Francis Leland “Jim” Seely (1903-1981)
Francis Leland Seely was known as Jim Seely. His son James was known as “Jimmy.” Then James also had a son “Jim,” at which time James began to be called “Jim” and his son was called “Jimmy.”
Francis Leland Seely and Grace Emily Thompson had 7 children: Kathryn Joyce Seely (1928-1971, known as Joyce; who married Lynn Thomas Richman), Glen McLain Seely (who married Jean Jamison), John Leland Seely (1932-2006, known as Lee; who married Muriel Martel [1934-1992]), Gwendolyn Seely (known as Gwen; who married Kenneth Joseph Goates), Karen Seely (who married Daryl Galloway), James Edward Seely (known as Jimmy or Jim; who married Ellie), and Richard Kent Seely (known as Kent; who married Mary). See the page for these children.
Francis Leland Seely’s parents are Arta McLain Seely & Alfaretta Neff.
- “My Brother Francis Leland (Jim) Seely” life sketch by his sister Verna May Seely
- Life sketch handwritten by Francis Leland Seely
- Family group sheet with photos (and another version)
- Jim Seely school yearbook
- F Leland Seely & Grace Thompson Seely photo family group sheet
- F. Leland Seely patriarchal blessing
- Watch family videos on the Richman Family YouTube Channel.
In 1912, when Jim was nine, his parents moved from East Mill Creek in Salt Lake to a ranch in Rosette in Park Valley, Utah.
When the Great Depression hit, they lost their farm in Park Valley and moved to Brigham City in December 1931. Jim did any work he could find. He got a job in the County Assessor’s office for $2 a day; worked in the sugar factory in Blackfoot, Idaho; and then got a job at the sugar factory in Brigham.
In September 1934, they bought a home at 27 North 3rd West in Brigham City. Five rooms and two porches seemed like a mansion.
After Lee was born, Jim managed the service station for Associated Gasoline and Oil at 7th South Main and hauled gas from the bulk plant in Ogden to two stations in Brigham and a few other accounts. This was his start in the oil business. Within two years, he had the distributorship with Associated for himself and was supplying gas and oil to service stations, businesses, and homes. The Seely Oil Company had two gas stations. If Jim had a fault, it was his generosity and trust in people to the extent that they sometimes took advantage of his kindness. The much good he did for people was not generally known. Widows have found their heating supply tanks filled with oil and never a bill delivered.
On July 6, 1946, they bought land and a house on 7th south and Main, and Jim, being a talented carpenter, did much of the labor in constructing a motel, restaurant, and service station. The old block house was originally owned by Lorenzo Snow. Jim built an office on the front of the house, and the motel units behind (to the west). The family lived in the house and the whole family worked at the motel, cleaning, washing linens, and preparing rooms. Grace was quick to recognize the needs of people and often took in people who couldn’t afford the motel room and gave them food and clothing.
When winter slowed the tourist business, Jim was busy with his oil and gas business. Grace took the orders for delivery of the oil and gas and received the payments for these bills. She used to say, “I am a secretary, a cabin maid, a motel manager, and a mother of seven children. Each is a full-time job.” Grace was always busy and never stopped. She was a good manager. She spent thirteen years helping build up the motel and gas and oil business. She helped Jim plan and build a café, grocery store, and service station.
In 1959, he sold his Sinclair Refining Company distributorship, his bulk plant, and service station, truck, and equipment.
They purchased a lovely new home in the east section of Brigham City at 826 East 1st North. They hired a manager for the motel so that Grace and the children didn’t have to do all the work.
In 1961, Jim began a career as a real estate salesman. Glen set up a real estate office in the motel lobby until he moved the operation to Granger. In 1962, Jim joined the Bon Realty Company.
He served two terms on the Brigham City Council, was president of the Lions Club, and president of the Box Elder Chamber of Commerce from 1960-61. He was also elected as the Box Elder County Commissioner. He was especially involved in water development and administration.
Francis Leland (“Jim”) Seely died June 21, 1981 at age 78, in Brigham City, Utah, and was buried in the Brigham City Cemetery. He and Grace were married 54 years.
Facebook post from 18 June 2017 by Jim Seely: “Me, my dad (F. Leland Seely) and my grandfather (John Earnest Thompson). We are standing next to the house I grew up in. It was previously owned by Lorenzo Snow (I always understood that he originally built the home, but we have not been able to verify that). We do know that at one point, it was used to house some of his polygamous wives.”
Today, this is the Galaxie Motel. The old motel had units behind (to the west) of the office. The units
that exist today to the south of the office were not part of the original motel. The house was
owned by Lorenzo Snow and is where the Seely family lived.
Posted on Facebook by Jim Seely June 20, 2017: I grew up in Brigham City, and the first photo below is the original house I grew up in. It was originally owned by Lorenzo Snow. My understanding growing up was that the home had been built by Lorenzo Snow, but we have not been able to verify that. We do know that several of his polygamous wives lived there.
We moved into this house on my fourth birthday (July 6, 1946). Of the three windows you can see on the second story, the left one was in my bedroom. There was no air conditioning in those days, and it was very hot in those upper rooms during the summer, which made it impossible to sleep there. We had a pool table in the basement, and during the summer, my mom put a mattress on the pool table for me and that is where I slept. I therefore literally grew up on a pool table.
Several years prior to our moving into to this house, my dad had bought a large peach orchard near the house, and during World War II, the army build a large amputee hospital right across the street from it. This was the Bushnell Amputee Hospital, and all of the amputee’s from Europe and the Pacific were sent there.
Their families then flocked to Brigham City to be with their boys and it created a housing shortage. To help with this problem, Dad constructed five or six small cabins scattered throughout the peach orchard, which he rented at minimal cost to help those families out.
After the war, the hospital closed and the housing shortage went away, leaving dad with these empty cabins. He finally moved them all into a line and brick faced them, and then built six or eight more and we became Seely’s Motel, and he then built an office on the front of the house.
When we sold the motel back in the 1960’s, they painted over the Seely Motel sign, and it has been Galaxy Motel ever since. However, in recent years the paint has peeled off the sign, and it has now reverted back to the “Seely Motel” again.
The second photo shows what the house looks like today, with the office built onto the front, and aluminum siding added to the sides.
After the hospital closed, Dad bought the pool table I slept on from the officer’s club for $15, which was about all he had at the time. That same pool table is currently in my own basement, here in Mountain Green.
After closing, the hospital was converted to a boarding school for Navajo Indian children (Intermountain Indian School). The Church built a new chapel for the Indian kids and it was directed by Boyd K Packer. My mom was called by Brother Packer to teach Sunday School at that chapel. She soon learned to love the kids, and often brought them home for dinner with our family. She also hired some of them to work in our motel and I had some great Indian friends during that time.