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James L. Seely


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: January 1, 1801

Birth Place: Cochecton, NY

One of the most noted and prominent citizens of Starkey was James L. Seely, who was born at Cochecton, NY, Jan. 1, 1801. He was a son of James L. Seely Sr and Mary Bailey his wife. His mother died when he was eight years old, and he was taken in charge by a maiden aunt, Temperance Bailey. She became blind when he was eighteen and was thereafter supported by him until her death many years later. In his earlier life he was a farmer, and acquired by night study, by the light of pine knots, education sufficient to make him a school teacher. In 1828 he came to Eddytown, where he taught school and studied law at the same time with James Taylor. He also taught in Penn Yan and pursued his law studies with Roderick N. Morrison. He taught schools in Barrington and Tyrone and practiced law at the latter place with Henry Arnold. He concluded his studies with Evert Van Buren in Penn Yan, and before 1835 had been admitted to practice in the Common Pleas. At a later period he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court. In 1833 he became a resident of Dundee, and there remained till 1868, an industrious practitioner of the law. He was a good lawyer and his advice was much relied on by his clients. His practice was large and his success in his profession was grounded on his sincerity of character and his thorough knowledge of the principles of law. His ability as a lawyer was manifested by the soundness and excellence of his legal papers and the force of his arguments on legal questions. He had high standing in the Whig Party; was its candidate for Member of Assembly in 1849, for County Judge in 1851, for Presidential Elector in 1852 and for Member of Congress in 1854. He married in 1836 Maria, daughter of Francis Little and Catherine Winfield his wife. She died in 1867, at fifty-five. Their children are Marcus T., Valencourt, James L. and Mary M.

Marcus T. born in 1838 is a lawyer in Dundee. He married in 1858 Lydia A., daughter of Benjamin B. Beekman. Their children are Cornelia A., Harriet E. and Elizabeth A. Valencourt, born in 1840, married in 1864 Rachel Golden and lives at Watkins. Their children are Frederick, Maria, and Emma.

James L. born in 1844, married in 1865 Cornelia, daughter of Rev. N.N. Beers and has a second wife, Julia Reddington. They have a son, James L.

Mary M. born in 1854, lives single with her father and her brother, James L., in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.

Pages 1057- 1058, “A History and Directory of Yates County: Containing a Sketch of Its Original” published by Stafford Canning Cleveland, 1873.

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