Raymond Hoyt Seeley

Personal

Gender: Male

Date of Birth: 1812

Date of Death: 1885

Birth Place: Norwalk, CT

Raymond Hoyt Seeley (1812 – 1885) was an early scholarly authority on Seeley genealogy. The result of his extensive research were first given in a speech by him in Watertown, MA in 1883 and subsequently published in a pamphlet entitled “Sketches and Notes on the Life and Times of Robert Seeley”. The following biographical note is taken from a version of that work published by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Raymond Hoyt Seeley was born in Norwalk, Conn., and was a direct descendent of Capt. Robert Seely through the latter’s oldest son, Obadiah.

He was educated in New York City where he was graduated from New York University, with the highest honors, taking the valedictory in a class in which were Richard Grant White, John Taylor Johnston and other men afterwards eminent in their professions. Years after this Alma Mater gave him the degree of D.D. From the University he passed to the Union Theological Seminary. During his student life he led the Old Broadway Tabernacle choir. He had a remarkable tenor voice and such was the talent he showed that a New York musical society offered to defray the expenses of his musical education abroad, but nothing turned him from his first purpose, to study for the ministry.

Dr. Seeley was ordained in Bristol, Conn., in 1842; in 1847 he accepted a call from the North Church, Springfield; in 1857 he became the first pastor of the American Chapel in Paris, France. Dr. Henry M. Field wrote of him “When I saw him in Paris in 1858, I thought him admirably fitted to his position there. Of refined and courteous manners, he was one to command the respect and attract the society of his countrymen in the French Capital.” When he returned to New England it was to take charge of the North Church, Haverhill, Mass., where he remained its senior pastor, for twenty-five years, until his death. “Dr. Seeley brought to his work a superb physical constitution, a mind rarely endowed by nature, cultivation and extensive travel, an intellect both brilliant and deeply united with remarkable wit and usual conversational powers …” (Extract from the Haverhill Press.) With a deep interest in public affairs and especially in the welfare of Haverhill, he left a profound impression on the town. During the hours of his funeral services all the stores of the city were closed.

Dr. Seeley was twice married; first to Catherine Cowles of Farmington, Conn., the daughter of Major Timothy and Catherine Deming Cowles. His second wife was Frances, daughter of Judge Richard Wayne Stites of Savannah, Ga., and later of Morristown, NJ, and his wife Elizabeth Cooke, a step-daughter of Judge Frederick Wolcott of Litchfield, Conn.

“Sketches and Notes on the Life and Times of Robert Seeley” published by the Massachusetts Historical Society and republished in the SGS Newsletter, February 1990, issue # 62, pages 10-12

[SGS #3975 – Raymond Hoyt (#3975); Rufus Hoyt (#1783); Joseph; Eliphalet; Eliphalet; Jonas; Obadiah]