John Michael Seymour, Sr. (1875-1939)

My great-grandfather, John Michael Seymour, Sr. was the patriarch of the Seymour family in Selma, Alabama. He was born Oct. 9, 1875, in (I believe) Monroeville, Alabama. He was the third of four children born to Charles Franklyn Seymour and his wife, Emma Pettibone.

John Michael married Alma Wallis on October 7, 1896. They had six children: Alma (“Shorty”, “Wer”), Josephine (“Dodie”, “Dodo”), Anna Bell (“Bubber”, “Biboo”), Mary Elizabeth (“Nunchie”), John Michael Jr. (“Son”) and Wallis Andrews (“Rocky”).

John Michael, Sr., was very successful in the insurance business. His youngest son said he’d annually write $1 million of policies annually for the Union Central Life Insurance Co.

A highlight of his career was being chosen to be the company’s first vice president of the his company’s convention of agents held in San Francisco, in conjunction with the World’s Insurance Congress (Oct. 4-14, 1915) that was conducted under the auspices of the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition.

The “Insurance Field” newspaper noted this on page 12 of its July 2, 1915, issue:


Here are images from the company’s program for its convention:

johnmseymour1915 johnmseymour1915a

Rocky’s wife remembered that John Michael (Sr.) was also musical, leading and playing the bass violin in a 30-person orchestra that played for the movies in the Selma theater. His wife, Alma Wallis, played the piano and they both encouraged their children to play musical instruments. Daughter Alma played the organ and piano, and Josephine played the violin. But when Rocky wanted to play the saxophone, his father said that was trash and refused to let him.

He also taught Sunday School.

Martha Jackson Ross remembered that her maternal grandfather had become senile before he died in 1939. He is buried in Selma’s Live Oak Cemetery.

Here is a photo of him, cropped from a family photo that was probably taken in the 1930s:

John Michael Seymour, Sr. (1930s)John Michael Seymour, Sr. (1930s)

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