Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Read about Benjamin Franklin Seaver in the newspapers

In early February 2007, I received an email from Gardner Russell asking me "what do you know about Captain Benjamin Franklin Seaver?" He had Googled "Seaver" and had found Genea-Musings somehow.

My initial response was "I know who his parents are, and that he died off Buenos Aires, and he was a distant cousin of mine."

This query led to a 9 part series of posts transcribing newspaper articles about the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), including:

Part 1 introduced the series, and an article from the Suffolk (NY) Gazette dated 4 March 1805, which published a letter dated 15 November 1804.
Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the Connecticut Herald newspaper (published in New Haven CT), dated 20 January 1807, and posted the first letter, dated 23 March 1806.
Part 3, the second letter, dated 28 April 1806.
Part 4, the third letter, dated 9 June 1806.
Part 5, the fourth letter, dated 31 July 1806.
Part 6, the fifth letter, dated 3 September 1806.
Part 7, the sixth letter, dated 14 September 1806.
Part 8, the seventh and final letter, dated 18 September 1806.
Part 9, an article in the New York Spectator dated 1 August 1807.

The newspaper articles were intriguing and informative, and documented BFS's travails in north Africa - he was held captive and ransomed. But this is not the end of the story of the short life of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814).

The "rest of the story" is told by author Gardner Hale Russell in his book Timely Heroes, Under the Southern Cross (published by BookSurge Publishing, paperback, 230 pages, copyright 2008). This book is an historical novel, about the five "heroes" (four of them Americans) who formed a naval flotilla and fought in the battle for the independence of Argentina from Spain in 1812 to 1814.

Each "hero" has a chapter in the book. Benjamin Franklin Seaver's background is described in Chapter 1 - some of it based on the letters found in the 1805-1807 newspapers noted above. The final chapter of the book describes the outcome of their efforts.

Gardner Russell sent me a copy of his book in early September and I've read it now. It's an interesting story about a part of history that I knew nothing about. In his letter sending the book to me in gratitude for my help, Gardner wrote: "... Soon, I had all the information I needed on Benjamin Franklin Seaver, and his incredible life."

I'm thrilled that I could help Gardner find information about one of his timely heroes, and that a distant cousin of mine (BFS is my fourth cousin six times removed) helped bring liberty to Argentina. He certainly led an interesting life!

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