seely, was a native of Connecticut, and moved to New York, where for many years he was a successful farmer. During the Revolutionary war he served with courage and distinction. In his younger years he married Mabel Todd, also a native of Connecticut.

While living on the home farm in Pennsylvania. J. G. Seely worked hard in assisting with the various duties incident to country life in the early pioneer days. The school advantages were indeed limited, and confined to the few winter months, when he trudged through the snow and almost impassable roads to a little log school-house, with slab desks and seats. When only eight years of age, he began to help his father with the teaming, driving long distances with loads of lumber. At twenty-two years of age he undertook farming during the summer months and each winter laboriously drove through the country with heavy loads of lumber, going to Addison, N. Y.. and other lumbering points. He was also engaged in logging, and rafting lumber down the Susquehanna, to Columbia, Point Deposit, and Harrisburg. In 1874 his prospects were temporarily destroyed, owing to a destructive fire, which consumed his lumber mill and entailed a loss of $35,000.

With the call to arms in 1861, Mr. Seely left his lumbering interests on the Susquehanna and enlisted in Company I. One Hundred and First Pennsylvania Infantry, at Harrisburg, and was later mustered in and commissioned captain by Governor Curtin. He raised a company at Knoxville, which, however, was never called into action.

The year after the destruction of the sawmill, Mr. Seely started life anew in Pawnee county, Kans., and engaged in the hotel business in Larned, which he continued to manage until 1891. It was an hotel devoted to the wants of farmers, and the proprietor derived considerable revenue therefrom. He also became interested in farming and stock raising on a large scale, and owned and utilized nine quarter sections of land in the various departments of work, which included the manufacture of cheese. These interests were all abandoned when he moved to Oklahoma territory in 1892. For the first three years of his residence near Kingfisher he engaged in the mercantile business, and built the Farmers’ hotel, of which he has since been the proprietor. He is also the possessor of a fine residence in Kingfisher.

Mr. Seely has been thrice married, his first wife having been Olivia C. Bulkley, who was born and died in Knoxville, Pa. Four of her children are living: Julia is the widow of Tim McCarthy, president of the State Bank of Larned; Edward G. is engaged in the cattle business at Larned, Kans.; Alfred C. is a railroad engineer on the Chicago. Rock Island & Pacific Railroad; and Charles B. died in Texas. The second Mrs. Seely was formerly Elvira C. Husted, born in Chenango county, N. Y. She was the mother of three children, and died in Kingfisher. Okla. Of the children, Carrie is now Mrs. Walcher, of Columbia, Okla.; Fred is living in Kingfisher; and Burt is employed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, with head-quarters at Coffeyville, Kans. Mr. Seely’s third wife, formerly Mrs. Sarah B. Dodge, is a daughter of Horace Stow, an early settler in La Salle county, I11., and later a pioneer of Kansas, where he died, in Benton county. Her mother, Sallie (Matthew) Stow, died in Kansas, By her former marriage Mrs. Seely had three children, one of whom survives – Charles H., of Blaine county, Okla.

Mr. Seely has been a Mason for fifty years, having joined that fraternity in Knoxville, Pa., and he has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for fifty-one years. At all times he is a member of the Republican party, and was one of the original organizers of the same.

Pages 218 – 221, “Portrait and Biographical Record of Oklahoma,” Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago, 1901

[SGS #2567 – Julius Giles (#2567); Eleazer (#924); Ebenezer, Justus; John; Benjamin; Nathaniel; Robert]

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