Wednesday, June 29, 2011

William Seaver Murder Mystery, and Family History Compendium

One of the most challenging research tasks for me this year was to determine who the William Seaver, murdered in Arlington, Virginia, in 1821, really was - who were his parents, who was his spouse, and what happened to his family after his death.

The study took some unexpected turns, but I think that I've found the answers I was looking for when I started.

The series is composed of these posts:

*  "A Horrid Murder" in Alexandria. (posted 15 March 2011).  The newspaper article about his murder on 6 July 1821 was lurid, but what happened after that? 

*  William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - a Reward Offered (posted 17 March 2011) - by the President of the United States, and three mayors.

*  William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - A Jailhouse Confession (posted 18 March 2011) seemed to solve the case with the arrest of a man who confessed.

William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - Was it Ever Solved? (posted 21 March) was an article from 1874 claiming that the murder was a "cold case," but mentioned a confession to a murder printed in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper in 1866.

William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - the 1866 Confession (posted 30 March 2011), provided the first part of the 1866 Confession of John Trust from the Alexandria Gazette newspaper.

*  William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - the 1866 Confession, Part 2 (posted 31 March 2011) provided more detail of the murder from the confession. 

Clues for the Ancestry of murder victim, William Seaver (posted 5 April 2011) summarized the information I have for William Seaver's ancestry. It wasn't much, but seemed to point to him being the son of Ebenezer and Sarah (Coolidge) Seaver, born in 1782 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, who married a Martha Davis in 1809.

Some Records for the William Seaver Family Members (posted 8 April 2011) described some records found in online census and city directories for the widow and children. 

*  Is this William R. Seaver, son of the murdered William Seaver? (posted 12 April 2011) -  I thought that I had found the son of William and Martha (Davis) Seaver.

More Information on the Family of William Seaver (1783-1821) (posted 4 May 2011) uncovered more information about the ancestral family if Martha (Davis) (Seaver) Bowen, and the wills of the two daughters.

The Family of Martha (Davis) Seaver (1793-1868) (posted 9 May 2011) revealed the family of Martha (Davis) (Seaver) Bowen, and described the will of the last child, Sarah A.C. Seaver and why her will was contested.

This research was conducted completely with a variety of online resources.  Much more research could be performed for these persons in repositories holding vital records, land records, probate records, cemetery records, newspaper records, and many more record types in order to conduct a reasonably exhaustive search.  I think that I've just scratched the surface.  However, I managed to answer, at least to my satisfaction, the challenging questions using only online resources in a relatively short period of time.

I started this research as a result of receiving an message asking if I could identify the William Seaver who was murdered in 1821, and if I knew what happened to the wife Martha, and the children.  Unfortunately, the person who asked the question has not contacted me since early April.  I hope that she sees this set of posts that answer her questions. 

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

1 comment:

criminal lawyer san diego said...

This is an interesting story to follow. Though unlikely that his relatives will reveal their actions.