Thursday, December 28, 2017

Seavers in the News - 12 Year Old Genevieve Seaver Dies in 1905 - UPDATED

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 Bay City [Mich.] Times  newspaper dated Thursday, 5 October 1905

The transcription of this article is:


"Girl Took This Means of Staying From School and Died

"Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 5 -- Following the practice of other little children of the public school which she attended, Genevieve Seaver, 12 years old, ate the heads of 20 matches last Thursday evening so that she might be too ill to attend school on Friday.  She wished to go to the theater with a girl friend who had two tickets.

"The treatment worked more effectively than the child expected.  She was very ill Thursday night and on Friday did not improve.  Her brother and sister, with whom she lived, then called a physician, but he said it was too late.

"The child died from phosphorus poisoning after intense suffering."

The source citation for this article is:

"She Ate Matches" Bay City [Mich.] Times, 5 October 1905, page 1, column 3, Genevieve Seaver death notice; GenealogyBank ( : accessed 28 December 2017), Newspaper Archives collection.

Poor Genevieve Seaver.  And the poor parents.  I wonder who they were.

I searched my RootsMagic family tree database, and did not find a Genevieve (or a Jennie, or Gennie, etc.) Seaver (or Sever, Severs, Siever, Seiver, Severe, etc.) candidate.

Unfortunately, the only clue we have is that this occurred in Buffalo, New York in late September, 1905, and that she lived with her brother and sister.  I searched on for 1900 census records and newspaper articles and did not find her.  I did find a Jennie Swerer (?) in the Charles H. Swerer family, in the 1900 U.S. census, but cannot find other evidence.  I think Genevieve is a mystery girl for now.  

UPDATE:  Reader Oren Kaplan provided a newspaper clipping from a Buffalo newspaper that said the girl's name was Genevieve Seager.  That explains the mystery, I think.  Typical error.


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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