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The Seals Family

Part 2
East Tennessee Counties
East Tennessee Counties

William Seale probably died around 1815 in Pittsylvania Co., Va. Around that time, several of his children began to migrate to northeastern Tennessee. In the years that followed, the Seals families variously lived in Hawkins Co., Claiborne Co., and finally Hancock Co., Tenn. However, most of the families likely lived close to Sneedville, Tenn. in the Clinch River Valley, an area which straddled the border between Hawkins Co. (formed in 1787) and Claiborne Co. (formed in 1801), before it became Hancock Co. which was formed in 1844. Click on the image on the right to see the borders of these counties before and after 1844.

It is likely that William Seals, Jr. and Bailey Seals moved to Tennessee before 1820. They do not show up in the 1820 census for Virginia and, unfortunately, the census records for the eastern counties of Tennessee have been lost. However, William Seals, Jr. and his son William appear in the 1830 census in Claiborne Co., Tenn. and Noel Seals and Bailey Seals appear in the 1830 census in Hawkins Co., Tenn. As noted in the previous paragraph, because they lived near the borders of these two counties, they probably did not live very far apart. As indicated in the 1840 census, Bailey Seals and his son William B. Seals lived near each other in Hawkins Co., Tenn.

According to the 1850 census, Bailey and Rebecca Seals had eight children living with them in Hancock Co., Tenn. Both Bailey's and Rebecca's ages must be wrong since their oldest son, William B. Seals was born around 1817. That would have made Bailey and Rebecca 14 and 13 years of age respectively when he was born. Bailey indicated he was born in Virginia. This may not rule out his being born in North Carolina, as indicated above, since he would have returned to Virginia at a very young age and might not have considered North Carolina his birthplace. Also, the enumerator checked the boxes indicating that neither Bailey nor Rebecca could read or write. However, he also added an "a" before each check, but did not define what "a" meant.

1850 Census - 32 Subdivision, Hancock County [Census Record]
NameAgeSexProfessionReal Estate ValuePlace of BirthAttend SchoolRead/Write
Baly Seals47MFarmer$462Virginiaa/No
Rebeca Seals46FSouth Carolinaa/No
Champ Seals22MLaborerTennesseeYes
Jane Seals19FTennesseeYes
Thomas Seals15MLaborerTennesseeYes
John Seals14MTennessee
Lydia Seals15FTennessee
Philip Seals14MTennessee
Oliver Seals12MTennessee
Jemima Seals12FTennessee

Bailey and Rebecca Seal appear in the 1860 census in Hancock Co., Tenn. Their ages are correct. They are not found in the 1870 census, so are presumed to have died sometime between those two census years.

William (Billy) Seals, son of Bailey Seals and Rebecca Mathis, was born around 1817 in Pittsylvania Co., Va. He died in Hancock Co., Tenn. He married: 1. Mary (Polly) Vaughan, the daughter of William Vaughan and Margaret Wells who was born around 1817 in Hawkins Co., Tenn. and died around 1854; 2. Betsy Ann Mays, the daughter of Fleming Mays and Nancy Stubblefield, who was born around 1830 in Hawkins Co., Tenn. and died around 1861-62 in Hancock Co., Tenn.; 3. Cordelia Mays, the sister of Betsy, who was born in 1832 and died in 1894 in Bonham, Texas.

Children of William (Billy) Seals and Mary (Vaughan) Seals were:

On May 13, 1846, Congress declared war on Mexico and authorized each State to enroll volunteers to dramatically expand the ranks of its small peacetime army. Tennessee's quota was 2800 volunteers; however, 30,000 Tennesseans responded to the call. To meet its initial quota of 2800 soldiers, Tennessee organized two infantry regiments and one mounted infantry (cavalry) regiment. William Seals was one of the first to volunteer and he joined Company F of the 1st Tennessee Mounted Infantry. According to his service records, he was 29 years old at the time of his enrollment in Tazewell, Tenn.; he was mustered in at Knoxville, Tenn. on June 10, 1846.

While the Tennessee infantry regiments traveled by steamboat and ship to south Texas via New Orleans, arriving at Brazos Santiago Island on June 23, 1846, the 1st Tennessee Mounted Infantry marched across country, arriving at Matamoros, Mexico, on Nov. 5, 1846. The regiment left Matamoros with General Pillow's brigade on Dec. 22 and reached Tampico on the Mexican coast in late January 1847. In March the regiment was transferred by ships to Veracruz where they participated in the siege of that Mexican port city. After the fall of Veracruz, the regiment marched inland with General Winfield Scott's army, arriving at Cerro Gordo a day after the great battle there on April 18. They marched on to Jalapa where they remained until May 9. With their one year enlistments expiring soon, the regiment returned to Veracruz and traveled by ship to New Orleans, arriving on May 22. They were mustered out on May 31, 1847 in New Orleans.

The 1850 census shows the following children living in the Billy and Mary Seals household. The census record indicates that William B. Seals was born in Tennessee. This may be an indication that his father, Bailey Seals, moved to Tennessee before 1817. However, if he was brought to Tennessee at a very young age, he might not have considered that he was born in Virginia.

1850 Census - 32 Subdivision, Hancock County [Census Record]
NameAgeSexProfessionReal Estate ValuePlace of BirthAttend SchoolRead/Write
William B. Seals33MFarmer$100Tennessee
Mary Seals33FTennesseeNo
Orvil Seals10MTennesseeYes
John Seals7MTennessee
Elizabeth Seals6FTennessee
Margaret Seals4FTennessee
Rebeca Seals1FTennessee

By 1860, Mary (Vaughan) Seals had died and William was now married to Betsy Ann Mays. It appears she was already sick as the enumerator indicated "afflicted" in the Profession column. William and Betsy Ann are said to have had two children die in infancy. The enumerator put what appears to be "Jrn" after William Seal's name even though William Seal was not a Junior. The enumerator mistakenly placed an "F" in the Sex column for James W. Seal.

1860 Census - Mills District, Hancock County [Census Record]
NameAgeSexProfessionRealPersonalPlace of BirthAttend SchoolRead/Write
William Seal Jrn42Mfarming$850$300Tennessee
Betsyann Seal28FafflictedTennesseeNo
John C. Seal17MfarmingTennesseeYes
Elizabeth Seal15FHouseworkTennesseeYes
Margaret Seal13FTennesseeYes
Rebecca Seal10FTennesseeYes
James W. Seal8FTennessee
Thomas Seal5MTennessee

Soon after the 1860 census, Betsy Ann Seals died and William Seals married Cordelia Mays, the sister of Betsy Ann. Children of William and Cordelia Seals were:

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