SEAL, JOHN BENJAMIN, first saw the light of day on the 1st day of March, 1847. He was born and brought up on a farm in Upper Paxton township, one mile northeast of Millersburg, on the same premises where both his father and grandfather lived all their lives. He had a natural fondness for study and was a regular attendant at the district school during the winter months when his services were not required on the farm. His advantages for education were limited, but he managed to attend a private school for several terms in addition to an average of about three months in the year at public school until he arrived at the age of eighteen when he began teaching. He followed the profession seven years, at the same time pursuing his studies at the Millersville State Normal School. He taught three terms in his native district, had charge of the grammar department of the public schools of Millersburg, and was for one term principal of the high school. He also organized a private school, known as the West Bangor Select School, in York county, and laid the foundation for a flourishing private institution of learning which has since sent forth into the world many young men and women who now occupy prominent positions in life, including all the professions. In the fall of 1872 Mr. Seal abandoned teaching and engaged in the printing and stationery business in Millersburg. Two years later he established the Millersburg Herald, of which he is still editor and publisher. With regard to his newspaper project, although it is not the financial success which his efforts warranted, he has the satisfaction of knowing that its influence has been potent for one in the community and has proved one of the most effective agencies in promoting the best interests of the town, commercially, intellectually, and morally. In public affairs, politics, and questions of local interest the Herald has always taken advanced positions; it has been a fearless exponent of true principles and a consistent advocate of its convictions.
Mr. Seal is a descendant of a line of ancestry distinguished for industry, frugality and sterling integrity, and having been reared on the farm he had abundant opportunity to develop those qualities inherited from his forefathers. His great-grandfather, Henry Seal, was one of those sons whose father was among the pioneers of Lykens Valley, having settled there when wild beasts inhabited its primeval forests and the Indians had possession of the land. Henry Seal was born October 16, 1770, and died December 21, 1827. His wife Catherine was born April 7, 1779, and died May 29, 1842. Both are buried at David’s Reformed church, near Killinger, where also repose the remains of J. Benjamin Seal’s grandparents on the paternal side. John H. Seal, the grandfather of John Benjamin, was born March 14, 1797, and died January 12, 1877. He was one of a large family of children, nearly all of whom emigrated to what was then known as the far West, locating in Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas, their offspring being scattered now through all parts of the Union. He remained on the old homestead and reared a family of twelve children, being twice married. Four children survive: Sallie, married to Uriah Miller; Katie A., Daniel, and John W. He died at the ripe age of seventy-seven years, all of which he spent on the same farm.
Josiah Seal, father of John Benjamin, was born May 5, 1820, and died March 9, 1892. He was married to Elizabeth Musser, daughter of Benjamin and Frances Musser, the oldest of a family of sixteen children, of whom Catherine, wife of Benneville Boyer; Anna L., wife of Isaac Lloyd; and John S., Henry D., Joseph R., and Josiah A. Musser survive. The mother, Elizabeth (Musser) Seal, was born January 8, 1826, and died August 13, 1889. This happy union of over forty years was blessed with six children: Frances L., married to Addison J. Haverstick; John B.; Emma V., married to H. Frank Sheetz; and George L.; these are living. Sarah A. and James A. died in their youth, Sarah at the age of sixteen, and James aged nineteen. Mrs. Elizabeth Seal sprang from a large and influential Cumberland county family. John Benjamin Seal was named for his grandfather, John H. Seal, and Benjamin Musser. He was united in marriage to Bertha Adilla Freck, December 23, 1879. Two children are the fruits of this marriage: Esther Lucretia, aged fifteen, and Eugene Freck, aged thirteen.
He has always taken an active interest in public affairs. His voice and pen are ever ready to assist in every enterprise or movement intended to promote the welfare of private individuals or for the public good. He is a useful member of society, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. His profession has naturally brought him into public prominence. In 1884 he was nominated by the Republicans of Dauphin county for the Pennsylvania Legislature, and in November of that year was elected to that office by a large majority. At the expiration of his term of office he returned to his editorial work, and on the 9th day of February, 1891, was commissioned postmaster of Millersburg for a term of four years by President Harrison, in recognition of his political services and at the request of his fellow-townsmen. At the February election in 1896 he was elected a member of the Millersburg school board, and is now president of that body.
Transcribed by Judy Warner Bookwalter, for the Dauphin County,
Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project – http://maley.net/transcription