I started off today with a 3-mile walk, then I was invited for a bike ride with my friend and neighbor Carrie Lambert. I haven’t ridden a bike in at least 25 years, so I was skeptical of my abilities. Apparently, the old adage is true that you never forget how to ride a bike. I was wobbly at first, but as we rode, I gained some confidence. Hills still proved worrisome, and my quads were screaming before I got done, but overall, I had fun!
Giving myself enough time to recuperate, I followed the bike ride with my true day-cation adventure, a trip through history, at least Greenville and Butler County history from 1897 and 1922. The Greenville Advocate has been published continuously since 1865, but another newspaper, The Butler County News served lower Butler County during the early 1900s. I focused my search for the years 1897 and 1922 for specific reasons.
In doing genealogical work on my father’s family, I have discovered that two of his great-uncles were involved in murders during the aforementioned years. My father Charlie Jason Smith was the son of Emmie Boutwell Smith. Her parents were David Chap Boutwell and Stella Seale Boutwell. Stella’s parents were Philip P. Seale and Sarah Ann Saucer Seale.
Phil and Sarah Seale would be my two-times great grandparents. Together, they had nine children: Nancy, Benjamin Thomas “Tom,” Lydia, Georgia, Guy, Zell, Tirley, Earnest, and Stella. Of these nine children, Benjamin Thomas “Tom” Seale was accused as an accomplice in murder during 1897. Tom would have only been 16 at the time of being accused. I wanted to see what, if anything, the newspaper had reported on the incident. Luckily, I found two articles.
On January 30, 1922, Zell E. Seale, aged 32 and a returning WWI veteran, was murdered close to a church near his home. Unfortunately, neither newspaper had any information on this incident. It appears the papers were more interested in relaying the comings and goings of Greenville’s influential citizens instead of any actual news.
The remainder of the afternoon I spent gleaning information from the Seale file at the Butler County Historical Society at the Greenville Library.
Another great day-cation!