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Bernarr & Elizabeth (Berrey) Seaman

by Peggy Taylor Billings

Bernarr M. Seaman and Elizabeth M. Berrey were married on November 25, 1926, at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.R. Berrey in Kansas City, Missouri. Bernarr was born February 18, 1903 in Udall, Kansas. Elizabeth was born on May 1, 1906 in Houstonia, Missouri.

Bernarr and Elizabeth both attended Wilmore Schools. Elizabeth attended the Kansas City School of Business for one year, and Bernarr studied at Southwestern College in Winfield and at the Wichita Business College.

After their marriage, Bernarr and Elizabeth returned to Wilmore and started farming. Their first home was on the Pyle place, and in 1930, they moved to the farm three miles north of Wilmore where they were to spend the next 45 years. Bernarr and Elizabeth's father, T.R. Berrey, set to work on the four room house, adding more rooms and enlarging existing ones, until they had completed the comfortable home where their children, Larry and Rowena, grew up.

Larry Max was born May 26, 1930, and Rowena Lou (named after Elizabeth's mother, Rowena Dale McDaniel Berrey), was born November 20, 1933. Larry is now the Director of Marketing, for Vigortone Products, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Rowena is the Public Information Officer for the Missouri Valley Region of the Environment Protection Agency in Kansas City, Missouri. Both Larry and Rowena were active in 4-H and both won many ribbons and awards for their skills and for their fat calves.

Larry has three children; Berrey Maple, Belinda Sue and Bradley Max. They all reside in the Willard, Missouri area. Rowena had one daughter, (the writer) Margaret Rowena Taylor, (Peggy), born November 28, 1952. On August 25, 1979, Peggy and Barry C. Billings were married in Coldwater. Barry and Peggy met in Lawerence, where they both attended the University of Kansas. No small part of their intial attraction to one another was due to their common Comanche County childhoods.

For many years, Bernarr was the rural mail carrier for Wilmore. Every day he drove 65 miles around the community. Every Easter he and Elizabeth would fill little fruit baskets with cellophane, grass and candy eggs for the children on his mail route. Bernarr always had plenty of candy and time for a visit when he was met at the mail box by the children on his route. In 1975, Bernarr and Elizabeth bought a new home in Coldwater and he retired from the mail route.

Comanche County History, page 662, Comanche County Historical Society, 1981

Gravestone of Elizabeth M. & Bernarr M. Seaman, Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo by John Edward (Ed) Schrock, used with permission of Janet Schrock Hubbard.

Gravestone of Elizabeth M. & Bernarr M. Seaman
Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo by John Edward "Ed" Schrock

The Western Star, May 5, 1977.

Obituary of B. M. Seaman

Bernarr Merle Seaman was born February 18, 1903 in Udall, Kans., to Wallace McDonald Seaman and Louella Lucinda Nelson. He departed this life on April 26, 1977 at the Kiowa County Hospital, Greensburg, after an illness of five weeks.

Barney came to Comanche county with his parents to 1906 and lived in the Wilmore community until two years ago when he and Elizabeth moved into their new home in Coldwater. He went to the Wilmore schools and studied one year at Southwestern College at Winfield.

Barney and Lidd, childhood sweethearts, were married at her parents home in Kansas City, Mo., November 25, 1926. They celebrated 50 beautiful years of marriage last Thanksgiving day. After their marriage they returned to a farm near Wilmore and a few years later moved to the home north of Wilmore where they lived until moving to Coldwater.

Larry Max, their son, was born in 1930 and Rowena Lou was born in 1933. One of Barney's greatest sources of joy and pride was his five grandchildren, Larry and Bonnie's Terry, Berney, Lindy, and Bradley; and Rowena and Bud's Peggy.

He was a member of the Wilmore Christian church and took an active role in the church for many years. Barney went into the Wilmore Masonic Lodge in 1937.

Long an avid outdoors man, hunting and fishing were replaced in the last few years by golfing. The fellowship he enjoyed with the group at the Coldwater Country Club was far more important than the score.

Barney was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Kathryn, and his brother, Albert. He is survived by his devoted wife, Lidd, his children and grandchildren, and by his sisters, Nell Smyth, Cleveland, Okla., Nina Davis of Wichita and Lorraine Baumet of Chicago, Ill.

Barney loved the outdoors, he loved farming and the miracles of the good earth, he loved his family dearly, he loved people, he loved to visit - Barney loved life.

A Man who lived by the strength of his faith, his moral convictions, and who demanded more of himself than of others. Barney accepted this day with the dignity he and Elizabeth had shared through the years. Barney was not troubled in this last illness for he felt that a place had been prepared for him. He faced this day with peace in his heart and with the knowledge that he had lived every day to the best of his ability.

"Happy the man that, when his day is done, lies down to sleep with nothing of regret...He sinks into the last eternal rest, breathing these only words: "I am content."

The Western Star, August 15, 1996.

Elizabeth M. Seaman

Elizabeth M. Seaman, 90, died Aug. 7, 1996, at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Merriam, Kans.

She was born May 1, 1906, at Houstonia, Mo.

For more than 50 years, she was a homemaker and farmer with her husband, Bernarr, in the Wilmore area.

She was a charter member of the Wilmore Social and Study Club, a past member of the Order of Eastern Star, Research Club, and the Garden Club.

She was preceded in death by her husband in 1976, a grandson, Berrey Seaman, one brother, and two sisters.

Survivors include: a son, Larry Seaman, Eureka Springs, Ark.; a daughter, Rowena Michaels of Mission; a sister, Virginia Booth of Forsyth, Mo.; four grandchildren, Peggy Billings of Lawrence, Lindy Huff and Bradley Seaman, both of Springfield, Mo., and Lance Seaman of Eureka Springs; and seven great-grandchildren.

Cremation has taken place. Inurnment will be at a later time in the Wilmore Cemetery.

Memorials may be sent to the Wilmore Public Library, in Wilmore.

McGilley & Hoge Memorial Chapel, Overland Park, is in charge of arrangements.

Related Families:

Thomas & Rowena Berry

Gertrude Helena (Wood) Cordray

John Janson, Jr., stepfather of Bernarr Seaman.

Email, 03 Oct 2002:


My mother just called me and told me about your Comanche County website. Honestly, it looks more like the Wilmore website, but that's ok with me!! It's terrific! I can't wait to show it to my kids.

Are you still living in Wilmore? We're in Lawrence, but since my grandmother passed away I don't seem to make it out that way. My husband has Comanche County connections, too. Vivian Replogle was his aunt.

So what are you up to these days?? How come I haven't seen you at any of those Wilmore reunions?? I have heard from Tomi Huck and Sue Thompson lately. And I saw Don McKinney a couple of years ago. Otherwise, I don't get much Comanche County news.

Keep up the good work on the website!

Peggy Taylor Billings

Peggy Billings, MSW
Research Assistant
School of Social Welfare
University of Kansas
1545 Lilac Lane
Lawrence, KS 66045

785 864 3749

Hello, Peggy! My email in response to the above message bounced back to me after three days, so you haven't heard from me yet. I'll try sending it again. It was a pleasant surprise to hear from you. I don't think we've seen each other since about 1964 or so. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you again. Jerry Ferrin

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above obituary to this web site and to Bobbi (Hackney) Huck for typing the Comanche County History article!

This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 07 Oct 2002 and last updated 12 March 2006.