While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Aragorn Storm Miller

SEALE, ELIAS THOMPSON (1829–1880). Elias Thompson Seale, businessman, planter, and Confederate officer, was born in Mississippi on September 11, 1829, to Lewis Perry Seale and Susannah (Phillips) Seale. In 1849 Seale traveled to California to mine for gold and achieved great success. In the early 1850s Seale left California and rejoined his family, who had relocated to Bevilport in Jasper County, Texas. There, the Seales became one of the leading families of the community. On August 30, 1859, Seale married Emily Amanda Blount, a member of a prominent family in Georgia. The couple had eleven children. In the 1860 census Elias Seale owned $3,400 in personal property, including one slave, and a large general merchandise store. His father Lewis owned twenty-seven slaves in the same city.

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Seale organized a company of cavalry and with this unit joined the Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment as a captain. In March 1863 Seale resigned his commission due to health reasons but was reinstated in July 1864 and continued with the Thirteenth Cavalry until its surrender on June 2, 1865. He was promoted to major and served during the Red River campaign, which included the battles of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Yellow Bayou.

After the war, Seale returned to Texas and faced mixed fortunes. He moved to Beaumont, where he speculated in railroads and timber. Initially, Seale was successful. In 1872 he was instrumental in the founding of Texas College in Jasper. Later in the decade, Seale, in partnership with George Washington Smyth, established Eagle Mill, the first lumber mill in Beaumont. After a series of financial setbacks, however, Seale committed suicide on November 2, 1880, in Jasper and was buried there in Seale-Blount Cemetery.


Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Thomas Reid, Spartan Band: Burnett's 13th Texas Cavalry in the Civil War (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2005). Mildred S. Wright, Jasper County, Texas Cemeteries (Decorah, Iowa: Anundsen Publishing Co., 1976).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "SEALE, ELIAS THOMPSON," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fse33.

Uploaded on April 29, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...