Thursday, August 1, 2019

Seavers in the News -- Mary A. (Seaver) McLean (1885-1910) Dies in Montana

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 Fergus County Democrat [Lewistown, Mont.] newspaper dated 15 November 1910:

The transcription of the article is:

"Mrs. J.L. McLean

"Mrs. J.L. McLean, of Glasgow, Montana, passed away here on the 7th inst. of pneumonia.The following obituary notice has been contributed to the Democrat:

"Mary A. Seaver was born in Clark county, Missouri, July 7, 1885.  She was married on July 14, 1903, to J.L. McLean at Little Falls, Minn.  In the spring of 1907 they removed to Whitehall, Montana, where they lived until March 1910, when they removed to Glasgow.  About three weeks since, she, with her husband and two children, came to Lewistown to visit with relatives and friends.  While visiting here she contracted pneumonia, and after a week's illness, died on Nov. 10, at 4 p.m.

"At the age of 16 years she publicly confessed her faith in Jesus as the son of God, and became a member of the Church of Christ.  She lived and died 'in the faith once for all delivered to the saints.'

"She leaves to mourn her loss a husband and two children, Otho, age 6, and Effie, age 2; also a father, A.J. Seaver, of Glasgow, Mont., and a sister, Mrs. Dora Carkle, of Clark county, Missouri, besides a large number of relatives and friends.

"Services were held at the Presbyterian church by A.F. Van Slyke, assisted by the choir of the Christian church."

The source citation for the article is:

"Mrs. J.L. McLean,Fergus County [Lewistown, Mont.] Democrat  newspaper, obituary, Tuesday, 15 November 1910, page 1, column 3, Mary A. (Seaver) McLean obituary;   ( : accessed 1 August 2019).

What a heartbreaking obituary - 25 years old with a husband and two small children, and Mary dies of pneumonia.  The obituary provides her maiden name, father's name, birth date, husband's name, marriage date, children's names and ages, a sister's married name, and some place names where she lived.  I did not have Mary A. (Seaver) McLean in my RootsMagic family tree.  She was in the FamilySearch Family Tree with her husband and children, but not with parents.

A search for Mary A. Seaver born in 1885 in Missouri on Ancestry did not find her in a Seaver family in the census records.  So I searched for A.J. Seaver who turned out to be Andrew J. Seaver (1863-1940), born in Missouri, and died in Fergus County, Montana.  In the 1900 U.S. Census, he was enumerated in Morrison County, Minnesota, with his wife, Mattie (married in 1899), and a "son," Stanley Downer born in 1894 (likely a son of Mattie).  In 1910, Andrew and Mattie (McLean) Seaver resided in Glasgow, Montana with their four children born between 1901 and 1905 and "son" Stanley Donner.

In the 1900 U.S. Census, Mary Seaver (born in July 1885 in Missouri) is a servant to William Thomson, in Scotland County, Missouri,   In the 1910 U.S. Census, Mary A. McLean (age 25, born in Missouri) was enumerated in Glasgow, Montana, with her husband Jay and children Otto and Effie McLean. 

So now we know quite a bit about Mary A. (Seaver) McLean (1885-1910), but we don't know who her mother was.  Several "Suggested records" on the 1910 census records help us here - especially the "Missouri, Birth Registers, 1847-1910" for a female "Sever" born 7 July 1885 in Wyaconda, Clark county, Missouri, to Andrew J. Sever and Viola I. Sever. The birth date, birth place and father's name in the obituary match that birth record - Mary A. Seaver is the female Sever in the birth record. 

Clicking on "Viola I. Sever" in the birth record, a marriage record of Viola J. Brown to Andrew J. Seaver on 5 September 1884 in Clark County, Missouri, and a Find A Grave memorial for Viola J. Seaver (1866-1895) provides a birth date and death date (27 February 1895) in Clark County, Missouri.  A "Suggested record" for Viola J. Seaver led to her will and probate papers in Clark County, Missouri, that named her husband and four children, Mary A., Dora V., Roena B., and Andrew R. Seaver.  

Now the challenge is to find the records that define the lives of the other three children for my Seaver one-name study and my family tree. I found one Ancestry Member Tree that had information about sister Dora V. Seaver and her family, which included the other six children of Andrew and Viola (Brown) Seaver.  When I am finished with this family, the information will be available to all researchers on FamilySearch Family Tree and on my Ancestry Member Tree.  I hope it helps the descendants of Mary's children learn more about their Seaver ancestors. 

It's amazing how simple research leads to a long string of useful records on  Twenty years ago, this research task would have taken weeks to get to this point, if not years, using county records, census records, probate records, and more in books, databases and microfilm.  Ten years ago, days if not weeks.  Today, it took less than one hour online.  Not every research problem can be solved this easily, but many problems can be resolved relatively quickly.  

I am not related to Mary A. (Seaver) McLean or her parents or children.  


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

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook,  or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at

No comments: