An American Family History

Seeley and Selee Families in Leeds, Ontario

  also spelled Cely, Scellie, Seley, Seeley, Seelye, Zieley  

Justus Seeley

Justus was a drummer Sherwood's Company.

John Seeley (1790, married Mary Lamb),
Olive Seeley (1791, married Edmund G Rawson),
Orilla Seeley (1792, married John G Borden),
Peter Seeley (1800),
Betsey Seeley, (1802, married Enos Beach, son of Enos Beach 1748), and
Charlotte Seeley (1802, married Matthew Beebe).

1797 Elizabethtown census: Justus, Matthew, John, Orilla, Peter, Kesiah, Olive, Charlotte, and Matthew

During the War of 1812, John Selee served in the Leeds County Militia.

Justus died in 1831.

Seeley's Bay was named in honour of Ann Seeley, the widow of Loyalist Justus Seeley, who operated a trading post at that site after his death in 1831. It was Justus Seeley's son John who was granted lot four in the eighth concession of Leeds on 20 March 1825 after losing an arm at the battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812. He appears to have traded the lot to his father Justus for his large stone inn on lot 23 in the fifth concession of Elizabethtown. (Rear of Leeds and Landsdowne)

Justus Seeley who was an innkeeper on lot 23 in the fifth concession of Elizabethtown. Justus's son John lost an arm in the battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812, and obtained title to lot four in the eighth concession of Leeds on 20 March 1825 as the heir of his mother, Matilda Read, to whom it was originally granted.

The Seeleys recognised the potential of the lot once plans for the Rideau Canal were confirmed, but rather than have John face clearing a wilderness lot with only one arm, father and son appear to have traded property, with John running the inn in Elizabethtown [now Brockville], while Justus, Ann and their remaining children moved onto the lot in Leeds in 1824. After Justus died in 1830, Ann Seeley remained on the lot with her children, and it eventually passed into the hands of her daughter Charlotte and her husband Matthew Bebee.

Local legend asserts on the one hand that the Seeleys built a temporary structure or shack resembling a Native tepee on the steamboat landing in which they ran a store, trading with local Natives and white settlers by turn, and on the other that Ann Seeley (or Granny Seeley as she was more commonly known) operated a store on the actual later village site.


In the War of 1812 (1812-1815) the United States declared war on England because of trade restrictions, impressment, and British support for Indian attacks. They signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814 after reaching a stalemate.



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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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