From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Seales, Daniel, Sr.

(born: 1821  -  died: 1905) Daniel Seales Sr., a wealthy businessman, was born in Lexington, KY, the son of jockey Dennis Seales (b.1784 in KY) who owned quite a bit of property in Lexington. It was questioned in the media as to whether Daniel Seales was truly a millionaire who lived in San Francisco, CA. An answer was printed in an issue of the Cleveland Gazette, and the 1891 article stated that Seales was wealthy, traveled extensively, and was rarely at his home in San Francisco, and that he often spent time in Cleveland, OH, with his wife and children.

Seales' family had moved to Cleveland some years prior to 1891, and the reason for the move, according to the article, was because the Cleveland schools were better for his four children. During his travels, Seales sometimes visited Lexington, KY, and his arrival was announced in the newspaper. The same was true when he visited other cities, and Seales would also submit letters to the editors of newspapers in cities he visited. In California, Seales was a member of the newly formed Colored citizens state convention, an organization that fought for the equal rights of African Americans and for representation in the state legislature. Seales filed several lawsuits against public establishments that denied access to African Americans based on race.

One of the cases took place in 1885 in the Cleveland Common Pleas Court; the suit was against La Grand Rink in Cleveland, because Daniel Seales Jr. had been denied admission due to his race. The following year, Seales Sr. was awarded $200 in damages. It is not known if Seales was ever a slave. He was an educated man, an 1850 graduate of Oberlin College. Immediately after graduation, Seales moved to California, where it was said that he made his fortune mining gold. While in San Francisco, his brother Enoch Seals, who was a minister, sent him a letter in 1867, announcing that he was appointed a deputy sheriff and tax collector for Colored people in Louisville, KY; the appointment was thought to be the first office held by a Colored person in Louisville. Daniel Seales had the announcement printed in the Elevator, a newspaper in San Francisco.

Daniel Seales' family is listed in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census as free persons living in Lexington, KY. Their last name is spelled 'Seals.' Daniel Seales, Sr. continued to visit Lexington from time to time and eventually moved to Cleveland where he died at the family home on Woodland Avenue.

For more see "The San Francisco Elevator...," Cleveland Gazette, 02/14/1891, p.3; "Daniel Seales, Sr. died...," Cleveland Gazette, 04/15/1905, p.3; "Daniel Seales," Lexington Leader, 05/24/1898, p.7; "Colored millionaire," Lexington Leader, 11/13/1890, p.5; "Kentucky - Daniel Seals, Esq...," Elevator, 09/27/1867, p.3; "Call for a state convention," Elevator, 11/08/1873, p.2; "Daniel Seales, Sr...," Cleveland Gazette, 05/29/1886, p.4; "What do you think of this?," Cleveland Gazette, 09/19/1891, p.3.

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
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Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Cleveland gazette (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Elevator (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Lexington and Fayette County, KY

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Seales, Daniel, Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 4, 2023,

Last modified: 2017-12-24 07:19:20