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John Seeley

John Seeley, a carpenter and mill-wright, from North Haven, came to this town about 1791, and in that year purchased a house and small piece of land in Water street, directly west of the Great Bridge, where he dwelt for a time. Two years later he bought land in the northwesterly part of the town, near the Long Pond, and built his house back in the lots, perhaps half a mile west from the present residence of his grand-son — Thompson Seeley — on the Long Pond road. At that time a road, leaving the Long Pond road at a point a few rods north of Thompson Seeley’s, ran directly west to the west line of the town. This road long since discontinued, will be hereafter more particularly described. It was on this old road that John Seeley erected his house, and he also had a sawmill on the Long Pond brook — near by. Here he resided to the time of his death, which occurred October 25, 1805, when he was fifty-four years old. He was the father of John, Jared, and Captain Bethuel Seeley — all now deceased — whose descendants still remain here. Mr. Seeley is described as a friendly, jovial man with a remarkable fund of sociability and good humor, qualities which have characterized his descendants to the present day. He was also a man of great stature, excelling in feats of agility and strength, and in the rude sports, common in that time, was the acknowledged champion of all the region round about. It is related that on one occasion a party of men came from the New York border bringing with them their “bully,” as he was termed, for the purpose of testing Mr. Seeley’s . ability as a wrestler. The latter was busily engaged in laying out the frame of the old grist-mill, which, a few years since, stood a little below the Great Bridge. The visitors informed him of their errand, and invited him to a trial of skill and strength with their wrestler. This Mr. Seeley declined ; assigning as a reason that he was busy and did not wish to leave his work. The bully then began teasing him and removing his tools beyond his reach. Mr. Seeley, for a time, bore his taunts and insults with good humor, but finally, becoming provoked, rose from his work, seized the bully in his arms and wading into the river ducked him repeatedly into the water, holding him well under, until the fellow surrendered unconditionally and begged piteously to be released.

Page 332 -333 History of Great Barrington, (Berkshire County,) Massachusetts, by Charles J. Taylor, Clark W. Bryan & Co., Publishers, Great Barrington, Mass., 1882

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