affiants/witnesses for James W. and/or Mollie Seeney:
B. Reed, Jr. (as of 30 Dec 1890).
Goldsborough, J.P. (Justice of the Peace), of Queen Anne's
Co, MD (as of 30 Dec 1890).
R. Goldsborough, of Centreville, MD (as of 18 Aug 1890).
R. Goldsborough, Justice of the Peace, Queen Anne's Co, MD
(as of 30 Dec 1890).
R. Goldsborough, Justice of the Peace, Queen Anne's Co, MD
(as of 19 Apr 1892).
H. Simpson**, of Centreville, Queen Anne's Co, MD, age 58
(as of 30 Dec 1890).
Simpson**, of Ruthsburg, Queen Anne's Co, MD (as of 19 Apr
Simpson**, of Centreville, Queen Anne's Co, MD (as of 11 Aug
of Mary/Mollie Simpson?]
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE:
by James W. Seeney on 11 Oct 1902: "I was a slave belonging
to Mr. Daniel C. Hopper who set me free when I became 21 years old."
Per his Casualty
Sheet, James was wounded at the Battle of Cemetery Hill [near Petersburg],
Virginia on 30 Jul 1864.
signed by James W. Seeney on 30 Dec 1890:
"[I] was wounded at Petersburg Va by being thrown down and
run over and trampled on, in the right thigh & privates or groins
[sic], was sent to Hospital at City Point, Va and from there to
Willis Point Hospital near Broo[k]lin [sic] NY and was there over
two months and was given a furlough and came home[;] when the furlough
was out I was not able to go back to the Army and responded in Baltimore
to the authorities and was sent to Stewart Hospital at McKim's Hill
in Baltimore City and remained there until I was discharged which
discharge I have."
signed by James Seney on 11 Feb 1891:
"[I] was discharged in Baltimore City shortly after the war
in 1865 and with my discharge in my possession I was sent out to
Hick's Hospital in said city because I was not well enough to be
sent home and was there about one month. I then came home here in
Queen Anne's County and staid [sic] about six months and then went
back to Baltimore City and staid [sic] for about 13 yrs eight years
of which time I lived with [m? my?] young [master?] Sam'l. T. Hopper,
89 Madison Ave. and about 4 years with Mrs [Hack?] [Flack?] on [Lauvale?]
St. and two or three other parties a short time. I then came here
in Queen Anne's Co and have lived here ever since working as a farm
hand. While in the city I was waiter & driver. I was first disabled
near Petersburg Va when the [mine?] was sprung on us by being trampled
on and mashed and was sent to Willis Point N. York, and was treated
by the Doctors in charge, don't recollect names as there were so
many and was there for two or three months and was given a furlough
for thirty days and then I had to be supported by some of my friends
when I moved around at home. I did not stay but ten days as I was
advised to report in Baltimore City, which I did, and was sent to
McKimm's [sic] Hospital and staid [sic] there until I was Mustered
out. At the McKimm [sic] Hospital Maj. Reed was the Surgeon and
Doctor Andrew Hartman was my Ward Doctor. I do not know where they
are. I was affected with my disability while I lived in Baltimore
and I found it came so frequent I left and tried home. I find cloudy
weather I suffer most. I am frequently laid up entirely, being affected
for four & five weeks at a time and that has been the case for
fifteen years or more. I have now heart affection [sic] and have
had frequent falls from it. I have a slight wound being struck with
a ball on the end of my thumb and the bone came out making 1/2 inch
signed by James W. Seeney on 18 Aug 1890:
incurred injury to right hip caused by being knocked
down & trampled on at the explosion of the mine at the above
mentioned place [Petersburg, Va]."
signed by James W. Seeney on [date not given, but it was after the
Act of June 27, 1890]:
"I have been affected with rheumatism ever since I was injured
in the Army at the explosion at Petersburg and my eyes seemed to
have given away at the same time for I suffered with each of the
above disabilities immediately after I was injured."
refers to him as "James W. Seeney, also borne as Jas. H. and
James Seeney and James Simms." The same record goes on to refer
to him as "James Seanney."
[It appears that James' correct name was James W. Seeney with the
W. standing for Wesley, especially given the questionnaire in which
James clearly states his full name was James Wesley Seeney. However,
due to the handwriting of the time, there seem to have been occasions
where the "W" looked like an "H" thus leading
to some records listing him as James H. Seeney. To clarify this,
the front page of his military file noted him as "Seeney, James
H. or W."
In the file
there is an application for a widow's pension from Mollie Seeney
dated 10 May 1909 in which she states that she was not married prior
to marrying James W. Seeney and that James had been previously married
"but had been separated from first wife more than 30 years
and I have been his lawful wife since date given above [26 Dec 1878]."
[By "more than 30 years" she must have meant by the time
of his death, not by the time of their own marriage. Otherwise,
"more than 30 years" prior to their own marriage would
put James at having become separated from his first wife prior to
1848, in other words prior to approx. age 12. It is more reasonable
to assume Mollie meant he'd been separated "more than 30 years"
at the time of his death (and in fact he'd been married to Mollie
for 30-31 years at the time of his death), and this fits with the
approx. births of his 3 sons ca. 1867, 1871, and 1875 being from
his marriage to his first wife, prior to separating from her].
a letter contained in the pension file which seems to be a rough
draft from an official at the pension bureau and addressed to James'
widow Mollie Seeney, apparently in response to her application for
widow's pension mentioned above. The letter is written very, very
sloppily, has several corrections, revisions, and paragraph notations,
as if it were perhaps meant to be typed up by someone else. However,
there is no typed or re-written copy in the file. The letter is
dated 25 May 1909, a little over a month after James' death and
15 days after Mollie's widow's pension application. From what I
can decipher it seems to be asking Mrs. Seeney for evidence of her
marriage to James and/or James' divorce from Annie Davison. Here
is the letter as best as I can decipher, followed by the image:
[Ins?] [ctf?] 1059235
James W. Seeney
Co. E. 39. U.S.C.Vol.Iny.
Caroline Co, Md.
In response to the request of [Mr.?] T. Temple, of May 10,
1909 recd. [on?] [the?] 12th, last. You are advised [illegible]
your above entitled claim for accrued pension due to the [date?]
of soldier's death [requires?] [us?] (over)
Form 4a cohab.
2 c [Md?] [units? wit's?]
[Form?] 7 [Price?] [Mge? (marriage?)] of yourself and of the
soldier other [items?] to Annie Davison,
The [best?] [cred.?] [wit's?] obtainable evidence [record?],
[if possible?] [showing?] the date of death or divorce of
appear that Mollie ever responded or pursued her request for a widow's
pension. Perhaps she felt she was not entitled to one if James hadn't
truly divorced Anne, or perhaps Mollie died soon after James and
was never able to follow up on her request. These scenarios are
just speculation, as more evidence is needed.
James is described at various times as:
27") (time of enlistment) 5' 3" tall, black complexion,
black eyes, black hair, occupation: farmer.
("Age 50") (Aug 1890) 5' 4" tall, black complexion,
black hair, black eyes.
("Age 58") (Aug 1898)
("Age 62") (Nov 1902) 5' 2 & 1/2" tall, mulatto
complexion, brown eyes, gray hair, 138 lbs, occupation: farm
("Age about 62") (Jul 1904)
("Age 65") (Nov 1904) 5' 3" tall, black complexion,
brown eyes, black hair, occupation: laborer.
("Age 67") (Sep 1905)
("Age 69") (Mar 1906)
("Age 69") (May 1906) 5' 2 & 1/2" tall, dark
complexion, black eyes, snow gray hair, 138 lbs., occupation:
("Age 69") (Jun 1906)
ITEMS PERTAINING TO JAMES W. SEENEY, NOT FROM THE PENSION RECORDS:
In the June
1998 issue (Issue #6) of Owen's Offspring, a Seaney/Seeney
newsletter published by former Mitsawokett list member Dave Seaney,
he states the following:
Wesley Seeney was born in the 1830's in Maryland. Was a slave
belonging to Daniel C. Hopper and was given his freedom at
age 21. Married Anne Davison of Baltimore, Maryland, in the
1850s but marriage was apparently very short. When he married
again he stated he had been separated from Anne for almost
30 years.¹ "His second marriage
was to Mary Augustus Simpson on December 26, 1877 or 1878
in Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland. (She²
died April 11, 1909 in Ruthburg [sic], Queen Anne's County,
Maryland). Strangely though their children are listed as being
born in 1867, 1872 and 1875.³ Not
very likely they were Mary's since she is listed as being
born in 1860.*
enlisted in Company E of the 39th Regiment of U.S. Colored
Troops on March 31, 1864. He fought at the Battle of Petersburg
where he was wounded in the hip and had part of his right
thumb shot off. He was also injured when a mine was exploded
near him and was trampled by retreating troops. Due to all
of his injuries he was sent to Willis Point, New York, to
recover. After recovering he still had impaired eyesight and
was generally disabled. Never the less he stayed with his
unit until the war ended and they
were disband [sic] on May 24, 1865. After receiving an Honorable
Discharge he lived in Baltimore for about six years
then returned to Queen Anne's County."
notes pertain to the preceding extract from Owen's Offspring:
As mentioned above (in "OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE"), it was
on a form from Mollie Seeney in which it was stated that James had
been previously married "but had been separated from first
wife more than 30 years."
James was already dead at the time this statement was made. Thus,
it was not "he" who made the statement, and the statement
was not made "when he married again," but rather after
his death. It is thus presumed that by stating James had been separated
from his first wife "more than 30 years" she likely meant
that he'd been separated from Anne for more than 30 years at the
time of his death, not by the time of his second marriage. Otherwise,
"more than 30 years" prior to James and Mary/Mollie's
marriage would put James at having become separated from his first
wife prior to 1848, in other words prior to his being approximately
12 years old.
It was not Mary (aka Mollie) who died on 11 Apr 1909. This was James'
The pension records never give a presumption that these children
were Mary/Mollie's. It's relatively clear that these children were
by James' first wife, Anne. Also, the children were not listed as
being born in those years. Their ages were given in an affidavit
by James on 20 Sep 1898 as being 31, 27, and 23 years old. It would
depend on whether their birthday was before or after Sept 20th as
to determine what exact year they were born in.
* Mary/Mollie was not listed as being born
in 1860. She was listed as being age 49 as of 10 May 1909. Depending
on what month her birthday was in, this would make her born circa
He did not stay "with his unit." He was hospitalized in
various hospitals until the war was over, with the exception of
the period of furlough when he returned home for a short while.
However, he was still considered a member of the army/his unit while
he was absent from them.
did not live in Baltimore "about six years" upon his discharge.
In his affidavit dated 11 Feb 1891 James stated that upon his discharge
he was sent Hick's Hospital for about month because he was not well
enough to go home, and after that month he returned home to Queen
Anne's County and stayed there about six months, and after that
he returned to Baltimore where he remained about 13 years.
In his affidavit
dated 11 Oct 1902 James stated that he had been a slave belonging
to Daniel C. Hopper until he reached 21 years of age. The date of
his freedom would have been around 1857-58, extrapolating from James'
age of 27 upon his enlistment in Mar 1864. One could speculate,
then, that James may perhaps have been enumerated in the household
of Daniel C. Hopper in the 1850 census when he would have been about
13-15 years old.
Also, James stated in his affidavit of 11 Feb 1891 that he remained
in the hospital in Baltimore about one month after his discharge
in May 1865, then went home to Queen Anne's County for about six
months, and then went back to Baltimore for approx. 13 years, the
first eight of which he "lived with [m? my?] young [master?]
Sam'l. T. Hopper, 89 Madison Ave. and about 4 years with Mrs [Hack?]
[Flack?] on [Lauvale?] St. and two or three other parties a short
time." One could speculate, then, that James may perhaps have
been enumerated in the household of Samuel T. Hopper in the 1870
census when he would have been about 33-35 years old. One might
also speculate that Samuel T. Hopper was the son (or some other
family member) of Daniel C. Hopper, if the deciphering of the writing
is correct in James' reference to Samuel as "my young master."
This may have meant that Samuel was a younger family member in the
household/family to which James "belonged."
the above, it is interesting to note the following two families
in the 1850 census:
of Queen Anne's Co, MD, 3rd Election District, Dwelling #266:
Frances Anne Seeney
next household is:
of Queen Anne's Co, MD, 3rd Election District, Dwelling #267:
(with real estate valued at $5000)
(W) - color space blank, interpreted to be W
the slave schedules for the same census show the following:
1850 Slave Schedule
of Queen Anne's Co, MD, 3rd Election District:
Owned by Daniel
Black Female age 25
1 Black Female age 6
1 Black Male age 16
1 Black Male age 14
1 Black Male age [15?]
45-year-old James and the 40-year-old Lydia be James W's parents?
Might one of the young male slaves be James W, who was not enumerated
by name in his parents' household next door because he "belonged"
to the Hopper household?
with this is that there is no child named Samuel T. in Daniel C.
Hopper's household. Unless perhaps Samuel T. was a younger brother,
nephew or some other relative of Daniel C. rather than a son.
not find any seemingly-matching James Seeney in the 1860 census.***
In the 1870
census for Queen Anne's County (1st & 2nd Election Districts,
page 145, Dwelling #982), I found a James Seeney whose age fits
the profile (age 35), but this James' wife's name is Clarissa, not
Anne. (James did not marry his 2nd wife Mary/Mollie until 1877-78).
Also, per James' previously-mentioned affidavit, it would be expected
that he would be residing in Baltimore in 1870, presumably in the
household of Samuel T. Hopper.
In the 1880
census, I found James & Mary Seeney in Queen Anne's County,
and the very next household is once again D. C. Hopper. (Perhaps
James W. inherited his father James Sr's home? Note that this is
the 6th election district, as opposed to the 3rd election district
where the Seeneys and Hoppers lived in 1850. However, perhaps the
election districts were re-drawn/re-numbered by 1880):
1880 Census, Queen Anne's Co, MD, 6th District, page 24, Dwelling
Queen Anne's Co, MD, 6th District, page 24, Dwelling #158:
Charles C. Hopper
[L.?] Hopper (dau)
sure if more continued on next page)
back to look for James in 1870: In checking for Hoppers in Baltimore
around the time that James lived there, I could not locate any promising
candidates for Samuel T. Hopper in the 1870 census.***
However, in records for 1880 (by which time James W. is presumably
back in Queen Anne's County), I did find an 1880 Baltimore city
directory which lists an S. W. T. Hopper Sr. & S. W. T. Hopper
Jr. who were part of an insurance agency known as "S. W. T.
Hopper & Sons" and their address is given as 289 Madison
Ave. (Note the similarity to James' statement that he lived with
"Sam'l. T. Hopper, 89 Madison Ave" when in Baltimore).
Might S. W. T. Hopper Sr. of Baltimore perhaps be a brother (thus
making S. W. T. Hopper Jr. a nephew) or other relative of Daniel
C. Hopper of Queen Anne's County?
I did not perform an exhaustive search of the census records for
the paragraphs listed above, only a precursory one, so it may very
well be that other entries exist for the Seeneys or Hoppers that
I was simply unable to locate.
On the African
American Civil War Memorial in Washington DC, James' name is displayed
on Plaque C-54.
go to the official National Park Service's "Soldiers
and Sailors" website, use the following link:
in the boxes do the following:
under Last Name enter SEENEY
under First Name enter JAMES
under Union or Confederate select "Union,"
under State (or Origin) select "US Colored Troops"
from the alphabetical list of States
under Unit Number enter "39"
under Function select "Infantry"
On the resultant page click on the regiment's name to see
a history of their service.
(It will show him as James H. Seeney).
Does anyone have any evidence to connect this James W. Seeney with
the Seeneys of Kent Co, DE? Some have said that the Delaware Seeneys
originated from Maryland. In historian C. A. Weslager's notes from
the period he was writing Delaware's Forgotten Folk he states [ca.
Nov 1941]: "I interviewed John Carney. John was an ex-prize
fighter and then was in his 80's
. He said he remembered when
Jim Seeney came to Cheswold from Maryland. Prior to that there were
no Seeney's in Cheswold." (This is in reference to James "Jim"
Seeney [ca. 1820-1890], husband of Sarah "Sally" Greenage
and Sallie Clark, and progenitor of the Kent Co, DE Seeneys).
there is also another entry in Weslager's notes [also ca. Nov 1941]
James Seeney, he is the oldest Seeney living and the Grand Uncle
of Dalton. James is the son of James Senior and his mother was a
Clark[.] James Jr. is one of six sons[:] John, Samuel, F[r]ederick,
William, James, [&] Joseph Seeney. James Senior's mother was
Rhoda Moore before she married into the Seeney family, and was said
to have been a white woman. She appears to be a relative of the
white Moore family of Cheswold. James is a very patriarchical man,
white silky hair, white mustache and a yellowish complexion and
very religious. He has eaten no meat for 40 years as part of his
faith. He is a carpenter and has worked hard all his life, he said
his father and grandfather were both from the neighborhood of Cheswold
and the Seeney's did not come from Maryland as I had previously
heard, he said he had heard of Indian blood in his family but couldn't
contribute any important information."
For a list
of the descendants of Samuel Seeney (husband of Rhoda Moore mentioned
above), please visit Mitsawokett's Seeney link:
2. Does anyone
have the death date of James' 2nd wife, Mary/Mollie? It would have
been sometime after her affidavit of May 1909.
Has anyone ever experienced the name "Mollie" being a
nickname for Mary? It seems that Mary Augustas/Augustus Simpson
and Mollie Simpson are more than likely the same person, but I don't
recall seeing "Mollie" being used as a nickname for Mary
4. Does anyone
have the names of James' children? (There is a William, age 12,
listed in the 1880 census record quoted above. If this is the correct
household, where were the other two sons, who would have been aged
around 9 and 5 at this point? They were still living in 1898 so
they can't have died young).
Does anyone know the location of James' and/or Mary/Mollie's burial?
Does anyone have the means to search for a death certificate through
Maryland's vital records for James, who died 11 Apr 1909? (Or for
Mary/Mollie Augustas/Augustus Simpson Seeney, who died at some point
James had stated there was a marriage certificate as evidence of
his marriage to Mary Augustas Simpson. Does anyone have the means
to search for a copy of their marriage certificate through Maryland's
vital records? Item of note: in Mollie's application for widow's
pension dated 10 May 1909 she said they had been married by a John
G. Manluff (on 26 Dec 1878 at Centreville, MD), but James had stated
in an affidavit dated 20 Sep 1898 that they had been married by
a Rev. [Mr.?] [Underdoo?] (in Dec 1877 at Centreville, MD). (He
also stated his marriage to his first wife Anne/Annie Davison had
occurred in Baltimore, so this may have occurred during the approx.
13 years he lived there, from ca. 1866 - ca. 1878) (more likely
being toward the early part of that date-range, to allow for three
sons to be born between ca. 1866-75).