JAMES H. SEAMAN, banker and farmer at Nekoma, has ordered his life along thrifty and not unpleasant lines in Rush County, where he has lived since early childhood.
Mr. Seaman is a native of Kansas, having been born at Fredonia in Wilson County April 23, 1879. His father, Charles Seaman, was born in Sangamon County, Illinois, son of a farmer at Pleasant Plains, Illinois, and of German ancestry. Charles was one of eight or ten sons, most of whom went into the Union army and some of whom gave up their lives as sacrifices to the integrity of the country. Charles Seaman grew up in Sangamon County, and when only sixteen years of age he enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirty-third Illinois Infantry. He was in the hundred days service, and at the expiration of his term the president tendered the thanks of the government to the organization and commended Mr. Seaman by a certificate signed December 15, 1864.
After leaving the army Charles Seaman resumed civil life as a farmer in Sangamon County, but several years later left Illinois for the west. Among his early experiences were several years spent in Arizona and New Mexico as a freighter. He then came to Kansas and finally settled in Wilson County, where he married and took up farming and stock raising. He finally left Wilson County for the newer and more promising country of Rush County. Here he bought a quarter section of land two miles east of Nekoma and lived there until his death on May 10, 1900. He prospered as a cattle man, became one of the shippers, and acquired title to a large body of land. His cow brand was the figure "7." He was purely a man of business, never filled any public office, and was a republican voter. He had no church membership. He was the type of man who wields a good influence in his community. He read the local and current news, was independent in self reliance, and never entered a business partnership. He was large physically, weighing over 200 pounds. His main diversion was hunting, and he frequently sought the game of the frontier country with his gun. Charles Seaman married Jane Wiltrout. Her people came to Kansas from Pennsylvania. She is now living at Gales Creek, Oregon, The children were: Mrs. Minnie Robinson, of the State of Washington; James H.; Myrtle, wife of George Moss, of Eddyville, Oregon; and Cordelia, wife of Walter Schofield, in Oregon.
Mr. James H. Seaman spent three years of his childhood with his paternal grandparents at Pleasant Plains, Illinois. However, for the most part he lived his youthful days in Rush County, secured all his education here in the country schools, and with his father on the farm until he reached his majority. When the time came for him to start independently it was as a farmer near Nekoma, and for many years he has lived in that locality. He still keeps his home on his farm and has resided there since 1910. The house was there when he took possession of the land, but otherwise the substantial improvements are the work of his own hands and his capital. Mr. Seaman has succeeded as both a stock and grain grower, and though not yet forty years of age is considered one of the substantial and well to do men of the county. He took an active part in the organization of the State Bank of Nekoma in 1916, and has been its president from the start. Mr. Seaman is a republican and cast his first vote for McKinley in 1900.
In Rush County, Kansas, May 22, 1901, Mr. Seaman married Miss Agnes Wilson. They are the parents of five children: May, Leroy, Matthew, Charles and Fern.
Mrs. Seaman is a daughter of Matthew and Christina (Duncan) Wilson, both of whom were born in Scotland. The Wilson family is numerously represented near LaCrosse, Kansas. Matthew Wilson was born in Scotland October 20, 1838, the second child of Andrew Wilson, who came to the United States and spent his last years in Pennsylvania, though his widow died in Ford County, Illinois. Matthew Wilson attended the common schools, had meager opportunities, but possessed a fine mind. He inclined to philosophical studies and to history, and delighted in both history and biography, and his genealogical researches led him to inquire thoroughly into the Wilson family and he traced the lineage back through early times to Great Britain. Matthew Wilson had some experience as a coal miner in Scotland, followed the same work in Pennsylvania, moved from that state to Ford County, Illinois, where he was a farmer, and in 1876 came to Rush County, Kansas.
As one of the pioneers he homesteaded the northeast quarter of section 26, township 17, range 19. His three brothers occupied the other three quarters of this section. His was the first house built by the brothers and was a dugout of one room. He afterward constructed with his own hands a stone house, and that with a frame addition served the family about ten years. It was succeeded by the present residence on the farm. Matthew Wilson had some unprofitable experiences in his attempt to raise Kansas wheat, and owing to crop failures he worked for several seasons in the coal mines of New Mexico. He found his chief profit as a cattle raiser, and when seasons became more favorable he was able to prosper both with his farm and stock. He proved up a homestead, a timber claim, and some sixteen years after he came to Kansas began buying other lands. He paid $500 for his first quarter section, $2,500 for his last, and his estate finally comprised seven quarter-sections. The only stock enterprise he ever entered was the Farmers Elevator at Nekoma. He was a democrat and was noted for the vigor and clarity with which he discussed political or other issues, though he was not a public speaker in any sense. He read his Bible, was a Presbyterian in faith, but did not attend church regularly, preferring above everything else the happiness and contentment of his home.
Matthew Wilson died March 3, 1910. His wife, who died April 23, 1916, was born in Scotland April 9, 1838, and her people, the Duncans, were weavers and had followed that trade in Scotland for many generations. Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Wilson had the following children: Mrs. Jessie Shiney; Andrew M.; Mary, wife of Harley Johnson; John; Matthew; Alexander; and Mrs. Seaman, who was born April 8, 1880.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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