Clarissa Jane Seeley (Wilcox)

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Clarissa Jane Seely (Wilcox)

Also Known As: "Clarissa Jane Seleey"
Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: Carmi, IL, USA
Death: Died in Mt Pleasant, UT, USA
Cause of death: Rheumatism
Place of Burial: Mount Pleasant, Sanpete County, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Hazard Wilcox, Jr.; Hassard Wilcox; Sarah Wilcox and Sarah Wilcox
Wife of Justus Wellington Seeley and Justus Wellington Seeley
Mother of Orange Seely; Sarah Jane Tidwell; Don Carlos Seely; Hyrum Seleey; Justus Wellington Seely, II and 7 others
Sister of Mary Anne Lowry; Sarah Seeley Wilcox; William Wilcox; Eunice Seeley Wilcox; Sabrah Wilcox and 7 others

Managed by: Patricia Ann Hill
Last Updated:

About Clarissa Jane Seeley (Wilcox)

Clarissa was a member of the Mormon Pioneer Company led by Edward Hunter and Jacob Foutz in 1847. http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneerdetails/1,15791,4018-1-1108,00.html

Custom Fact Character trait "Mrs. Seely was one of the best of women. In her long career she had endured many trials and hardships, especially in Pioneer days, but she was always patient and cheerful and ready to face any ordeal with a murmur of complaint."

A History of the Seely Family - By John Leo Seely - August 8, 1970 Contributed By: michaelmorgan1 · 6 October 2016 · TALK GIVEN BY JOHN LEO SEELY ON AUGUST 8, 1970 AT THE SEELY REUNION IN MOUNT PLEASANT, UTAH

Dear Relatives, I am happy to see every one of you here today. These are wonderful occasions, and each of us should make every effort to be to these reunions, to take advantage of becoming acquainted, and to help one another pursue the records of this great family.

They’ve asked me to relate a little history of the Seely family, and in so doing, I am mindful that we have in our presence genealogy workers who know much more about the Seely record than I do, but I am thankful for the opportunity to relate what has been handed down to me.

The Seely’s have a record back to a man by the name of Robert Seely, who lived in the 1600’s and I would be the tenth generation from him. In talking to Morris Seely yesterday, he tells me they have the genealogy of Robert Seely’s father, so now I am of the eleventh generation, and I will name them to you.

My name is John Leo Seely, my father’s name was John Henry Seely, and his father was Justus Wellington Seely, (that’s my grandfather) and his father was Justus Azel Seely, (that’s my great grandfather) and his father was Justus, and Justus’ father was Joseph, and Joseph’s father was John. John’s father was Benjamin, and Benjamin’s father was Nathaniel, and Nathaniel’s father was Robert, and now we are back to William, Robert’s father.

I am not going to start back there, but with the Seely’s with whom I am more familiar, my great grandfather, Justus Azel Seely. He was born November 17, 1779, in New Milford, Connecticut, and he was married in the year 1800 to a lady by the name of Mehitable Bennett at Luzerne, Pennsylvania. Mehitable Bennett was born October 12, 1780. They were blessed with ten children. The first two were twin girls born in 1801, and they were named Rachel and Mehitable. Mehitable, named after her mother, died at birth. In 1803, another daughter was born, and she was named Rebecca. The next child was a son, John, born in 1805, and he died in 1826. The aforementioned children were born in Luzerne, Pennsylvania. The next two daughters were born in Steubenville, New York; Elizabeth in 1807 and Mary in 1810. Then my great grandfather, Justus Wellington Seely was born. Sarah Ann came to them in 1817, and their last child, David, was born in 1819. Now you know where all those children were born.

Living in Canada at the time was a brilliant man by the name of John Taylor. He had come over from England. He lived in Toronto, Canada where he was a Methodist minister. He had a Parish of his own, and Justus Azel Seely and his family were members of his Parish. Now, I am going to connect the Justus Azel Seely and his family with the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this dispensation. I want you all to know the happenings connected here. Justus Azel’s last son was born in 1819, which is very near to the restoration.

You all know, you Latter Day Saints, that the beginning of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ came in 1820 when God, The Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, visited a mortal man here upon the earth. You all know the purpose of that visit, to answer the question “which of all the churches was true.” And God, The Eternal Father said in that visit, and I quote, “This is my beloved Son, hear Him,” and his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, said, “Join none of them, they are all wrong. Their creeds are an abomination in my sight. Their professors are all corrupt. They draw near to me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They teach for doctrine the commandments of men, having a form of Godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Pearl of Great Price) Unquote. So that being true, you can see the great need for the Gospel being restored.

In 1827, the Angel Moroni appeared unto mortal man and gave unto him from Mother Earth what we have contained in the Book of Mormon. In 1830 The Church of Jesus Christ was organized anew, but there was not a perfect organization until 1835, when the Twelve Apostles were chosen. The Twelve Apostles were selected from those men in Zion’s Camp, who marched from Kirkland, Ohio, afoot to Independence, Missouri. The purpose of this march was to try and redeem property, which they had lost or had stolen from them. The Prophet Joseph Smith appointed the three witnesses, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris to select the Twelve Apostles from those men who had made the march in Zion’s Camp.

Parley P. Pratt was one of those called to be an Apostle in 1835, and in 1836 he went into Canada proclaiming this restored Gospel. He met John Taylor, and he converted him. Then, Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor converted most of John Taylor’s Parish. And the Seely’s, our progenitors, were among them. It was customary in those days to gather with the body of Saints because of the great persecution the members were receiving. The body of the Saints was in Farr West, Missouri, and Justus Azel Seely and his family, with the exception of two sons left to be with them. They went by boat down the river, and when they arrived in Missouri, they found the Saints had all been driven out of Missouri. When the Saints were driven out of Missouri, they went to Illinois, and it was then they started building the City of Nauvoo.

Justus Wellington, our grandfather, owned a span of black Percheron Mares he valued very highly, so instead of going with the family, he drove his mares from Toronto to Missouri, and his youngest brother, David, went with him for company. David also drove a team of horses. When they arrived in Missouri, they weren’t able to find their family, and it was some time before they were united.

The Seely’s went through the Nauvoo Exodus, and there are many stories that could be related. There is one story you should know. My great grandfather, Justus Azel, was very crippled with arthritis and could not walk. Exercising great faith, they carried him into the Nauvoo Temple on a blanket and baptized him seven times for his health, and he walked out on his own power.

When the Saints were driven out of Nauvoo, the Temple wasn’t yet dedicated, but the Authorities of the church appointed two months, January and February of 1846 for the members to go and receive their endowments, and have their sealings done. Justus Azel Seely with his three sons and their wives were all on the same session, February 3, 1846, and they all received their endowments. Records show that a daughter, Sarah Ann received her endowments on this date too. There was mob violence during this session, and it broke up the session, and they weren’t able to complete their sealings. And, it was many years before these sealings were all completed. Justus Wellington Seely and his wife didn’t get sealed to each other until 1869, and then they had a hard time getting all those children sealed to them. My father, for instance, was married to mother in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City in 1880, and father didn’t get sealed to his parents until 1912. Don Carlos didn’t get sealed to his parents until 1927, and Stuart Randolph didn’t get sealed to his parents until after his death in about 1936.

John Taylor had now become an apostle, and because of the great persecutions and mob violence, the body of the church headed west. John Taylor was captain of one of these companies, and the Seely’s came in his company, arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in September 1847. Justus Azel Seely and family, consisting of Justus Wellington Seely, William S. Seely, David Seely and Elizabeth Seely Young and their families came with the John Taylor Company.

For a few minutes I would like to talk about Justus Wellington Seely, our grandfather, in whose name this organization honors. He was born in 1815, and was married in 1842 to Clarissa Jane Wilcox. I would like to relate a faith promoting experience about Clarissa Jane before she married Justus Wellington Seely. She was a maid in a hotel or a lodging house. She was making the bed in one of the rooms, and as she pulled the pillow off the bed, a pistol that had been placed there by the hotel guest, discharged and she was shot through the trunk of her body. A physician was called immediately, and he said he was very doubtful that she would live, and if she did, she would never be able to bear children. She was administered to by the Elders and the Elder that pronounced the blessing promised her she would live and that she would be blessed with children. Now we’ll see if this came to pass. She and Justus were married in 1842 and they had their first son in 1843. He was given the name of Orange Seely, and in 1844 Sarah was born, and in 1846 Don Carlos was born. As I said they came to Utah in 1847, and early in 1848 another son, Hyrum was born.

In 1850, Justus Wellington II was born. In 1851, they with others received the call from Brigham Young to take their families and go down and settle San Bernardino, California. With their five children, they hooked up the oxen again and made the wagon box their home for the long journey to California. William Hazard was born in San Bernardino in 1852, and then in 1855 John Henry, my father was born. In 1857 another daughter Miranda, was born. This was at the time the Johnson Army was moving in. Brigham Young heard they were coming, and he took a stand to not be driven any more. And he called all the Saints home, not only those in California but from wherever they were.

They Seely’s had prospered down there and had good homes, but they left everything and started back to Utah December 24, 1857. They arrived in Pleasant Grove, Utah the first of April 1858. That was a long hard trip back. They spent the summer and winter in Pleasant Grove, but they hadn’t had quite enough traveling around, as Brigham Young called them to go settle Mt. Pleasant. The men came to Mt. Pleasant in early March to get the brush scrubbed and plowing done and some crops planted. Justus Azel Seely died April 1, 1859. He was buried in Pleasant Grove, and those members of the family in Mt. Pleasant went up to the funeral. Then they brought the women and children to Mt. Pleasant to live in May 1859.

The Fort in Mt. Pleasant was started immediately, and it covered a whole city block. It was built of rock. It was four feet at the bottom, two feet at the top and twelve feet high. Just imagine what a few men accomplished in so short a time. They prepared the ground for planting, put in the crops, and had the Fort finished by July. Then they built their homes inside the Fort. I’ve heard my father tell of playing in the Fort when he was a boy and of the things that took place.

Now, let’s go back to Justus Wellington Seely. The same year they came to Mt. Pleasant, 1859, they had another son, David. He lived only a year and died in 1860. He’s buried here in Mt. Pleasant. In 1862 Joseph Seely was born, and then in 1865 another child, Stuart Randolph was born. This was the last child born to my grandmother, Clarissa Jane Seely. Justus Wellington Seely had a daughter from a second marriage. His second wife was Sarah Jane McKinney, and he married her in 1873. The daughter from this marriage was named Eva. She was born in 1874.

I want to relate to you that I have a sheet of all Justus Wellington’s children. I have gone through them and numbered how many children each one had, and I’ve totaled them up. Clarissa Jane Seely had, and it will astound you, an even 100 grandchildren, and then Eva had a posterity of eleven. That makes one hundred for my grandmother and one hundred eleven for my grandfather. That’s really a record. Grandmother Seely had a posterity of four hundred before she died.

I would like to tell you about David Seely, who went to California when grandfather went. His wife objected to coming back to Utah when Brigham Young called the Saints back. She said she had moved around all she was going to and she wouldn’t come. David came back with the rest of the Company, went to Brigham Young, and told him what had happened, and Brigham Young told him, “We’re not splitting up any families, so you go back to California, and see if you can convince her to come back to Utah.” He had to go back alone with the hope of persuading his wife to come back. They had ten children, and I knew some of them. They were cousins of my father and they used to come and visit us years ago, quite a few years ago, because my father had been dead 50 years. David couldn’t persuade his wife to come back and here is the results. As far as we know, the whole family is out of the church. There many be some descendants that have come into the church. We really don’t know. But this is what happens when you don’t heed counsel.

I will now tell you some of the things Justus Wellington did when he lived here in Mt. Pleasant. His brother William Stuart was the first bishop of Mt. Pleasant. He was older than my grandfather and he was bishop here for 30 years. Justus Wellington Seely was his counselor for 17 years. Justus Wellington was Justice of the Peace for 20 years and he was very active. In fact all of these Seely’s made a record for themselves. Justus Wellington owned that whole block where Elva Seely Guymon and Ray Seely live, and where the Co-op Service Station stands. He owned that whole block and his home was on the southeast corner where Elva lives now. The northwest corner he gave to his son, Joseph Seely. The southwest corner he gave to his oldest son, Orange. Orange built the home that stood on that corner for years. It was a really well built home, and it’s a shame they ever took it down.

Orange Seely had holdings here. He had his home, he had a herd of sheep, he had cattle, he owned land but he was meant to do more colonization. He was called to go over and settle Emery County. He picked up and left what he had and started all over again. He gave his home to Justus Wellington Seely, his father, and that’s where Justus Wellington lived until he died in 1894. Justus Wellington built a barn on that block, and it still stands there. Ray Seely owns the property and he’s repaired the barn and replaced the old roof, but it’s worth your time if you have not seen it to go down and see how it is built. He had hewn the blocks out of great big timbers about a foot and a half square, and they are mortised in, and the framework is standing there today as good as they day it was built and that is close to a hundred years ago.

When Justus Wellington moved into the home Orange Seely built, he gave that corner where he had lived to Stuart Randolph, the youngest son. He took the home down and built the home that is there now. He later moved to Idaho and Joseph Seely, his brother, moved into his home. The northeast lot was given to Elva Seely, a daughter to Justus Wellington Seely.

Grandmother Seely died in 1908. She had been in poor health. She had those ten living children, and she knew she wasn’t going to be here much longer, and she wanted her children with her. They sent for all of them, and they all came, except Orange, who was very ill. He sent word back that he couldn’t come, and he didn’t come and she lingered on two or three days, and again she insisted that Orange be there. She wouldn’t give in until they got Orange there. He left home still ill, and they didn’t have automobiles then. He went to Price on the stage and from there on the train to Thistle Station. When he arrived in Thistle, the train to Mt. Pleasant had left, and there wouldn’t be another train until morning. He got in touch with my father, and father was acquainted with the Railroad Officials, and he told one Official about their problem, that their mother was near death, and that she wanted that son with here. The Railroad Official had them hook an engine onto a caboose, put Orange Seely in it, and brought him to Mt. Pleasant. They lived just across the street from the Railroad station in Mt. Pleasant. Orange Seely hurried to his mother’s side, and Clarissa Jane Wilcox Seely, my grandmother said, “Now take me out of bed and put me in my chair.” They did that and she talked to all of them. She gave her advice, and I’m sure it would be worth hearing today, and then she said, “Put me back in bed.” She said goodbye and was gone.

Time is passing and I could related different stories for hours. I’m afraid nine-tenths of the Seely’s marvelous history will never be written. I challenge each one of you to start writing this great history of a great people who have given us a great heritage.

John Leo Seely


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Clarissa Jane Seeley (Wilcox)'s Timeline

1821
October 1, 1821
Carmi, IL, USA
1843
February 20, 1843
Age 21
Nashville, Jackson, IA, USA
1844
April 10, 1844
Age 22
Lee County, Iowa, United States
1846
January 4, 1846
Age 24
Charleston, Lee County, Iowa, United States
1848
March 29, 1848
Age 26
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
March 29, 1848
Age 26
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
1850
June 25, 1850
Age 28
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
1852
October 25, 1852
Age 31
San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California, United States
1855
April 29, 1855
Age 33
San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California, United States