Thursday, August 22, 2019

Seavers in the News -- Gertrude (Smith) Seaver Run Over By a Traction Car in 1908

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

This week's entry is from The Marion [Ohio) Weekly Star newspaper dated 28 March 1908:

The transcription of the article is:

Throws Herself Under Wheels of Traction Car
Mrs. Gertrude Seaver Takes Her Life in Cincinnati -- Is a Sister of Eugene Smith, Formerly Editor of the LaRue News -- Unfortunately Leaves a Husband and Daughter

"Mrs. Gertrude Seaver, thirty six years old, born and raised near LaRue, and a sister of Eugene Smith, formerly connected with the LaRue News, committed suicide in Cincinnati, Saturday, by throwing herself under the wheels of a westbound Cincinnati, Milford and Loveland traction car.  Her mother, Mrs. Rominia Smith, was an eyewitness.  The tragedy occurred at Erie avenue and Grace street.

"The suicide was the wife of Bertram Seaver, who was employed as an inspector for a telephone company in Cincinnati.  She was demented, her condition seemingly have been rendered worse after she had grown very enthusiastic at a religious meeting a number of weeks ago.

"Mrs. Seaver had been taking treatment from Dr. Mary Connor, and, with her mother, had started for the doctor's office.  She seemed rational.  As the big traction car approached Mrs. Seaver got close to the track.  Suddenly, as the car was about to pass, she screamed and deliberately threw herself beneath the wheels.  Her body was ground almost to a pulp.  The remains were removed to the morgue.

"For weeks before she threw her body under the fast traction car, which was known as the Milford flyer, Mrs. Seaver had schemed to end her life.  A little over a week ago she attempted to drink carbolic acid.  She found the bottle about the house.  Her husband managed to get the bottle away from her.  She was closely watched as she had frequently threatened to kill herself.  That she might be prevented from taking her life, Mrs. Smith went to live with her.  Saturday morning, she detained her mother until the car was about due, then calmly walked to her awful death.  She had informed herself as to the time the car arrived at Erie avenue and Grace street.

"Mrs. Seaver is believed by the members of her family to have been inspired to carry out this plan of self-destruction by reading the story of the suicide of G.W. Whittington, an inmate of the College Hill sanatorium, who threw himself under the wheels of a car.

"A four year old daughter survives."

The source citation for the article is:

"Former LaRue Girl Meets Awful DeathThe Marion [Ohio] Weekly Star newspaper, obituary, Saturday, 28 March 1908, page 8, column 4, Gertrude Seaver obituary;   ( : accessed 22 August 2019).

What a gruesome death.  The newspaper seems to revel in the facts.  If it bleeds, it leads.  At least the obituary mentions the name of her husband, her mother, and indicates that there is a four year old daughter.

Gertrude Irene (Smith) Seaver (1871-1908) married Bertram Hill Seaver (1873-1942) on 17 April 1895 in Hamilton County, Ohio.  They had one daughter, Juanita Sunshine Seaver (1903-1992).

Bertram Hill Seaver (1873-1942) is my 7th cousin, 3 times removed, and his daughter is my 8th cousin 2 times removed. 

There are over 8,000 Seaver "stories" in my family tree - this was one of them.  Gertrude was a real person with people who loved her.  Life happens, accidentally and intentionally, and sometimes it is tragic and terrible.


Disclosure:  I have a paid subscription to and have used it extensively to find articles about my ancestral and one-name families.

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Grandpa Landmeier said...

It is always good to remember as you wrote, "real people who were loved" It is good to remember that when we do this "genealogy work" that these are not just names. Thanks

Diane Gould Hall said...

Wow, Randy. I hadn’t learned that about her. How terrible. Bertram went on to marry my 1st cousin twice removed, Mary Siegle in 1929. This is that connection (albeit not blood connection) that we have. Thanks for sharing this. Finding the sad stuff is part of our history. I’m glad she was remembered today by you and all who read your blog.