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Sealy, George II (1880–1944)

Leslie A. Watts Biography

George Sealy II, businessman, was born in Galveston on December 13, 1880. As the eldest son of eight children born to wealthy Galveston businessman George Sealy and his wife, Magnolia Willis Sealy, George II experienced a life of both luxury and responsibility. After attending Miss Jackie Andrews' school and Ball High School in Galveston, he graduated from Princeton in 1902. As his father had died only a year earlier, much of young George's early business training was accomplished under the mentorship of his older cousin John Hutchings Sealy, also a successful Galveston entrepreneur. Because of his position among his siblings, George apparently felt throughout his life a great sense of responsibility for assuring the financial stability and well-being of his remaining family members, including that of his mother. Like his father, who had refused military pay for serving the Confederacy during the Civil War, Sealy did not cash his Army checks received during World War I, in which he volunteered as an enlisted man. Also similar to his father, he did not marry until late in life and then to a much younger woman. On November 10, 1923, Sealy married twenty-two-year-old Eugenia Polk Taylor of San Antonio, Texas. The couple had three children.

Sealy continued his family's traditional position at the forefront of Galveston business life by serving as president of the Galveston Cotton Concentration Company; chairman of the board of Hutchings-Sealy Bank; president of Black Hardware Company; vice president of American Indemnity; treasurer of the Galveston Cotton Exchange and Board of Trade; chairman of the board of International Creosoting and Construction Company, Inc.; commissioner of finance for the city of Galveston; president of the Gulf Transfer Company and Bay Cotton and Bagging Company; member of the board of directors of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway and the British and Allied Merchant Navy Club; president of the Galveston Artillery Club; and member of the State Prison Board. Sealy was also known for his sense of civic responsibility and interest in his community. In addition to serving as a vestry member of Trinity Episcopal Church and director and treasurer of the Sealy and Smith Foundation for the John Sealy Hospital, he was instrumental in establishing Galveston as "The Oleander City." He cultivated some sixty different varieties of the flowering plant on a fourteen-acre plot of land behind the Galveston Cotton Concentration Company. During World War II more than 800,000 plants were shipped, and free plants were given to island residents, visitors, and servicemen stationed at Galveston's Fort Crockett. An oleander festival and parade were also sponsored, and plants were named after prominent Galvestonians and benefactors and also sent to notables such as President Roosevelt and the Duchess of Windsor. George Sealy II died on November 4, 1944, as a result of contracting pneumonia while attending a meeting in New York and enrolling his son, George Sealy III, in Princeton University.

Jane and Rebecca Pinckard, Lest We Forget: The Open Gates, the George Sealy Residence (Houston, 1988).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Leslie A. Watts, “Sealy, George II,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 22, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.