John Henry Seal

JOHN HENRY SEAL, cashier of the Farmers State Bank of Mitchell, is a native of Kansas, represents some of the pioneer families who came here in territorial times and his own career has been one of progressive industry as a teacher, business man and banker.

Mr. Seal was born at Meriden, Shawnee County, Kansas, December 24, 1879, a son of John C. and Elizabeth (Rippetoe) Seal. The Seal family was established in America by his great-grandfather, who came probably from Germany and settled in the State of Pennsylvania. The grandfather, Henry Seal, was born in Pennsylvania in 1827, grew up and married there and spent his active life as a farmer. As a Kansas pioneer he arrived in 1857 and opened up one of the new homesteads at the Town of Meriden. He lived there until his death in 1897. Henry Seal married Miss Cunningham, a native of Missouri, who died at Meriden. Altogether they had nine children, two sons and two daughters being now deceased. The five still living are: Daniel, a retired farmer at Arkansas City, Kansas; Siler, a farmer at Macksville, Kansas; Albert, a farmer near Beaver City in Beaver County, Oklahoma; Zed, also a farmer in Western Oklahoma; and David, a blacksmith living in the State of Washington.

In the maternal line Mr. Seal is a grandson of John Rippetoe, who was born in Kentucky in 1831. He identified himself with Kansas even earlier than the Seal family, arriving in the territory in 1855 and homesteading 160 acres five miles northwest of Meriden. In the early days he did considerable trading with the Indians, but otherwise his life was spent in the quiet vocation of agriculture and he died at Meriden, Kansas, in 1903. During three years of the Civil war he was a Union soldier and assisted in repelling Price's raid. John Rippetoe married Teckley Coffey, who was born in Missouri and died at Meriden, Kansas.

John C. Seal, father of John H., was born in Missouri in 1852, but from early childhood lived in Kansas. He was a farmer during his brief career at Meriden, Kansas, where he died in 1881. Politically he was a republican and was a very active and devout member of the United Brethren Church. His wife, Elizabeth Rippetoe, was born at Meriden, Kansas, in 1861 and is still living in that community, being now the wife of O. C. Sechrist, a farmer. By her first marriage she had three children: Harvey C., a professor in Columbia Univerisity at New York City; John H.; and Walter A., who is yardmaster for the Missouri Pacific Railway Company at Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Sechrist have a family of six children: Ernest Sechrist, who is a farmer in Shawnee County, ten miles north of Topeka; Gilbert, an electrican employed by the Automatic Telephone Company at Chicago; Sadie, wife of Clarence Lacey, a farmer and stock raiser at Meriden; Mollie, who is married and lives on a farm in Meriden; Chester, at home with his parents; and Charles, a teacher in the public schools at Valley Falls, Kansas.

John Henry Seal was born at Meriden in Shawnee County, Kansas, December 24, 1879, and was only two years of age when his father died. He wisely made use of his educational advantages, and did much through his own efforts to advance himself in his studies. He attended the public schools at Meriden, and finished the sophomore year of the State Normal School at Emporia. On leaving school in 1900 Mr. Seal taught one year at Nortonville, and for another year was principal of the schools at Grantville. He left teaching to sell flour as a traveling salesman, and a year later engaged in the mercantile business at Rock Creek, Kansas. Mr. Seal was at Rock Creek for five years and still has interests there. In 1912 he organized the Farmers State Bank at Mitchell, has been its cashier from the beginning and has witnessed and furthered a gratifying prosperity in the istitution. The bank has a capital of $10,000 and surplus and profits of $4,000. The active officers are: William Chisum, president; J. E. Wiggins, vice president; and Mr. Seal, cashier.

In 1913 Mr. Seal bought a modern home at Main and Second streets in Mitchell and he also owns 160 acres of farming land in Gove County, a store building at Rock Creek, and is a director in the Little River Oil and Gas Company.

Politically he is a republican. He is a member of the United Brethren Church and is affiliated with Rock Creek Camp No. 6186, Modern Woodmen of America, which he formerly served as clerk.

At Meriden, his native town, in 1905 Mr. Seal married Miss Nellie Peebler, daughter of William W. and Cynthia (Andre) Peebler, who are still living at Meriden. Her father is a retired pioneer farmer and in the early days he had an extensive experience as an overland freighter between Leavenworth and Denver. Mr. and Mrs. Seal have two children: John Henry, Jr., born July 26, 1910; and Maurice William, born June 18, 1912.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, May 2, 2000.

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