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Jasper B. Seely


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: October 12, 1857

Birth Place: Niles, MI

Jasper B. Seely is supervisor of the national forests of Montana; an interesting occupation to which he brings a real enthusiasm and a fund of technical knowledge. He was born in Niles, Michigan, on the twelfth day of October 1857. After completing his high school course at the age of seventeen he at once began teaching in the schools of Osceola county, that state. When he had reached his majority he joined his father in the lumber and milling business in Osceola county, his life work from the beginning being more or less connected with the question of the national timber supply. Two years later he left his father’s business to make a start for himself. After a year’s attempt in Washington, which proved that he could succeed alone, he moved to Missoula county, Montana, where he was employed by the Hammond Lumber Company in locating timber and lumbering in the Big Black Foot river country. This expedition was under the supervision of Mr. G.L. Hammond, who kept his men busily at work from 1885 until 1889, when Mr. Seely left the Hammond Lumber Company. In the autumn of that same year he made arrangements to operate a stage line from Orando to Drummond in connection with the general mercantile business at Orando, at the same time devoting all of his leisure to stock-raising on a ranch in Missoula county. Until 1898 he continued these varied occupations, selling out that he might enter the United States forestry service. In 1902 he was appointed supervisor of the national forests, tendered him by the interior department of the United States. He is the oldest in service of the supervisors in the northwest. He still owns, however, a farm in Madison county, and valuable real estate in both Helena and Great Falls. After accepting the position under the government which he now holds it became desirable for him to make his future home in Helena. Here, in 1893, he was united in marriage to Miss Leonora Turrell, herself of Helena. Six children brighten the home, all but the youngest of whom are daughters. Mary is a graduate of the Helena high school, while the younger sisters, Ruth graduates from the high school in 1913 and Doris and Joyce are still attending the grades. Francis and the baby of the house, Jasper B., Jr., are not yet of school age. The Seely family are members of the Congregational church, in support of which they are most generous.

Mr. Seely is, as seems most natural in his position, greatly interested in the political conditions of the country, his sympathies being with the progressive Republicans. He belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Oro-Y-Plata Lodge, No. 390, and to the Odd Fellow, Samaritan Lodge No. 10, of Sheridan, Montana, of which is past grand. His father, Nathaniel R. Seely, went from Pennsylvania to Michigan at the age of twenty-two, where he settled on a farm near Niles. Here he became interested in the lumber business and in 1876 moved to Osceola county of the same state, where he purchased a sawmill and took his son Jasper into partnership with him. The remainder of his life, which ended in 1907, was spent in this county where the proceeds from his mill and lumber yard permitted him and his family to live in the greatest of plenty. His wife, Annie Hagerty Seely, lived only one year after her husband’s death, passing away at the age of sixty-seven years. They were the parents of nine children, all but three of whom departed this life in advance of their parents. The daughters now living are Adelia, the wife of Mr. Charles W. Johnson of Hillards, Michigan, and Edna A. who is Mrs. Van Avery of Cadillac, same state.

Mr. Seely left his young family to the care of his competent wife to go to the rescue of his country in 1863. He enlisted in Company C of the Twelfth regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry; was wounded in a struggle at the battle of Shiloh and sent home on furlough. He was, during his entire life, a man of strong faith, and much Christian fortitude, preserving to the end his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church. Always he was ready at the call of his country, state or country. A Republican in political views, he served as justice of the peace in Osceola county for many years. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Pages 1147-1148 “A History of Montana” by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, published by the Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1913.

[Jasper Bryon is son of SGS # 2653 – Jasper Byron; Nathaniel R. (# 2653); Horace (#950); Nathaniel; Justus; John; Benjamin; Nathaniel; Robert]

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