Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Norman Seaver (1734-1787) died 220 years ago today

One of my favorite ancestors , especially in my Seaver ancestry, is Norman Seaver. He died on 31 July 1787 in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Here is his story (from my database):

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NORMAN5 SEAVER (ROBERT4, JOSEPH3, SHUBAEL2, ROBERT1) was born about 1734 in Framingham, Middlesex, MA, (age 53 at death), and died 31 July 1787 in Westminster, Worcester, MA, (VR, 247). He married SARAH READ 14 March 1755 in Sudbury, Middlesex, MA, (VR, 265), daughter of ISAAC READ and EXPERIENCE WILLIS. She was born 28 December 1736 in Sudbury, Middlesex, MA, (VR, 2118), and died before 3 January 1809 in Westminster, Worcester, MA, ( PR).

Norman Seaver was born about 1734 or 1735, according to his age 53 (on his gravestone) at the time of his death in 1787 in Westminster.

He went to Narragansett No. 2 (later Westminster) in 1750 with his father, and money was paid to him by the town proprietors in 1751. After the death of his father in 1752, he probably lived in Sudbury or Framingham with his mother. After he married in 1755, he lived in Sudbury where three children were born, and moved to Shrewsbury in 1760. Six children were registered there, and he moved to Westminster (formerly Narragansett No. 2) in 1773, purchasing lots 76 and 122 of the 3rd division from Heman Kendall; the property was between Prospect Hill and Beech Hill [Heywood, "History of Westminster, Mass.", Lowell MA, Vox Populi Press, 1893, hereafter "Heywood)].

Norman Seaver, husbandman of Sudbury, bought 100 acres of land in Shrewsbury for 120 pounds on 15 September 1760 from Edward Raymond of Shrewsbury [Worcester County Deeds 47.97, recorded 2 May 1762, LDS Microfilm 0,843,179].

Norman Seaver of Shrewsbury sold 15 acres of land in Shrewsbury, at the northeast corner of Maldin farm, on 14 January 1769 to Isaac Temple of Shrewsbury for 15 pounds. The land was bounded by land of Isaac Temple (east and west) and Norman Seaver (north and south) [Worcester County Deeds 72.84, recorded 8 December 1773, LDS Microfilm 0,843,358].

Norman Sever, yeoman of Shrewsbury, bought 1 acre in Shrewsbury on 8 April 1772 for 2 pounds from Thomas Andrews, gentleman of Shrewsbury. The land was a triangular piece, bounded by land of Norman Sever, Thomas Andrews and Philip Munroe [Worcester County Deeds 77.47, recorded 3 May 1777, LDS Microfilm 0,843,360].

Norman Sever, yeoman of Shrewsbury, sold land in Shrewsbury to Abel Osgood of Rutland on 22 April 1772 for 200 pounds, 13 shillings, 4 pence [Worcester County Deeds 87.158, recorded 10 December 1782, LDS Microfilm 0,843,364].

Norman Sever, yeoman of Westminster, bought 127 acres of land in the northerly part of Westminster from Heman Kendall, yeoman of Lancaster, on 12 May 1773. It included 2/3 of lot 76, lot 125, part of lot 65, and another 3rd division lot; this land bounded land of Edward Jackson, Amos Gates, Joseph Spaulding, Asa Taylor and Wheeler [Worcester County Deeds 74.142, recorded 12 August 1774, LDS film 0,843,359].

Norman Sever, yeoman of the county of Worcester, sold 5 acres 100 rods of land in the northerly part of Westminster to Joseph Spaulding, housewright of Westminster, for 10 pounds on 5 July 1776. The land was taken from the southeast corner of the Second Division lot No. 250, and was bounded by a maple tree, stakes and stones, and land of Joseph Spaulding [Worcester County Deeds 77.35, recorded 28 April 1777, LDS Microfilm 0,843,560].

He also bought a different 5 acres and 100 rods of land in the northerly part of Westminster from Joseph Spaulding for 10 pounds. The land was bounded by stakes and stones [Worcester County Deeds 76.148, recorded 5 August 1777, LDS Microfilm 0,843,360].

Norman Sever, yeoman of Shrewsbury, bought land in the northerly part of Westminster from Thomas Farnsworth of Westminster for 18 pounds on 25 December 1782 [Worcester County Deeds 87.228, recorded 7 February 1783, LDS Microfilm 0,843,364].

Norman Seaver, gentleman of Westminster, sold about 3/4 acre of land in the Beech Hill meadow in the northeasterly part of Westminster to Amos Gates for 2 pounds, 5 shillings on 8 March 1784. The land was in the southwest corner of meadow number 40, and was bounded by lot 41, land of Norman Seaver and Amos Gates [Worcester County Deeds 91.476, recorded 8 July 1784, LDS Microfilm 0,843,366].

Norman Seaver, and several of his sons, served in the Revolutionary War. He was a Sergeant in Captain Noah Miles company that marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775 to Cambridge and joined Colonel John Whitcomb's regiment there for eleven and one half days of service. He was reported as not having enlisted into the army. He served as an Ensign in Captain Francis Willson's company in Colonel Danforth Keyes regiment from June 27 to July 27, 1777, with the roll dated Providence; he served in the same company and regiment from December 1, 1777 to January 3, 1778, with the roll dated Providence. As a First Lieutenant in Captain Ebenezer Belknap's company in Colonel Nathaniel Wade's regiment, he was engaged on April 1, 1778 and discharged January 3, 1779, serving in Rhode Island. Muster rolls dated North Kingston, Rhode Island were taken on November 6 and December 1, 1778, and muster rolls at East Greenwich, Rhode Island were dated September 28, November 6, November 10, December 1, and December 30, 1778, with his term to expire on January 1, 1779. Several other Westminster men, probably sons of Norman Seaver, who served in the Revolutionary War were Benjamin, Joseph, and Isaac Seaver. In addition, Norman's brothers, Moses Seaver and Samuel Seaver of Westminster, served ["Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War", Volume XII, pub. Boston, 1905, p. 1006].

Norman Seaver may have been commissioned as Captain of the Militia after the Revolutionary War ended, since he is styled Captain on his death record and his gravesite in Woodside Cemetery in Westminster.

Norman Seaver is listed as the holder of Pew No. 2 on the lower floor near the wall of the Second Meetinghouse. The pew cost between $31 to $66 [Heywood].

Norman Seaver was a carpenter by trade. He took a contract for enclosing and shingling on the second meetinghouse of the town. During the raising of the building he fell from the frame receiving fatal injuries [Heywood].

Norman Seaver, gentleman of Westminster, died intestate. His probate docket [Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet 52,914] includes the following documents:

On 25 Sep 1787, Widow Sarah Sever was appointed administratrix of the estate, and bond in the amount of 2000 pounds was given by William Edgell, and Josiah Puffer, sureties [Worcester County Probate Records, 179.530, LDS Microfilm 0,860,627]. On 28 Sep 1787 a Warrant of Appraisal was given for an inventory to be taken. [Worcester County Probate Records, 21.487, LDS Microfilm 0,856,285]. On 21 Oct 1788 the Account Balance of 150 pounds 19 shillings was allowed [Worcester County Probate Records, 22.139, LDS Microfilm 0,856,286].

On 21 Oct 1788 a Warrant for partition of the estate was issued to William Edgell, Josiah Puffer and Edward Jackson [Worcester County Probate Records, 24.263, LDS Microfilm 0,856,314]. They found the home place with buildings and land comprised 106 acres lying in Westminster. An additional 3 acres were held in common with Timothy Heywood, Samuel Miller, and William Murdock, all of Westminster. In 1791, the inventory was recorded, with Real estate 215 pounds and personal estate of 159 pounds, 19 shillings and 9 pence. The real estate included the 106 acre house lot with buildings (212 pounds) and a piece of land in common with Timothy Heywood and Samuel ??? and William Murdock (3 pounds) [Worcester County Probate Records, 24.370, LDS Microfilm 0,856,314].

On 3 Jan 1792, the Account balance of 3 pounds, 13 shillings and 9 pence was allowed and distribution to the heirs was ordered [Worcester County Probate Records, 24.358, LDS Microfilm 0,856,314]. Heirs named in the distribution are:

· widow Sarah Seaver (1/3 dower right)
· son Benjamin Sever (2/3 real estate + double portion)
· son Isaac Sever,
· son Ethan Sever,
· son Daniel Sever,
· son Heman Sever,
· son Luther Sever,
· son Asel Sever,
· daughter Eunice Whitney (wife of Elisha Whitney)
· daughter Sarah Cutter (wife of Josiah Cutter),
· daughter Relief Sever,
· daughter Faithfull Sever,
· daughter Lucinda Sever

In the distribution, the eldest son, Benjamin Sever, was awarded his double portion of 22 pounds and was ordered to pay the other children their equal share of 11 pounds each. [Worcester County Probate Records, 24.358, LDS Microfilm 0,856,314].

Norman Seaver's grave is located in the western end of Woodside Cemetery in Westminster MA. There is a rough hewn stone with his name on it, and several smaller unmarked stones in the same plot. The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) have erected a new stone to commemorate his service in the Revolutionary War.

Notes for Sarah Read:

On 3 January 1792, Sarah Seaver was appointed guardian for daughters Feathe and Lucenden Seaver, while Samuel Gerrish was appointed guardian for Asel and Relief Seaver [Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet 52,863].

In the 1790 U.S. census, Sarah Seaver was living in Westminster with 6 white females and one free white male under age 16. [Worcester County MA 1790 US census, LDS Microfilm 0,568,144, page 243].

In the 1800 census, Sarah Seaver is probably included in the census record for her son, Benjamin Severs of Westminster [Worcester County MA 1800 US Census, LDS Microfilm 0,205,617, Page 451].

The estate of widow Sarah Seaver [Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet 52924], who died intestate, probably in late 1808, indicates that on 3 January 1809 Benjamin Sever was appointed administrator of the estate, and bond of $10,000 was given by Benjamin Seaver, Heman Ray, and Daniel How, all yeomen of Westminster [Worcester County Probate Records, 171.328, LDS Microfilm 0,860,623]. On 3 January 1809, a warrant of appraisal was granted [Worcester County Probate Records, 623:194]. On 1 November 1809, the inventory was recorded with real property of $450 and a personal estate of $63 [Worcester County Probate Records, 38:152, LDS Microfilm 0,856,321].

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