Jeremiah L. Seitz

JEREMIAH L. SEITZ is one of the pioneers of McPherson County. He came to Kansas a short time after the close of the Civil war, in which he had served as one of the youngest volunteers on the Union side. As a homesteader, farmer, public official and business man he has played a worthy and influential role in McPherson County since pioneer days. He is still active and has a good business as a collecting agent and auctioneer.

Mr. Seitz was born April 16, 1847, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, son of Jacob and Barbara (Shellebarger) Seitz. His parents were natives of Germany and came to America when quite young. His father came over in 1831. The father was born in 1812 and the mother in 1814. They were married at Decatur, Illinois, in 1839. Jacob Seitz, who followed the business of merchant tailor, permanently located at Decatur in 1857, and lived there half a century, until his death, October 14, 1907. The mother died at Decatur September 20, 1876. There were five children, four sons and one daughter. John, the oldest, born in 1840, was a private soldier in Company B of the Eighth Illinois Infantry and was killed in battle at Fort Donelson in 1862. David W., the second in age, was born in May, 1842, and is now a veterinary surgeon and stock man at Bement, Illinois. Daniel, born in July, 1844, combines farming with his duties as preacher in the United Brethren Church at Oakley, Illinois. The next in age is Jeremiah L. William, the youngest, was born in July, 1849, and is a farmer at Hammond, Illinois.

Jeremiah L. Seitz was ten years of age when the family removed from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Decatur, Illinois. Much of his early youth was spent in the country, and he attended a country school, walking the distance, three miles, between home and school both night and morning. The education that has counted for most in his life was that gained in the school of experience.

He was just fourteen years of age when the Civil war broke out, and less than two years later, on January 8, 1863, he enlisted as a private in Company A of the Fifty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He saw some of the hardest fighting during the last two months of the war, and his own service continued for two years, eight months and twenty-one days. He was mustered out at Memphis, Tennessee, October 4, 1865, as third sergeant. His regiment was part of the Fifteenth Army Corps, under General John A. Logan. A long list could be compiled of the many battles and movements and minor skirmishes in which Mr. Seitz took part. He was at the Battle of Murfreesboro, at Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, a number of the battles of the Atlanta campaign, and in the concluding victory of Union arms in the Middle West at Nashville. He was wounded in the left side at Tullahoma, Tennessee. He was the youngest member of his regiment who entered at the time he did and served for an equal period. He is now the youngest veteran belonging to James B. McPherson Post, No. 87, Grand Army of the Republic, at McPherson.

When the battle flags were furled after the war Mr. Seitz was only eighteen years of age. For a time he worked out as a farm hand around Decatur, Illinois, but in January, 1867, came to Kansas. He made the journey by railroad as far as Lawrence, and then rode in a wagon to Wichita. In April of that year he arrived in what is now McPherson County, locating a claim. However, not yet being of age, he was not permitted to file. Early in the following year he attained the requisite majority and was permitted to make legal settlement. However, he filed on another claim in the same county and developed a homestead and farmed it steadily for twenty years. This old farm is seven miles southeast of McPherson. Much of his business success has been as a buyer and seller of lands, and he has handled many of the fertile tracts in this part of the state. At one time he individually owned several sections.

In 1886 Mr. Seitz set up in business at Canton, where he remained five years. In 1897 he was elected sheriff of McPherson County, and by re-election in 1899 has filled the office about five years. He has always been a staunch upholder of the republican party. After leaving the office of sheriff he served as under sheriff thirteen years. For the past twenty-five years Mr. Seitz has been a licensed auctioneer, has unusual talent in that profession, and has cried many of the important sales all over McPherson County. Fraternally he is a Royal Arch Mason and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

On January 1, 1872, at Akron, Ohio, Mr. Seitz married Miss Margaret Wintrode. Mrs. Seitz was born at Akron March 3, 1849, a daughter of Jacob Wintrode. Mr. and Mrs. Seitz had a happy married life of over thirty-four years. Mrs. Seitz died at McPherson October 14, 1906. From early girlhood she was a faithful and devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The four children born to their marriage are all still living. Adelbert W., born July 4, 1875, is a master mechanic with the Wabash Railroad at Peru, Indiana. In 1895 he married Miss Ann Wolfe. Leora B., the second child, was born October 6, 1876, and is the wife of Bert Schlater, a farmer at Chapman, Kansas. Schuyler C., born November 7, 1888, is a merchant at Long Beach, California. He was married in 1915 to Mary Schilling. Hattie, the youngest, was born October 10, 1890, and was married to Jay Edgerton, a druggist at Memphis, Tennessee. Mrs. Edgerton is an expert penman. For several years she taught school before her marriage. For her penmanship she was awarded a medal at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Airon Miller, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September 7, 1999.

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