Calvin Segee Adams, c1910
Calvin Segee Adams was my 2X great grandfather, although when I first began researching in the 1980s, he was always Calvin S. Adams. Luckily my cousin, Charles Chadwick, kept up with all the Adams family (his mother was Calvin’s daughter), so when I asked if he knew Calvin’s middle name, he didn’t hesitate: SEGEE.
Even though he couldn’t name the exact family members, he was aware that Segee was the name of the husband of “one of Calvin’s aunts.” That was a good start and Segee is not a common surname.
By the time this conversation took place, I was aware that my grandfather was descended from Loyalist John Adams, who left Connecticut via New York and then sailed to New Brunswick, Canada in the fall of 1783.
Therefore, Loyalist records were definitely the starting point for Segee research. As it happened, there was only one Loyalist by the name of Segee.
Jacob Segee was born c1735, but very little is known about his life, including his birthplace. He died in 1818 in York County, New Brunswick, Canada. Segee is a Huguenot name, so he may have come from England with ancestry in France. He married Mercy or Marcy, who was born c1738 and died 28 August 1824 in Fredericton, York, New Brunswick, Canada.
Her very short obituary states that she was the widow of Jacob, came to Canada in 1783 “with four sons, left three sons.” I can’t tell from that wording whether it means three sons survived her or three remained in the United States. It sounds like she left three sons behind, but the Segee name can’t be found until 1820 in New York. More on that in a minute.
Jacob and Mercy had four sons. If there were any daughters, they either died before their parents or they are unknown.
- John, born c1763; died December 1834. No wife or family has been identified, but John made a statement about his treatment by the Patriots in New York. He had lost an arm in an accident at the age of 12. He was stopped while trying to travel from Long Island into New York, was whipped, had his hair shave and they threatened to behead him when he said he stood with the British.
- Joseph, born c1765; no further record after arriving in Canada
- William, born 1767; died 4 May 1841, Lincoln, Sunbury, New Brunswick, Canada; married Hannah Adams, 19 February 1789, Sunbury County, New Brunswick, Canada. He was a miller.
- James, born c1770; died 7 October 1846, Fredericton, York, New Brunswick, Canada; married Sarah G. Noble. James and Sarah had three children: William Vincent, George N. and Sarah E. He was a steamboat captain on the St. John River.
William Segee and Hannah Adams reportedly had ten children, but they are not very well documented:
- Joseph Coley, 1790-?
- Sarah E., 1791-1851
- James Smith, 1792-1836
- Lucy Ann, 1797-1839
- Mercy, 1800-1810
- Matilda Muriel, 1802-1850
- Mary Beatie, 1805-1849
- William, 1809-1896
- Thomas H., 1810-1876
- Charlotte Maria, 1812-1882
However, the fact that Hannah Adams married William Segee reveals the link to Calvin Segee Adams. Calvin’s father was Daniel Adams and Daniel’s parents were Thomas Adams and Sarah Brawn.
Thomas was the son of Loyalist John Adams and his wife, Sarah Coley and the brother of Hannah Adams. William Segee died in 1841. Calvin was born on 16 March 1843 and given the middle name of Segee in honor of his father’s recently deceased aunt, William Segee. He must have thought highly of him.
As for the Segee ancestry, so little seems to be verified. I’ve seen mentions of Jacob and Mercy settling in Westchester County, Orange County and Dutchess County by 1760. Yet there are no land deeds for any Segee in the 1700s in those counties. I’ve also read that they settled in “Tomahawk,” but that name isn’t listed in New York gazetteers.
However, there might be a clue about the Segee family found in New York City.
Jacob W. Segee wrote a will on 20 October 1815. He was an unmarried merchant living in Manhattan, New York City. The will was recorded on 2 November 1815. Jacob made several bequests:
- Lewis C. Segee, “my brother”
- Elizabeth “Cammerdinger, ” (Gamerdinger) daughter of Michael and Sally, who was under the age of 21 “and my cousin.”
- Hannah Schirmer, widow, “my beloved aunt.”
- Hannah Elizabeth Segee, “my sister.”
A handful of other records about these people were found. Lewis Segee lived in Manhattan in 1820 and was aged 26-45. He was probably the father of Lewis Jacob Segee, who died on 10 February 1820, aged one year, seven months.
Elizabeth Gamerdinger was born 1 March 1801 and baptized on 2 April 1802 at the Dutch Reformed Church in New York City. She was the daughter of Michael and Salome Gamerdinger. Michael was born 19 September 1773 in New York City and died 24 February 1823, also in New York City.
Hannah (MNU) Schirmer was the widow of William Schirmer. She died by 2 December 1840, when probate was entered.
Hannah Elizabeth Segee died 22 April 1836, New York City, no age given.
If Jacob and Mercy Segee sailed to Canada, leaving behind three sons, it seems likely that the father of of Lewis, Jacob and Hannah Elizabeth could be one of the sons who remained in the newly established United States.
Segee descendants might want to delve into New York records to look for the family connections mentioned by Jacob W. Segee in his 1815 will.