SEALE, ELIAS THOMPSON
SEALE, ELIAS THOMPSON (1829–1880). Elias Thompson Seale, businessman, planter, and Confederate officer, was born in Mississippi on September 11, 1829, to Lewis Perry Seale and Susannah (Phillips) Seale. In 1849 Seale traveled to California to mine for gold and achieved great success. In the early 1850s Seale left California and rejoined his family, who had relocated to Bevilport in Jasper County, Texas. There, the Seales became one of the leading families of the community. On August 30, 1859, Seale married Emily Amanda Blount, a member of a prominent family in Georgia. The couple had eleven children. In the 1860 census Elias Seale owned $3,400 in personal property, including one slave, and a large general merchandise store. His father Lewis owned twenty-seven slaves in the same city.
At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Seale organized a company of cavalry and with this unit joined the Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment as a captain. In March 1863 Seale resigned his commission due to health reasons but was reinstated in July 1864 and continued with the Thirteenth Cavalry until its surrender on June 2, 1865. He was promoted to major and served during the Red River campaign, which included the battles of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Yellow Bayou.
After the war, Seale returned to Texas and faced mixed fortunes. He moved to Beaumont, where he speculated in railroads and timber. Initially, Seale was successful. In 1872 he was instrumental in the founding of Texas College in Jasper. Later in the decade, Seale, in partnership with George Washington Smyth, established Eagle Mill, the first lumber mill in Beaumont. After a series of financial setbacks, however, Seale committed suicide on November 2, 1880, in Jasper and was buried there in Seale-Blount Cemetery.
Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Thomas Reid, Spartan Band: Burnett's 13th Texas Cavalry in the Civil War (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2005). Mildred S. Wright, Jasper County, Texas Cemeteries (Decorah, Iowa: Anundsen Publishing Co., 1976).