Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spring / Summer of History-Civil War 150-Lake County, Ohio - Historic Marker #25-43

Historic Marker #25-43 is located in front of a residential home at 969 Riverside Drive in Painesville Twp.  This 1819 Greek Revival constructed home by noted architect Jonathon Goldsmith was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.  The home belonged to Uri Seeley and is still today referred to as the 'Uri Seeley House' in Lake County history.  Uri Seeley was one of the most widely known of the earliest settlers to Lake County and used his residence as a stop for Underground Railroad travelers.

Uri Seeley left his family's rural home in the East in 1815.  Seeking his own land and career, he traveled the Western Reserve and came to Painesville in 1817.  He purchased land in Painesville Twp., built a home two years later, became a successful farmer, and remained at this location for the rest of his life.  He became Sheriff of the County of Geauga from 1824-1828, achieving mixed results.  Uri became a staunch supporter of the anti-slavery movement in Ohio.  Teaming with Wade and Giddings, Seeley was a member of the first Anti-Slavery Convention.  Next, he became a delegate for the Free Soil Convention. Finally, he became the first representative of the Abolition element in the State Legislature.  The Abolitionist Movement became his passion and the Lake / Ashtabula County areas were a hotbed of activity.

In Painesville, Uri Seeley made his most important contribution to American and Lake County history.  Seeley became an officer in the Underground Railroad.  He used his home at 969 Riverside Drive as a stop for the fugitive travelers.  Hundreds of slaves passed through his home on their way to freedom via the docks in Fairport and Ashtabula.  After the Civil War, Seeley continued to be a leading statesman in the county.  He was also an active member of the Presbyterian (Congregational) Church of Painesville.  Uri Seeley died in 1877 aged 86.  Today, you may drive past his home and marker #25-43 and experience another tid-bit of history in Lake County's past.

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