Peter B. Seeley

Personal

Gender: Male

Date of Birth: March 23, 1840

Birth Place: Ashtabula County, OH

PETER SEELEY, farmer and stock-raiser, owns on section 4 one of the rich and productive farms for which Camden Township is noted. and is very successful in the management of his agricultural interests. He is a native of Ashtabula County, Ohio, and was born March 23, 1840. He is a son of the late Obadiah C. and Rebecca L. (Hill) Seeley, natives of the State of New York. It is supposed that his paternal ancestors were of English origin. His maternal grandfather, C. C. Hill, served as a soldier in the War of 1812. His father moved from Ohio to this State in 1843, and, although not among the earliest settlers of Camden Township, was regarded as one of the pioneers of this county and township, having honorably borne a part in the development of the agricultural resources of this region, and having been interested in promoting its growth. He was widely and favorably known as a man of high character and industrious habits. And in his death Hillsdale County lost one of her most esteemed citizens. In politics he was during the last years of his life a stanch adherent of the Republican party. To him and his wife were born nine children, of whom our subject is the only one now living. Those deceased are as follows: James, Mary, Peter Lewis, Gilbert. Helen, Minor, and two who died in infancy.

The subject of this sketch was reared to man’s estate in this township, and amid the pioneer surroundings of his boyhood received but a scant education, but being naturally intelligent and quick, made the most of the schooling that fell to him. He had scarcely attained his majority when tile late Civil War broke out, and he soon determined to leave home and friends, and on Southern battlefields devote his life to his country. Fired with this patriotic resolve, he enlisted in August, 1861, in Company K, l1th Michigan Infantry, which was attached to the Army of the Tennessee. His regiment, the 11th Michigan Infantry, won a fine reputation for daring deeds, unflinching courage and efficient service, in some of the hardest fought battles of the Rebellion, and each man who belonged to it has just reason to be proud of his war record. In the battle of Stone River our subject received a severe wound in the head, in the right arm, and in the right hip, and thus disabled was taken prisoner. He was confined in Thunder Castle for several weeks, when he was exchanged, and returned to Michigan. Notwithstanding the dangerous character of his wounds, his youthful and vigorous constitution, aided by the tender care of his friends, enabled him so far to recover that at the end of three weeks he again joined his regiment at Murfreesboro, Tenn, and he subsequently took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Buzzard’s Roost, Rattlesnake Gap, siege of Atlanta, and numerous minor engagements. He was honorably discharged from the army in the fall of 1864, when he returned home, and on the 1st of the following January, 1865, received ample reward for his sufferings and privations while a soldier, as on that day he led to the altar Miss Jane Seeley, who has since been to him a true wife and a loving, devoted companion. She is a native of Hillsdale County, born in Camden Township, June 14, 1846. She is a daughter of Harvey and Margaret Seeley, who came here at a very early day, sometime in the forties, and were respected residents here for many years. They and a number of their children were devoted members of the United Brethren Church. They were the parents of nine children, eight of whom are living, as follows: Alice M. is the wife of John Storer, of Camden Township; Jane; Angeline is the wife of Joseph Rising, of Southern Nebraska; Susanna is the wife of Oscar Clark, of Camden Township; Mary is the wife of John Cross, of Camden Township; John V. lives in Emmet County, Mich.; Alonzo lives ill Camden Township; Byron E. is dead. The pleasant married life of our subject and his wife has been blessed to them by the birth of three children, namely: Susie, who is the wife of John Robinett, of DeKalb County, Ind.; Arthur and Frank.

Mr. Seeley has devoted his life since the war to agricultural pursuits, to which he had been bred, and he is carrying on his farm of eighty acres with a good degree of success. It is amply provided with neat and comfortable buildings for the various purposes of a farmer, and his farm is well stocked, as from that branch of agriculture he derives a good income.

Our subject is still a faithful adherent of the Republican party, under whose banners he fought. He is a true citizen, and besides contributing his share to advance the material prosperity of this township, has earnestly striven, aided by his friends and associates. to elevate its moral and social status. He has served one term as School Commissioner. He is a prominent and influential member of the United Brethren Church, of which his wife and children are also valued members, and he has been very active in its affairs, serving as Class-Leader, Steward, and was also on the building committee when the church was being built in Camden Township.,

Page 388-389, “Portrait and biographical album of Hillsdale county, Mich., containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States” Published Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1888.

* this is another biography from a different source

PETER B. SEELEY. Coming to Michigan in 1842, when he was but two years old, and being from that age reared to manhood on its soil and among its people, educated in its district schools and partaking in all respects of the spirit and sharing the aspirations of its citizens, Peter B. Seeley is a truly representative man of his section, and in his career of peaceful and productive industry he properly typifies the genius and the power of its energies and its resources. He was born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, on March 23, 1840, and is the son and only surviving child of Curtis and Lorinda (Hills) Seeley. They were natives of Yates county, N. Y., where they were reared, educated and married, and where they settled down in life with the prospect of spending their days there as their forefathers had done for two or three generations before them. But in 1836, not many years after their marriage, they looked with favor on the farther West as a land of promise for their enterprise, and moved to Ohio, settling on a farm in Ashtabula county, where they remained until 1842. They then took another flight westward, coming to Hillsdale county, in this state, and located on a farm of eighty acres, which they bought in Woodbridge township. It was new and entirely unimproved timber land and the conditions of life in the neighborhood seemed less favorable than in some parts of the county, so, two years later, they traded this farm for another one of equal size in the southern part of Camden township, which they improved and cultivated, living on it until death called them from their diligent earthly labors, the father dying in 1878, at the age of sixty-eight, and the mother in 1901, aged eighty-six. Their offspring numbered nine, all now deceased except their son, Peter.

He was sent to the district schools near his home when he was old enough and as regularly thereafter as the circumstances allowed, but, as his father was an invalid for many years prior to his death, the opportunities for attending school afforded to his sons were limited, and their education was the same. Peter remained at home and assisted on the farm until the beginning of the Civil War. In the fall of 1861 he enlisted in the Union army as a member of Co. K, Eleventh Michigan Infantry. He was on field and camp duty and in numerous engagements in his preliminary training, in due time getting to the heart of the great contest at the battle of Stone River where he received three wounds. One was from a minie ball which made an ugly cut along the right side of his head and took away a piece of his skull, as a result of which he was left on the field as dead. Another wound was a shot through the right arm; the third was received from a piece of a shell from one of the guns of his own command, which wounded him seriously in the hip. While suffering from this triple disaster he was taken prisoner and conducted to Mobile, Ala., from whence he was soon afterward transferred to Thunder Castle at Richmond, opposite Libby Prison. Forty days of, anguish were passed in this confinement, during which his wounds received little attention. He was then paroled and taken to a hospital at Annapolis, Md., where he was as properly treated as the facilities permitted. On his recovery he rejoined his regiment and served to the end of his term of enlistment and three months longer; but owing to a mistake in the records only received pay and credit for three years service.

After returning from the war he bought a farm of eighty acres in company with his father and engaged in farming. His regiment was in very active service during the last years of his term of enlistment, being at the battle of Chickamauga and in all the engagements of the terrible campaigns following that to the siege of Atlanta. The ordeal through which he passed was awful. The strain of march and battle was continuous, with danger ever present and with death always nigh. But when he settled down to systematic labor on the farm he was face to face with another contest, one with Nature, which was also full of exactions and trying in the extreme. For the land which he had purchased was an unbroken forest of giant timber, against which the first weapon required was the ax, whose lusty strokes had to prepare the way for the plow. But as he had not quailed before the opposing force of an opposing army, so Mr. Seeley entered the new contest with spirit, courage and confidence. By perseverance and systematic industry he made his way to comfort and prosperity over the obstacles of the wilderness, as he had to victory through the ranks of the enemy in battle. He cleared his land, furnished it with good buildings, and in course of time had an excellent farm; whitening with the harvests and beautiful with the adornments of cultivated life. This he still owns but it is occupied and cultivated by one of his sons.

On New Year’s day, 1866, he married with Miss Jane Seely, a native of Hillsdale county, born in Camden township, and the daughter of Harvey and Margaret (Cough) Seely, who were born, reared and married in New York, and came to this county about the year 1844, settling on a farm west of Camden Center, being among the pioneers of that section. The father died in April, I898, aged seventy-nine, in Camden township, where his widow still lives, having accomplished seventy-six years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Seeley have four children: Susie, the wife of John Robinett, of Huntington, Ind; Arthur, a resident of Harbor Springs, Mich.; Frank, living on the homestead; and Elsie, who is still residing with her parents.

In political allegiance Mr. Seeley is a pronounced Republican with strong convictions as a Prohibitionist. He and his wife are charter members of the United Brethren church of Camden township, and are active in all its works of benevolence. Mr. Seeley is as much interested in the welfare of his country in peace as he was in war, and he has contributed the force of his inspiring example and the benefit of his active efforts in behalf of the advancement and improvement of the section in which he lives. He is held in high esteem as a useful citizen, and has a host of cordial and admiring friends. Two of his brothers were like himself gallant soldiers for the Union in the Civil War. James enlisted at the same time and in the same company with Peter, and after eighteen months service died in a hospital at Louisville. Gilbert enlisted in the fall of I862 in Co. D, Twenty-seventh Michigan, and died in a hospital at Spotsylvania Courthouse, ten days after being wounded at the battle of the Wilderness.

Page 401-402, “Compendium of History and Biography of Hillsdale County Michigan “, Elon G. Reynolds, Editor, published by A.W. Bowen & Co., Chicago, 1903.