HON JOHN SEATON
One of the most popular, as well as one of the most useful, citizens of Atchison is the man whose name heads this sketch and who is the proprietor of the largest foundry in the state of Kansas. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 11, 1834, but when he was three weeks old the family removed to Louisville, Kentucky, and there his boyhood days were spent. His parents were John M. and Elizabeth (Jones) Seaton, the former born in Virginia and the latter in Vermont. The father was a soldier in the Mexican war and was killed at the storming of the heights of Cerro Gordo.
At the time of his father's death Mr. Seaton was about eleven years old. He was fifteen years old when he began learning the trade of a machinist, and a few years later was working as a journeyman in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of twenty-two, although his entire capital consisted of two dollars and fifty cents, he started a foundry at Alton, Illinois. Pluck and perseverance won success, the enterprise prospered, and when he removed to Atchison in 1872 he had fifty men in his employ. When the Civil war broke out Mr. Seaton enlisted and was made captain of Company B, in the Twenty-second Kansas Volunteers, and was under General Grant when he fought his first battle at Belmont. Captain Seaton was in command of the skirmish line that opened that engagement, and one of the most precious of his possessions today is the letter received from the famous commander, commending him for the efficient manner in which he performed the task.
Six months before Mr. Seaton came to Atchison the city had voted ten thousand dollars in bonds to any man who would establish a foundry. He accepted the offer and the result has been of the greatest benefit to the community. He has a large and finely equipped plant and does work all over the west. He gives employment to over two hundred men and works for their interest as well as his own, retaining the full force even through dull seasons and periods of financial depression. He understands his business thoroughly, and no slighted or imperfect work is ever allowed to go out of the establishment. This has given him a prestige, and no foundry stands higher with architects and builders. He does general architectural work, and in addition makes locomotive wheels, smoke-stacks, steam cylinders, car stoves, etc., for the Santa Fe, Missouri Pacific and Fort Scott & Gulf roads. His works cover an area of seven hundred by four hundred feet, and his business amounts to a quarter of a million annually.
In 1857 Mr. Seaton was married to Miss Charlotte E. Tuthill, of Alton, and five children have been born to them. Of these, Lillie M., is the wife of George Hendrickson and lives in Muscotah, Kansas; Mary E. married Dr. William H. Condit, of Kansas City, Missouri ; John C. is now manager of his father's business; Nellie T. married Theodore Byram, a farmer of Atchison County, Kansas; and George L. is assistant manager of his father's theater. John C. Seaton was born in Alton, Illinois, in 1861. He is a man of first-class business ability, and has been of the greatest assistance to his father in his work. He was married, in 1889, to Miss Lillie Burtis, of Independence, Missouri.
Mr. Seaton is a stanch Republican, and is so popular with all classes that he has been elected five times to the state legislature, and is holding that position at present. He is a member of John A. Martin Post. No. 93, G. A. R., the Loyal Legion and of the Knights of Pythias. Socially, Mr. Seaton is a genial, unassuming gentleman, who is proud of his war record, of the fact that he has secured wealth and honor by his own unaided efforts and by a life of undoubted integrity, and who is not ashamed of the time when he worked at his trade as do the men now under him. Although having reached an age when he might well retire and enjoy the fruits of his industry, his activity is still unlimited, and he takes pleasure in seeing that everything is conducted
properly throughout his works. As a citizen Mr. Seaton has done much for Atchison, and it was through his enterprise and liberality that his handsome theater was built. He has a very pleasant and commodious residence.