Thomas Seay

Last updated

Thomas Seay
27th Governor of Alabama
In office
December 1, 1886 December 1, 1890
Preceded by Edward A. O'Neal
Succeeded by Thomas G. Jones
Personal details
Born(1846-11-20)November 20, 1846
Erie, Alabama
DiedMarch 30, 1896(1896-03-30) (aged 49)
Greensboro, Alabama
Resting placeGreensboro Cemetery, Greensboro, Alabama [1]
Political party Democratic
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the Confederate States of America (1861-1863).svg  Confederate States of America
Branch/serviceBattle flag of the Confederate States of America.svg  Confederate States Army
Years of service1863-1865
RankSergeant [2]
Battles/wars American Civil War

Thomas J. Seay (November 20, 1846 – March 30, 1896) was an American Democratic politician who was the 27th Governor of Alabama from 1886 to 1890. [3]

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.


Early life

Thomas Jefferson Seay was born on November 20, 1846, near Erie in present-day Hale County. This area was part of Greene County at the time of his birth to Reuben and Ann McGee Seay. Thomas grew up on a plantation until age twelve when the family moved to Greensboro, Alabama. There he attended Southern University (Greensboro) until the outbreak of the American Civil War interrupted his studies.

Hale County, Alabama County in the United States

Hale County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,760. Its county seat is Greensboro. It is named in honor of Confederate officer Stephen Fowler Hale.

Greene County, Alabama County in the United States

Greene County is a county in the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,045; it was the least populous county in Alabama. Its county seat is Eutaw. It was named in honor of Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island. In the 2010 census, the county's population was 81.5% African-American.

Greensboro, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Greensboro is a city in Hale County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 2,497, down from 2,731 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Hale County, Alabama, which was not organized until 1867. It is part of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In 1863 Seay enlisted in the Confederate Army and served with his company around Mobile. He was captured at Spanish Fort and at Blakeley and was imprisoned on Ship Island. Seay returned to Southern University (Greensboro) after the war, graduating in 1867. He then studied law and practiced as a junior member of Coleman and Seay from 1869 to 1885. Seay also engaged in planting.

Mobile, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Mobile is the county seat of Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 as of the 2010 United States Census, making it the third most populous city in Alabama, the most populous in Mobile County, and the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Spanish Fort, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Spanish Fort is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 6,798. It is a suburb of Mobile and is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area.


Thomas Seay began his political career in 1874 when he ran unsuccessfully for the state senate. He was successful in 1876 and remained in the senate for ten years, serving as president from 1884-1886. Seay was elected governor in 1886 and reelected in 1888.

This administration is noteworthy for Seay's success in reducing taxes while increasing social services and running state government in the black. An advocate for social welfare programs, the central Alabama native supported crucial legislation. During his administration women and children were limited to an eight-hour work day. Pensions were provided for disabled Confederate veterans and their widows. Seay was also supportive (in the context of late 19th century standards) of measures to improve the rights and education of Alabama's black citizens.

Alabama State of the United States of America

Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th largest by area and the 24th-most populous of the U.S. states. With a total of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of inland waterways, Alabama has among the most of any state.

Several new schools were established during Seay's term. Among these were the State Normal School at Troy (now Troy State University) and the State Normal School for Colored Students in Montgomery (now Alabama State University). In Talladega the Alabama Academy for the Blind was established, removing that responsibility from the Alabama Institute for the Deaf.

Alabama State University university

Alabama State University (ASU) is a public historically black university in Montgomery, Alabama. Founded in 1867, ASU is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Talladega, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Talladega is the county seat of Talladega County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 15,676. Talladega is approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of Birmingham.

Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind

The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) is a school for people with blindness and/or deafness operated by the U. S. State of Alabama in the city of Talladega. The current institution includes the Alabama School for the Deaf, the Alabama School for the Blind, and the Helen Keller School, named for Alabamian Helen Keller, which serves children who are both deaf and blind. The E. H. Gentry Technical Facility provides vocational training for older students, and the institution offers employment to graduates through its Alabama Industries for the Blind workshops in Talladega and Birmingham. The AIDB has regional centers in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Mobile, Dothan, Auburn, and Tuscumbia. The AIDB currently serves nearly 24,500 residents from all 67 counties of the state.

Bessemer was founded in 1887 and the iron and steel industry in Jefferson County began to boom soon after. An especially exciting event to occur while Seay was in office was the 1887 visit of President Grover Cleveland to Montgomery.

Bessemer, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Bessemer is a city southwest of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. The population was 27,456 at the 2010 Census. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Jefferson County is the center. It developed rapidly as an industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Jefferson County, Alabama County in the United States

Jefferson County is the most populous county in the United States state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, its population was 658,466. Its county seat is Birmingham, the most populous city in the state. Its rapid growth as an industrial city in the 20th century, based on heavy manufacturing in steel and iron, established its dominance.

Cleveland City in Ohio

Cleveland is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County. The city proper has a population of 385,525, making it the 51st-largest city in the United States, and the second-largest city in Ohio. Greater Cleveland is ranked as the 32nd-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with 2,055,612 people in 2016. The city anchors the Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area, which had a population of 3,515,646 in 2010 and is ranked 15th in the United States.

Other events during Seay's administration were not so joyful. The convict lease system began and businessmen soon realized the opportunity for exploitation of this work force. The Hawes Riot took place in Birmingham; thirteen people died. Evidence of discontent among Alabamians occurred when farmers organized the Farmer's Alliance to draw attention to their problems.

In 1890 Seay was defeated by James M. Pugh in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat. He did not run for office again although he helped Thomas G. Jones in his campaign for governor against Populist Reuben Kolb.


Seay married Ellen Smaw of Greene (later Hale) County on July 12, 1875. She bore him a son and a daughter before her death in 1879. In 1881 he married Clara de Lesdernier by whom he had four more children. Seay died at the age of 49 on March 30, 1896 in Greensboro.


Seay Hall at the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University was named for him. The three story wood frame dormitory burned in 1892. [4]


  1. "Thomas Seay". Find A Grave. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  2. "Confederate Veteran". II. 1894: 259.
  3. "Thomas Seay (1886-90)". Auburn University. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  4. "National Register of Historic Places". National Park Service. Retrieved 19 November 2017.


Political offices
Preceded by
Edward A. O'Neal
Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Thomas G. Jones

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