|MAURICE J. SEED
Few men in Jefferson county occupy as prominent a position in political circles or as large a place in public view as the well known editor and publisher whose brief biography is presented in the fol lowing lines. The record of a busy and successful life must ever prove of interest to the student who would learn the intrinsic value of individuality and lessons to be derived from such a career cannot fail to have great influence in shaping the character and fixing the destiny of the youth with an ambition to rise above the common level and reach an honorable position among his fellow men.
Maurice J. Seed, editor and publisher of the Mount Vernon Daily Register, and a journalist of wide repute in central and southern Illinois, is descended on the paternal side from an old and emi nently respectable family whose history is traceable through a long line of ancestry to the early part of the seventeenth century, at which time the name was well known in various parts of England. In 1869 two brothers, John and William Seed, who espoused the cause of William of Orange, enlisted under the standard of that Prince and took part in the struggle against King James, participating in the celebrated battle of the Boyne in Ireland, where that unfortunate monarch was overthrown and at the close of the war settling in County Down, where for a period of one hundred and forty-eight years their descendants have been among the well known and sturdy yeomanry of that land.
Thomas H. Seed, the subject's father, is a native of Lawrence county, Illinois, born in the town of Lawrenceville on the 12th day of June, 1843. He served during the late Civil war as sergeant of Company A, Sixty-third Illinois Infantry, was with Grant at the siege and capture of Vicksburg and subsequently took part in the Atlanta campaign under General Sherman; after the fall of that Confederate stronghold he accompanied his command in the celebrated march to the sea. At the close of the war he engaged in the milling business at Lawrenceville and later at Bellmont, Illinois, where he remained until 1889, when he disposed of his interests in that town and purchased the Sumner Press at Sumner, this state, which he published with encouraging success during the fourteen years ensuing, achieving the meanwhile creditable reputation as an able editor and judicious newspaper man. Disposing of his publishing plant at the expiration of the period indicated, Mr. Seed in 1902 came to Mount Vernon and has held an important position in the office, proving an able and valuable assistant and contributing much to the success of the paper, editorially and otherwise.
The maiden name of the subject's mother.was Emma Pope. She was born July 29, 1850, in Burlington, Ohio, spent her youth and received her education in Ironton, that state, and later came with her parents to Flora, Illinois, where she lived until her marriage to Thomas H. Seed, after which she resided at Bellmont and Sumner and in 1902 moved with her family to Mount Vernon where she still makes her home. Thomas H. Seed's mother, Sabilla Ryan, came also from an old family whose antecedents were among the early settlers of Virginia in which state her grandmother, who was a Zane, was born. The latter 's husband was killed by the Indians in a very early day, the Zanes being among the best known and most highly connected families of the Old Dominion state. Mrs Seed's people removed from Virginia to Zanesville, Ohio, many years ago, thence about 1838 to Illinois in several counties of which a number of descendants still reside. Thomas H. and Emma Seed are the parents of two children, Maurice J., whose name introduces this sketch and Rhoda Seed, instructor of English in the Mount Vernon township high school, and one of the most accomplished and successful teachers of Jefferson county. After a preliminary educational training in the common schools and at Northwestern Academy, Miss Seed entered the college department of Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, where she was graduated with the class of 1906, since which time she has devoted her attention to educational work and, as indicated above, now stands among the leading teachers in this part of the state.
Maurice J. Seed was born December 13, 1871, in Lawrenceville, Lawrence county, Illinois, and spent his early life in that city, and the town of Bellmont, attending the public schools in the mean time. Endowed with strong mental powers and an ardent desire for books and study he made rapid progress and in due time completed the common school course and took up the more advanced branches of learning. He did the greater part of his high schoolwork in Northwestern Academy at Evanston, and after being graduated from that institution in June, 1899, entered the college department of Northwestern University at the same place, where he prosecuted his studies until completing the full course and receiving his degree in June, 1902, devoting special attention to English and Political Economy, during his collegiate experience and receiving the N. W. Harris prize of one hundred dollars for his thesis on the trust question. He made an exceptionally creditable record for scholarship, stood high in all of his classes and in addition to the above signal reward of merit he was also awarded Phi Beta Kappa honors, besides gaining confidence and good will of his fellow students and the esteem of the professors and officers of the University. September following his graduation, Mr. Seed purchased the Mount Vernon Daily and Weekly Register, and since 1902 he has devoted his entire attention to the interests of the paper, with the result that he now has one of the best equipped offices in the southern part of the state and a paper which compares favorably with the large and more pretentious sheets of the great metropolitan centers. Since taking possession of the Register it has constantly grown in favor, and in addition to being the official Republican organ of Jefferson county, it is highly prized a clean dignified family paper, in which nothing low or offensive is given publicity, being devoted to politics, home and foreign news, education, choice literature, humor, etc., and at all times it has advocated public improvements and stood for enterprise and progress in all the terms imply. Mr. Seed has demonstrated marked ability as an able and forceful writer, wielding a graceful as well as a keen and incisive pen, and in discussing the leading questions and issues of the day, proving a strong and fearless but always a courteous antagonist. Although one of the Republican standard bearers in the. county of Jefferson and rendering valuable service to his party he conducts his paper in such a way as to win esteem of his political adversaries and to Please the people. The Register has under his able management 'proven financially successful and as an enterprising broad minded man of liberal views and progressive tendencies he has forged to the front rank among his contemporaries and is today considered one of the ablest as well as one of the most popular newspaper men in Southern Illinois.
Mr. Seed has accomplished much for the good of his party, not only through the medium of his paper, but as a successful organizer and judicious adviser in its councils, being at this time secre tary of the Republican Central Committee of Jefferson county in which and other capacities he has added to the strength of the ticket and made his influence felt in reducing the strong normal majority of the opposition. Aside from his political work he is interested in the material progress of the city and county, and takes an active part in promoting all enterprises for the good of the public and the benefit of his fellow men. He holds membership with several secret fraternal organizations, being especially interested in Masonry in which he has attained high rank and been honored with a number of positions of responsibility and trust. He belongs to Mount Vernon Lodge, No. 31, Free and Accepted Masons, Hubbard Chapter No. 160, Royal Arch Masons, of which he has been sojourner for four years, Patton Commandery, No. 69, Knights Templar, and is also a member of Jefferson Lodge, No. 131, Knights of Pythias, of this city.
On October 18, 1905, Mr. Seed was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Fickes, a native o£ Steubenville, Ohio, a graduate of Adrian College, Michigan, and a lady of varied culture and beautiful character who is highly esteemed by the many friends she has made since becoming an influential factor in the religious and social life of her adopted city. The only offspring of this union was a daughter who died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Seed are members of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Mount Vernon and maintain a lively interest in all religious and humanitarian enterprises contributing liberally to these and other movements for the good of the community and lending their influence to all means for the alleviating human suffering and elevating the standing of the race.
SOURCE: History of Jefferson County, IL By: John A. Wall 1909
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