Thursday, September 21, 2017

Seavers in the News - Did Joshua Seaver Lead a Double Life?

It's time for another edition of "Seavers in the News" - a semi-regular feature from the historical newspapers about persons with the surname Seaver that are interesting, useful, fun, macabre, or add information to my family tree database.

This week's entry is from the Boston [Mass.] Herald newspaper dated Sunday, 13 March 1920:

The transcription of this article is:


Report of Drowning with "Wife" Is Mistake, Says Widow


While Mrs. Joshua Seaver of Hyde street, Newton Highlands, is awaiting confirmation of the report of the alleged dual life of her husband and his death by drowning with the young woman who is said to have been posing as his wife at Miami, Fla., she is maintaining her trust in her husband and says the report "must be a terrible mistake."  She is trying to buoy herself up for the sake of her children, but her facial expression discloses that she is suffering great mental anguish.

She has sent two telegrams to Mrs. Caroline F. Bean, a sister of Seaver, who is now at the southern resort, asking for confirmation of the reports, but up to midnight last night she had received no response.

Wrote to Wife Wednesday

The dispatches concerning Seaver were sent from Miami on Thursday night.  He wrote to his wife on Wednesday, and she received the letter yesterday morning.  He said he was recovering from his attack of sciatic rheumatism and was feeling improved.  Mrs. Seaver declined to make further disclosures of the contents of the letter.

Mrs. Charles F. Hanson of 16 Copeland street, Roxbury, an aunt of Rose D. Crocker, who was drowned with Seaver, refuses to discuss the case.  The undertaking firm of J.S. Waterman & Son has been engaged to arrange the shipment of Miss Crocker's body back to Boston.

Seaver, who was a gum and dextrine manufacturer in Boston, went South about a month ago for his health.  He is said to have registered at the Greentree Inn, Miami, with Miss Crocker as man and wife.  The couple are said to have occupied the same room and were generally believed to be man and wife.  Mrs. Bean went to Miami and registered at the same hostelry.  She did not know that her brother was living there with a woman not his wife.

A Heral reporter called at the Seaver home yesterday afternoon.  Mrs. Seaver was talking on the telephone at the time, and her son, Junior Seaver, was entertaining a boy chum in the parlor.  The youngsters were playing with mechanical toys.

Mrs. Seaver's eyes filled with tears as the subject was broached.  She gazes blankly for a few seconds and then said: "It's awful - a terrible mistake.  It is not true.  My husband was a good man.  When his sister arrives home with the body everything will be cleared up.  These awful reports are not true."

Mrs. Seaver said that Mrs. Bean is a "very estimable woman and if any such condition as has been reported existed she would not have stood for it one minute.  She would have come right back home."

Never Heard of Miss Crocker

Mrs. Seaver was asked if she ever knew or heard of the Crocker woman.  She said: "I never have heard of any Crocker woman and I know my husband could not have been to her what they say he was."  

Miss Crocker is said to be about 22 years old.  She is said to have been a dressmaker.  There are conflicting stories concerning her.  Mrs. Hanson told reporters that Miss Crocker was not related to her and that the girl was a dressmaker.  Mrs. Hanson added that Miss Crocker "just seemed here."  Neighbors, however, say that Mrs. Hanson is an aunt of the young woman and they assert Miss Crocker did not work.  It has been stated that she came from Hermon, Me.

Mary Estella (Bean) Seaver, wife of Jushua Seaver, was formerly a resident of Worcester.  They were married there on June 14, 1899.  At the time of the marriage Seaver was 29 years old and gave his business as that of an importer of chemicals.  Miss Bean (now Mrs. Seaver) was 22 and was a schoolteacher.

The source citation for this article is:

"MRS. SEAVER DENIES HUSBAND LED DUAL LIFE," article, Boston [Mass.] Herald, Sunday, 13 March 1920, page 1, Joshua Seaver article; GenealogyBank  ( : accessed 21 September 2017), Newspaper Archives.

There are three other articles on GenealogyBank about this incident and death in the Boston Herald - an earlier story about Rosa Crocker's identity, a death notice for Joshua Seaver, and a death notice for Rosa Crocker.  

There also are newspaper articles from Miami about this incident and I may try to find them and post them in the next episode of Seavers in the News.

Joshua Seaver (1869-1920) was the third and last child of George Francis Seaver (1838-1891) and Charlotte Caroline Simpson (1841-1908), who married in 1862 in Roxbury, Massachusetts.  Their daughter, Caroline F. (Seaver) Bean (1864-????), married John Bean (1844-1915) in 1899 in Boston.  

There are many loose ends in this story.  For instance, Mary Estelle (Bean) Seaver is the daughter of John Bean and Mary W. Hubbard (who died in 1898);  John Bean married secondly to Caroline F. Seaver, Joshua's sister, in 1899.  So Caroline F. (Seaver) Bean was the step-mother of Mary Estella (Bean) Seaver, Joshua's wife.  

This may be a case of the newspaper getting it wrong, but there appear to be no articles in the Boston Herald explaining it all after March 1920.  There seem to be no obituaries for Joshua Seaver in the Boston Herald.  

Life situations can change in a minute, and that seems to be the case here.  Joshua goes off on a fling with a young lady to cure his rheumatism, and his sister (who is the step-mother of his wife) goes too.  Then the reputed lovers drown, and the wife's world turns completely around.  

Remember the TV show The Naked City?  There are over 8,000 personal stories in the Seaver city...this has been the end of one of them.  Every person in our ancestral families have lived day by day for thousands of days.  After over 18,400 days of life, Joshua's ended on the beach, his family shattered, his reputation besmirched, his company left in the lurch.


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

That's a doozie...and perhaps a flooring. why did his sister go with him I wonder?

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...


Deb said...

As bad as it was for Mrs Seaver, it's things like this that keep our research interesting. I'd love to know "the REST of the story". I'm finding that DNA can be a very unsettling thing for some family members. It continues.....

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

What a terrible way to find out what your husband was doing. But an interesting story from a genealogist's point of view.