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Rufus F. Seelye


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: June 6, 1838

Date of Death: April 10, 1876

Birth Place: Pittsford Township, MI

Rufus F. Seelye is a native of Pittsford township, Michigan, born on June 6, 1838, on the farm which is now his home and on which his whole life so far has been passed. His parents were Elijah and Sarah O. (Fancher) Seelye, the father being a native of Vermont and the mother of New York. They were married in 1835, and, after ten years of happy wedded life, the mother died, in 1845, leaving two sons.

The second wife was Miss Mary M. Hall, of Rochester, N. Y., who lived but a year and died, leaving one son as her offspring. In 1847 Mr. Seelye was united with his third wife, erst Miss Lydia Kelsey, of Herkimer county, New York, who became the mother of two sons, Seymour K. and Alexander H. Seelye, now residents of Chicago. The elder Seelye was a prominent and influential citizen of this county from his first arrival. He was the first supervisor of Pittsford township, serving from 1836 to 1838, again filling this office in 1840 and a third time in 1849, while, in 1839, he was elected to the lower house of the State Legislature.

He was active in church affairs, helped to found the First Presbyterian church of Bean Creek, now the Congregational church of Hudson, and was one of its first elders. He continued to serve this organization either as an elder or a deacon for a period of forty years, during all of this time being a very potent and important factor in its work and progress. By industry and thrift he succeeded in redeeming from the forest one of the best farms in the township, converting the wilderness tract into a pleasant home for his family.

His useful life ended on April 10, 1876, after a long career in public service and private industry, in which he proved himself ever a safe counsellor for the general weal, a firm and faithful friend to every worthy man who sought association with him or came in contact with his strong and helpful character: He was a Democrat until the organization of the Republican party when he transferred his political allegiance to this new organization, which, throughout the rest of his life; received his loyal and earnest support.

Rufus Seelye reached manhood on the paternal homestead without incident worthy of note. He attended the district schools and finished his, education in books with a course of instruction pursued in a business college in Chicago. He remained at home until the death of his father, then purchased a portion of the home farm, on which he has since continuously dwelt.

In December 1873, he was united in marriage with Miss Gertrude A. Brooks, a native of Oneida county, New York, the daughter of John S. and Julia (Webber) Brooks, who came with their family to Hillsdale county in 1868, where both have since died. Mr. Seelye has always been a Republican in politics, serving the township as supervisor for seven terms beginning in 1878 and for a number of years as clerk. He and his wife are members of the Congregational church at Hudson, of this religious body he has long been a deacon. By his upright and consistent life he has well maintained the traditions of his family, and, in the respect and confidence of the community, he has won and now holds the same high place his father held.

Page 452,”Compendium of History and Biography of Hillsdale County Michigan “, Elon G. Reynolds, Editor, published by A.W. Bowen & Co., Chicago, 1903.

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