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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of F. C. Seymour

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


F. C. SEYMOUR. Mr. Seymour, who has resided in Rantoul township,since 1869, was born in Middlebury, Vermont, September 1st, 1804. The family is of English descent, and the history is traced back to the time of the Norman conquest. In England, for several hundred years, the family has embraced a considerable part of the nobility and aristocracy of that country, and their descendants in America have comprised many prominent and distinguished men. Mr. Seymour's immediate ancestors were residents of Connecticut, from an early period in the history of the colonization of New England. His father was Benjamin SEYMOUR. His mother, Elizabeth SANFORD, belonged to a family which early settled on Long Island. The subject of this sketch was named after Francis Cazeau, a Frenchman, who was a prominent resident of Montreal, Canada, during the Revolutionary war. The British offered a Colonel's position in their army, and the island of Mackinaw, as an inducement for him to enter the English service in the war against the thirteen colonies, but his sympathies were too strongly enlisted in the American cause to be overcome by any such bribes, and he assisted the colonists all in his power. He furnished supplies to Amold's army at the time of his expedition to Canada, for which the United States government, after independence was gained, allowed him, $450,000---a claim which, however, was never paid. Cazeau was taken prisoner by the British, was confined at Quebec, but managed to escape by bribing the sentinels. The United States government finally gave his representatives, $50,000 in settlement of their claims.

When Mr. Seymour was thirteen years of age, his father engaged in the manufacturing business in Georgia, and the subject of this biography accompanied his father to that state. He had attended the common schools in Vermont, but while in the South assisted his father in carrying on his business. His father died at Augusta, Ga., and Mr. Seymour, remained there two years after that event, engaged in settling up business affairs. He returned to Vermont in the year 1822. His educational advantages had hitherto been confined to a short period of common school instruction, and the opportunities for acquiring knowledge which had fallen incidentally in his way, and he now resolved to obtain a thorough education. With this end in view, he entered Middlebury College, Vermont, and was a student in that institution for three years. A year before his graduation, he left college, to accept a favorable opportunity for going into business, at Fort Covington (formerly French Mills), in the north-eastern part of the state of New York. At that place, Mr. Seymour was engaged in the business of hat manufacturing and dealing in furs, from 1831 till 1840. After leaving Fort Covington he returned to Middlebury, Vermont, remaining there till 1844, when he emigrated to Illinois.

On coming to this state, he settled in Kendall county, and engaged in farming. In 1869, he purchased the whole of section 36, township 21, range 9; moved on this place and began improving the land, and has since been engaged in farming. His first marriage occurred at Grand Isle, Vermont, in the year 1832, to Elizabeth REYNOLDS. His second wife, whom he married in Kendall county, of this state, was Delia BREWSTER. Mrs. Seymour, is a lineal descendant of the Brewsters who came to New England, on the first settlement of that colony, and were conspicuous in its early history. Mr. Seymour has had eight children, of whom five are living. His sons, Henry M., Francis and William R. SEYMOUR, are farming on the same section, with their father. One daughter, Julia H., is at home, and another, Sarah S., is living in California.

Mr. Seymour is a man whose life has been characterized by energy and enterprise. He has performed a great deal of hard work, but at the age of seventy-four, is hale and vigorous. There are few men in the county who retain the same youthfulness at the same age, after having gone through the same labors. He was formerly a Whig, and voted that ticket, from 1828, up till the formation of the Republican party, when he became a Republican, and remained such till the financial legislation of that organization, occasioned his joining the Independent movement.

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