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William Seerley


Posted By: Kent Transier (email)
Date: 1/9/2010 at 16:35:36

“A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa”
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1896

William Seerley, a well-known and much respected farmer of Madison county, Iowa, whose residence is on section 28, Madison township, is a native of Frederick county, Maryland, born May 5, 1823.

Jospeh Seerley, his father, it is supposed, was born in the western part of Pennsylvania. He went from there to Maryland when a young man, where he resided for a number of years. He took an active part in the war of 1812 and served in some of the important engagements of that war. In 1817 he was married, in Maryland, to Elizabeth Brown, and after their marriage they located near the village of Middletown, where they continued to reside until the fall of 1823, at which time they moved to Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and settled in the village of Hempsfield. In 1836 they left that place and came s far west as Indiana, which was then the frontier, and in Marion county they took up their abode on a farm, where he passed the closing years of his life, his death occurring there about 1841. Of the grandfather of our subject but little is known other than his name was Thomas Seerley and that he was of French descent.

Mr. Seerley’s mother, nee Elizabeth Brown, was born in Frederick county, Maryland, daughter of George P. Brown. It is supposed that Mr. Brown was a native of Maryland. He was of German descent. During the Revolutionary war he served as a Guard. The mother of our subject survived the father and died in Iowa, at the home of her son William, being in her seventy-eighth year at the time of her death. This worthy couple were the parents of five children, three sons and two daughters, viz: Martin, a resident of Marion county, Indiana; Thomas, Iowa City; William, whose name graces this article; Elizabeth, widow of Peter Blue, Indianapolis, Indiana; and Catherine, deceased.

William Seerley was six months old at the time his parents removed to Pennsylvania, and at the time of their settlement in Marion county, Indiana, was thirteen. His boyhood days were spent in attendance at the district schools and in work on the farm, and his district-school education was supplemented by one term in Indianapolis. After his marriage, in 1852, he settled on a farm about five miles from Indianapolis, where he resided until 1855, that year coming out to Iowa.

His first winter in this State was spent in Keokuk county. In the spring of the following year, 1856, he came to Madison county and has ever since been identified with the agricultural interests of this county. After renting land one summer, he located on his present place in the fall of 1856. Here his first work was to build a log cabin, 16x18 feet in dimensions, which served as his home until 1861, when he built his present residence; and from time to time he has made various other improvements. His farm comprises 260 acres, including timber and rough land, and all, with the exception of twenty acres under fence. He gives his attention to both general farming and stock-raising, feeding all his grain product to his stock. One hundred acres of his land are under cultivation.

Mr. Seerley was married in Marion county, Indiana, in 1852 to Miss Mary Missersmith, who was born and reared in Connersville, Indiana, and they have had fourteen children, eleven of whom are now living, as follows: O. M.; Bayard P., Adair county, Iowa; Horace E., engaged in mining in Colorado; and Francis H., Elwood, Charlie, Flora, Grace, Ida, Vick and Willie, at home.

Mr. Seerley is Democratic in his political views. In 1893 he was the Democratic candidate for State senator from his district, and, although he received a strong vote, he was defeated, his party being in the minority. He has served efficiently in several local offices. He was Township Clerk five years and for the same length of time was Assessor, both in Madison township. Personally, he is a man of retiring disposition, and has never sought office. The nomination for State Senator was tendered him without solicitation and he made no canvass whatever, nor did he ever ask a man for his vote.


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