Thursday, August 4, 2016

Seavers in the Newspapers - Josiah Seaver of Waitsfield, Vermont

It's time for another installment of "Seavers in the Newspapers" - I just love to find Seaver folks in the digitized newspapers.

I saw a notice today that MyHeritage has added the "Chronicling America" set of over 6.7 million newspaper pages to their record collections.  I looked to see if they were in the Record Matches list but I didn't see any listing for them.  So I searched for surname Seaver and there were 7,402 matches.  It didn't take many matches on the list to find an interesting one:

I zoomed into the article of interest in the first column of the newspaper page:

The transcription of the article is:

"Josiah Seaver, of Wartsfield, Vt./, was on
Saturday sentenced to the State prison for
25 years, for arson.  The prisoner made a
written confession, admitting having set six
or seven places on fire since April, 1877.  He
claims that he acted under an uncontrollable
impulse, and always returned to save the
property.  The fires were all set in barns."

The source citation for this record is:

"Resume of the Week's News," The Indianapolis [Ind.] Leader, 10 January 1880, page 2, column 1, Josiah Seaver article; online images, MyHeritage ( : accessed 4 August 2016), Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, 1836-1922.

I was curious as to who this Josiah Seaver was, and who his parents were, and if he was married and had children.  I had Josiah W. Seaver (1847-1888) of Waitsfield, Vermont in my RootsMagic database and thought that he was probably the arsonist.  Sure enough, when I searched the 1880 United States census for Josiah Seaver born 1847 in Vermont, I found him enumerated in Windsor, Windsor county, Vermont, in the Vermont State Prison:

Josiah Seaver (1847-1888) was the son of Jonathan S. and Mary (Drew) Seaver of Waitsfield, Washington,County, Vermont.  He married Harriet V. Adams on 12 November 1878 in Waitsfield, and they had no children recorded.  Josiah died 9 September 1888 in Windsor, Windsor County, Vermont.  I don't know what happened to his wife - she might have married again.  Josiah W. Seaver is my 4th cousin 4 times removed.

You know, there are things that happen in the life of a person that are often difficult to explain.  In this case, not only the actual setting of the fires, but the reporting of the fire so as to save the buildings.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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1 comment:

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

Interesting! I have to learn how to research newspapers.