Monday, April 21, 2008

"A Terrible Accident"

One of the stories found in the historical newspaper archives at is this one about Edward E. Seaver (not an ancestor, but a distant cousin):

This obituary for Edward E. Seaver was published in the Watertown (NY) Daily Times dated Tuesday, May 8, 1882. The obituary reads:


Edward E. Seaver Struck by a Saw and Bleeds to Death at Remington & Co's Paper Mill This Morning

A heart-rending accident in which Edward E. Seaver lost his life occurred at Remington & Co.'s paper mill about 11 o'clock this morning. The facts, as near as they can be learned, are as follows: Edward and his father, together with other hands, are employed in the wood mill, where long sticks of wood are sawn up preparatory to putting them in the wood machines to be ground. A swing saw is used, which is arranged so that it can be brought forward when in use, and when the stick is sawn off, it goes back and the timber is moved along. The saw used on this occasion was a 36-inch one, and Seaver had just cut off the end of a stick to square it. It seems that the end, or a portion of it which was quite small, had dropped down in the trough which the saw runs in when run forward. Young Seaver ran the saw, and was In the act of moving the stick along, when suddenly the saw came forward and struck the end of the stick, which had dropped down, and pushing it along, it shoved the guard off at the end of the trough, which was nothing but a piece of inch board nailed on. The saw struck Seaver in the right leg above the knee and laid it open clear to the groin. One of the teeth of the saw also struck him in the breast and made an ugly wound. Seaver dropped back immediately. Dr. Spencer was telephoned for, and being in (he office, Drs. H. G. P. and U. P. started Immediately for the scene of the accident, but when they arrived. Seaver bad breathed his last, having bled to death. The doctors gave it as their opinion that had someone been there to stop the flow of blood perhaps his life might have been saved.

Edward E. Seaver was 21 years old and a married man, having married Miss Heintzelman, daughter of Joseph C.Heintzleman, the baker in Streeter's block, only last fall. He was the son of Richard F. Seaver, who lives at the corner of Burchard and Rutland streets, and has four brothers, two being employed in the Davis sewing machine shop, one in the wood mill with himself and father, and the other, George, is clerk in Zimmerman's grocery store. Ex-Supervisor A. D. Seaver is his uncle. Edward is spoken of very highly by his associates in the mill and the accident cast a gloom over the whole island. In fact at all the manufacturing establishments in town it was the topic of conversation and many were the expressions of sympathy and grief.

The body was removed from the mill to Ballard & Rollinson's undertaking rooms, where it was dressed, and where it has been viewed this afternoon by a large number of people.

When the news of the sad fate of her husband was told to Mrs. Seaver, she Immediately swooned arid afterward had several fits. She is enceinte, and her condition is such as to cause alarm. Dr. Spencer was sent for, and when he left her about 1 o'clock she was better, and he thought there would be no serious consequences.

The image is poor in places - I can't read the 8 letter word (now in red, see the update below) in the last paragraph - it looks like "encloses" but it can't be.

What a sad story - a young man working to support his bride, and he dies in an accident. The full, gory details were published in the newspaper for all to be horrified by. As the saying goes, "if it bleeds, it leads."

UPDATED 4/23: DearMYRTLE loves to figure out things like indecipherable words, and suggested in email "pregnant" or "expecting." I played with the magnification on the article and at 75% I was pretty sure it said "enciente" in italics. I Googled the definition of "enciente" and found the definition of "enceinte" in French is "carrying an unborn child," from the Latin "inciens" for pregnant. The key was the italics - it was obviously a foreign word once I looked at it closely.


Terry Thornton said...

Randy, This sad, sad story about your cousin is important in that it helps to paint a picture of living and working conditions from the 1880s. However tragic the story is, it add a layer of knowledge about your relative that a mere reading of his tombstone could never provide.

Donna Mac said...

The reports of accidents were so much more graphic back then. I myself had searched for an obituary of my great grandfather whom I had been told died in an accident in the railyards of West Albany, NY. It was a bit unsettling to discover his story smack in the middle of the front page with similar graphic details. As I have learned since, railroading too was a dangerous occupation.

genealogyhound said...

This is a relative that had escaped me. I am a descendant of Richard F. Seaver through Richard Jr.

Interesting article!