Mrs. Jane Seeley
One of the most interesting characters in Mt. Pleasant is Mrs. Jane Seeley. Although she is 80 years old, Mrs. Seeley is still able to read her newspaper without glasses. She also does fine sewing without the use of anything to aid her eyes, and she get around with an agility that would put to shame many of her younger sisters. When I called on Mrs. Seeley she was busy making a shirt for one of her sons.
A pretty picture she made as she sat in a rocking chair under a tree in front of her home. She received me cordially as she receives all visitors, and talked of the days when women bore hardships that men would have sickened at. Mrs. Seeley came out to Utah with the first handcart company in 1847 and she walked most of the way. This pioneer women seemed born to a life of hardship.
She said that at 9 years of age she lost her parents and was bound out to service. At 12 she joined the Mormons and walked from Quincy to Jackson, Ill., to join the little colony there. In common with other church men and women she endured hardships and privations, not only in the eastern settlements, but during the trip across the plains and during the settlement of this then unknown land.
Mrs. Seeley came to Mt. Pleasant in 1859 , but she was not of the first party. Her husband had preceded her with several of their children. In the fall of the year, after he had had time to build a brush shanty with a dirt roof in which to receive her, he brought her here. Here she has lived ever since except for short trips into the outside world. Mrs. Seeley had had twelve children, ten of whom are now living, five are more than 50 years old.
She raised that large family, doing the cooking and washing with her own hands and working in the fields when the occasion arose. She did the spinning and weaving and made the clothes. She made rag carpets to cover the bare floors, and as a guarantee of the excellence of her handiwork, Mrs. Seeley today has some of those same rag carpets.
“Yes, the women had a mighty hard time in those days,” she said, “but not one of us regrets the experience. We were glad to be of some help to our husbands. What could the women have done without the men ? Yes, and the men couldn’t have done anything without the women. We helped each other.” She went on , smilingly, “ and between us we were able to settle up the country. Now I’m going to show you something that will give you an idea of what we did.”
As she spoke Mrs. Seeley went into the house. She returned presently with an old daguerreotype of herself and her husband. The wife looked beamingly out of the picture and proved what may be gathered from her appearance now, that as a young women she was very handsome. But that wasn’t what she wanted to show.
“I’ll call your attention to the clothes my husband is wearing”, said she. “This is the suit he wore when he went east a day or so after the railroad was finished to Ogden. I made the coat myself from cloth that was bought. I also cut and made the velvet vest and the cloth from which the trousers are made I wove and cut and sewed. The dress I am wearing there was the product of my loom.
John Seeley flocks of sheep are without doubt the most valuable in the state of Utah. He has one ram, Mark Hanna, for which he paid $500 in Ohio and the owner was decidedly loath to part with him at that figure. Like his illustrious namesake, the ram has taken many prizes. He has been awarded the blue ribbon at all fairs where he has been exhibited.
Lambs by Mark Hanna are never turned into chops or frittered away with mint sauce. From the time they are born they represent money, a tottering little bleater being pointed out as work $100. Mark belongs to the patrician Rambouillet stock and has a pedigree dating as far back as a son of the American revolution.
Hanna is the dean of flock of Rambouillets purchased by Mr. Seeley last April from Andrew A. Bates of Darby Place, O. At 28 months old he weights 268 pounds and shears twenty-four pounds of wood at a year’s growth. In dollars and cents the Rambouillet flock will more that earn their cost back within a very short time. It is estimated that they will make Mr. Seeley range sheep, which were worth about $2 a head a short time ago, worth $12.50 a head when the grading up begins.
So it will be seen that there is some economy in buying the best, and Mr. Seeley will demonstrate it before many moons. He now has in the neighborhood of 8,000 sheep that range on the hills east of Mt. Pleasant and on some leased lands in another section of the state. There are 2,5000 acres of range near the headquarters ranch, in addition to 300 acres of meadow from which Mr. Seeley raises hay to winter his animals.
In addition to his sheep, Seeley owns cattle that would make most cattle raisers envious. He has a short horn bull, Baron Scott, for which he has refused $1,000. The baron is a magnificent animal. He is 3 years old and weights nearly 1,800 pounds. During the last six months he has gained 400 pounds. Scott is beautifully marked, having all the characteristics of the thoroughbred. His get are held at fancy figures and if the statements of cattle raisers are to be believed, they are worth the good prices asked for these days “a critter is a critter.”
The people of Mt. Pleasant are very proud of the Seeley and Candland flocks and they are careful to see that visitors hear of them. There certainly are no more handsome or expensive animals in the county than these and their owners, as well as the towns people generally have every reason to feel good over them.
Pages 17 and 18, The Salt Lake Herald, Sunday, June 10, 1900.
[Wife of Justus Wellington Seeley, SGS#2337]