Thomas Seerley journal

Collection Overview

Title: Thomas Seerley journal

Record Series: 02/02/02

Record Group:

02/02 Homer Horatio Seerley

Creator: Seerley, Thomas

Date: 1864

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives at Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

In September 2010, Molly Cole arranged for a Seerley family journal and a small collection of books to be delivered to the University of Northern Iowa campus and donated to the Special Collections Division of the Rod Library. Mrs. Cole is a direct descendant of Homer H. Seerley and Thomas E. Seerley.

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], in the [Series Title] #[series number], [folder number or title when applicable], [Collection Name], Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

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Historical Note

Thomas Seerley was the father of the Iowa State Normal School's (now the University of Northern Iowa) second president, Homer H. Seerley.

He was born in Frederick, Maryland, on April 20, 1821. In his adult life, he served as a schoolmaster, worked on the Mississippi River, and drove cattle to market. He married Louisa Ann Smith, with whom he had three sons, in 1846. The family lived on a farm in Illinois in 1851 before moving to South English, Keokuk County, Iowa, where they owned a farm for thirty-seven years. Thomas Seerley joined a small wagon train that departed Iowa for Montana on May 2, 1864.

Seerley was an original member of the Washingtonians, the first temperance society of his youth, was a member of the Sons of Temperance, and the Masonic Lodge. He also served as a justice of the peace for eight years. Thomas and Louisa Seerley retired to Iowa City, Iowa, and passed away in 1904 and 1914, respectively. A more detailed family history may be found at this link.

Scope and Content

The journal consists of 116 handwritten pages, with nearly daily entries concerning Thomas Seerley's journey from South English, Iowa, to Virginia City, Montana, from May 2, 1864 to August 26, 1864. Contents for the entries typically include notes about the day's travel (distance, weather, geography); disputes or concerns among the traveling party; his health and mood; and the availability of resources along the way. SC&UA staff members created a transcription of the journal and a digital copy of it. Please click the relevant links to access the transcription or scanned journal online.

Processing Information

Finding aid information created by Archival Processor Tessa Wakefield, September 2022.