Sunday, July 12, 2009

"A Much Married Man in Trouble..."

The historical newspaper collections occasionally reveal a bit too much about some of our ancestors or distant relatives.

I signed up for the 7-day free trial for GenealogyBank, a commercial genealogy database with historical newspapers and other holdings, the other day, and entered many of my elusive ancestors, and not-so-elusive but interesting ones too, into the search engine. One article that caused a stir was this sad and disturbing one from the Worcester (MA) Daily Spy, dated 20 June 1890 (I separated it into paragraphs for readability):




Henry L. Haskell, an officer of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children , was in town recently, investigating the case of little Mabel Seaver. It appears that one Edward A. Seaver, who resides in the south part of the town, on the Seaver farm, where his father and grandfather lived before him, has had quite an experience in the matrimonial line.

It is said that 25 years ago or more, when a school boy of 16, his father came to the school house one day, and said, "Here, Ed, here's $3; go off and get married. Your school days are over." Not from choice, but of necessity, the boy was made a married man. His wife, Rosetta Foster, of Templeton, came to live with him at the old homestead, and a child was born, and a short time after, the young wife was taken in charge by others, and they parted. She is now living, married, in a neighboring town, but, so far as known, no divorce was obtained by either party.

When Seaver was about 17 years of age, he entered the army and served as a soldier, and his record does him little credit. On his return home, he was one day going to Princeton, and met a young girl alone along the road, result, three years at South Fitchburg.

Next he is brought into public notice by his marriage to a widow, Amanda Melvina Gibson, who had had six husbands and had two children, both boys. She lived with him awhile and then left, saying: "I am not going to work and support Ed Seaver any longer," and off she went.

Removing to Leominster, Mr. Seaver made the acquaintance of Rosie Baker, and soon after married her. She lived but a short time.

Then there came a handsome, buxom young woman from Boston, named Julia McDonald, who is wife No. 4 and mother to the child now brought into notice by the alleged shameful and inhuman treatment of its parents. They have three children, all older than little Mabel, who is 4 years of age. She is a poor, emaciated child, scarcely larger than a 1-1/2 years-old baby, has sores on her head and body and the marks of ill treatment are plainly visible. Mr. Haskell has thoroughly investigated the case, and the parties will change their action to the child or get into serious trouble. The affair has made a scandal in the town.


Now I need to interrogate the GenealogyBank database to see if there are more articles about little Mabel Seaver. Maybe I can find out what happened to her, and to her parents. I know I have this Edward A. Seaver in my Seaver database. I wonder if any of my Seaver correspondents have this family.

1 comment:

J. Moore said...

Genealogybank is very underrated. I've made some pretty amazing finds there and am their constant evangelist. One particularly blood-curdling discovery has been tempting to blog about, but it spans something like 19 articles published over the course of nearly 2 years. A person could nearly write a book.. and I suppose they certainly could if court docs and sundry other were included.