The hundreds of Seymour family papers and photographs discovered at an on-line auction site by Brockport resident Bill Heyen offer items of familial rather than historical interest but are fascinating nonetheless, say Brockport's historian and historian emeritus.
"Most of the papers are of family interest but the family was so interwoven into the fabric of the community that it is an important find for the village," Historian Emeritus Bill Andrews said.
Andrews pointed out a piece of correspondence that did carry historical weight as it offered information on the mass production of the reapers made by the Seymours. William Seymour, who founded Globe Ironworks in 1844, laid claim to being the first manufacturer to produce mass quantities of the reaper. "The production of the reapers began the industrial revolution in agriculture," Andrews said.
James Seymour was the co-founder of the village of Brockport. His brother, William, was Brockport's first postmaster, a position he began in 1829. Many of the Seymour clan, including Henry, moved to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan where they began a lumber business. James Seymour was also influential in Monroe County as he was instrumental in getting the county created. He was the first sheriff, president of the first bank, vice president of the first railroad, treasurer of the Athenaeum (now RIT), was the supervisor of the Town of Murray before Clarkson was created. He went on to become the first supervisor of Sweden. Upon his move to Michigan, he owned the land which eventually became the state capital (in Lansing) and was one of the founders of the Republican party nationally.
Andrews said that Heyen, a noted poet, kept the papers for a while, purusing them for ideas for his poetry. Andrews will be the keeper of the papers as he goes through them picking out items of interest for a book he is penning on the history of the village. Following that, the papers will be cataloged by Brockport Historian Jackie Morris and kept in the village historian's office.