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The Seals Family

Part 4

The 1870 census showed the following children living in the William and Cordelia (Mays) Seal household. The enumerator wrote Cordelia's name as Cornelia. He listed a child named Fleming living in the house. This was likely William B. Seal, Jr. who was born in 1862. Alton Lee Greene has indicated that William's nickname was Flim and the name Fleming would have come from Cordelia's father, Fleming Mays. The enumerator indicated that Elizabeth could read, but could not write.

1870 Census - District No. 13, Hancock County [Census Record]
NameAgeSexProfessionRealPersonalPlace of BirthAttend SchoolRead/Write
William Seal53MFarmer$1450$500Tennessee
Cornelia Seal38FKeeping HouseTennesseeNo
Elizabeth Seal25FAt homeTennessee
Margaret Seal23FAt homeTennessee
Rebecca Seal20FAt homeTennessee
James Seal18MWorks on FarmTennesseeYes
Thomas Seal15MAt homeTennesseeYes
Fleming Seal7MTennesseeYes
Anderson Seal6MTennesseeYes
Moses Seal3MTennessee
Ambrose Seal1MTennessee

William Seales appears in the 1880 census with his wife Deala (Cordelia). On May 20, 1892, John Clark was appointed administrator of the estate of Wm. Seals by the Clerk of the Court in Claiborne Co., Tenn. James W. Seals was also held liable for the administrator's bond. It's presumed that William Seal died shortly before this date. William Seal is buried at Howard Quarter Cemetery in Claiborne Co., Tenn. There does not appear to be a date of death on his tombstone.

James Seal and Emily Byrd
James Seal and Emily Byrd

James Washington Seal, son of William Seal and Mary Vaughan was born on Dec. 25, 1851 in Hancock Co., Tenn. His death certificate gives his date of birth as Sept. 2, 1850, but that date is inconsistent with most other sources including census records and the grave marker placed by his family. He was the first of our line to be born in Tennessee. He first married Emily Byrd, the daughter of William E. and Susannah Byrd of Hancock Co., Tenn. Children born during this marriage were:

The marriage of James W. and Emily Seal appears to have had its ups and downs. The 1880 census showed James W. Seales and his son, Clarke, living with James's father, William Seales, and stepmother, Deala (Cordelia) Seales. It's not known where Emily Seal and son, Luke, were living at that time. By 1885, James W. and Emily Seal had permanently separated. It appears that Emily (Byrd) Seal married James Howerton of Hawkins Co., Tenn. around 1889 and moved to Arkansas. The 1900 census showed that Lucas Seal, age 21, was living with James and Emily Howerton in Lawrence Co., Ark.

1880 Census - 13th Civil District, Hancock County [Census Record]
NameSexAgeRelationSingleMarriedProfessionPlace of BirthPOB-FatherPOB-Mother
William SealesM62FarmerTennVaSC
Deala [Cordelia] SealesF48WifeKeeping houseTennVaTenn
Elizabeth SealesF35daughterTennTennTenn
William H. SealesM19sonAt homeTennTennTenn
Anderson SealesM16sonAt homeTennTennTenn
Moses S. SealesM13sonAt homeTennTennTenn
Pleasant SealesM4sonTennTennTenn
James W. SealesM28sonWorks on farmTennTennTenn
Clarke SealesM4grandsonTennTennTenn
Lucenia Mullins
Lucenia Mullins

James W. Seal's second wife was Delaney (Laney) Jane Sulfridge who was born on July 13, 1859 in Claiborne Co., Tenn. She was the daughter of Lucenia Mullins, but we are not sure of the name of Laney Jane's father. In the record of her marriage to McDaniel (Mack) Sulfridge (see below), her last name was indicated as Shultz. We're not sure if that was the last name of her father or step-father at the time she married in 1874, but many researchers have indicated that Lucenia Mullins's first husband was Jake (or Jacob) Shultz. We have seen no record that substantiates this claim. Compounding the issue of identifying Laney Jane's father is the fact that Lucenia Mullins was listed as living with, or next door to, her parents, William and Tabitha Mullins in every census record from 1850 thru 1880. In those records she always had the last name of Mullins. So, even in the 1860 census, one year after the birth of Delaney Jane, she and her daughter were listed with the last name of Mullins. Check out this separate profile for more on the life of Lucenia Mullins.

Before Laney Jane (Mullins) Sulfridge married James Washington Seals, she had previously married McDaniel (Mack) Sulfridge on Dec. 24, 1874 in Claiborne Co., Tenn., with whom she had at least one child, Arthur Sulfridge, born in September 1877. Many researchers indicate that her husband's name had been David Sulfridge, but we believe we have found five primary records that, together, make a convincing case for recognizing Laney's first husband as McDaniel (Mack) Sulfridge. Those records are:

Putting all five of these primary records together strongly suggests that McDaniel Sulfridge was born in Tennessee between 1842 and 1844; that his parents were Thomas and Sarah Sulfridge; that he served in the Union Army during the Civil War like many other East Tennesseeans and that he preferred the name Mack over McDaniel. The outlier in this analysis is his marriage record which indicates his name was Daniel. Perhaps Mack Sulfridge gave the clerk his full first name and the clerk simply made a mistake in truncating it to Daniel.

By the late 1870s, Mack Sulfridge had died and, according to the 1880 census, Laney Sulfridge, a widow, and her son Arthur were living with Laney's divorced mother, Leney [Lucenia] Mullins, in Claiborne Co., Tenn. We suspect that sometime after the 1880 census, James W. Seal moved to Claiborne County. He married Laney J. Sulfridge in Claiborne County on May 20, 1886 (see marriage record). Children of James W. and Laney Seal were:

James and Laney Seal and Family
James and Laney Seal and Family ~1905

The 1900 census indicated that James W. and Laney Jane Seals were living in Claiborne Co., Tenn. with their six children; also living with them were Grant Seal, son of James W. Seal and Emily Bird, and Arthur Sulfridge, Laney Jane's son by McDaniel (Mack) Sulfridge, and Arthur's wife and child. The enumerator indicated that Arthur's relationship to the head of the family was "son-in-law." Arthur would have been James W. Seals's stepson. Census and legal records often used the terms son-in-law and stepson interchangeably, particularly before the 20th century. Laney's name was spelled "Malanie" by the enumerator who also indicated the Seals had been married for 28 years. He was probably counting from the date of James W. Seal's first marriage to Emily Bird. In reality, James W. and Laney J. Seals had been married for fourteen years by 1900.

1900 Census - 7th District, Claiborne County [Census Record]
NameRelationSexDate of BirthPlace of BirthProfessionReadWrite
James W. SealsHeadMDecember 1851TennesseeFarmerYesYes
Malanie [Laney] J. SealsWifeFJuly 1859TennesseeYesYes
Grant E. SealsSonMMarch 1882TennesseeYesYes
Maud S. SealsDaughterFFebruary 1887TennesseeNoNo
Arville[Orvil] SealsSonMJuly 1889TennesseeNoNo
George W. SealsSonMMay 1892Tennessee
Burl H. SealsSonMMay 1892Tennessee
Levi T. SealsSonMApril 1895Tennessee
Heston B. SealsSonMMarch 1898Tennessee
Arthur SulfrigeSon-in-LawMSeptember 1877TennesseeFarm LaborerYesYes
Dora SulfrigeS. DaughterFAugust 1879TennesseeYesYes
Martha J. SulfrigeG. DaughterFJuly 1898Tennessee
James and Laney Seals and Family
James and Laney Seals (seated), Tom, Margaret, Heaston, and Arthur Sulfridge

According to a book written in 1986, "All Our Churches of Claiborne County, Tennessee," James W. and Delaney Seals donated property for a church and school to be built on Rapshis Road in Big Sycamore. Seal Chapel Missionary Baptist Church was organized in May 1909. The church also served as a school from 1909 until the early 1950s. Here's a picture of the students from 1916. This photo appeared in the Claiborne Progress in 1995 to celebrate the reunion of former students that year. Many Seals and Sulfridge family members appear in the photo, including Margaret Jane Seals, daughter of James W. and Laney Seals, who was around age 15 when the photo was taken. See the article for the names of all the students. Margaret Jane Seals is in the second row, second from the left. See The Seals Family Homestead in Tennessee for more on the Seals home and the chapel's structural evolution through the years. It's clear from the 1916 photo that the chapel originally had wood siding. The wood structure was replaced with brick, both with and without the front covered porch. Finally, in recent years the brick construction was replaced with cement block with a covered porch across the entire front and wheelchair access.

James Washington Seals died on April 12, 1925 in Claiborne Co., Tenn. Laney Jane Seals died on March 25, 1941 in Claiborne Co., Tenn. Both are buried at Seal Chapel Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Claiborne Co., Tenn.

Margaret Jane Seals, daughter of James W. and Laney Jane Seals, was born in Claiborne Co., Tenn. on June 2, 1901. She married Milton K. Parker on July 4, 1919 in Tazewell, Tenn. Milton K. Parker was born on May 23, 1898 in Claiborne Co., Tenn. Children of Margaret Jane Seals and Milton K. Parker were all born in Tennessee:

See Parker, Part 3 for more on the life of Margaret Jane Seals and her marriage to Milton K. Parker. Margaret Jane (Seals) Parker died on Oct. 1, 1925 in Caryville, Campbell Co., Tenn. Milton K. Parker died on July 27, 1977 in Stanford, Lincoln Co., Ky.

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