The Seals Family Homestead in Tennessee
William (Billy) Seals was the last Seals to be born in Pittsylvania Co., Va. He was taken to Tennessee soon after his birth in 1817. William Seals, Jr. and Bailey Seals took their families to Hancock Co., Tenn. and settled in the valley near the Clinch and Powell Rivers.
James Washington Seals was born on Dec. 25, 1851 and was the first in our line to be born in Tennessee. The family homestead was home to the family until 1957. Burl and Mary Seals and their family were the last Seals to live in the old homestead. Margaret Ellen and James William (Bill) were the last family members to be born there. Burl and Mary Seals moved with their family to Tazewell in Claiborne County. Burl Seals died in 1968.
To visit the Seals Family homestead, you must travel south on US 25 East about five miles from Tazewell. Turn left on State Route 33. Go approximately eight miles until you cross a concrete bridge. After about two-tenths of a mile, you will find a gravel road on your left. Follow this road to where it forks and follow the left fork marked "Seals Chapel Road." At the end you will find the Chapel and the Cemetery. The homestead is just over the hill. Sadly, it has fallen into disrepair and is now used as a tobacco barn.
The Seals Chapel Missionary Baptist Church was built around 1909. Over the years the original church building had to be replaced by a new building. The new building is constructed of cement block. The porch is concrete with a wheel chair ramp. The inside of the Chapel is beautiful. The pews are covered with a red material. The Chapel seats approximately 75 people. Services are held by a traveling minister on alternating Sundays the year round. The steps of the original church building are on the site and are frequently the site of neighborhood discussions.
The cemetery is on the hillside above the church. We don't know how old the cemetery is, but some of the stones are marked before the turn of the century. James Washington Seals, Laney Jane Seals, and Orville Seals are among the many who are interred there.