Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lydia (KELLY) SEASTRUNK

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

Lydia (Kelly) Seastrunk's descendants are extremely important to the ongoing research on John Kelly of Fairfield District, South Carolina since her husband Samuel Seastrunk purchased the family bible at John Kelly's estate sale. It is hoped that the bible or a transcript of it still exists among her descendants.

According to The Old Cemeteries of  Hinds County, Mississippi: From 1811 to the Present, by Mary Collins Landin, Lydia Kelley was born 20 Jan 1789 and died 6 Oct 1818  Hinds County, Mississippi and is buried in the James Lee/John Kelley Family Cemetery near Utica, located on the T.E. Collins farm. Her tombstone, like her brother Frost John Kelley’s tombstone, supposedly includes the information that she was the “daughter of John and Charity Kelley”  and that she married "S. Anill Seastreak."

Lydia Kelley’s dates, as they were transcribed from her tombstone, are questionable.  If she and her brother Frost are both the children of Charity, then a childbirth range from 1789 to 1822 for Charity seems a bit long:  33 years.  It’s possible, but not likely. There is a Samuel Seastrunk who appears on the 1850 Copiah Co., MS census who seems to be a likely candidate for her husband Samuel, who was one of the buyers at the John Kelly estate sale. He seems to be a widower, and is born in SC like all the Seastrunks around him, but he is 40 years old, born in 1810.  This would make Lydia 21 years older him.  Again, possible, but not likely, especially since she bore him children. She does not seem to be deceased when her brother James Kelly is leaving property to her son, James Wallace Pinkney Seastrunk in 1843. Furthermore, her son John Obediah Seastrunk's obituary gives his birth date as 1846 and names his mother as Lydia (Kelley) Seastrunk.  Her father John Kelley Sr’s estate does not  make reference to her as being deceased in 1842 although she surely died shortly after.  It seems more likely that the dates on her tombstone were mistranscribed due to erosion.  1799 could easily look like 1789. An eroded 4 might make 1848 look like 1818. Lydia’s stone may be eroded on the last two digits of years. Additionally, Lydia's own last name may have suffered some erosion since her name has been transcribed as Seastreak instead of Seastrunk. Dates of 1799 to 1848 seem more in keeping for Lydia, but this needs further research.

Children of Lydia (Kelly) and Samuel Seastrunk: 

1. James Wallace Pinkney Seastrunk - named in will of uncle James Kelly dated 1843.
2. John Obediah Seastrunk - named in the will of his uncle Obadiah K. Kelly dated 5 Dec 1848. Presumably, Obadiah leaves nothing to the other Seastrunk children because Obediah is a name sake?  John Obediah Seastrunk of Smith County, TX would have been a mere toddler at this time.
3. Hugh Tolen Seastrunk

1840, Fairfield Dist, SC:

Seastrunk, Saml
000112001-00002001

[The age of the adults and large number of children suggest that this Samuel Seastrunk is old enough to be Lydia Kelly's father-in-law rather than her husband and herself.]

1840 Richland Dist., SC:

Seastrunk, Samuel
00001 - 00001

one male 20 - 30 = Samuel Seastrunk
one female 20 - 30 = Lydia (Kelly) Seastrunk
[also listed is a Joseph Seastrunk - the 1840 Richland Dist., SC census is in alpha order, so it is impossible to determine neighbors.]

Copiah Co., MS 1850:
981
Samuel Seastrunk 40 M
James M. Seastrunk 10 M
Hugh T. Seastrunk 6 M
John O. Seastrunk 4 M

On the 1850 Slave Schedule of Copiah County MS, Samuel Seastrunk owned three slaves: a black female age 50, a black female age 15, a black male age 14. This may include some of the same slaves who were purchased from the John Kelly estate nine years previously.

Within a short period of time Samuel Seastrunk seems to have had a change of heart in his position of slavery. He went from being a slave holder to a man who jeapordized everything to help liberate slaves in Hinds County, Mississippi:

A Vigilance Committee has been formed in Copiah County, Miss., and three citizens, Reuben Seastrunk, Samuel Seastrunk, and Stephen Morgan, suspected of tampering with slaves, ordered to leave the county in fifteen days.
[Source: Yorkville Enquirer; Yorkville, SC; 10 Sept 1857]

The full story appeared in a newspaper in Sacramento, California: 

CHARGE OF TAMPERING WITH SLAVES--CITIZENS ORDERED TO EAVE--VIGILANCE COMMITTEE--A large meeting of citizens of Copiali [sic] county, Miss., was held at Gallatin on the 6th, Hon. Stephen H. Johnson in the chair--to consult on the proper course to be pursued relative to late developments of the county, as being engaged in practices, and highly prejudicial to individual and popular interests.

The meeting, it is represented, was composed entirely of the very best citizens; men of influence, standing and responsibility, from every section of the county; who came, without passion or prejudice, to hear fully and judge calmly and justly of such things as might be submitted for their consideration.

The Chairman, in stating the objects of the meeting, remarked:
Late events had revealed the astounding and alarming fact that there are men in our midst who are engaged in secret and unlawful interference with our institutions, by inducing slaves to desert their owners, and furnishing them with passes and free papers, to enable them to escape to free States. The citizens were now called together to hear and judge of these facts; to say whether they were conclusive as to the guilt of the parties implicated; and to decide on the proper steps to be taken in the premises.

A committee of ten citizens was appointed to report resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting.

Several citizens then came forward and made statements, establishing beyond the possibility of doubt, in the minds of every person present, that Reuben Seastrunk and Samuel Seastrunk have for several years been manufacturing free papers for fugitive slaves, and have thus enabled several to escape from the count; and that Stephen Morgan had been guilty of unlawful tampering with slaves, conniving at, encouraging, and aiding their escape from their owners.

The witnesses having been questioned, and an opportunity having been offered to any one who might wish to say anything in defense of the accused t do  so, and no defense having been offered, the meeting decided that the testimony was sufficient to warrant resolutions condemnatory to the accused, and then adjourned to give the committee time to report.

The citizens having re-assembled, the committee reported the following preamble, accompanied by a series of resolutions, one of which is appended:

Whereas, From the evidence produced before this meeting, the conclusion is forced upon our minds that Reuben Seastrunk, Samuel Seastrunk and Stephen Morgan, citizens of this county, have had complicity in enticing slaves away from their masters, and preparing and giving slaves free papers. And, whereas, this evidence is not such as to convict these parties in a court of justice, yet so corroborated by circumstances that we can have no reasonable doubt of their guilt. And, whereas, it is incumbent on us as slaveholders and citizens to take such action in the premises as shall protect our rights, and give confidence to the community: Therefore,

Be it Resolved, That the said Reuben Seastrunk, Samuel Seastrunk and Stephen Morgan be, and they hereby are requested to remove from this count within fifteen days after they shall receive notice of these preambles and resolutions; and that they shall not under any circumstances, return to this county, under penalty hereinafter prescribed for not leaving the county.

The other resolutions prescribe the penalties to which the accused parties will be subjected if they do not remove from the county, and provide for the appointment of fifty citizens as a Vigilance Committee, who are instructed to investigate all cases of tampering with slaves, &c, &c., that may come to thier knowledge.

The preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted, and the members of the Vigilance Committee were appointed, and the meeting then adjourned.

The preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted, and the members of the Vigilance Committee were appointed, and the meeting then adjourned.

The following description of the accused parties has been published b the Vigilance Committee:
Reuben Seastrunk is about 37 years of age, has sandy and rather bushy hair, heavy sandy beard, dark grey eyes, is about five feet ten or eleven inches high, rather stoop shouldered, slow in speech, and professes to be a physician.

Samuel Seastrunk is about 42 years old, slightly bald, sandy hair and beard, grey eyes, has one or two false teeth in front, long visage, stands erect, is slow in speech, and is about five feet ten or eleven inches high.

Stephen Morgan is about five feet eight inches high, 27 years old., dark skin, light and straight hair, wears whiskers all around his face; his whiskers and eyebrows are dark; has hazle [sic] eyes, and squints badly with one of them; speaks slowly; has a scar on one of his temples, and is slightly stooped. --N.O. Picayune.
[Source: Sacramento Daily Union; Sacramento, CA; 3 Oct 1857]

Evidently, Samuel and Reuben Seastrunk sought refuge in Hinds Co., MS, where Samuel had Kelly in-laws. However, the people of Hinds County also evicted him:

The citizens of Hinds county, Miss., living south of Raymond, have ordered Reuben and Samuel Seastrunk, late of Copiah county, to quit their neighborhood, under the penalty of bodily punishment. These are the men who were ordered to leave Copiah, for tampering with slaves, and who therefore took refuge in the adjoining county. The Hinds county folks appoint a vigilance committee, as their brethren of Copiah had done, to enforce their orders and protect their property.
[Source: Times-Picayune; New Orleans, LA; Mon., 7 Sept. 1857]

The Reuben Seastrunk who engaged in freeing slaves with Samuel also removed to Texas in 1857 and is likely to be Samuel's brother.

By 1860, Samuel Seastrunk had married Susan Thurman and was living in Smith County, Texas:

10 Aug 1860, Starville,  Smith County, TX page 73:

Samuel Seastrunk 49 M b. SC
Susan ----- 21 b. GA
James ----- 20 M b. SC
Hugh -----16 M b. SC
John -----13 M b. SC
Cora  -----3 F b. TX
Lulah -----1 F  b. TX

In 1860, Samuel Seastrunk, himself, is no longer included on the slave schedule as a slave owner. However, his brother-in-law, Frost J. Kelly of Smith County, Texas was holding ten slaves as guardian for Samuel's son J.O. Seastrunk. 

18 Oct 1870, Smith Co., Texas, Starrville Beat No., P.O. Starrville, p. 374:

529-529
Seastrunk, Samuel 60 M W  Clerk in store $300 - $300 b. SC
-----Susan 31 F W  Keeping house b. GA
----- Cora  12 F W   At school b. TX
----- Lula 10 F W b. TX
----- Olinza 8 M W b. TX
----- Clyde 6 F W b. TX
----- Samella 4 F W b. TX
----- Mary 2 F W b. TX

By the mid 1870s, the Samuel Seastrunk family had moved to Dallas, Texas. His sons by Lydia Kelly remained in Smith County, Texas. 

1878 Dallas Co., TX Tax Roll:
Saml Seastrunk

? June 1880, Dist. 55, sh #49B, Dallas County, TX:

Highland St
410-459
Seastrunk, Saml W M 69 Gardener b. SC fb. SC mb. SC
-----Susan P W F 41 Wife Keeping house b. GA fb. VA mb. SC
-----Cora B. W F 21 Dau At Home b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----Irene C W F 16 Dau Saleslady b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----Samuella W F 13 Dau at school b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----Mary E W F 11 Dau at school b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----T P W M 9 Son at school b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----Preston M W 3 son b. TX fb. SC mb. GA

Samuel Seastrunk died in 1884. A monument for him is in the Grove Hill Cemetery of Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.

Mrs. S. Seastrunk, accompanied by her two youngest children, left yesterday for Nashville, Tenn., to spend a month with relatives.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Fri 7 June 1889]

1890 Dallas Co., TX Tax Roll:
SEASTRUNK, Mrs. S. p. 336

Fifty Years Ago
From the Sunday, June 12, 1892, Issue of The Dallas Morning News
Mrs. F.M. Henshaw of Fort Worth is visiting her mother, Mrs. S. Seastrunk of Dallas.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Thur. 11 June 1942]

15 June 1900 ED 93 Dallas City Ward #1, Dallas County, TX:

511 Lamar St
196-196
Seastrunk, Susan Head W F b. Mch 1839 61 Wd 6-6 b. GA fb. VA mb. SC
-----Cora Dau W F b. Feby 1858 41 S b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----Preston B. son W M b. Apl 1877 23 M b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----Nellie M  d-i-l W F b. Sept 1800 20 M b. TX fb. Indiana mb. Indiana
-----Leota dau W F June 1881 18 S b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----Preston Leroy grson W M b. Mch 1900 2/12 S b. TX fb. SC mb. GA

Leroy Seastrunk, 17 months old, died at 1026 Elm street.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Wed. 7 Aug 1901]

15 Apr 1910, J Pct #1, Dallas, Dallas Co., TX:

130 Grantor Ave
19-21 
Seastrunk, Susan P. Head F W 71 Wd 9-6 b. GA fb. VA mb. SC
-----Thomas P. son M W 39 Wd b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----Cora B. dau F W 51 S b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
Jack, Ota dau F W 28 M-1 4 0-0 b. TX fb. SC mb. GA
-----William J. s-i-l M W 32 M-1 4 b. Ark fb. dk mb. Ireland

The Dallas Morning News, Tues., 22 Aug 1911, p. 4:
 Funeral Notice.
 Seastrunk--Mrs. S.P. SEASTRUNK, widow of the late Samuel SEASTRUNK, aged 72 years and 5 months, died at 9:05 Monday night. Funeral services at 4:30 p.m. today at home of F.M. HINSHAW. 612 East Eleventh St. Oak Cliff. Burrial at Odd Fellows Cemetery.

The Dallas Daily Herald, 22 Aug 1911, p. 6:
Last night at 9:05, Mrs. S.P. SEASTRUNK, widow of the late Samuel SEASTRUNK, died at the home of her daughter Mrs. F.M. HENSHAW, 612 East Eleventh St. Mrs. SEASTRUNK was seventy-two years old. The funeral will be held from the residence of Mrs. HENSHAW this afternoon at 4:30 o’clock. Services will be conducted by Dr. W.P. DICKEY, assisted by Rev. Fred GILBRAITH.

Dallas Daily Times Hearld, 23 Aug 1911, p. 2:
 Buried Yesterday Afternoon.
Yesterday afternoon about 4:30 o’clock Mrs. S.T. SEASTRUNK was buried from her late residence 612 East Eleventh Street, Oak Cliff. Rev. Mr. DICKEY conducted the service and interment took place in the Odd Fellows Cem. on South Ackard street. The funeral was very largely attended. The pallbearers were Dr. George WILKINS, H.P. BERRY, Morgan CARTER, William VAUGHAN, F.B. HICKLEY, and W.H. McCRAW.

A monument for Susan (Thurman) Seastrunk is in the Grove Hill Cemetery, Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.

Known children for Samuel and Susan (Thurman) Seastrunk:

4. Cora B. Seastrunk
5. Irene C. Seastrunk
6. Samuella Seastrunk
7. Mary E. Seastrunk
8. Thomas P. Seastrunk
9. Preston B. Seastrunk
10.  Leota Seastrunk


This page last updated on June 24, 2016



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