An Old Man of 67 Years,
Dies Solitary and Alone
A short time after noon yesterday, Coroner Evans was notified that a man had been found dead on the farm of Absalom McVey, just outside the eastern limits of this city. A jury was empaneled, and accompanied by a representative of the DEMOCRAT, proceeded to the spot.
On the farm of Mr. McVey, about half way between the house and the railroad, stands an old log hut -- once a dwelling, but now unused. On approaching this hut and looking through what had once been a window, a ghastly sight presented itself. Down between the log sleepers of the hut (the floor had long been torn up) lay the form of an old gray-headed man, with set teeth and glaring eyes, and hands clutching the ragged clothing over his breast -- just as the grim monster, Death, had overtaken him.
The body was much emaciated -- being not much more than a skeleton. Lying scattered around the body were a number of articles -- a pair of old boots, a ragged coat, a hat and an old oilcloth traveling bag. In the hat, bag and boots were numbers of papers -- old sermons and school teacher's certificates showing that the deceased had been an educated man and a preacher. In one of the packages, also, was a parchment certificate, in Latin, of some literary society, showing that Caleb Perkins Seymour was a member, in good standing, of the society.
The Coroner's Jury consisting of J.H. Looney, Foreman, W.F. Ilgenfritz, M.M. Lampton, Tim Divise, Wm. Inch and John D. Russell, were sworn and an examination of the affects were made. In an old pocket book in the travelling bag was found a $1 bill and $4.05 in fractional currency and nickels. There were also teacher's certificates from Ft. Scott, Kansas, Olathe Kansas, and several places in Iowa and Illinois, also a license issued by the "Presbytery of the village of Auburn, N.Y." dated in 1832, to Caleb P. Seymour to preach in that circuit. There were also some manuscripts sermons, an essay on "Hard Times," and several appointments to preach, one of which was at Canillus, N.Y. in 1835. There were also two pairs of spectacles, an old silver watch, a lot of matches and several other things found on his person.
From the evidence given before the jury, it will be seen that the old man had gone into the log house, after leaving Mr. McVey's, and was there probably taken sick, and being unable to call for assistance, died from exposure. The following is the evidence given to the jury:
Thos. Allison sworn: First saw deceased lying dead in log house about 12:30 o'clock this day. Don't know how he came to his death. Thomas Allison.
T.T. Allison sworn: First saw deceased on Thursday evening, the 16th inst., a little after dark at Mr. McVey's house; he stayed at Mr. McVey's till Friday afternoon the 17 inst., saw him Friday morning; he seemed to be feeble but ate heartily; have not seen him since till I saw him lying dead in the log house; do not know how he came to his death. T.T. Allison.
Absalom McVey sworn: A man came to my house Thursday the 16th inst., and stayed all night, think this is the man; he asked for something to eat and got his supper; never saw him before; stayed at my house all night, and got his breakfast Friday morning; never saw him alive afterwards. I went to town in the morning; he told me he was from Illinois, did not wish to say anything about his friends; I asked him whether he had friends. He said he had some this side of Kansas. A McVey.
The jury returned a verdict of "Died from exposure and old age."
The deceased was a man about five feet four inches high, and it is thought from letters found among his affects, that he has relatives living somewhere in Massachusetts.
Source: Sedalia Daily Democrat, 25 Sep 1875
Submitter: Cathy Warbritton
The Late Caleb P. Seymour
Our readers will remember the old gentleman bearing the above name, who was found dead near Mr. Absalom McVey's a few days ago, an account of which we gave at the time. Yesterday we had a call from his brother, Mr. Henry Seymour of Keokuk, Iowa, who came here to look after his dead kinsman, from whom we learned some additional particulars of the deceased. He informed us that his brother was born in 1808 (making him 67 years old at the time of his death) in the State of Connecticut, but he spent his early manhood in Massachusetts, where he received a collegiate education, graduated with high honor, and was licensed to preach by the Presbyterian Church, preached a few sermons, and gave great promise as a pulpit orator, but he soon developed symptoms of indecision, and secluded himself from society. His friends observed his peculiarities, and when he determined to quit the ministry, they sent him to Ravenna, Ohio, with a stock of goods. He continued the mercantile business for three years, and did well, but tiring of this, he sold out, and went to Jerseyville, Illinois, where he engaged in school teaching. His brother Henry, after a long search, found him there, and thought his mind was all right. Some letters between them after this visit, and Caleb visited him at Keokuk some fifteen years ago, since which time he has had no definite news from or of him, until he heard of his death. He thinks his brother's mind has been unbalanced for many years. The deceased was unmarried, and leaves three brothers and one sister living.
Mr. Henry Seymour paid all the expenses of the funeral, and expresses his warm obligations to Mr. McVey and other citizens of Sedalia for their kindness and humanity shown. He will confer with relatives in Massachusetts and elsewhere, and the body will then be removed to some agreed point for final sepulcher. Mr. Welch of this city having agreed to prepare and ship the body when notified.
Mr. Henry Seymour left for Keokuk, last night.
Source: Sedalia Daily Democrat, 30 Sep 1875
Submitter: Cathy Warbritton