Friday, January 8, 2010

Who Is Mr. Seaver? - Post 3

In Part 1 of this series, I introduced the family history mystery presented to me by an email correspondent. Before I answered my correspondent the first time, I managed to find a reference to Euphemia Seaver, widow of L.B. Seaver, in an 1899 Los Angeles City Directory.

After sending the census and City Directory information to Marilyn, she responded with more family information that I posted in Part 2 of this series. Based on her information, I found more data and clues, but still didn't have a given name for the elusive L.B. Seaver.

After my second email to Marilyn, she provided even more fascinating family history information about Euphemia's life:

"Euphemia and William Marshall who came from Scotland had two living children. (in a census I see she had 4 but only two living). Louise was the elder born in 1859 and my grandfather, William Henry Marshall was the younger, born in 1863. They were both born in Calif. in the gold rush area. Their father was a carpenter and built a ferry across the American River to ferry the miners across. They lived in a log cabin on the banks of the river. A storm washed away the ferry and about that time they heard of the silver strike in Virginia City and moved there for a short time. I think it was about 1870 or close to it. The story goes that the miners started giving a pinch of gold or silver dust to touch Louise's pretty blond hair and they decided to have her leave and go to a convent school in California. (I think it was in Santa Clara.) Those dirty old miners you know. Soon after the family moved to San Francisco and that is where William Marshall went off on a ship that was to go around the horn. The ship was lost and Euphemia was widowed. Meanwhile Louise grew up and married young and had Frank (with Al McQueen) and then was divorced soon after and you found where she was living for a short time. I had noticed the Siever name in the household where she was lodging and wondered if there was any connection, but can't figure one by age etc. If E L. Siever is Euphemia where is her husband or who is he?"

That is the question, isn't it? Everything I've found to date in the census records, and one Los Angeles City Directory, does not put L.B. with Euphemia at a place and time. The family history information provided by Marilyn was invaluable in sorting out the identity of L.B. Seaver.

Further online research revealed the following bits of information:

1) A Google Search for "L.B. Seaver" uncovered an article that said "L.B. Seaver, Pioche" was a passenger that arrived overland on 9 October 1871 in Sacramento, California according to the Sacramento Daily Bee newspaper (accessed at

Recall that "L.B. Seever" was in BullionVille, Nevada (now a ghost town) as a miner in the 1870 census, so now he's arrived in California. Pioche is a town in Lincoln County, Nevada - on US 93 in eastern Nevada, northeast of Las Vegas, and closer to St. George, Utah - and is about ten miles away from BullionVille. I wonder if he traveled to Sacramento by stage coach or railroad?

2) The same Google Search turned up "L.B. Seaver, supt. Hackberry Mill and M. Co." under Hackberry, Mojave County, Arizona Territory in the book "The Handbook to Arizona" by Richard J. Hinton (Payot, Upham & Co., San Francisco, and American News Co., New York, 1878, accessed on Google Books) on page lviii. The book was published in 1878, but it is unclear when L.B. Seaver was a superintendent at this place in Arizona.

There are seven matches for "L.B. Seaver" in the California Digital Newspaper collection ( that indicate L.B. Seaver traveled all over the West in his mining superintendent activities. There are 31 matches for "Seaver L.B." in the CDNC database, most of them lists of shareholders in mining companies in Nevada.

3) has the San Francisco City Directories for 1862-1923 online, and a search revealed these entries:

* 1873: page 585: "Seaver, L.B., merchant, dwl 405 Kearny"
* 1877, page 775: "Seaver, L.B., mining superintendent, dwl 157 Seventh"
* 1879, page 784: "Seaver, Loran B., mill & mining superintendent, r 157 Seventh"
* 1880, page 814: "Seaver Loren B., mining superintendent, r 157 Seventh"
* 1881, page 845: "Seaver Lorin B. mining r 157 Seventh"
* 1883, page 937: "Seaver L B. mining superintendent, r 157 Seventh"
* 1884, page 980: "Seaver L.B. mining superintendent r 157 Seventh"

These entries are important, because they provide L.B.'s first name - Loren or Lorin. They also provide a residence at 157 Seventh in San Francisco, which is where his wife Euphemia, as "E.L. Siever," was enumerated as a lodger in the 1880 US Census. Lastly, his occupation deals with mining, which is consistent with the 1870 census entry.

There are years missing in the City Directory entries above. Where was L.B. Seaver? He may have been out on assignments or traveling when the City Directory enumerators came around. The Google Search data noted above indicates he was all over the West in the 1860 to 1880 time period.

4) A death notice for "Doran B. Seaver" appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper dated 12 November 1884, page 4 (accessed on It read:

"SEAVER -- In this city, November 10, Doran B. Seaver, a native of Massachusetts, aged 47 years, 11 months, and 25 days.

"Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend the funeral this day (Wednesday) at 2 o'clock, from the hall of Pacific council, O.C.F., 85 Eddy Street."

I was lucky to find this, because the newspaper spelled Loren's first name creatively... probably from word-of-mouth and a rush to publication deadline. And we now have a birthplace, a death date and an age at death. Age 47 years, 11 months, 25 days translates to a birth date of 16 November 1837.

5) I looked in my Family Tree Maker database for a Seaver person (I have about 4,000 of them) with a name starting with "L" born on or around that date, and found Loring Seaver, born 15 November 1837 in Westminster, Massachusetts to Isaac and Abigail (Gates) (Seaver) Seaver.
Abigail Seaver died 4 January 1867 in Westminster, Massachusetts, and her intestate probate record (in the Worcester County MA Probate Court files, Packet #52,857, accessed at Worcester (MA) Court House, also available on FHL Microfilm), with her husband Isaac Seaver as administrator, included "Loren B. Seavers (son of Austin, Nevada)" as one of the heirs.

Review of the book "History of Westminster, Massachusetts (first Named Narragansett No. 2) from the date of the Original Grant of the Township to the Present Time, 1728-1893, with a Biographic-Genealogical Register of its Principal Families" by William Sweetser Heywood, published 1893 (accessed on Google Books) shows (page 866 in the family genealogy section):

"50. Seaver, Loring B., b. Nov. 15, 1837. went Cal. and m.; no chn; died Nov. 10, 1884."

That matches the San Francisco data pretty well, doesn't it? One day off, which could be a math error.

There is no birth record for Loring/Loren Seaver in the Westminster, Massachusetts Vital Records "tan book" -- Systematic History Fund, Westminster: "Vital Records of Westminster, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849," (Worcester, Mass., F.P. Rice, 1908).

Loring Seaver, age 13, is in the 1850 US Census with his parents in Westminster, Worcester County, MA, and I can't find him in the 1860 US Census.

6) I still don't have a record that puts Loren B. Seaver with Euphemia (Kirk) (Marshall) Seaver, do I? And I still don't know Loren's middle name. But all of this data is very consistent, and there is no conflicting information.

My conclusion is that Loren B. Seaver (1837-1884), born in Westminster, Massachusetts, married Euphemia (Kirk) Marshall sometime before 1880, probably in San Francisco.

To find useful information, I just had to look in the right places. In this case, the San Francisco City Directories and newspaper entries provide enough clues to identify L.B. Seaver as Loren Seaver who resided at the same place as "E.L. Seaver" did in the 1880 census. And the information in those entries provided enough information to tie Loren B. Seaver to his parents, Isaac and Abgiail (Gates) (Seaver) Seaver. Having Abigial Seaver's probate record and the Westminster book data firmed up the conclusion nicely.

Why am I so interested in this man, Loren B. Seaver? Simply because he was a Seaver, but he was also a step-brother to my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), whose parents were Benjamin and Abigail (Gates) Seaver. Yep - the same Abigail (Gates) Seaver who married Isaac Seaver (1802-1870) in 1832, the brother of her first husband Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825).

Note that all of this research was done in online resources. Research in San Francisco repositories may reveal much more information. Isn't it amazing just how much information can be found online now? When the LDS FamilySearch Indexing is completed (LOL), we will have even more online information.

My thanks to Marilyn for allowing me to post some of her family history information in this blog series. Her information was vital to solving the problem. What lessons have you learned from following my research in this case study? How can you apply those lessons learned to your own research?


Elyse said...

WOW! That is amazing, Randy! It was so fascinating to read this series of posts. It was very informative!

Bill West said...

Great series, Randy!

Unknown said...

Fantastic work! Thanks for keeping me interested.