Thursday, December 12, 2019

Seavers in the News - Mrs. E.F. Seaver Dies in Wyoming in 1914

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 Natrona County Tribune [Casper, Wyo.] newspaper dated 25 June 1914:

The transcription of the article is:

"Death of Mrs. E.F. Seaver.

"Mrs. E.F. Seaver, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Switzer and a former resident of this city, died last Friday morning at 10 o'clock at the family home in Lander after an extended illness.  Several weeks ago she underwent a serious operation at the hospital in Lander and was recovering when heart failure developed.  Mrs. Seaver had been a resident of Lander for a number of years and for a time lived on a ranch near Circle.  She is survived by her husband, two daughters, Mrs. Dwight Woodruff of Shoshoni, and Mrs. C.L. Gillam of this city; one son, Clifford Miller, one brother, John Shaffer, and her mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Switzer of Casper.

"The funeral was held Sunday afternoon from the Episcopal church in Lander and was largely attended."

The source citation is:

"Death of Mrs. E.F. Seaver," Natrona County [Casper, Wyo.] Tribune newspaper, obituary, Thursday, 25 June 1914, page 1, column 3, Mrs. E.F. Seaver   ( : accessed 12 December 2019).

This obituary does not provide the person's given name, birth date, birth place, her age, her marriage date.  It does provide her parents names, her husband's name (with initials only), and the names of her three children at the time of her death.  Based on this obituary, she died 20 June 1914 in Lander, Fremont County, Wyoming.  

Her husband's name is provided as E.F. Seaver in the obituary.  F. Eugene Seaver (indexed as "Scaners") is listed in the 1910 U.S. census residing in Lander, Fremont county, Wyoming, as age 62, born in Wisconsin, parents born in Massachusetts, married 8 years, an assistant manager of a hotel.  His wife in this census is M. Clare Seaver, as 40, born in Iowa, parents born in Iowa, married 8 years, no occupation, three children born and living. A son, A. Clifford "Scaners" is age 20, born Nebraska, parents born Wisconsin and Iowa, single, no occupation.  

In the 1920 U.S. Census, Eugene F. Seavers is listed as residing in Lander, Fremont County, Wyoming as age 72, born in Wisconsin, parents born in Massachusetts, a roomer, a widower, occupation a real estate agent.  

No other information for Eugene F. Seaver(s) (or F. Eugene) was found on or using broad spellings of the surname and a broad birth year range, except as noted below.

In the 1910 U.S. Census, Samuel Switzer is listed as residing in West Casper, Natrona County, Wyoming, age 55, born in Ohio, parents born in Pennsylvania, married for 20 years, a salesman in a general store.  His wife, Mary J. Switzer, was age 54, born in Pennsylvania, parents born in US/Pennsylvania, married for 20 years, 2 children born and living.  

In the 1920 U.S. Census, Sam Switzer is residing in Casper Ward 2, Natrona County, Wyoming, age 65, born in Ohio, parents born in Pennsylvania/Ohio, married, no occupation.  His wife, Mary Switzer was age 62, born in Pennsylvania, parents born in Vermont/Pennsylvania, married.  Also in the household are daughter Clara Gillan (age 30, born in Illinois, divorced) and two grandchildren, Othial Switzer (ge 12) and Lita Switzer (age 10) (probably surname Gillan).  

A search of the 1920 U.S. Census for Dwight Woodruff found he and wife Pearl in Fremont county, Pearl was age 33, born in Iowa, parents born in Maryland/Illinois.

A search of the 1920 U.S. Census for Clifford Miller found him in Casper Ward 2, Natrona County, Wyoming, age 30, born in Nebraska, parents born in Maryland/Iowa, with his wife Tina.  A Washington state marriage entry for Clifford A. Miller to Tena Alberg in 1918 indicates his parents names were Otho Aaron Miller (born in Maryland) and Cora Shaffer (born in Iowa).  A 1900 U.s. census record for the Cora B. Miller household in Casper, Natrona County, Wyoming shows Cora B. Miller (head of household, age 32, born April 1868, born Iowa, parents born unknown/unknown, a merchant) with daughters Pearl J. Miller (age 14, born May 1886, born Iowa), daughter Claire B. Miller (age 12, born Sept 1887, born in Illinois), son Clifford A. Miller (age 11, born Oct 1888 in Nebraska).  

If the obituary and 1910 census records are to be believed, Mrs. E.F. Seaver was born M. Clare Switzer in about 1870 in Iowa, the daughter of Samuel and Mary J. Switzer.  If the 1900 census and Clifford's marriage record are to be believed, Mrs. E.F. Seaver was born Cora B. Shaffer (or Switzer?) in April 1868 in Iowa, married to Otho Aaron Miller before 1886 probably in Iowa, and had three children Pearl J. Miller (married to Dwight Woodruff), Claire B. Miller (Clara married to C.L. Gillan), and Clifford A. Miller.  The children of Cora match the names in the obituary.  She then married Eugene F. Seaver(s) in about 1902, probably in Casper, Wyoming.

This leaves the Switzer and Shaffer mystery.  The obituary says Switzer, the son's marriage record says Shaffer.  The 1920 census record for Samuel and Mary J. Switzer say Clara is their daughter, but Clara is really Cora's daughter, and the Switzer's granddaughter, and Clara's two "Switzer" children are really Gillan children.  Since Cora B. Shaffer/Switzer was born in October 1868, then Samuel Switzer probably had a first wife who was her mother, since Mary J. was married to Samuel for 20 years in the 1910 census.  In addition, Samuel Switzer would have been 13 years old when Cora was born if his birth years was really 1855 as the 1910 and 1920 census records say.

Lastly, I have no strong evidence for the parents are for Eugene F. Seaver(s) - he was born in Wisconsin in about 1848, and his parents were both born in Massachusetts.  

He may be the Eugene F. Seaver born in about 1845 in Wisconsin, the son of Samuel Ross and Diantha (Thompson) Seaver, both born in Massachusetts and who died in Jefferson County, Wisconsin in 1864 and 1852 respectively.  This Eugene F. Seaver was a Civil War soldier, married Addie Elizabeth Layman in 1873 in Wisconsin and had two children, Ethel and Ross E..  In the 1900 U.S. Census, Addie Seaver (divorced) and son Ross reside in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.  This Eugene F. Seaver dies  in Los Angeles, California in 1931, and Addie Seaver dies in Los Angeles in 1942.  Eugene may have reconnected with Addie after 1920, or this may be coincidence that they both died in the same county.  

If this is really Eugene F. Seaver, son of Samuel Ross and Diantha (Thompson) Seaver, then he is my 4th cousin 4 times removed.  

After all of the above, I checked the FamilySearch Family Tree and found the profile for Eugene Francis Seaver (1846-1931), son of Samuel Ross and diantha (Thompson) Seaver, married to both Addie Layman and Cora Bell Shaffer.  The profile for Cora has her parents as David and Jane (--?--) Shafer, and not Samuel Switzer and his probable first wife.  Perhaps Cora and her siblings, including brother John Shaffer (from the obituary) were adopted by the Switzers?

This obituary had several hidden family stories (and still does) and resulted in a lengthy investigation today - and I think I just scratched the surface of the records.  This rabbit hole was very deep!

There are over 8,000 Seaver "stories" in my family tree - this was one of them.   Life happens, accidentally and intentionally, and sometimes the life of a person is complicated and shrouded in mystery.  I am glad I can honor Cora B. (Shaffer) Seaver today.


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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