Thursday, September 26, 2019

Seavers in the News -- Lillian Seaver Almost Drowns in 1896

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 Democrat and Chronicle [Rochester, N.Y.]  newspaper dated 30 Ma 1896:

The transcription of the article (in the "Wayne" section) is:

"-- Thursday afternoon Miss Lillian Seaver, of north Huron, had a narrow escape from death by drowning while fishing in Dayton mill pond.  Miss Seaver stepped on a log supposing it was safe, but it suddenly began rolling and she was thrown into the water, which was about eight feet deep.  Her screams attracted the attention of Mrs. Sylvia Perkins, who happened to be fishing at the same time, and she came to the rescue of the drowning young lady and threw out a fish pole, which was grasped by Miss Seaver, and after a hard struggle Mrs. Perkins succeeded in drawing the young lady to shore."

The source citation for the article is:

"Wayne,Democrat and Chronicle [Rochester, N.Y.] newspaper, story, Saturday, 30 May 1896, page 4, column 3, Lillian Seaver   ( : accessed 26 September 2019).

What a wonderful human interest story.  A young lady is saved from drowning by a married woman fishing nearby.  But who is Miss Lillian Seaver, and is she in my family tree database?

I checked my RootsMagic tree, and there was no Lillian Seaver (or variant) born between 1870 and 1890, residing in New York in or near Wayne County.  I looked in the 1900 U.S. Census, and there she was in Huron, Wayne County, New York, aged 24, daughter of Henry J. and Sarah Seaver.  More census records and some marriage records, and a Find A Grave memorial, I had identified a new Seaver family group that previously were not in my database.  The early census records for 1860, 1870 and 1880 have the name as "Sever" but the 1900 and later records are "Seaver."  I entered the family in RootsMagic as "Sever."  I was unable to find a record before 1860 for the father, Henry J. Sever.  I did not have him or his wife, Sarah Pope, in my database.  

Lillian Bell Seaver (1876-????) married Robert John Patterson (1883-????) in Wayne County, new York on 23 August 1909.  They had at least one son.  

Lillian Seaver was very lucky to survive this incident.  I was very lucky that the incident was in the newspaper, because it added another Sever bush to my family tree database.  I also added what I found to the FamilySearch Family Tree.  There were no entries for Henry and Sarah (Pope) Sever, but there was an entry for two of their children, which I matched with their parents.  The challenge now is to find parents and siblings for him to extend the line back in time.  

There are over 8,000 Seaver "stories" in my family tree - this was one of them.   Life happens, accidentally and intentionally, and sometimes folks are lucky to survive incidents like this.


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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