Thursday, February 8, 2018

Seavers in the News - Vice President George W. Seaver Drives a Horse Car

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 Los Angeles [Calif.] Herald newspaper dated 26 June 1904:

The transcription of this article is:

"Street Railway Vice-President Drives a Horse Car

"Have you ever ridden on the Santa Monica - Sawtelle division of the Los Angeles-Pacific railroad?  If not, you have missed a rare treat and one that might not be at your disposal much longer.  Even now, to use the words of George W. Seaver, who holds every office and position on the division from vice president down.  'th' road's likely ter stop haulin' folks at any time.'

"And to one who will investigate the matter as I did recently the statement seems well founded.  The road which is a single track affair running from the Soldiers Home to North Beach, Santa Monica, was laid eighteen years ago by a company that has long since passed into oblivion.  The original franchise has been purchased by the Los Angeles Pacific company and this corporation has 'out of the goodness of the heart' turned the entire plant over to R. Jenkins sand G.W. Seaver of the Soldiers' Home, the only condition imposed being that at least one round trip be made every day, this being absolutely necessary to hold the franchise.  As the earning capacity of the road is inadequate to support two men and a horse, Mr. Jenkins, who enjoys the proud title of president of the division has found it advisable to take a job, and so while he labors elsewhere, Mr. Seaver looks after the interests of the road in a manner that has proved very satisfactory to those most concerned.

"At present, the road is a little shy on rolling stock, an old one-gorse car of the pattern of '65 doing all the carrying, but according to Mr. Seaver this car will last some time yet as 'there's only a couple of bolts missin' from th' under pinnin's and all th' wheels ceptin' th' right off un is good as new.'

The right one off is the shape of an egg.  Every day this year to date, rain or shine, Mr. Seaver has made two round trips over the road, and he says that on an average he has carried twenty-five passengers each day.  Of course the travel on the road is so very light that repairs are not made often and, if Mr. Seaver notices anything needs fixing as he jogs along the route, he promptly stops the car and makes the necessary repair.  Sometimes this will take a half hour or more but that does not matter any to Mr. Seaver, who believes in making a good job of anything he starts and the mere fact that a few passengers are waiting to be carried to their destination cuts no figure with him.

"It was exactly 3 o'clock in the afternoon when I boarded the car in front of the bath house in Santa Monica.  Besides myself there were two other passengers, both old soldiers, and I passed through to the front platform where the vice president stood industriously chewing tobacco while he handled the reins in a manner that showed plainly he had no fear that his steed would run away.  As I anticipated, he proved sociable and entered readily into conversation concerning the queer road to which he is so prominently identified.

"'You see,' he began, Me and Jenkins owns the hoss an' the railroad company owns th' car.  Now I ain't got nothin' much to do noway an' I figure that I might's well be doin' this as nothin.'  Besides there's Barney, th' hoss.  What are we goin' to do with Barney if th' road closes down?  However, I wouldn't be a dam bit surprised if something happened soon ter close 'er down.  Th' railroad people's been figurin' on doin' somethin' or other an' 'lectric cars might be running' along here pretty soon.'

"At this point in his remarks, Mr. Seaver called out sharply, 'Whoa Barney.  Stop an' take a rest now.'  Then leaning back against the car door he resumed his talk while the animal browsed at some grass growing at the wayside.  We resumed our journey shortly and Mr. Seaver never let the conversation lag.  At 4:30 o'clock the car pulled up before the entrance of the Soldiers' Home.  I bade the vice president good-by and stood where I could watch him as he unhitched Barney and led the horse up to the rear entrance of the kitchen where he fed the animal a bucket of wet bread.  This was, I learned, a delicacy which Barney enjoyed every day, although no one present had ever before heard of a horse eating a similar mess..  Walter E. Connell."

The source citation for this article is:

"Street Railway Vice-President Drives a Horse Car,Los Angeles [Calif.] Herald newspaper, Sunday, 26 June 1904, page 6, column 3, George W. Seaver article; digital image, California Digital Newspaper Collection  ( : accessed 8 February 2018).

Based on this article, it appears that George W. Seaver has returned to the Disabled Volunteer Soldiers' Home in Santa Monica, been promoted to Vice President (the boss of the horse, Barney, I'm sure), and has found something useful to do as he lives out his life.  And we have a grainy photograph of George (big hat, big mustache) and Barney the horse.  

This article is a followup to last week's article in Seavers in the News -- George W. Seaver Disappears in 1899 Since then, two of my readers, Barry Sheldon and Kathy Duncan, have provided a number of newspaper articles that help solve the mystery. 

I still don't know who George W. Seaver's parents are, but I have a plan to find out.  


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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1 comment:

Magda said...

That's incredible about finding a picture of him ! What are the chances ?