Justus Azel Seeley

Brief Life History of Justus Azel

While living in Pennsylvania Justus Azel became acquainted with and married Mehittabil Bennett, daughter of Amos Bennett and Anna Duncan. She was born 17 November 1779, on the same day as her husband. Both families resided in Pennsylvania until around 1807 to 1811 when they moved back to Upper Canada (Ontario) locating in Pickering, in what was then called the Holme District. In January of 1812, when war broke out with the U.S. Justus Azel was drafted into the military and was subsequently quartered at a barracks in Toronto. Here he stayed until about May of that year when complications in his wife Mehittabil’s pregnancy necessitated his returning home on furlough. To satisfy the military, he had his father take his place on the roster. May 18, 1812 proved to be a profound date for Justus Azel. On that date his son William Stewart was born while his father died from an illness he had contracted while serving as Justus’s replacement in the army barracks near Toronto. Justus Azel continued to reside in Upper Canada, operating a shipping business on Lakes Erie and Ontario, until around 1838. It was that year when he and Mehittabil, along with their 6 children and spouses, were converted to the LDS, or Mormon, faith and were baptized by Almon Babbitt on February 15, 1838. At that time there was a strong desire among adherents of that faith to “gather together in Zion” which was then located in Missouri. Upon their arrival at the town of DeWitt, Missouri, however the LDS Church was under heavy persecution and the Missouri mobs had already driven the faithful out of the state. The Seelys likewise had to flee and ended up in Calhoun County, Illinois in November of that year. In the spring of 1839 they removed to the vicinity of Burlington, Iowa where they remained until the spring of 1841, when they moved to Nashville, Illinois. Within 9 years of settling in Illinois, persecutions again flared against the Mormons. All members of that faith were forced to flee that state as well and head into the North American wilderness. Justus and Mehittabil were no exception as they joined their fellow congregants on the long overland journey into the North American wilderness reaching Winter Quarters on the Missouri River about Oct 20, 1846. There they built a small house in which they spent the winter. On June 8, 1847 they crossed the Missouri River and joined the Edward Hunter’s 100 wagon train made up of LDS emigrants. They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 29,1847, 68 days after the first wagon train of LDS emigrants under Brigham Young had arrived. Upon arrival, they located and built a cabin at the Old South Fort (Pioneer Park that is located between 3rd and 4th West and 3rd and 4th South in Salt Lake City) and Justus became the community's cooper (barrel maker). By 1858 Justus Azel and Mehittabil were living in Battle Creek (Pleasant Grove), Utah with their son William Stewart, who had set up a cattle and sheep operation. After Justus’s death, two of their sons moved to Sanpete County. They improved the land somewhat and then Mehittabil joined them in Mount Pleasant. She remained there the rest of her life.

Photos and Memories (80)

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Family Time Line

Justus Azel Seeley
1779–1859
Mehitable Bennett
1779–1861
Marriage: 9 April 1800
Rachel Seely
1801–1881
Mehitable Seeley
1801–1801
Rebecca Seeley
1803–1856
John Seeley
1805–1826
Elizabeth Seeley
1807–1900
Mary Seeley
1810–1881
William Stewart Seeley
1812–1895
Justus Wellington Seely I
1815–1894
Sarah Ann Seeley
1817–1885
David Seeley
1819–1892

Sources (55)

  • 1840 Justus A Seelye, "United States Census, 1840"
  • 1830 Justus Azel Seeley birth record - Government record: Burial record or certificate: death: 1 April 1859; Pleasant Grove, Utah, Utah, United States
  • Family Data Collection - Marriages (1800)

World Events (8)

1781 · The First Constitution

Serving the newly created United States of America as the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation were an agreement among the 13 original states preserving the independence and sovereignty of the states. But with a limited central government, the Constitutional Convention came together to replace the Articles of Confederation with a more established Constitution and central government on where the states can be represented and voice their concerns and comments to build up the nation.

1781 · British Forces Capture Fort Griswold

The capture of Fort Griswold was the final act of treason that Benedict Arnold committed. This would be a British victory. On the American side 85 were killed, 35 wounded and paroled, 28 taken prisoner, 13 escaped, and 1 twelve year old was captured and released.

1800 · Movement to Washington D.C.

While the growth of the new nation was exponential, the United States didn’t have permanent location to house the Government. The First capital was temporary in New York City but by the second term of George Washington the Capital moved to Philadelphia for the following 10 years. Ultimately during the Presidency of John Adams, the Capital found a permanent home in the District of Columbia.

Name Meaning

English: nickname for a person with a cheerful disposition, from Middle English seli ‘happy, fortunate’ (Old English sǣlig, from sǣl ‘happiness, good fortune’). The word was also occasionally used as a female personal name during the Middle Ages. The sense ‘pitiable’, which developed into modern English silly, is not attested before the 15th century. See also Selman .

Altered form of German Seele , respelled to preserve the bisyllabic pronunciation of the German name.

Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.

Possible Related Names

Story Highlight

Speech of Orange Seely Sr. at Seely Reunion 1912

Orange Seely Sr. at the Seely Reunion, Mt. Pleasant, Utah 26 June 1912 Robert S. Seely came from England to America in 1630 with the John Winthrop Fleet and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. …

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