Friday, February 16, 2007

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 9

This is the ninth post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner, captured by the Moors in Morocco in 1806.

Part 1 is here.
Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.
Part 3, which includes the second letter, is here.
Part 4, which includes the third letter, is here.
Part 5, which includes the fourth letter, is here.
Part 6, which includes the fifth letter, is here.
Part 7, which includes the sixth letter, is here.
Part 8, which includes the seventh and final letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by through the New England Historic Genealogical Society website, They are also available through (a commercial website).

The New-York Spectator, published in New York City, for 1 August 1807 (Volume X, Issue 1007, Page 3) provided some information on the outcome of Benjamin F. Seaver's adventures in Morocco.

HEADLINE: Plymouth, Salem, Mogadore


In the brig Plymouth, arrived at Salem from Mogadore, came passenger Mr. Joseph Lee, of Marblehead. Mr. Lee was mate of the brig Indefatigable, Captain Seaver, of Boston, which was wrecked upon the Arabian coast about 18 months since, and the crew carried into captivity and sold by the Arabs. Captain S. and Mr. Lee were redeemed by their friends, and brought to Mogadore, whence the former had gone to London.

James Fenwick, native of Charleston, S.C. cook; Wm. Riggs, of Wilmington, N.C. half seaman; and Louis Gimbal, of Bordeaux, apprentice, had run away, and got safe to Mogadore. John Botle, of Norfolk, Wm. Black, of Portsmouth, John Scholts, of Boston, Robert Wise, of New York, Antonio Paccilege, of Ragusa, Edward Steedham, of Dartmouth, Eng. (seamen) and J.B. Berret, of New-Orleans, passenger, still remain in captivity; and Henry Long, of Charleston, S.C. was dead.

Capt. Seaver is son of the unfortunate Mr. Seaver, supercargo of the ship Commerce, which was cast away upon the Arabian coast in the year 1792, where he and many of his companions perished of hunger, as related in the Journal published by Daniel Saunders, of Salem.

This indicates that Mr. Lee and Captain Seaver were able to be ransomed, but Mr. Berret and some of the crew were still in captivity. I wonder if they were ever ransomed or rescued?

This is not the end of the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver, mariner. He is mentioned one more time in history, and I'll deal with that in a future post.

As you might suspect, I transcribed these newspaper articles over time so that I could disseminate the information about a historical event with a distant cousin as an actor. I will put some of it in my family newsletter next Christmas, and will probably put it all on a web page sometime in the future.

Did you enjoy this series? I know it was long, but it shed light on one of the challenges faced by our young nation.

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