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Whalen Durland Seely


Gender: Male

Date of Birth: February 2, 1850

Birth Place: Pennsylvania

The late Whalen Durland Seely, former county commissioner and for years one of Cottonwood county’s best-known and most substantial citizens, was a pioneer of that county and lived to see it develop from the condition of a practical wilderness to its present well-established state. He was a young man when he came to this part of Minnesota and his energy and enterprise did much in the way of helping to promote the best interests of the pioneer community with which he had cast his lot back in the seventies. He was born in the state of Pennsylvania on February 2, 1850, and was but a child when his parents, Francis Tuttle and Mary (Durland) Seely, moved West and settled in Iowa, where he grew to manhood. In the early seventies the Seelys came to Minnesota and Francis T. Seely homesteaded a farm in Amo township, Cottonwood county, where he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives, substantial pioneer residents of that section.

Upon locating in Cottonwood county, Whalen D. Seely homesteaded a quarter of a section of land in Rose Hill township and also took a timber claim of a quarter of a section and proceeded to improve and develop the same. He married in 1882 and established his home on his homestead tract and there lived until his retirement from the farm and removal to Windom in 1908. Mr. Seely was one of the active, energetic men of the community and from the beginning of his residence here took an influential part in local civic affairs. He was a Republican and for some time served as a member of the township board and as clerk of his school district. For twelve years he was retained on the board of county commissioners and it was during his tenure in that important office that the present court house of Cottonwood county was erected. Upon moving to Windom Mr. Seely bought a comfortable residence, which carried with it a fruit orchard of more than five hundred trees, and there he spent his last days, his death occurring on April 17, 1912.

On April 9, 1882, Whalen D. Seely was united in marriage to Carrie M. Reisdorph, who was born in McKean county, Pennsylvania, August 12, 1857, daughter of Silas and Betsy (Hoag) Reisdorph, the former a native of the state of New York, born in Cattaragus county on April 3, 1828, and the latter of Pennsylvania. Silas Reisdorph and family moved from Pennsylvania to Monroe county, Michigan, and there Mrs. Reisdorph died in 1863, leaving two children, Carrie M. and John A., the latter of whom is a well-known farmer of Springfield township, Cottonwood county. Silas Reisdorph married, secondly, Frances Durron and later came with his family to Minnesota, settling in LeSueur county, whence, in 1873, they moved to Hennepin county and thence, in 1878, to Cottonwood county, where he homesteaded a quarter of a section of land, which is still owned by the family, and there he spent the rest of his life, his death occurring in 1914. His widow is now living at Mason City, Iowa. They were the parents of seven children, Robert, William T., Mary I., George H., Lloyd, Elvie and Edith, all of whom are living.

To Whalen D. and Carrie M. (Reisdorph) Seely four children were born, as follow: Mary Frances, who married Harold M. Tripp and is now living at Center, North Dakota; Grace G.; Madge M., now the wife of Eden G. Lund, a real-estate dealer at Spokane, Washington, and Elizabeth June, who is still at home. Mrs. Seely is very comfortably situated in her pleasant home at Windom.

Pages 56 – 57, “History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties Minnesota” edited by John A. Brown, Published by B.F. Bowen & Company, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana 1916.

[Son of Francis Tuttle SGS # 3664 – Whalen Durland; Francis Tuttle (SGS # 3664); Isaac Brewster, Bazaleel; Bazaleel; Ebenezer, Jonas; Obadiah]

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