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Query Number: 1205-5 May 2012

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Requested Information:

Roger’s great-grandfather’s brother Edward C Timpson married Rita W Seely at Elizabeth NJ 29 April 1891. Rita says she is the daughter of the late Alexander M Seely of St John New Brunswick. Roger would like to know her lineage.

Requester: Roger D Timpson | roadwarrior1@verizon.net

Initial Response Information:

We have Alexander M Seely b. 1847 New Brunswick, son of SGS# 3224 Alexander McLaughlin Seely. According to The Seelys of New Brunswick (Fanjoy and Ward) Alexander M was married to Ellen D Walton in 1872. Alexander was a sea captain and died before his father who died in 1882.

I have not been able to find Rita nor her mother Ellen in the Canadian census of 1881. According to the 1900 census of Elizabeth, Union, NJ Reda Timpson (she is Rita in later census records) was b. Jul 1874 in Canada to Canadian born parents and emigrated to the US in 1890.

Rita Seely and Edward C Timpson had three children: Laura, Maude and Edward.

We would like to find a birth, christening or census record to link Rita to her parents.

Responder: SGS Query Editor


Update to Query #1205-5 // Update to Query 1205-5 Re: Rita Seely Timpson

Submitter Roger Timpson was looking for the lineage of Rita Seely, born 1851 who was said to be the daughter of Alexander M Seely of St John, New Brunswick. We cited The Seeleys of New Brunswick (Harold Fanjoy and CG Ward, 1992 ) who gave her parents as Alexander M Seely, born 1847, (son of SGS# 3224 Alexander McLaughlin Seely) and Ellen D Walton. We couldn’t find Rita in the 1881 Canadian census.

1881 census Toxteth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, ENG
• Sedman, Eliza age 50, mariner’s wife, b. Shrewsbury, Salop
• Sedman, Eliza, dau. age 20, Mary J., dau. age 19, both b. Liverpool, Lancashire
• Sedman, John, son, age 16, apprentice seaman, b. Liverpool, Lancashire
• Seely, Alexander, visitor age 33, master mariner b. America
• Seely, Ella age 30, b. America
• Seely, Rita age 6, Gertrude age 4

Soc. Sec Applications and Claims Index
Gertrude E Seely
SSN: 117108253
Birth: 15 Aug 1876 at St John New, Canada
Father: Alexander M Seely
Mother: Ella W Dougherty
Type of Claim: Original SSN
Notes: Jun 1937: Name listed as GERTRUDE E SEELY

I found many listings under Canadian Seafarer Records for Alexander Miles Seely born about 1847, mostly travelling between St John, New Brunswick and Liverpool but also a record in Australia and one where his ship was wrecked at Cap Gris Nez in France in 1877.
I looked to see if I could find out whether Ella/Ellen Seely was a Walton or Dougherty.

“Wife of Alexander Seely”
Daniel F. Johnson : Volume 85 Number 205 Date September 24 1892
County: Saint John Place: Saint John Newspaper: Progress
The language of the text is the original used in the newspaper entry and as transcribed by Daniel F. Johnson. Records acquired by the Provincial Archives are not translated from the language in which they originate.
The following interesting extract was recently published in a city paper credited to ‘Mrs. Helen E. Gregory-Flesher, M.A.’, whoever that lady may be:
“A prominent member of the New York Press club and an authority on Russian matters is the Countess Ella NORRAIKOW. She was born in Toronto, but spent most of her girlhood in St. John, N.B. Though a through Canadian the countess looks more like a Spaniard; she is so dark and has such brilliancy and vivacity of expression. While in New Brunswick she married the late Hon. A. Seely, a prominent government official and after her marriage she travelled for a number of years visiting Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Russia, Burma, India and South America. Shortly after Mr. Seely’s death, she settled in New York and there married Count Adolphus NORRAIKOW, an exiled Russian who has been a wealthy and well known lawyer in St. Petersburg, but who opinions did not please the Imperial government. The countess is a woman of the world in the best sense of the term, a fine musician and an accomplished linguist. She is a constant contributor to the Harper publications, the ‘Cosmopolitan’, the ‘Independent’, Lippincott’s Magazine, etc. Lately she has written a play which is to be produced by Manager Palmer of New York during the coming season. She has crossed the ocean no less than eighteen times and in both London and New York society has a large circle of connections and friends.”
The St. John friends of the Countess Narraikow will recognize several important errors of fact in the above account. She was not born in Toronto, but in St. John and some say on the West side. Her original name was DOHERTY, but she was adopted at an early age by Wm WALTON and before her first marriage was known by her friends at Ella WALTON. She was born, brought up and educated here, and was never a resident of any other place during her childhood. She did not marry Hon. A. Seely, but Capt. Alexander SEELY, who was a son of Hon. A. SEELY, who is simply a member of the Legislative Council and not a prominent government official. She was proficient in piano playing, but up to the time of her leaving here to go to sea with her husband, gave no indication of the literary ability with which she is now credited. The travels to which reference is made were in the ship commanded by her husband and they terminated some 10 or 12 years ago in a tragedy at Callao, Peru. During the voyage thither Capt. Seely became enraged at the attentions shown to his wife by the mate and took the latter’s life. He was arrested on his arrival at Callao and thrown into prison. The story which reached St. John at a later date was that he died in the prison while awaiting his trial. It was afterwards alleged that he died of small pox and that his wife could neither see him during his illness nor have a look at the body after death. About four or five years ago she married a Russian resident of New York who was said to have a large estate in his native land, but was not on good terms (with) the czar. The strangest part of the story is that while Mrs. Seely seems to have accepted the account of her husband’s death in prison, there has been from the outset a doubt of it among his friends in this city. There was a mystery about the affair that was never made quite clear, and there was more than one version of the circumstances under which the mate was killed. It was rumored, but on no positive authority, that Capt. Seely had not died, but had been aided by his friends to escape, though what afterwards became of him nobody could learn.

Next I found an account in When Canadian Literature Moved to New York, Nicholas James Mount, University of Toronto press, 2005 about John Emery McLean. Born in Ontario, Mr McLean apprenticed with a printer and later moved to NEW York City where he began as a proofreader and then worked as an editor for various magazines, including The Metaphysical Magazine. It goes on to say that in 1898 McLean married the Countess Norraikov, a writer and metaphysician of NYC. The article repeats information about the Countess being originally Ella Walton, a twice-widowed orphan. After many years of foreign travel she returned to North America as a widow, moved to NYC and later married Count Norraikow. The couple began writing to support themselves. The Count translated some of Tolstoy’s works (with Ella doing some revising) and she had articles published as mentioned above. The Count died of syphilis in late 1892. After marrying John McLean Ella continued to write and apparently also developed a successful practice in metaphysical healing. In 1917 John McLean remarried; I wasn’t able to discover what happened to Ella.

Roger Timpson, the original submitter has sent me several copies of Bible records and newspaper clippings he got from his third cousin. Some of the clippings refer to the ‘countess’ – Roger didn’t know who this countess was.
1871 census Queen Ward, St John, New Brunswick, Canada
• Walton, William age 53 b. IRE, leather dealer
• Walton, Sarah J age 48 b. New Bb.
• Walton, Ella age 22 b. New Br.

New York, New York, Marriage Index
• Name: Adolphus Norraikow
• Marriage Date: 28 Jul 1885
• Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA
• Spouse: Ella Seely
• Certificate Number: 47479
• Name: Ella Norraikov
• Marriage Date: 10 Oct 1898
• Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA
• Spouse: William H McLean
• Certificate Number: 7413

I don’t know why the name of the spouse is wrong – a transcription error? Several of the news clippings Roger sent were about this wedding and the husband is definitely John Emery McLean.
Any further information on the disappearance/death of sea captain Alexander Seeley or the death and burial place of Ella would be welcome.

Responder: SGS Query Editor

Update to Query #1205-5


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