Sunday, February 18, 2007

Death of Nathaniel Seaver

Another interesting article about one of my Seaver relatives (a distant cousin, interesting to me, at least!) was found in several newspapers in the America's Historical Newspapers (1690-1876) collection (on, which I accessed at the New England Historic Genealogical Society web site, (a subscription site).


"Concord Herald," (Concord MA), dated 16 May 1793, Volume IV, Issue 15, Page 2.

HEADLINE: New-York, Commerce, Samuel Johnston, Cape Chancelly, Arabia, Valentine Bagley, Almsbury.


We have received from New-York the following account of the unfortunate sufferers, who were on board the ship Commerce of this place, Samuel Johnston, master, wrec'd the 10th of July, 1792, Latt. 18:N a little to the northward of Cape Chancelly, on the coast of Arabia -- it was taken from Valentine Bagley of Almsbury, and confirmed by Samuel Luke of Boston, both of whom were seamen on board said ship, at the time of her being cast away.

Names of those who arrived at Muscat, after travelling 300 miles with almost incredible fatigue, and exposed to the rays of an intensely hot sun, without clothes or provisions -- Samuel Johnston of Rhode Island, master. Samuel Boothbay, of Saco; Valentine Bagley, of Almsbury. Lost in the pinnace, King Lapham, of Bradford, Carpenter; Eben. Grant, and Nath. Seaver, jun., son of one of the Supercargoes. Died with fatigue, swellings blisters in travelling - Charles Lapham, of Boston, seaman; Gilbert Foss, of Long Island, New-York; William Leghorn, and Italian, of Boston; Left unable to proceed, viz. Nath. Seaver, one of the supercargoes and owners - the situation of Mr. Seaver was such that the narrator thinks he could not have survived; and, as a confirmation of his death, the first mate who had promised to stay by him till death, was afterwards seen alone by the Moors; Robert Williams left at the foot of a mountain unable to proceed, and swelled and blistered to a shocking degree, and was without clothes; David Ockington of Boston, first mate, had not arrived at Muscat the 17th of August; John Daniels, of Virginia, boatswain, left unable to proceed; Benjamin Williams, of Boston, second mate, returned to the ship; John Quincy, Sherburne, left the 5th day, very much swell'd and blind; Thomas Barnard, of Boston, and John Rowe, an Irishman, left the 4th day, unable to proceed; John Hill, a negro, taken and made a slave by the Arabs. The two seamen who delivered the foregoing account, arrived at Muscat the 12th of August, and remained until the 17th, at which time there was no account of those they left behind.


I didn't know what a Supercargo was, so I checked Wikipedia, which says it is a person who manages the ship's cargo, selling and offloading, and buying and onloading, the merchandise onboard; he sails on board the ship.

Nathaniel Seaver (ca 1748-1792) married Susanna White on 4 September 1775 in Brookline MA, and had children Nathaniel, Susan, Benjamin Franklin, Lucretia, Edward, Edward W. and Susan White Seaver. His son, Nathaniel, died when the ship was lost, and his son Benjamin Franklin Seaver, is the one who was in prison in France in 1805, captured by the Moors off Morocco in 1806, and died off South America in 1814.

The sheer volume of the newspaper resources available online is staggering - between Newsbank/GenealogyBank, NewspaperArchives (on Ancestry) and other web sites it is now possible to find historical articles such as the above that help to make their subjects real people who lived and died.

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