Lyman Seavey, my half great grand uncle, was born on this date in 1837 in Bridgton, Maine, the fifth of seven children born to Jonathan Seavey and his first wife, Mary Blake, and their second son.
[ICYMI, this story was originally published in June of 2013]
I have established that Jonathan married twice, first to Mary G. Blake, and second to Harriet Cross Libby. With Mary, he had 7 children (although one may have been "adopted") and with Harriet he had 7. Lyman is the only son of Jonathan's to live to adulthood, so I thought I would find some clues. So, although I descend from his second marriage, it seemed prudent to investigate the life of Jonathan and Mary's son Lyman, and I am very glad I did.
Although it provided no additional information, the search for Lyman proved a wonderful journey into a strong, albeit short, Masonic life, and an insight into his and his wife's role in building the community of Whitefield, New Hampshire.
Lyman was the firstborn son of Jonathan and Mary Seavey in Bridgton on March 31, 1837. Two more children would come after Lyman, Julia Anne, whom I wrote about in Part 2, and a brother Albion, who died at age 12, before Mary died in 1845.
12-year old Lyman was still in Bridgton in 1850, but there is no way to know whether he was home when his father passed away 8 years later. He seems to have taken up the miller's trade as a young man of 22, living with the Snow family in Whitefield, New Hampshire, by 1860.
In 1861, he married 23-year old Sarah R. Thomas, of Littleton, New Hampshire, the daughter of Henry and Eveline Thomas. Her father was a hotel-keeper in Littleton. A daughter Alice soon arrived in 1863, along with the omen of war. Lyman did register for the draft, but there is no evidence that he served.
Five years later, Lyman became a Charter member of the White Mountain Masonic Lodge No. 86 in Whitefield, and over the next few years, held several offices including Junior Warden, Junior Deacon, Senior Deacon, and, briefly, as Secretary Pro Tempore. In 1867, he is also listed as the Town Clerk of Littleton, a very prestigious position to hold in those days.
In the meantime, Lyman's wife Sarah was elected Treasurer of the Whitefield Library Association in 1872, and, in January 1873, she opened their home to the Association, housing 208 volumes for the Town of Whitefield's reading pleasure. She was also a member of Excelsior Chapter No. 5, Order of the Eastern Star, newly instituted in Whitefield in the fall of 1876, holding the Electa chair for a time.
Much of this activity had to have helped fill her days, as she and Lyman lost their young daughter Alice, at the tender age of 13, in January 1876. So, by the 1870 census, it was just Lyman and Sarah.
Ten years later, Lyman's health was failing, and his Masonic brothers were there to assist him:
"White Mountain Lodge No 86 F.A.A.M. met at their hall in Whitefield March 18th 1881, it being a called meeting for the purpose of seeing what action the Lodge would take in the case of Bro. Lyman V. Seavey.
Lodge voted to instruct W.M. and Wardens to hire some suitable person to take care of Bro. Seavey during his illness and such person to be paid out of the funds of Lodge."
In spite of the care provided by his Masonic brothers, however, Lyman died of consumption on April 26, 1881, at the age of only 44. His Lodge recorded the procession and burial of their brother:
"Lodge opened on 3d Degree in Masonry.
Lodge went through with some drill in funeral services. Called from labor to refreshment to meet at 12:30 o'clock April 28th to form procession for the occasion.
Lodge called to order by sound of the gavel and procession formed to attend the funeral and to pay the Last Said Rite to Bro. Lyman V. Seavey, Which was buried under Masonic honors in Due and ancient form, after which the Lodge returned to their Lodge Room and Lodge was closed in due and ancient order. SD Witcher, Secretery
60 Masons being present."
Lyman's widow, Sarah, lived to the age of 78 in Whitefield, continuing with many of her civic and charitable interests.
Lyman, Sarah, and Alice are all buried together in the Pine Street Cemetery, in Whitefield.
I am immensely indebted to Mr. Thomas A. Ladd, Secretery, North Star Lodge No. 8, Free & Accepted Masons, Whitefield, New Hampshire, to whom my initial inquiries to the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire were forwarded. Mr. Ladd provided the minutes from the White Mountain Lodge, did extensive research at the Whitefield Public Library on my behalf, and, just recently, graciously took the cemetery photos.
1850 U.S. Census; Census Place: Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M432_251; Page: 290B; Image: 278, Lyman Seavy.
1860 U.S. Census; Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_669; Page: 958; Image: 236, Lyman B. Seavy.
1860 U.S. Census; Census Place: Littleton, Grafton, New Hampshire; Roll: M653_670; Page: 313; Image: 318, Sarah R. Thomas.
1870 U.S. Census; Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: M593_839; Page: 213A; Image: 432, Lyman V. Seavey.
1880 U.S. Census; Census Place: Whitefield, Coos, New Hampshire; Roll: 762; Page: 213A; Enumeration District: 045; Image: 0427, Lyman V. Seavy.
"History of Coös County, New Hampshire," Ancestry.com, p.157.
Jackson, James R., History of Littleton, New Hampshire, in three volumes: genealogy compiled by George C. Furber, revised and enlarged by Ezra S. Stearns, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: University Press, 1905, 3: 481; digital images, Google Books (http://www.Google.com/books : accessed 21 June 2013).
“Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922,” database, Ancestry.com, entry for Lyman T. Seavey, 31 Mar 1837, Bridgton.
“Mrs. Sarah Seavey,” obituary, Coos County Democrat, 29 November 1916, p.8, photocopy emailed by Thomas A. Ladd.
“U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865,” Ancestry.com, entry for Lyman V. Seavey .
This is the thirteenth in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.
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