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William Stewart Seeley (Seely)

Question: Who was William Stewart Seeley and what happened to him in Missouri?

Answer: Bishop William Stewart Seeley (Seely) was born May 18, 1812, in Pickering, Home District, Upper Canada, the son of Justus A. Seeley and Mehittabel Bennett. Becoming a convert to “Mormonism’ under the instruction of John Taylor, he was baptized in 1838 and migrated to Nauvoo, Hancock county, Illinois, where he resided until 1846, when he…departed into the western wilderness.

William came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 and lived for some time in Salt Lake City and afterwards in Pleasant Grove, Utah County. When Mount Pleasant, Sanpete County, was re-settled in 1859 he became one of the founders of that place, where he spent the remainder of his years and where he was active in everything pertaining to the growth and welfare of that commonwealth. When Mount Pleasant became an incorporated city, William S. Seeley was elected its first mayor, and he served as Bishop of Mount Pleasant about thirty years.

William took part in all the military movements during the Black Hawk war and also filled two missions to Canada, one in 1873 and the other in 1878. In 1868 he went as captain of a Church train as far east as Laramie after immigrants. Bishop Seeley married three wives, two of whom survived him. Bishop Seeley was not only a prominent citizen in local affairs, but was well and favorably known throughout the Territory of Utah.

William died on the 18 September 1896, in Mount Pleasant, Sanpete, Utah.

William Stewart Seeley gets Kidnapped

The Following is an excerpt from the official History of the Church:

“This day about noon, Captain Bogart [of the Missouri Militia] with some thirty or forty men called on Brother Thoret Parsons…and warned him to be gone before next day at ten in the morning, declaring also that he would give Far West thunder and lightning before next day at noon..He then departed towards Crooked Creek.

“Brother Parsons dispatched a messenger with this news to Far West, and followed after Bogart to watch his movements. Brothers Joseph Holbrook and David Juda, who went out this morning to watch the movements of the enemy, saw eight armed mobbers call at the house of Brother Pinkham, where they took three prisoners–Nathan Pinkham, Brothers William Seeley and Addison Green–and four horses, arms, etc. When departing, they threatened Father Pinkham that if he did not leave the state immediately they “would have his damned old scalp.’ Having learned of Bogart’s movements the brethren returned to Far West near midnight, and reported their proceedings and those of Captain Bogart.

“On hearing the report, Judge Elias Higbee, the first judge of the county, ordered Lieutenant Colonel Hinkle, the highest officer in command in Far West, to send out a company to disperse the mob and retake their prisoners, whom, it was reported, they intended to murder that night. The trumpet sounded, and the brethren were assembled on the public square about midnight. When the facts were stated, about seventy-five volunteered to obey the judge’s order, under command of Captain David W. Patten. They immediately commenced their march on horseback, hoping without the loss of blood to surprise and scatter the camp, retake the prisoners and prevent the attack threatening Far West.

“[October 25, 1838] Fifteen of the company were detached from the main body while sixty continued their march till they arrived near the ford of Crooked River, where they dismounted, tied their horses, and leaving four or five men to guard them, proceeded towards the ford, not knowing the location of the encampment. It was just at the dawning of light in the east, when they were marching quietly along the road, and near the top of the hill which descends to the river that the report of a gun was heard, and young Patrick O’Banion reeled out of the ranks and fell mortally wounded.

“…when Captain Patten ordered a charge and rushed down the hill on a fast trot, and when within about fifty yards of the camp, formed a line. The mob formed a line under the bank of the river, below their tents. It was yet so dark that little could be seen by looking at the west, while the mob looking towards the dawning light, could see Patten and his men, when they fired a broadside, and three or four of the brethren fell. Captain Patten ordered the fire returned, which was instantly obeyed, to great disadvantage in the darkness. The fire was repeated by the mob, and returned by Captain Patten’s company, who gave the watchword ‘God and Liberty.’

“Captain Patten then ordered a charge, which was instantly obeyed. The parties immediately came in contact, with their swords, and the mob were soon put to flight, crossing the river at the ford and such places as they could get a chance. In the pursuit, one of the mob fled from behind a tree, wheeled, and shot Captain Patten, who instantly fell, mortally wounded, having received a large ball in his bowels.

“The ground was soon cleared, and the brethren gathered up a wagon or two, and making beds therein of tents, etc, took their wounded and retreated towards Far West. Three brethren were wounded.. Brother Gideon Carter was shot in the head…Bogart reported that he had lost one man.

“The three prisoners were released and returned with the brethren to Far West. Patrick O’Banion [and David Patten] died soon after, and Brother Carter’s body was also brought from Crooked river…’ (History of the Church, 3:169-171).

Pioneer Travel

SATURDAY EVENING, 29 September 1868.

Capt. W. S. Seeley’s ox train, consisting of thirty-nine teams, arrived this afternoon. Eleven contained freight for Messrs. Eldredge & Clawson. There were 272 passengers, mostly English. They started from Benton exactly four weeks since. Four deaths occurred—one elderly lady and three small children.

Final Peace Treaty

Several peace conferences with the Indians had been held in different settlements. A meeting was held at Mt. Pleasant, September 17, 1872, at which General Morrow, Apostle Orson Hyde, Bishop Amasa Tucker, Bishop Fredrick Olson, Bishop W. S. Seeley, Colonel Reddick Allred met at Mt. Pleasant with a great number of Indian Chiefs and braves, among whom were Tabiona, White Hare, Angizeble and others who were known to have encouraged depredations under Chief Black Hawk. The concluding peace treaty was signed at this time. That meeting was held at the home of William S. Seeley. (the current Mt. Pleasant Relic Home)

Source:; Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Andrew Jenson

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