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Philip H. Seely


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: February 23, 1835

Birth Place: Salem Township

HON. PHILIP H. SEELY, one of the large land owners and farmers, and ex-member of the state legislature, in which body is served with conspicuous ability, is a representative of a family that migrated to Luzerne county, settling in Salem township, in 1801. The pioneer was Michael Seely, who was born in April 1750, was an active participant in the Revolutionary war and an applicant for pension. (Page 273 New York in the Revolution), and upon his settlement in Salem township became the owner of a farm of one hundred and thirty acres, which he purchased from Nathan Beach, and which he cleared, cultivated and made productive. In due course of time he married a Miss De Pue, who born him the following children: John, Samuel, Jacob, Susan (Mrs. Garrison), Mathias, Mary (Mrs. Parker), and Sarah (Mrs. Garrison), all are now dead. The ancestors of Michael Seely came from Holland.

John Seely, eldest son of Michael Seely, was born in Penn township, Sussex county, New Jersey, in 1778. He came with his father to Salem township, Lucerne county, Pennsylvania, in 1801, was a farmer by occupation, and it is worthy of record that he raised the first crop of wheat which was shipped from Salem township to Easton. He married Miss Mary Weitz, and their children were as follows: Jacob, Desire (Mrs. Samuel Pollock), Elsie (Mrs. David Cope), Mary, (Mrs. Henry Harmon) and Huldah (Mrs. Adam Driesbach); all are dead. The death of John Seey (sic) occurred in Fairmount township in 1835.

Jacob Seely, eldest child and only son of John and Mary (Weitz) Seely was born on the old Nathan Beach farm in Salem township, July 24, 1803. He followed the quiet but useful calling of agriculture and was the owner of four hundred and fifty acres of land. With the exception of ten years residence in Fairmount township he spent his entire life in his native township. For more than three decades he served in the capacity of school director, and for two terms was justice of the peace, one term in Fairmount township, and one in Salem township. He was one of the distinguished citizens of his day, winning and retaining the esteem of all with who he was brought in contact. He married Miss Leah Keen, daughter of Fredrick and Mary (Stump) Keen, of Salem township, and thirteen children were the issue of this union, eleven of whom attained years of maturity, Frederick K. of Benton Columbia county, Pennsylvania, John W., deceased, Samuel P, resides in Salem township, Philip H. mention at length hereafter, Edwin C., a large farmer at Lawrence, Mercer county, New Jersey, Martha A. (Mrs. Dr. J.E. Patterson), Rachel (Mrs. Thomas E. Edwards), Leah D. (Mrs. M.W. Hess), these three residing in Benton, Columbia county, Pennsylvania, Henry J., a sketch of whom appears in this work, Minerva J., deceased was the wife of Wilson Hess; and Cecila E., deceased, was the wife of B.B. Smithers, Jacob Seely, father of three children, died May 30, 1874. Frederick Keen, father of Mrs. Seely was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, February 12, 1784, and his wife was also a native of the same county born January 31, 1792. They moved from Berks county to Luzerne county, locating in Salem township in 1816. He was a shoemaker by trade, but later in life became a practical farmer. They were the parents of one child, Leah, aforementioned as the wife of Jacob Seely. Their deaths occurred within three days of two months of each other, his on March 17, 1876, followed by that of his wife of January 20, 1876 (sic). He was believed to be the oldest man at the time of his death that had lived in the town in fifty years.

Philip H. Seely, fourth son of Jacob and Leah (Keen) Seely, was born in Salem township, February 23, 1835. He was reared in his native township, and enjoyed the educational advantages afforded by the common schools. He remained on his father’s farm up to 1860, and then in company with his brother, Samuel P. Seely, engaged in a mercantile business at Fairmount Springs. In August 1864, when his county was in need of men to defend the integrity of the Union, he enrolled as private in Company D. One Hundred and Ninety-ninth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and for meritorious conduct was appointed first duty sergeant. He was attached to the Army of the James and participated in the following battles, Hatcher’s Run, Fort Gregg, Rye Station and Appomattox. He received his honorable discharge on June 28, 1865.

Upon his return to civil life, he engaged in boating up to 1870, and the following year he turned his attention to milling, in company with Mr. Driesbach, and continued the same up to 1874. Since 1876, he has devoted his entire attention to agricultural pursuits, conducting his operations on a farm of four hundred acres of productive land, and in addition to the income derived from the occupations owns a full interest in a timber tract of one hundred and fifty acres. During the years 1881 and 1882 he represented his fellow citizens in the State Legislature. In 1887, he was elected justice of the peace, and when his term expires in 1907 he will have been in the incumbent of the office twenty years, the longest of any man in the town and he has also served as assessor and in other minor township offices. Mr. Seely holds membership in the Lutheran Church, is a member of Knapp Lodge, No. 204 Free and Accepted Masons, and a Republican in politics.

Mr. Seely married, July 4, 1876, Sarah Harmon, who was born in Salem township, January 9, 1854, eldest daughter of Solomon and Mary Harmon of Salem township, whose family consisted of eight other children: Susan, deceased, Minerva, Sevilla, John A., Frances, Amelia, Annie, and Ella Harmon. Solomon Harmon is a son of John A. and Sarah (Varner) Harmon, who were the parents of four other children: Susanna, Elizabeth, Voyann and Sevilla. By a former marriage to Miss Smithers, John A. Harmon was the father of six children: Mary, Catherine, Caroline, Henry, John and Margaret. John A. Harmon died January 1881. Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Seely, as follows: Jacob A., who married Miss Martha Westbrook, and they are the parents of two children Philip Seely and Everett Westbrook; Bertha V., a teacher; Mary A., Thomas K., Sarah M., a teacher; Leah M., Philip H. Jr., Martha H., deceased; Annie F., deceased; Elsie M., and Catherine A.

Pages 464-465, “Genealogical Family History of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys Pennsylvania”, Volume I – II, edited by Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, published by The Lewis Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1906.

[Son of Jacob SGS # 3463 – Philip H.; Jacob (SGS # 3463); John, Michael; John; Samuel; Jonas; Obadiah]

PHILIP H. SEELY, farmer and justice of the peace, P.O. Beach Haven, was born in Salem township February 23, 1835, and is a son of Jacob and Leah (Keen) Seely. His paternal grandfather, John Seely, was a native of Penn township, Sussex Co., N.J., and a son of Michael Seely; both settled in Salem township in 1801. Michael was a farmer, and a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and had three sons—John, Samuel and Jacob—besides several daughters. John was a farmer, spent most of his life in Salem township, and died in 1855 in Fairmount township. He married Mary Weltz, and his children were five in number: Jacob, Desire (Mrs. Samuel Pollock), Elsie (Mrs. David Cope), Mary (Mrs. Henry Harmon) and Huldah (Mrs. Adam Driesbach). The father of our subject was the only son that grew to maturity, and was born in Salem township July 24, 1803. He cleared a farm, spent all his life in Salem township with the exception of ten years residence in Fairmount township, and died May 30, 1874. He married Leah, daughter of Frederick and Mary (Stump) Keen, of Salem township, by whom he had eleven children who grew to maturity: Frederick K., John W., Samuel P., Philip H., Edwin C., Martha A. (Mrs. Dr. J. E. Patterson), Rachel (Mrs. Thomas E. Edwards), Leah D. (Mrs. M. W. Hess), Henry J., Minerva J. (wife of Wilson Hess) and Cecelia E. (Mrs. C. B. Smithers). Our subject was reared in Salem township, educated in the common schools, and prior to 1876 was engaged in merchandising in Fairmount township, boating on canal, and also milling. Since 1876 he has been engaged in farming in Salem township. He was in the Civil war, having enlisted September 3, 1864, in Company D, One Hundred and Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was honorably discharged June 28, 1865. He married on July 4, 1876, Sarah E., daughter of Solomon and Mary (Bloss) Harmon, of Salem township, and has eight children: Jacob A., Bertha V., Mary A., Thomas K., Sarah M., Leah M., Philip H. and Martha H. Mr. Seely is an attendant of the Lutheran Church; he is a member of the F. & A.M., R.A.M., K.T. and G.A.R. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1881-82, and is now serving his second term as justice of the peace of Salem township; in politics he is a Republican.

“History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania,” Part II Biographical Sketches, H.C. Bradsby, editor, published by S.B. Nelson & Co., 1893.

[Son of Jacob SGS # 3463 – Philip H.; Jacob (SGS # 3463); John, Michael; John; Samuel; Jonas; Obadiah]

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