Frederic Kimber Seward


Aug 29, 2000
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While hunting up Newport photos for the convention-here's a timely one of Fred with his grand daughter Katherine taken in the early 20's in Newport Harbor-almost a repeat of a similar scene from 1912 with the Gibson girls in that lifeboat! Katherine still has his tuxedo from Titanic- not for sale or photographing at any price! She lives in Massachusetts and I hope she may be able to attend the convention. The Sewards liked to summer in Cape Cod and Newport. Made a nice change from Manhattan in the summer. Katherine wrote " He was a handsome, robust redfaced guy with twinkly eyes and what he called a high forehead, handlebar mustache and a short beard that he grew for the 1912 trip to Greece because he looked so very young for a corporation lawyer. After the Titanic sank, my grandfather got crank calls for having survived and my mother said he never spoke much about it until one night cruising with my parents off Vineyard Haven... and said 'This is like the night Titanic went down'."
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Aug 29, 2000
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Fred looks a bit like a young Marshall Drew I always thought. I wonder what his minister father thought of card-playing? While at the Tennis Hall of Fame I thought of him with Dot and her mom and Will Sloper- there was a tableau at the Casino of 1912-vintage cardplayers. I wonder who was winning that night at the table in 1912?! Recently I read Fred was related to William Seward, Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State- his great -uncle. A nice touch on President's Day!
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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How bizarre...I was just going to ask the very question you answered in your post, Shelley, when I saw the title of your thread - was Frederick Seward related to Frederick Seward, the son of William Seward. Frederick was, if I remember correctly, very badly injured during the assassination attempt on his father which occured at the same time as the successful assassination of Lincoln (the night of 14 April 1865...another coincidence). He lay in a coma for some time. Frederick Seward acted as his father's secretary. I've always had rather a soft spot for William Seward out of all Lincoln's cabinet.

Do you know what the exact connection was?
 
Aug 29, 2000
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It gets a bit dicey, so I will just quote from Katherine's letter on geneology " My Grandfather's father was the 3rd child of William H. Seward's brother George (born 4/16/1838-died 2/22/1916) Titanic's Frederic (spelled without the final k) was then the son of Samuel Seward whose father George was William H.'s brother. Titanic Fred was then the great-nephew of William H. who was indeed nearly killed by an assassination attempt on the same night Lincoln was shot- wow- you could not WRITE this stuff! Actually Inger- I think the veil is thin and our psychic powers are on overdrive tonight! Must be the blizzard.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Right...got that! (I think...) Well, it answers a question that's been rattling around the head for some time. You're absolutely right - no one could invent this sort of material. Many thanks!
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Mr. Seward and Grandaughter Katherine- sorry, I mixed up the captions- the pretty girl in the boat photo above is also Katherine (Seward Gardner) his daughter, - both were named Katherine. He looks like a doting Grandpa!
 
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Mar 20, 2000
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All:

Can anybody help me identify Fred Seward among the male passengers in the well-known group photo with Capt. Rostron and "Molly" Brown? I don't have a copy to post here but the one I'm going by was published on page 45 of the book "Molly Brown: Denver's Unsinkable Lady" by Christine Whitacre. I am pretty certain he's the guy on the very far left wearing a monocle.

Thanks
Randy
 

Ben Holme

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Feb 11, 2001
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You're spot on, Randy.

Seward is indeed the gentleman on the far left, wearing a monocle and a bowler hat. He was clean-shaven in 1912, but not so in later years, as reflected in his passport photograph.

Next to Seward (from left to right) are:

Karl Behr
Bjornstorm-Steffanson
Isaac Gerald Frauenthal
Capt. Rostron
Molly Brown
Frederick Spedden
George Harder

Hope this helps!

Ben
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Ben:

Thanks a lot! I appreciate your help in identifying Seward and the other guys.

By the way, I'll be in touch soon about the Dorothy Gibson project. I'll want your clever eye to give it a once over before the book goes to print.

Randy
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Shelley:

Does the family recall anything about Dorothy Gibson? Or would that be too "dicey" to share? As you may know, apart from their experiences on Titanic, which bonded them, Dorothy and Pauline were members of the same church to which Fred belonged.

Randy
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Looking back through all the notes we have on Fred, other than his Herald interview where he acknowledges playing cards with "friends" and owing his life to being with these ladies at the right spot at the right time, there's no further written specific mention of Dot and Pauline later on. He, like other First Class men saved, received many critical letters, and probably did not want to make too much of card-playing on a Sunday night. He knew the Gibsons, of course, from the congregation (Presbyterian I think), but sad to say, no correspondence or family recollections exist of any continued relationship after the sinking.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Shelley,

Having booked within a couple of days of Titanic's sailing, he is not on the Cave List. I was wondering whether there are any family recollections or other information which would help identify which cabin Seward was in -- or at least which deck his cabin was on?

Regards,

Daniel.
 
May 8, 2020
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While hunting up Newport photos for the convention-here's a timely one of Fred with his grand daughter Katherine taken in the early 20's in Newport Harbor-almost a repeat of a similar scene from 1912 with the Gibson girls in that lifeboat! Katherine still has his tuxedo from Titanic- not for sale or photographing at any price! She lives in Massachusetts and I hope she may be able to attend the convention. The Sewards liked to summer in Cape Cod and Newport. Made a nice change from Manhattan in the summer. Katherine wrote " He was a handsome, robust redfaced guy with twinkly eyes and what he called a high forehead, handlebar mustache and a short beard that he grew for the 1912 trip to Greece because he looked so very young for a corporation lawyer. After the Titanic sank, my grandfather got crank calls for having survived and my mother said he never spoke much about it until one night cruising with my parents off Vineyard Haven... and said 'This is like the night Titanic went down'."
View attachment 29751
That’s his daughter, Katherine, or Kaye as she was known. Great photo of my grand dad
 
Jan 22, 2021
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Frederic Kimber Seward's descendants heard that the Titanic crew asked "Grampok" if he could pilot a boat. As there is much sailing and rowing in the families of his children Kim, Kaye and Bill, and it is certainly in all of our blood to be up on deck to appreciate the ocean, we quite like the story that his sailing in Monument Beach days got him into Lifeboat #7, when they still thought they'd be rowing back for breakfast.
Surely the tuxedo we have was not actually from the night of the sinking, because, if we can claim him as our ancestor at all, that outfit would have been ruined from salt and the sweat of rowing, and a few days of sleeping on the Carpathia, says me, Katharine's daughter who rows lifeboats for fun. We did send it out for the costume designers to use as inspiration for the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio. The lining is kind of scratchy for wearing, so I would bet it was hastily ordered upon his return to replace what went down, with, ahem, who cares about tuxedos when there were many tuxedo-and-non-tuxedo-toting souls! It is grim to imagine the ethical dilemmas facing them, with their very real human faces, in the quiet and awful dying sounds on the chilled glassy sea.
My mother, who lived with him and then his famed Irish housekeeper Annie, after he died, said Grampok never talked about it except that calm night on the Gardner's Borogove. The lore about the Gibsons came more from all of you researchers, and we haven't found much to add.
Family lore includes pride of his rewarding the crew of the Carpathia with medals. Some of his descendants serve on the Mariner's House in Boston, and others coach rowing.
Per Once Over Lightly, the memoir by Frederic Kimber Seward's grandson, Kim, (FKS II), who passed away in 2020, Secretary of State William Henry Seward had his own son named Frederick Seward, who got a bit of a bashing in the assassination attempt, while the Frederic Kimber Sewards are descended from WHS's brother George Washington Seward, via his son, the Sweden-Borgian Reverend Samuel Swayze Seward -- thus the parishioners of his father's church who were aboard.
 

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