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Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Byron H. SEARING, M.D.
(Click photo for larger image.)
born April 10, 1860
died June 4, 1892

This photo was found at an outdoor antique show last weekend in Liverpool, New York.

The surname was especially troublesome, but with the help of many generous folks at the FaceBook group, we were able to work out that the last name says Searing.  This is verified by the monument at Find-a-Grave which shows that Mr Searing rests at the Friends cemetery in Ledyard, Cayuga County, NY. That county is a neighboring one to that in which the photo was found.

His parents were Leonard Hawxhurst Searing and Alice H. Hudson (her mother's name was Julia A. Hudson).

1870 Federal Census, Scipio, Cayuga County, NY
SEARING, Leonard, 68, wool dealer
SEARING, Rebecca A., 60
SEARING, Leonard H., 48, farmer
SEARING., Alice, 40
SEARING, Adolphus, 14
SEARING, Byron, 9

The 1865 New York State Census shows the family living in or near Auburn NY, which is in the same county. At that time, grandmother Julia Hudson was living with the family.

But then the trail runs cold pretty quickly. I am curious as to why he died so young.

Further research finds this unsettling insert which mentions Byron's father and uncle.

Saturday, July 3, 1875   Paper: Auburn Daily Bulletin (Auburn, New York)   Page: 4

Byron would have been 15 years old at this time.

This news of the lunacy of Leonard Searing comes just over 2 weeks following the suicide of his brother Thomas. Having found the newspaper article about the suicide, I read with interest that Thomas' depression and suicide were adjudged to be hereditary, as his maternal grandmother was found to be insane.

 The news must certainly have hit the Searing family quite hard, and left each of them wondering about their own mental health. I am now even more curious about why Byron died so young.

1886 University of the State of New York, Annual Report to the Regents of the University
On page 371, under the heading "Graduates who passed their final examinations in September, 1884, and May 1885, and received their degrees at commencement, 1885" there is the name "Byron Hudson Searing".  There is a strong liklihood that this is the young man in the photo, as his mother's maiden name was Hudson.

On the next page of the same publication, there is evidence that Byron was an exceptionally good student at his Medical Studies.

UPDATE - I heard from a distant relative of Byron Searing, who was able to provide me with his obituary. This is quite detailed and reveals the cause of death as a "liver disease" which became quite severe in his last year of life.

The Weekly Auburnian (Auburn NY), Thursday, June 16, 1892
In Memoriam
Departed this life on June 4th, 1892, at Auburn, Dr. Byron H. Searing of New York city, aged 32 years and 2 months. The deceased was the second son on Leonard H. and Alice Hudson Searing, and was born in Scipio, N.Y. April 9, 1860. He was of Quaker paternity, and was reared to manhood under the beneficent influence of the "Society of Friends," in and about the quiet hamlet of Sherwood, N.Y., where he first attended the district school and eventually graduated at the Sherwood select school in 1879; taught a few terms during vacations and entered Cornell University in 1880, and spent two years in the medical preparatory course, at the end of which time, he entered Columbia College, New York, at the P. and S.; remained there three years and graduated in 1885 with the highest honors, taking the first prize in that year for scholarship, among a class of over one hundred students; was awarded a bronze medal, and the monetary premium, as provided by the Harson Fund belonging to that institution. He then commenced practice in New York city where he has remained seven years, becoming prominent as a specialist in diseases of the throat. He was also chosen Professor of Chemistry in the New York Veterinary College where he faithfully officiated as a lecturer for the past five years; he was a member of the Alumni Association of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, also of the Medical Society of the county of New York and of the County Medical Association. In April he united with the Presbyterian church under the pastorate of Rev. S. B. Rossiter, D. D., of New York city. Dr. Searing was endowed by nature with a symmetrical and well developed physical and mental organization, and was justly distinguished for his manly proportions, and handsome physique, which, with a genial disposition and agreeable manners, added to superior magnetic powers aided much in bringing him honor and success as a medical practitioner. He was withal eminently fitted, through natural endowment and educational culture, for the high calling of a true physician. It seems that in the event of his death suffering humanity has lost one of its most efficient benefactors; the medical fraternity an honored member and reliable counsellor; and his immediate friends and acquaintances, a valued social companion. His sudden departure from his field of prospective usefulness, is deeply deplored by all who knew him; and tender sympathies are extended to his surviving mother and brother and the family circle now bereft of one of its cherished members. The only consolation that can be offered there is the hope of a happy reunion in a higher life hereafter. "Golden ears though richly waving, Must in harvest fall; Changing seasons all their beauty Soon again recall: So must we our life renouncing Soon return to dust; But in life beyond death's portal Will we ever trust." Dr. Searing's health had been failing for more than a year and when finally prostrated in severe illness he was brought to the home of his brother, Hon. A. H. Searing, where after a few days he died. An autopsy revealed a diseased condition of the liver from which there could have been no recovery. The funeral was held at the Friend's meeting house near Aurora. The Rev. W. H. Hubbard of the First Presbyterian church of Auburn, conducted the services, assisted by B. F. Farquhar of the Friends' meeting near Poplar Ridge. Among the many letters of sympathy received from Dr. Searing's friends in New York was one from his pastor, the Rev. Dr. Rossiter, expressing regret that circumstances prevented his attending the funeral. The interment was in the family burial ground.

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