Eliza Seaman1,2,3,4,5,6

F, b. 9 May 1815, d. 9 February 1900
FatherDr. Valentine Seaman b. 2 Mar 1770, d. 27 Jun 1817
MotherAnna Ferris b. 8 Dec 1771, d. 5 Nov 1854
Eliza [Seaman] Leggett
     Eliza was born on Tuesday, 9 May 1815 in Manhattan, New York County, New York, at the family home at 90 Beekman Street. Eliza married Augustus Wright Leggett, son of William Haight Leggett and Margaret Peck Wright, on 23 November 1836 in Manhattan at the bride's family home at 89 Madison Street. In a Quaker ceremony.7,8 After Augustus & Eliza were first married, they resided in a dear little home, owned by Augustus' father, at 76 Mercer Street in the city. While in New York City, Dr. Isaac Wood, a former student of Eliza's father, attended them. In 1840, they moved for a short time to Peekskill, which was on the Hudson River just 40 miles from the city, where they lived in a pretty cottage. They then moved to their most loved home in Roslyn, Queens County, Long Island, New York. It was a lovely hillside home overlooking the bay and surrounded by trees & flowers. William Cullen Bryant his wife and family resided next to them. While there, their physician was Dr. James Townsend, also a former student of Eliza's father. In 1853, the family along with that of Augustus' brother Samuel's moved to Michigan. They settled for a year in Pontiac and then in Clintonville, Oakland County where they owned a large home & mill. Later, they moved to Detroit where they lived until the death of Augustus. On 1 December 1857, Augustus W. Leggett, of Oakland County, Michigan, purchased from the U.S. Government 320 acres in the southwest quarter of section 24 & the northwest quarter of section 25 in t10n r3e of Oakland County. After the death of her husband, Eliza removed from Detroit & went to live with her son Mortimer at his place called "The Willows" in Drayton Plains, Oakland County. On 29 October 2003, Eliza was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. There is an elementary school named in her honor in Waterford Township, the Eliza Seaman Leggett School. Eliza Seaman and Augustus Wright Leggett lived at "Hillside", Roslyn, Queens County, Long Island, New York. This home was next to the residence of William Cullen Bryant. It was here the families developed a very close & life long friendship. 19 September 1850, Eliza and her husband, Augustus, were listed on the U.S. Federal Census in North Hempstead Town, Queens County, Long Island, New York. Enumerated in this household were Augustus W. Leggett [34 New York], his wife: Eliza L. [34 New York], Mortimer [13 New York], Percival [11 New York], William [9 New York], Margaret [7 New York], Emma [5 New York], Anne [3 New York], Elizabeth [1 New York], servants: Mary O'Leary [35 Ireland], Bridgett O'Connor [20 Ireland]. Eliza Seaman and Augustus Wright Leggett lived in 1853 at Clintonville, Waterford Township, Oakland County, Michigan. They built their home on the property known as "Mill Farm". The house was a three story 40x40 structure with a two story wing of 20x40. It was this home which was part of the Underground Railroad. 23 July 1860, Eliza and her husband Augustus were listed on the U.S. Federal Census in Waterford Township. Enumerated in this household were Augustus W. Leggett [46 New York - farmer], his wife: Elizabeth S. [46 New York], children: Mortimer A. [23 New York], Percival S. [22 New York], William H. [19 New York], Margaret W. [17 New York], Emma [15 New York], Anna S. [13 New York], Elizabeth H. [11 New York], Augusta W. [9 New York] & Blanche I. [3 mos. Michigan]. Property value $2,000.00 & personal property $2,000.00.9 20 June 1870, Eliza was listed on the U.S. Federal Census at Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. Enumerated in this household were A. W. Leggett [54 New York], Elizabeth [55 New York], Augusta W. [18 Michigan], Blanche I. [10 Michigan]. Anna S. Christian [22 Michigan], William H. Christian [23 Michigan][printer], Elizabeth Christian [2 Michigan], Anna Ryan [19 Canada][servant]. Property value $10.000 personal property $1.000. He was a custom house officer.10 4 June 1880, Eliza and her husband, Augustus, were listed on the U.S. Federal Census in Detroit at 169 Elizabeth Street. Enumerated in this household were Augustus W. Leggett [64 New York], his wife: Eliza S. [65 New York], daughters: Blanche I. [20 Michigan] & Elizabeth A. Snow [married][30 New York].11 Eliza's husband, an unknown person , died on 12 January 1885 in the family home at 169 Elizabeth, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, leaving her a widow. Eliza made her will on 12 October 1887 at the home of her daughter, Annie Randall, Drayton Plains , Waterford Township, Oakland County, Michigan.

Dear Children, -
I have written so often regarding the disposal of bits of furniture and things. And in looking them over I have destroyed a great deal, thinking it best to do so. I hope and do believe you will all do just right. So I leave what I have not designated to your good judgement.
To Willie, I have given so much already that you must count that for him, I mean bits. The plated stuff, the urn to John, the looking glass, many, etc., The old English poets, three volumes, are for Guss W. Ives. The Bryant books and bits you mustdivide pleasantly. This old round table for Mort. The pretty china vases I gave to Eliza L. Randal long ago-the shells that are about came from Grandma Margaret Leggett. Divide them as you think best. Make sure each grandchild has a bit. You know how I want the silver divided - weigh all there is except the gift of cups to Lizzy and Blanche. Let every scrap be put together and weighed and equally divided. I think you all know how feel about everything. My little writing desk for Elizabeth Barthel.
Elizabeth Seaman Leggett, Drayton Plains,Michigan 11/10/1888

My dear Mort., I give you my father's watch, the one that he always wore and after he died my mother wore the one my brother, John F. Seaman sent to me. I've intended it for Valentine T. Ives, he seemed to think he'd be my doctor but he will probably have the picture of Valentine Seaman, M.D., that will due. Also I say in this for Anna T. Randall, the largest looking glass as I feel it best that she should have it. By some way, Willie should should have the other glass.- I feel happier for Annie to have this. Mortimer should also have the old bookcase. Lamb's History of New York the very old book L. Seaman sent to me. The Universal Histories of the magazine from Lee Seaman, the, the Leggett Family Bible, the one of W. H. Leggetts grandfather Anna Randall to have my mother's bible. The handsome Shakespeares to Augusta W. Pease the choice of the eminent women as Lizzy had the beautiful photo book. I've given many books to William. I own and also to Elizabeth. The great encyclopedia to Blanche. I gave them to her when she was sixteen. Make the division of books as little trouble as you can and also other bits of appreciation. You must manage as you can. You must not say mother said I could have this or that but do exactly right. The old green and the old round table for Anna Randall. Many bits you must settle among yourselves. I have made lissts and torn them up. the Henry chair, the old clock , the marble slab, my Mother's bureau, the handsome library table, my pictures, my mother's picture, father's, Percy's picture crayon oh, and lots that I have not given Now Do exactly right. the lounge, bedstead I want Mort to have the bedstead and all that appertanins to it. The small bedstead in the room I now occupy for Blanche in lieu of the mattress she gave me and I think the pillows. This is my last will and testament.
Eliza S. Leggett - Nov. 10, 1888

Detroit, Oct. 12th., 1887
This is my last will an testement, I give & bequeath to my children: Mortimer, William, Margaret, Anna, Elizabeth, Augusta and Blanche, all my property real and personal - all of which I may die possessed to them, and to their heirs and assigns forever to be equally divided between them and it is my will that should any of my said children die before this will becomes operative, leaving issue that such child's share go to such issue. The special disposition of certain parts of my personal property such as pieces of furniture and the like is suggested in a letter, which I leave with this my will: the provisions in which will I trust, be followed by my children, since the said gifts are in nature of special bequeaths, and expresses my wishes therein.
It is my wish that all sums of money that may be due me from any of my children at the time of my death, be deducted from their share of my said estate, but that interest due and unpaid at the such time be considered as cancelled and be not deducted. The share of my said estate here given to my son William, is subject to advances heretofore made to him, and amounting in all, to $ 1.150, I wish that all interests on this sum that is not paid at my death, be not charged against him, but that the principal sum only, be deducted. This sum he having already had his portion of my estate, will be lessen to that extent.
Should I leave any real esstate, I impower my executors to sell the same, at either public or private sale, as they may deem best, in the interest of all. It is my wish that my funeral be as inexpensive and unostentatious as possible, and that no badges or indications of mourning be worn after my death in commeration of me.
I appoint D. J. Davidson and Lewis T. Ives as executors of my will, in testimony thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twelfth day of October, 1887. Elizabeth Seaman Leggett
The above instrument was, at the request of the testator, and in her presence, and in the presence of each of us, signed by us as attesting witnesses thereto, and declared by the said testator to be her last will and testament. Harry J. Hartz and Fred W. Baker.

Eliza departed this life on Friday, 9 February 1900 in Drayton Plains , Waterford Township at the home of her daughter, Annie Randall at age 84 years and 9 months.

Obituary - Mrs. Eliza Seaman Leggett ___
Widely-Known Friend of the People died yesterday.
Patriotic Woman Accomplished much for humanity. ___
Interesting Story of Her Long and Busy Career. ___
Mrs. Eliza Seaman Leggett, widow of the late Augustus W. Leggett, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. C. C. Randall, of Drayton Plains, at ten minutes after 7 yesterday morning. Her seven children and many of her grandchildren were with her at the end.
In the death of Eliza Seaman Leggett friendship loses one of the most faithful exponents, peace one of its most insistent advocates and kindness one of its most shining examples. She had the faculty of gaining the admiration and love of everyone with whom she came in contact, and in her eighty-five years of life she endeared herself to hundreds of people by gentle acts of charity and loving-kindness. Always active and energetic, her every thought was for the promotion of the good and the happiness of others, her every act for the benefit of sone fellow being.
Eliza Seaman Leggett was born in New York May 9, 1815. Her father was Dr. Valentine Seaman, a prominent physician, the first to introduce vaccination into the state of New York. On November 23, 1836, she married Augustus W. Leggett and moved with him to Roslyn, L.I., a village to which she gave its name. There was made the acquaintance of William Cullen Bryant and Charles A. Dana and she knew many interesting anecdotes of the professional side of those two men. After twenty two years in Roslyn, Mr. & Mrs. Leggett removed to Michigan and settling in Pontiac. They afterwards moved to Mill Farm, Clintonville and remained there until they came to Detroin in 1864.
Center of Literary Activity.
The Leggett home on East Elizabeth street early became a center of social and literary activity. Mrs. Leggett was the founder of the Detroit Woman's Club. She had made a practice of entertaining Madame King and Mrs. L. H. Stone at her home one afternoon every week, the club grew out of those gatherings and the preliminary meetings were held in the basement of the old Unitarian church. Mrs. Cheaney, of Boston, was also prominent in the work of the orgainzation and Mrs. John J. Bagley was the clubs first president. The "Aurora Boraslis" was the work of Mrs. Leggett and the first meeting of the Prismatic Club was held at her home. Mr. Leggett was this clubs first president. It was Mrs. Leggett who was one of the first to advocate taking Belle Isle for a public park, and the idea of having public drinking fountains originated with her. The plan of setting aside a day dedicated to the memory of Columbus came from Mrs. Leggett and was suggested by her to the poet Walt Whitman whom she knew intimately well. The Custer School owes its first flag to her generosity, and she was among the first to advocate the flying of the national colors from the staff of every school-house in the country.
The slavery question interested Mrs. Leggett deeply and she was an ardent and outspoken Abolitionist. She was closely in touch with the Underground Railroad and helped many a poor creature to escape into Canada. During the time of the war she was in close correspondence with Garrett Smith and other men prominent in anti slavery matters. She knew Laura Haviland intimately and was of great service to her in her work. Her lovable nature gave her a strong hand on many poor creatures whom no one else could move to repent since she never shrank from any person, no matter how vile. On one occasion a woman who was known as a thoroughly desperate character called at the home and insisted on meeting Mrs. Leggett, after she had refused to yeild to the words of any other human being but Mrs. Leggett drew from her whole story and afterwards aided her to reform.
--- Earnest Worker---
In the work leading up to and connected with the Freedman's Fair. Mrs. Leggett played a prominent part, she was a delegate to the fair at Chicago, and appeared there in the character of Mrs. Partington in her work against slavery and in the work she was doing for literature. Mrs. Leggett knew some of the most prominent reformers and literaries or her time. Among them were Theodore Parker, Lucretiaa Mott, Washington Irving, Alcott with many others. One of the best instances of her far reaching interest in the work of reform and aid was the fact that she opened her house for a fair for the benefit of the Working Woman's Home. The fair lasted three days and such was the prestige given to it from its place of meeting and such was Mrs. Leggett's influence on those surrounding her that she turned over to the treasurer of the home over $ 1,300.
Mrs. Leggett resided in Detroit until the death of her husband in 1885. In that year she went to Drayton Plains and took up her residence with her son, Mortimer A. Leggett. Her failing health two years ago necessitated her removal to the residence of her daughter, Mrs. C. C. Randall, whose home she lived until the last summon came. [Detroit Free Press - 10 February 1900]

She was buried on 11 February 1900 at Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, in the Oak Hill Cemetery. In plot 4-447. Her will was probated on 25 March 1901.


Augustus Wright Leggett b. 11 Jun 1816, d. 12 Jan 1885


  1. [S93] Elizabeth Seaman Leggett, Journal of Elizabeth Seaman Leggett.
  2. [S369] R. L. Polk & Company, Detroit City Directory of 1887, page 875 - Eliza S. Leggett [widow Augustus W.], removef to Drayton Plains, Michigan.
  3. [S370] R. L Polk & Company, Detroit City & Wayne County Directory of 1886, page 816 - Eliza S. Leggett, [widow Augustus W.], home: 169 Elizabeth E.
  4. [S1115] Margaret Washington, Sojourner Truth"s America

    , page 151 - …When Sojourner Truth said she would find friends in the East, this might have been based solely on faith, or perhaps on connections with a larger movement, which included Quakeers. Her friend Eliza Seaman Leggett was a Long Islander whose Abolitionist father, a noted Manhattan physician, worked the Underground Railroad. In 1843, the Leggetts lived in Roslyn (called Hempstead Harbor), directly in Sojourner's path. Like many excommunicated Long Island Quakers, the Leggetts moved west and joined the Progressive Friends. Such people became Sojournaer Truth's closest associates. “ I have always loved the Quakers,” she said.
  5. [S1116] Michigan Women's Hall of Fame: Eliza Seaman Leggett inducted in 2003 - Her family members present were Kathleen Mary [Pollock] & Larry McCurdy, Kimberlee Sue McCurdy, Melissa JoAnn [McCirdy] Zeeff, Coredon Chandler & Marian Randall, Anita & James Hunt, Marilynn Izzi and Karen McAdams. Kathy & Larry McCurdy gave the presentation at the induction ceremony.
    "Eliza Seaman Leggett dedicated her life to securing the rights of others, improving the human condition, and enlightening the minds of her family, friends, and neighbors. Although born in New York City, Eliza Seaman Leggett made her home is southeast Michigan.
    The abolition of slavery was one of Eliza's greatest concerns, and she was an active participant in the Underground Railroad. In fact, her Waterford Township home in Oakland County was a stop on the legendary Underground Railroad. When Leggett moved to Detroit, she opened her home to fellow abolitionists such as Sojourner Truth and lecturer Wendell Phillips. She also worked with other noted abolitionists including Mrs. Lloyd Garrison, Lucretia Mott, Theodore Parker, Lyman Beecher, Laura Smith Haviland, and Elizabeth Comstock.
    Upon the end of slavery, Leggett turned her attention towards the suffrage movement and to helping women in need. She wrote frequent articles and gave many lectures on women's suffrage. During the 1870s she devised, co-founded, and implemented the Young Woman's Home Association for the young working women of Detroit.
    Eliza Leggett was also very civic minded. She was instrumental in making Belle Isle a public park for the people of Detroit; she worked to see that all public places, including schools, flew the American flag, and she helped to create a holiday in honor of Christopher Columbus. She also ensured that public drinking fountains and horse watering troughs were placed throughout the city of Detroit.
    Leggett had a great love for literature, and was a frequent correspondent with such literary figures a Louisa May Alcott, Bronson Alcott, Walt Whitman, and William Cullen Bryant. Her enthusiasm for literature led to her hosting literary meetings which led to the idea of a literary club which later became the Detroit Women's Club.
    Eliza Seaman Leggett passed on to her eleven children her enthusiasm for the arts and humanities as well as her great belief in helping those in need and fighting for virtuous causes. Eliza's memory and her contributions to society were recognized when a Waterford Township elementary school was named in her honor. She was made the Historic Citizen of the Month by the Detroit Historical Society Guild in May 1955, and she is further honored with her induction into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.
  6. [S1117] Oakland County in the Civil War: Oakland County in the Civil War
    Eliza Seaman Leggett, a well-known abolitionist from Waterford, was friends with Sojourner Truth and Laura Haviland. Eliza's home-“Willows”-once located on Walton Boulevard is a rumored stop on the Underground Railroad. In 2003, she was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. [Note - Eliza spent the last years of her life at "The Willows", but her home in the early years was at the "Mill Farm" in Clintonville, Waterford Township, a short distance away from "the Willows". It was at the "Mill Farm" residence that her home was a stop for the Underground Railroad. - KLM]
  7. [S91] Michigan Daughters of the American Revolution, Old Bible and Other Genealogical Records, Volume III : page 38 - William Haight Leggett's Bible - "Augustus W. Leggett, Rose Bank, married 23 Nov. 2836 to Elizabeth Seaman, 69 Madison Street."
    Volume V [compiled & indexed by Ferne Fleming Savage, State Consulting Registrar, 1931]: pages 102, 103, 108, 109;
    Volume XIII: pages 89, 90.
  8. [S79] William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Volume III: page 281 - Eliza, d/o Dr. Valentine & Anna Seaman, b. 5/9/1815, m. ___ Leggett, dismissed 7/5/1837.
  9. [S675] 1860 United States Federal Census: Waterford Township, Oakland County, Michigan - pageg 395-396 - transcribed by Larry & Kathy McCurdy.
  10. [S676] 1870 United States Federal Census: Wayne County, New York - 6th Ward, page 1, line, 35 - transcribed by Larry & Kathy McCurdy.
  11. [S677] 1880 United States Federal Census: Wayne County, Michigan - 6th Ward, Enumeration District 285, sheet 16, line 47 - transcribed by Larry & Kathy McCurdy.