THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   HENRY SEYMOUR. Prominent among the intelligent and influential citizens of Lebanon stands the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. For more than fourscore years he has lived and labored in this town and village, not only meeting with success as a business man, but his personal character is such that he enjoys the confidence of the entire community. He is a native of Madison County, born in Lebanon, April 15, 1808, and can trace his ancestry back to 1694. The grandparents of our subject, William and Mehitable (Merrill) Seymour, were, as far as known, lifelong residents of Connecticut. Of the family of children born to them three sons served their country during the Revolutionary War, taking an active part in the battle of Bemis Heights, at the surrender of Burgoyne.
   Silas Seymour, father of our subject, was born May 7, 1777, in Hartford, Conn., where he spent the earlier years of his life. When approaching manhood, he left his native State, and joined his older brothers, who were settled in Saratoga County. Remaining there but a few years, he came with his team to Madison County, where he invested his savings in a tract of timbered land, containing fifty-six acres, situated on the north-west quarter of the town of Lebanon. His first step was to erect a log cabin, in which he and his bride afterward began housekeeping, there spending some of the happiest years of their life. In course of time, by steady application and thriftiness, he had his land under good cultivation, and had added many more acres by purchase. The log cabin was superseded by a substantial house of stone, and convenient farm buildings were erected. On this pleasant homestead he lived until his death, August 2, 1845. He married Sally, daughter of Ebenezer and Sally (Weeks) Gilbert, who was born in Pomfret, Conn., April 1, 1779, and died in Lebanon, October 5, 1850, having survived her husband five years.
   Henry Seymour, of whom we write, received the rudiments of his education in the typical log school-house of his day, which he began attending when five years of age. In those times schools were supported by the subscription plan, each householder paying according to the number of scholars sent. Later a large frame building, erected and paid for by subscription, was used for educational purposes, public meetings of all kinds being also held there. Our subject was an apt scholar, diligent and ambitious, and acquired an excellent common-school education, to which he has continually added. When he was fourteen years of age, his father placed a Bible in his hands, and told him to read it to know what was in it. Having much natural ability and skill in the use of tools, when he was seventeen years of age his father borrowed a set, which our subject used in building a barn on the homestead. He soon became an expert workman, and three years later did all the woodwork in his father's new stone house. Subsequently he became a contractor and builder, prospering well in that occupation. Mr. Seymour has always been interested in agricultural pursuits; and some years ago, seeing a fine opportunity in this grazing country for a cheese factory, he established one in Lebanon Village, which he operated most advantageously for several years, and which he still owns. In 1848 he settled in the village of Lebanon, where he has since resided.
   The maiden name of his wife, to whom he was united in marriage June 15, 1836, was Rebecca Head. She was of New England descent, born in Lebanon, Madison County, April 30, 1813. Her grandfather, Joseph Head, a native of Rhode Island, was a pioneer of the town of Madison, coming to this State in 1796, by team, and locating in Madison County, when that formed apart of Herkimer County, in the section known as the Rhode Island quarter. In common with the early settlers of the place, he assisted in the development of the county, while developing his own land, and remained there until his death, at the age of seventy-seven years. While in his native State he married Rebecca Sanford, who came to Madison with him, and proved an able helpmate during his pioneer life. She reared six sons, spending her last days at the home of one of them, and dying at the venerable age of eighty-two years.
Sanford Head, father of Mrs. Seymour, born in Rhode Island, January 8, 1789, was a lad of seven years when he came with his parents to Madison County, where he was reared and educated. He was an enterprising, ambitious young man, well trained to habits of thrift, and anxious to begin life on his own account. Accordingly, when only nineteen years of age, he bought a tract of land, lying in Lebanon, of his father, and commenced housekeeping in a log house. He prospered exceedingly in his undertakings, cleared a farm, subsequently erected a frame house and substantial buildings, and there spent the remainder of his life, dying at the ripe age of fourscore years and ten. He was twice married. His first wife was Sarah Ballard, a native of Massachusetts, and daughter of Dane and Rebecca (Forbes) Ballard. She died November 4, 1820 and Mr. Head was afterward married to Anna Ballard, a half-sister of his first wife, and who died February 17, 1879. Dane Ballard was one of the original settlers of Madison County, coming here, in the year 1800. He bought some land near the village of Lebanon, on which he erected the first saw-mill built in that vicinity, and operated it for a number of years. He was twice married, and reared a family of nine children by his first wife and nine by his second. He lived here, esteemed by all, until his death, at the age of seventy-eight years.
   During the many years of busy life which our subject has passed through he has ever taken an active interest in the welfare of his county and town, contributing his quota toward building up their industries. He has lived under the administration of twenty-one different Presidents, and his first Presidential vote was cast for John Quincy Adams. In political life Mr. Seymour was for a time a Whig, and later a Free-soiler. Being early convinced of the iniquity of slavery, our subject labored generously in behalf of the oppressed, working with Gerrit Smith in the anti-slavery cause. They, accompanied by Mr. Church, went as delegates from Madison County to the convention at Pittsburg that nominated John P. Hale for President.
   Mr. Seymour has filled the various offices of public trust within the gift of his fellow-townsmen, having been Assessor, for many years Chairman of the School Board, and for two years a member of the County Board of Supervisors. Possessing great force of character and a brilliant memory, which he has cultivated and kept in actual service since early youth, he has acquired a vast fund of information on all useful subjects, which makes him a delightful conversationalist, to whom all enjoy listening. Mrs. Seymour shares equally with her husband the esteem of their large circle of friends and neighbors, being a favorite with the old and young; and their pleasant home is a social attraction for all. Mr. and Mrs. Seymour buried a son and daughter in infancy, but, at earnest solicitation, took the youngest daughter of Ellen M. and Sidney A. Grosvenor, both of whom died the same year. She lived with them until her marriage to J. Mott Throop, M.D., of Lebanon Village, who was Assistant Surgeon in the army, and died May 15,1889, leaving one son, Henry G. Throop.

 

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