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Peter Seeley

Neal Lemon, who served in Burgoyne’s Army, came to Canada with his wife Jemimah Butler in the year 1784, settling in the 1st Concession of Elizabethtown, now the part occupied by the east end of Brockville. Truelove Butler and Bartholomew Karby came on the same boat as Lemon and settled on adjoining land, now within the limits of Brockville.

In 1812 Lemon learned the blacksmith trade with a man named Peter Seeley. Seeley came from Connecticut with a company bound for the Bay of Quinte. Enoch Knowlton and Stephen Smith were guides for the party. At that time the last settlement in the state of New York was Rome. From there thence the path was marked by blazed trees to Gravelly Point (Cape Vincent). A raft was constructed at Gravelly Point upon which they floated to Kingston, from which they proceeded to the Bay, with the exception of Knowlton, Seeley and Smith, who came down the St. Lawrence on a small raft. They took on board a small amount of provisions sufficient as they thought to supply their wants until they reached Cole’s Ferry where there was a settlement. In consequence of adverse winds they were delayed, the provisions were exhausted and they were compelled to subsist for three days upon wintergreen berries, which they found on a small island. Seeley always regarded the discovery of the berries as a special mark of divine providence as it was at a season of the year when berries of that kind are never known to be ripe. The party reached Cole’s Ferry in the night and had only sufficient strength remaining to make their presence known by cries. Fortunately they were heard. A canoe came out and took them to shore, where they were cared for until they recovered. Knowlton moved to Bastard Twp. Seeley and Caleb Seaman commenced the manufacture of scythes near Tin Cap.

Peter Seeley was one of the first manufacturers in the Johnstown District. At an early date, he and Caleb Seaman having commenced the manufactures of scythes near Tin Cap, Elizabethtown. Seeley afterwards removed to Brockville where he entered into partnership with Daniel Jones Esq. Jones was to furnish the iron while Seeley was to do the work. On one occasion the supply of iron was exhausted, when Seeley with tow men by the name of Knowlton and Smith, procured a small sloop, and started for Carleton Island, where a fort had been built, it being garrisoned at that time by British troops. The party carried a keg of rum with which they plied the officers and men of the garrison. The result was that all the boxes and casks bound with iron hoops were knocked down, and the iron given to Seeley who soon loaded his sloop, which returned to Brockville. Seeley at tone time made a chain ten rods long, which was used for hauling saw-logs into the mill back of Brockville. His wife blew the bellows and struck for him while the job was under way.

In 1812 Seeley was making ploughs at the Tin Cap having young Lemon (Major Lemon) as an apprentice. When the militia was called out they both went to the front.

Pages 102- 103, and 53 – 54, “History of Leeds and Grenville Ontario, From 1749 – 1879,” by Thad. W.H. Leavitt, Recorder Press, Brockville, 1879

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