Thursday, October 27, 2016

Seavers in the News - Mr. Seaver Kills a Man in Boston

The latest find in this series of blog articles about semi-famous (or infamous) Seaver persons is:

This article was published in the Boston [Mass.] Herald newspaper dated 27 March 1907.

The transcription of this article is:

W.F. Seavers Shoots and Kills W.H. Saunders After Row in Wellington Street House
 William F. Seaver shot and killed William H. Saunders in a dark hallway at 33 Wellington Street, last night.

The slayer, who is locked up at the Dedham street police station, declared after his arrest that Saunders had been wildly and unjustly jealous of him for over a year, the woman in the case being Miss Della Tyler.  That was the cause of the quarrel and fight which preceded the shooting.

There were no eyewitnesses to the affray, which occurred in the dark.  Seaver, who is janitor of the house,m having a moment previously put out the lights, that being his object in visiting the place.

The inmates, who heard a row, could not distinguish any of the words used by the combatants.  They declare that the argument was short, and was immediately followed by flying footsteps which led to the staircase.  These ceased when the man was partly up the stairs and almost instantly afterward there was a revolver shot.

According to Seaver, he met Saunders in the hall on the lower floor.  Saunders, who lives at the top of the building, lost no time in attacking him, declaring he would "fix" him.

A few words followed and Seaver declares that he ran to the stairs, having theirl ocation in hism ind and not being bothered by the darkness.  As he reached the lower stairs he imagined he heard the click of a revolver as it was drawn from Saunders' pocket.  He stopped, drew his own weapon and fired.

The falling body told him that he had hit, but he did not know that he had killed his man.  He attempted to get away, but was met on the doorsteps by Patrolman William G. Hill, who placed him under arrest.

When the physician arrived, Saunders' dog, which had come with the other inmates of the building to the scene of the shooting, had taken its place beside the dead body and refused to allow police or doctor to approach.  It was only after a battle that the dog was enticed away and locked up.

Seaver is a married man and lives with his wife and two daughters at 156 Warren avenue.

The source citation for this article is:

"Jealousy Leads to Death in Dark," Boston [Mass.] Herald newspaper, digital images, GenealogyBank (, Wednesday, 27 March 1907, page 2, column 1.

A second article appeared in the same newspaper the next day:

The article transcription is:

Killing of Saunders Due to the Latter's Jealousy of Mrs. Della Tyler.
Charged with the murder of William H. Saunders, William F. Seaver, janitor at 33 Wellington St., where the crime was committed, was yesterday morning held, in the municipal court, for the grand jury.

The shooting occurred in the lower hallway of the building, about midnight on Tuesday, and was the result of jealousy, on the part of Saunders of Mrs. Della Tyler, who lives at the Wellington street house.

Mrs. Tyler was in court yesterday, but was not placed on the stand.  She declared that Saunders had been jealous of Seaver for a year, he having found the janitor in the kitchen with her one day.  Beyond that, she declared, he had the occasion for jealousy, and in both these statements she bears out the claim of Seaver.

Seaver formerly lived at 156 Warren avenue with his wife and two daughters, but has been separated from his wife for some time.  Mrs. Seaver and her children are in Somersworth, N.H.

The source citation for this article is:

"Seaver Held on Charge of Murder," Boston [Mass.] Herald newspaper, digital images, GenealogyBank (, Thursday, 28 March 1907, page 5, column 3.

Another article was published in the Boston Journal on 28 March 1907:

The transcription of this article is:

Mrs. Della Tyler Declares Saunders Threatened to Kill Seaver and Herself But Few Hours Before the Murder Took Place.
The claim of George F. Seaver, who on Tuesday night shot and instantly killed William H. Saunders in a house at 33 Wellington street, South End, that his own life was in imminent danger and that he shot only in self-defense, is upheld by Mrs. Della Tyler, the woman over whose affections the trouble occurred, according to statements which were made by her to a Journal representative yesterday.

That Saunders had repeatedly threatened to kill Seaver, as well as herself, and that he had declared his intention of carrying out his threat only a few hours before the murder took place, was one of the statements made by Mrs. Tyler yesterday.

"Saunders met me on Tremont street Tuesday evening and was apparently greatly agitated," said Mrs. Tyler.  "He declared that he was 'going to do it tonight,' but his threats were so frequent that I thought nothing of it.

"I had been out all the evening, and returned home about 10 o'clock.  Shortly afterward Saunders came in, white and pale and apparently worked up about something.  He remained but a few minutes and then went out.

"That was the last I knew of his whereabouts until I heard the shooting and, running out, found him lying dying on the stairway."

Seaver was arraigned in the Municipal Court before Judge Ely yesterday morning charged with murder.  He entered a plea of not guilty and was remanded to jail without bail to await the action of the grand jury.  His wife has been visiting in Somersworth, N.H., for some time past, and although word had been sent to her she had not reached Boston at a late hour last night.

Mrs. Margaret Cowan, Saunders' widowed sister and his only known relative in Boston diud not learn of her brother's untimely death until she returned from her employment last evening and is prostrated.  She lives at 23 Yarmouth street.

The source citation for this article is:

"Claim of Seaver is Upheld by Woman in the Case," Boston [Mass.] Journal newspaper, digital images, GenealogyBank (, Thursday, 28 March 1907, page 2.

I found no other articles about this case on GenealogyBank.

The most notable discrepancy in these articles is the killer's name - was it William F. Seaver or George F. Seaver.  I could not find a William F. Seaver in my RootsMagic database that fit the description of a man by that name with a wife and two daughters.

The most likely George F. Seaver in my database and in the 1900 United States census was George Freeman Seaver (1858-????, born in New Hampshire, a broker), who married Ella Waterhouse (1855-1919, born in Massachusetts) in 1882, and had two daughters, Ida Florence Seaver (born in 1885) and Ottie Delle Seaver (born in 1886).  George's brother, John D. Seaver (1867-????, born in New Hampshire, a janitor), is enumerated just below George and Ella, and he was married in Somersworth, New Hampshire in 1895.

So now I wonder what happened in this case.  I did not find George or Ella in the 1910 or 1920 United States census records.  I know that Ella died in 1919 in Newton, Massachusetts from vital records.

I love mysteries like this.  This was fun to find and research, but sad in a way.  Another Seaver story in the news.


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at

1 comment:

Danine Cozzens said...

Thanks for modeling how one can handle sensational news about one's extended family. I want to start posting my research on my extended family, but some of it involves old clippings that are painful to read many years later. Your factual approach gives me hope!