Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Seavers in the News - Who Was Miss Seaver?

I found a sad, but interesting, newspaper article today on GenealogyBank:

The transcription of this article is:

"SUICIDE IN GARDNER -- A Miss Seaver, about seventeen or eighteen years old, whose home is in Westminster, but who has, for some time, been employed in a family in Gardner, committed suicide sometime during Tuesday night, by drowning.  She was seen about, as usual during the evening, but in the morning her room was found to have been unoccupied during the night.  Subsequent search revealed the fact that she had thrown herself into the pond near by, and her body was soon recovered.  No reason is given of sufficient importance to seem to account for this sad termination of life, and the affair has caused much excitement in the community."

The source citation for this article is (using the "Newspapers, Online Images" source template in RootsMagic):

"Suicide in Gardner," Massachusetts Spy [Worcester, Mass.], 3 June 1870, page 1; online images, GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 15 November 2016), Newspaper Archive collection.

This whet my curiosity, of course, who was this Miss Seaver who drowned in a pond in Gardner?  The article says she was aged 17 or 18, her home was in Westminster, and she was probably not married.

I have thousands of Seaver folks in my RootsMagic database, and many of them resided in Massachusetts.  I figured that the death would be in the "Massachusetts Death Records, 1841-1915" database on Arthe NEHGS American Ancestors website.  I did a search for deaths of Seaver persons in Gardner in 1870, and there was only one match:

The second item on the page above (only partially shown) has this information:

*  Date of death:  May 24, 1870
*  Name of the deceased:  Julia E. Seaver
*  Sex:  Female
*  Condition:  Single
*  Age:  21 years, 3 months, 28 days
*  Cause of death:  Suicide by drowning
*  Residence:  Gardner
*  Birthplace:  Westminster
*  Parents names:  Asahel Seaver (born Westminster) and Tamar R. (born Gardner)

The source citation for this record is:

"Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915," indexed database and digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (http://www.AmericanAncestors.org : accessed 15 November 2016), Deaths, Worcester County, Gardner, 1870, Volume 231; Page 266, Julia E. Seaver entry.

I checked my RootsMagic database and there is Julia Etta Seaver, born 26 January 1849 in Westminster, Mass. to Asahel and Tamar R. (Hill) Seaver.  A quick mental calculation showed that she was aged 21 years, 3 months and 28 days when she died.  I added both sources above to my database, and will add the newspaper article transcription as a Note to the Death fact.

I wondered if her parents were still alive at the time of this event.  Her father died in 1862, but her mother was alive, and died in 1873.  I can't imagine the anguish of the mother and her siblings.


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Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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