Biography - Anthony Seeley

Hon. Anthony S. Seeley, the fourth child of Guy and Rebecca Seeley, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, December 12th, 1812. His father was a native of Canada, and his mother of North Carolina. Guy Seeley settled in Missouri in 1796, and about two years after was married. He resided in St. Louis county until his death, which occurred in 1816. His widow survived him until 1820. Mr. Seeley's occupation was principally farming and brick and stone laying. He was a man of industrious habits and good moral principles, and being early identified with the village of St. Louis as a citizen, he was acquainted with all of its leading men. He had a family of five sons, all of whom are now deceased, except the subject of this sketch.

Anthony S. Seeley was but four years of age when his father died, and eight at the time of his mother's death, and consequently had but poor facilities for obtaining an education; but he possessed good natural qualities, which, coup0led with energy and close observation, in after life contributed to give him a practical business education. True, he began life without financial capital, but he possessed those sterling qualities which to the young man are far more valuable – a vigorous mind and a determined will, a sound body, active energy, and good, practical sense. These were the basis of his character, and have produced the man we find in Judge Seeley at the age of sixty years.

In February, 1823, Mr. Seeley came to Greene county, and stopped with James Davidson, near the present site of Whitehall, with whom he remained six months, when he engaged to work for Lorenzo Edwards, of Morgan (now Scott) county, for eighteen months. He next engaged for two years with Joseph King, of Whitehall. At the expiration of the two years, he followed, with his uncle, John Seeley, brick and stone laying, at which he continued until the fall of 1828, when he returned to St. Louis county, and there followed farming until the spring of 1830. He then returned to Apple Creek Prairie, and followed farming with his brother, David, for one year, and then, with his brother, went to Galena, Illinois, where he followed teaming and mining through the summer. Returning to Greene county in the fall of 1831, he engaged with David Hodges, with whom he remained until the fall of 1832.

On the 22d of September, 1832, Mr. Seeley was married to Miss Laney, daughter of Samuel and Kesiah Hodges, of Greene county. They have had a family of thirteen children – nine sons and four daughters – three of whom died in infancy. Those living are in the following order of birth, vis: Rufus G., Louis, present wife of Wm. Cobb, John H., William, Ann, present wife of Thomas Bigham, George F., Americus, Anthony S., Emma, and Addie Jane. The four youngest are residing with their parents, while the others are married and well settled in life.

In September, 1832, Mr. S. made his first investment in land, buying eighty acres about one mile east of his present residence. He has since from time to time added to his possessions, and now we find him the owner of more than two thousand acres of choice farming and timber land, acquired by honest industry as a farmer, stock grower and dealer. In 1866 he purchased the Apple Creek Mill, of which he still remains the proprietor. These interests have required most of his time during his active life. He has, however, been elected by his fellow-citizens to fill many places of trust and responsibility, having been county commissioner for one term of four years, and for eight years associate judge, and also for many years an acting justice of the peace. These positions he has filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to his fellow-citizens.

When we consider the fact that Judge Seeley began life poor, and that, by his industry and integrity, he has acquired fortune and reputation, we place a high estimate upon the principles by which he has been actuated. As one of the purely self-made men of Greene county, he needs no eulogy at our hands – the record of his life speaks more eloquently than it would be possible for us to do in our present short limits. We will only add that Judge Seeley and the good wife of his youth are yet alive, and residing about four miles west of Whitehall, near the place where, about forty years ago, they started out in life. And they are permitted to live to see their large family comfortably situated around them.

Extracted 05 Jan 2017 & 06 Jun 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, pages 39 and 42.

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