The Seaton family was one of the Alexandria icons of success in the City of Alexandria. The Seatons were freed people of color by early 1800. Lucinda Seaton, mother of John, obtained her freedom through General George and Martha Washington.
John and his brothers, George, Jr., and Adolphus were high achievers during a time when many African Americans were slaves. John, during the Civil War enlisted in the quartermaster’s department in Alexandria, and then he enlisted in the colored Union troops. His duty was to protect Alexandria and Washington, D.C., during the Civil War.
After the war, John was elected by Senator John F. Lewis to the Treasury Department and then to the police force of the U.S. Capitol.
In 1871, John was appointed Alderman for the fourth ward in Alexandria City Council, being the first colored man in the State to be honored. John’s other accomplishment was to accompany the body of Charles Sumner from Washington, D.C. to Boston. John also accepted a position as a police guard in New York for the Equitable Assurance Company.
John was born around 1837 in Alexandria, VA. He grew up in the neighborhood of Washington and Franklin Streets. In John’s era, the area was called “Seatonville.” He was a giant of a man, 6 feet 6 inches tall and he weighed 275 pounds. On March 18, 1877, John married his second wife, Alice McGuire. John had one son, John, Jr., with his first wife and a second son, Adolphus with his second wife.
John was a member of the Universal Lodge, No. 1. A.F. and A.M., of Alexandria, VA, Lieutenant Commander of Fletcher Consistory, Scottish Rite Masonry, 32-degree Mason, and a Noble of Magnus Temple of the Mystic Shrine of Mount Olivet Baptist Church in New York City.
In April 1898, Honorable John L. Seaton died at his summer residence in Fauquier County, VA. The Masonic fraternity of Virginia performed his funeral. His burial was on his farm in Fauquier, Virginia.
John Seaton has descendants. One of his descendants is through his wife, Alice McGuire Seaton. Alice’s great-grand nephew, James Henson, Sr., lives in Alexandria, Virginia on the site of the old Seaton School for Boys.