Dr. Ralph Justin Sewall

M, #24373, b. 1 November 1869, d. 7 May 1949
     Dr. Ralph Justin Sewall was born on 1 November 1869 in Rutland, La Salle County, Illinois.1 He was the son of Martin Wright Sewall and Catherine Wood Ellis. Dr. Ralph Justin Sewall married Florence G. Wright in 1897. Dr. Ralph Justin Sewall and Florence G. Wright were divorced in March 1922 at Minden, Nevada; on the grounds of her desertion.2 Dr. Ralph Justin Sewall married secondly Florence Eva MacKay on 15 December 1930 in Yuma, Arizona.3 Dr. Ralph Justin Sewall died on 7 May 1949 in San Diego, California, at the age of 794,5 and is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California.6

Dr. Ralph Justin Sewall, 79, of 131 Elm St., who had practiced medicine In San Diego City and County since 1925, died Saturday in San Diego Naval Hospital.
Funeral arrangements are pending at Bonham Brothers Mortuary.
Dr. Sewall served as a captain in the Medical Corps USA, during World War I. He was born in Rutland, Ill., and educated in Minneapolis, where he was graduated in 1895 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, University of Minnesota.
Dr. Sewall served with the First Minnesota Infantry during the Mexican border campaign in 1916 and was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1917. He was a member of Harry S. Nelson Post, Disabled American Veterans.
The physician had offices at 147 E. Elm St., He was a member of Delta Tau Delta, academic fraternity, and Nu Sigma Nu, medical fraternity, He also was a Master Mason and was affiliated with the Odd Fellows and the Elks.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Florence E. Sewall; a sister, Mrs. Susan Amesbury, of Portland Ore, and two grandchildren.7

Children of Dr. Ralph Justin Sewall and Florence G. Wright


  1. [S89] Family Search, Illinois Births and Christenings, 1824-1940.
  2. [S205] Newspaper, Reno Evening Gazette, 25 March 1922.
  3. [S232] Ancestry.com, Arizona, County Marriage Records, 1865-1972.
  4. [S89] Family Search, California Death Index, 1940-1997.
  5. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 3430395."
  6. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "#3430395."
  7. [S205] Newspaper, San Diego Union, 9 May 1949.
  8. [S206] 1920 US Census, Cartago, Inyo, California.

Ralph Wilbur Sewall1

M, #26723, b. 11 March 1893, d. 1982
     Ralph Wilbur Sewall was born on 11 March 1893 in Newmarket, Rockingham County, New Hampshire.1,2 He was the son of Charles Edwin Sewall and Lizzie Anna Hayden.1 Ralph Wilbur Sewall married Sarah Pickhover, daughter of Ben Pickhover and Sarah Dewhurst, on 18 April 1916 in Newmarket, Rockingham County, New Hampshire.3 Ralph Wilbur Sewall died in 19824 and is buried in River Bend Cemetery, Westerly, Washington County, Rhode Island.5


  1. [S89] Family Search, Rhode Island State Census, 1935.
  2. [S89] Family Search, United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
  3. [S89] Family Search, New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947.
  4. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 83381989."
  5. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 83381989, Ralph W. Sewall, showing gravestone photograph."

Ralph William Sewall1

M, #23376, b. 30 April 1929, d. 22 June 1988
     Ralph William Sewall was born on 30 April 1929 in Hennepin County, Minnesota.2,1 He was the son of Ralph Benford Sewall and Kunegunda Magdalene Kulick.2 Ralph William Sewall died on 22 June 1988 in Los Angeles County, California, at the age of 593 and is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California.4


  1. [S34] Unverified internet information, http://people.mnhs.org/bci/Results.cfm
  2. [S231] 1930 US Census, Minnetonka, Hennepin, Minnesota.
  3. [S232] Ancestry.com, California, Death Index, 1940-1997.
  4. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 3751340, MSGT Ralph William Sewall, showing gravestone photograph."

Ray V. Sewall1

M, #25181, b. August 1891, d. 27 December 1907
     Ray V. Sewall was born in August 1891 in South Dakota (His mother was not Blenda Wedlund.)2 He was the son of William Alfred Sewall.1 Ray V. Sewall died on 27 December 1907 in Grant County, Indiana, at the age of 16.3


  1. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 122534877."
  2. [S208] 1900 US Census, Precinct 8, Lyman, South Dakota.
  3. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 107325076."

Ray Vernon Sewall1

M, #26685, b. 18 August 1891, d. 27 December 1907
     Ray Vernon Sewall was born on 18 August 1891 in Westover, Jones County, South Dakota.1 He was the son of William Alfred Sewall and Blenda Christina Wedlund.1 Ray Vernon Sewall died on 27 December 1907 in Marion, Grant County, Indiana, at the age of 161 and is buried in Estates of Serenity, Marion, Grant County, Indiana.2


  1. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 107325076."
  2. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 107325076, Ray Vernon Sewall, showing gravestone photograph."

Raymond Thomas Sewall1

M, #15040, b. 23 December 1877, d. 21 August 1951
     Raymond Thomas Sewall. Treasurer of an oil company.2 He was born on 23 December 1877 in Everett, Massachusetts.3,4,5 He was the son of Capt. Samuel Johnson Mills Sewall and Francella Augusta Cunningham.1 Raymond Thomas Sewall appears on the census of 1900 as a broker's clerk.3 He married Edith Gorham Forristall, daughter of Harry G. Forristall and Lillia Dill, on 20 December 1900 in Chelsea, Massachusetts.6 Raymond Thomas Sewall and Edith Gorham Forristall appear on the census of 1920.7 Raymond Thomas Sewall died on 21 August 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of 73.8

Children of Raymond Thomas Sewall and Edith Gorham Forristall


  1. [S34] Unverified internet information, http://www.spoonergen.com/trees/US-William/d0004/…
  2. [S207] 1910 US Census, MA, SUFFOLK, WINTHROP.
  3. [S208] 1900 US Census, Everett Ward 1, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
  4. [S232] Ancestry.com, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
  5. [S232] Ancestry.com, U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942.
  6. [S130] Massachusetts Vital Records, Vol: 501 ; Page: 377.
  7. [S206] 1920 US Census, Winthrop, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
  8. [S205] Newspaper, Boston Traveler, 24 August 1951.

Rebecca Sewall1

F, #3678, b. 30 December 1704, d. 3 August 1710
     Rebecca Sewall was born on 30 December 1704.1 She was the daughter of Samuel Sewall and Rebecca Dudley.1 Rebecca Sewall died on 3 August 1710 at the age of 5.1


  1. [S25] Samuel Sewall, Diary of Samuel Sewall (1973 ed.), p. 1086.

Rebecca Sewall1

F, #3685, b. 19 October 1747, d. 29 November 1747
     Rebecca Sewall was born on 19 October 1747 in Brookline, Massachusetts.1,2 She was the daughter of Henry Sewall and Ann White.1 Rebecca Sewall died on 29 November 1747 in Brookline, Massachusetts.1,2


  1. [S25] Samuel Sewall, Diary of Samuel Sewall (1973 ed.), p. 1086.
  2. [S335] Marston. Watson, Royal Families. Vol. 1., p. 99.

Rebecca (Rebekah) Sewall1

F, #890, b. 2 April 1767, d. 6 June 1817
     Rebecca (Rebekah) Sewall was born on 2 April 1767 in Georgetown, Sagadahoc County, Maine.1,2 She was the daughter of William Sewall and Sarah Chisam.1 Rebecca (Rebekah) Sewall married firstly Benjamin Pattee, son of Jeremiah Pattee and Jane Stuard, on 13 December 1787 at Georgetown although no children have been found for him, Benjamin Jr was in the 1790 census, Georgetown, with a wife and a boy aged under 16.1 The marriage intentions of Rebecca (Rebekah) Sewall and Theodore Sewall, son of John Sewall and Mary Sayward, were filed on 20 November 1802 in Georgetown.1 Rebecca (Rebekah) Sewall died on 6 June 1817 in Georgetown, Maine, at the age of 501 and is buried in Sewall Cemetery on McFarland farm, Arrowsic, Sagadahoc County, Maine.3,4


  1. [S106] Maine Families in 1790, Vol. 3 p. 210.
  2. [S89] Family Search, Maine Births and Christenings, 1739-1900.
  3. [S4] Sandra MacLean Clunies, Clunies files, MOCA - Maine Old Cemetery Association, Series 1, Sagadahoc Co., SA12.
  4. [S89] Family Search, Maine, Nathan Hale Cemetery Collection, ca. 1780-1980.

Rebecca Alexander Sewall1,2

F, #7583, b. 18 February 1862, d. 1946
     Rebecca Alexander Sewall is also recorded as Alexander Rebecca Sewall.3 She was born on 18 February 1862 in Island Falls, Maine.1 She was the daughter of Samuel Trask Sewall and Nancy Clements Brown.1 Rebecca Alexander Sewall married Fred Stuart Alexander on 3 July 1892 in Island Falls, Maine.4 Rebecca Alexander Sewall died in 1946 in Aroostook County, Maine,5 and is buried in Island Falls Cemetery, Island Falls, Aroostook County, Maine.6

Children of Rebecca Alexander Sewall and Fred Stuart Alexander


  1. [S62] William Richard Cutter, New England Families, p. 283.
  2. [S153] Charles Nelson Sinnett, Sinnett's Sewall genealogy, p. 53.
  3. [S207] 1910 US Census.
  4. [S232] Ancestry.com, Maine Marriages, 1892-1996.
  5. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 119665057."
  6. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "#119665057."

Rebecca Guild Sewall1

F, #881, b. 7 September 1780, d. 31 March 1870 or 31 May 1870
     Rebecca Guild Sewall was born on 7 September 1780 in Vassalboro, Kennebec County, Maine.2 She was the daughter of Thomas Sewall and Priscilla Coney.1 Rebecca Guild Sewall married John Ordway Webster, son of Nathan Webster and Elizabeth Clifford, on 23 November 1802 in China, Maine.3 Rebecca Guild Sewall died on 31 March 1870 or 31 May 1870 in Washington, District of Columbia,4 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia.5

Children of Rebecca Guild Sewall and John Ordway Webster


  1. [S5] William Darcy McKeough, McKeough Family Tree.
  2. [S89] Family Search, Maine Births and Christenings, 1739-1900.
  3. [S89] Family Search, Town and vital records, 1818-1891 China (Maine). Town Clerk.
  4. [S195] Mary Lovering Holman, John Coney of Boston, p. 125.
  5. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "#86699692."

Rebecca Phillips Sewall1

F, #972, b. 28 February 1832, d. 20 May 1855
     Rebecca Phillips Sewall was born on 28 February 1832 in Danvers, Essex County, Massachusetts.2 She was the daughter of Rev. Charles Chauncy Sewall and Amy Peters.1 Rebecca Phillips Sewall died on 20 May 1855 in Medfield, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, at the age of 23.3


  1. [S5] William Darcy McKeough, McKeough Family Tree.
  2. [S87] Kate Hogenson, Communication from K. Hogenson.
  3. [S205] Newspaper, Boston Daily Advertiser, (Boston, MA) Tuesday, May 22, 1855.

Rebecca Thompson Sewall1

F, #22261, b. 13 May 1841, d. before 1868
     Rebecca Thompson Sewall was born on 13 May 1841 in Sumner, Maine.1 She was the daughter of David Sewall and Louisa Augusta Stephens.1 Rebecca Thompson Sewall married Freeman A. Shaw, son of Amos Shaw, on 23 May 1860 in Barre, Worcester County, Massachusetts.2 Rebecca Thompson Sewall died before 1868.


  1. [S364] Eben Graves, The descendants of Henry Sewall. Vol. II (Unpublished), #325.
  2. [S89] Family Search, Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915.

Rebecca Williams Sewall1

F, #15715, b. 19 May 1841, d. 12 January 1933
     Rebecca Williams Sewall was born on 19 May 1841 in Brownsville, Piscataquis County, Maine.2,1,3,4 She was the daughter of Rev. William Stinson Sewall and Miriam Purinton.1 Rebecca Williams Sewall died on 12 January 1933 in Keene, New Hampshire, of senility. She was unmarried.4


  1. [S154] 1860 US Census.
  2. [S208] 1900 US Census, Melrose Ward 6, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
  3. [S34] Unverified internet information, Town of Keene, New Hampshire. Vital Statistics. Deaths
    1933 - 1934 http://www.ci.keene.nh.us/library/vitalstatistics/…
  4. [S89] Family Search, New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947.

Reginald David Sewall1

M, #14793, b. 15 July 1902, d. 20 February 1985
     Reginald David Sewall was born on 15 July 1902 in Melrose, Massachusetts.1,2 He was the son of Frank Roberts Sewall and Miriam Varilette Westgate.1 Reginald David Sewall married Marion Florence Peters, daughter of Edward H. Peters and Florence H. Staton, on 12 January 1924 in Roslindale, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.1 Reginald David Sewall died on 20 February 1985 in North Adams, Massachusetts, at the age of 82.2 He was born in Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.3

Children of Reginald David Sewall and Marion Florence Peters


  1. [S180] Bible Records, NEHGS Bible Records, Gen 1 S 273: David Jewett Sewall Bible.
  2. [S210] Social Security Death Index.
  3. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "#116101092 M.I."

Reuben Clement Sewall1

M, #20694, b. 10 July 1820, d. 29 November 1844
     Reuben Clement Sewall was born on 10 July 1820 in Gilford, Belknap County, New Hampshire.1 He was the son of Thomas Sewall and Dorothy Bartlett.1 Reuben Clement Sewall died on 29 November 1844 in Gilford, Belknap County, New Hampshire, at the age of 24.1,2


  1. [S364] Eben Graves, The descendants of Henry Sewall. Vol. II (Unpublished).
  2. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 47838365 Memorial Inscription."

Rhoda Gertrude Sewall1

F, #26449, b. 14 February 1909, d. December 1972
     Rhoda Gertrude Sewall was born on 14 February 1909 in Newmarket, Rockingham County, New Hampshire.1 She was the daughter of Clarence Eben Sewall and Myrtie Cummings.1 Rhoda Gertrude Sewall married Francis Xavier Manning on 20 August 1927 in Newmarket, New Hampshire.2 Rhoda Gertrude Sewall and Francis Xavier Manning were divorced before 1940.3 Rhoda Gertrude Sewall married secondly Francis Joseph Hughes in 1943.4 Rhoda Gertrude Sewall died in December 1972 probably in Strafford County, New Hampshire, at the age of 63.5


  1. [S89] Family Search, New Hampshire Birth Certificates, 1901-1915.
  2. [S89] Family Search, New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947.
  3. [S585] 1940 US Census, Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire.
  4. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "#209361530."
  5. [S210] Social Security Death Index, Fulton, Georgia.

Rhoda Jane Sewall1,2

F, #23282, b. 8 January 1834, d. 30 September 1910
     Rhoda Jane Sewall was born on 8 January 1834 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.2,3 She was the daughter of Clement Sewall and Sarah Myers.1 Rhoda Jane Sewall married David S. Terrill. Rhoda Jane Sewall died on 30 September 1910 in Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania, at the age of 76.2 She was buried in Mercer Citizens Cemetery, Mercer, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.4

Child of Rhoda Jane Sewall and David S. Terrill


  1. [S109] 1850 United States Census, West Lackawannock, Mercer, Pennsylvania.
  2. [S232] Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963.
  3. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 144009725."
  4. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 144009725, Rhoda Jane Sewall Terrill."

Rhoda Neal Sewall1

F, #19431, b. 25 May 1845, d. 17 August 1923
     Rhoda Neal Sewall was born on 25 May 1845 in Illinois.1,2 She was the daughter of Samuel Moody Sewall and Hannah H. Johnson.1 Rhoda Neal Sewall married Andrew Jackson Reeves. Rhoda Neal Sewall died on 17 August 1923 in Wisconsin at the age of 782 and is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Eagle, Waukesha County, Wisconsin.3


  1. [S109] 1850 United States Census, Whitewater, Walworth, Wisconsin.
  2. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 70633373."
  3. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 70633373, Rhoda N. Sewall Reeves, showing gravestone photograph."

Richard Sewall

M, #7, b. 1578, d. 12 November 1638
     Richard Sewall. A vintner of Coventry.1 He was born in 1578 in Coventry.2 He was the son of Henry Sewall and Margaret Grazebrook. Richard Sewall is recorded as living in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.3 He married Mary Dugdale, daughter of John Dugdale of Shustoke and Elizabeth Swynfen, in in 1614 or 1615
From Hamper’s “Life of Sir William Dugdale,” appendix 510 - Documents chiefly in Dugdale’s hand. “ Examination in Chancery, 1612, in a suit between Thomas Bull, complainant, and John Dugdale, ( father of Sir William) defendant, and in 1616, between William Blythe, compt., and the same J. D., concerning a breach of contract of marriage between Mary, daughter of the said John Dugdale, and the said Blythe. It appears that this lady married Richard Seawall, of Corley, co. War., gent., youngest son of Henry Seawall, of Coventry, previous motions for marriage having been made towards her by the before-named William Blythe, by Henry, son of Reginald Home, of Coventry, by Mr. Braidwood’s son, of Aston, and by William, son and heir of William Sadler, of Nether Whitacre.”.4,5 On 2 October 1636 Richard Sewall is recorded as having signed a deed as administrator of the goods, etc., of Anne Power, late of Kenilworth, deceased, during the minority of Stephen Power, executor of the last will of the said Anne.6 Richard Sewall died on 12 November 1638
He died intestate, and administration of his personal estate was granted on 2nd January, 1638-9, to Mary, his widow. It appears from Cole’s Escheats (Harl. MS., 411, p. 131) that his post­mortem inquest was taken at Coventry on 9th May, 16 Charles I (1640), when it was found that he died 12 November, 14 Charles (1638), and that Richard was his son and heir, and of the age of 18 years on the 12th July last.7

Children of Richard Sewall and Mary Dugdale


  1. [S124] Samuel (Rev.) Sewall, Pedigree of Sewall.
  2. [S87] Kate Hogenson, Communication from K. Hogenson, Descendants of William (Shewell) Sewall.
  3. [S13] David Curtis Dearborn, Ancestor Table for Henry Sewell.
  4. [S142] The Visitation of Warwickshire 1682-83, p. 135.
  5. [S621] H. Sydney Grazebrook, "Notes on Sewall", p. 163.
  6. [S138] Birmingham City Archives, MS 3117/ACC 1913-005/240877.
  7. [S621] H. Sydney Grazebrook, "Notes on Sewall", p. 161.
  8. [S5] William Darcy McKeough, McKeough Family Tree.

Richard Sewall1

M, #624, b. 1621, d. between 1644 and 1648
     Richard Sewall was born in 1621.2 He was the son of Richard Sewall and Mary Dugdale.1 Richard Sewall was baptised on 12 July 1621 at Fillongley, Warwickshire.2 Richard Sewall was living in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.3 He was a a surgeon in "Cromwell's Regiment" in the Civil War.3 He died in service sometime between 1644 and 1648.3 He made a will on 11 August 1642 which was proved at Lichfield, 29 April 1648. He gives all his lands, &c., to his brother, Henry Sewall, “ after his apprentice­ship of seven years,” and desires his uncle William Dugdale to receive the rents in the meantime and divide them amongst his (testator’s) bothers and sisters, viz., Samuel, Anne, Prudence and Sarah. Gives £40 to his two sisters, Mary Dudley and Elizabeth Seare. Mentions his aunt, Margery Dugdale (wife of Sir William), and appoints his “ uncle Dugdale,” and his “ brother Dudley,” executors. The will is attested by Edward Warden and Gilbert Sheldon. Previous to probate, viz., on 5th April, 1648, administration of the personal estate had been granted from Lichfield to Abraham Boune as guardian of Edward Sewall, Samuel Sewall, Anne Sewall, Prudence Sewall, and Sarah Sewall. There appears to have been some litigation, for in 1656 this Abraham Boune (who was an attorney) was plaintiff in an Exchequer Suit, as to Richard Sewall’s estate.3


  1. [S5] William Darcy McKeough, McKeough Family Tree.
  2. [S89] Family Search, England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975.
  3. [S31] Maryland Historical Magazine, 1909, p. 291.

Professor Richard Benson Sewall

M, #15248, b. 11 February 1908, d. 16 April 2003
     Professor Richard Benson Sewall was born on 11 February 1908 in Albany, New York.1 He was the son of Rev. Charles Grenville Sewall and Kate Louise Strong. Professor Richard Benson Sewall married Mathilde Parmelee, daughter of Henry H. Parmelee, on 13 March 1940 in Polk, North Carolina.2 Professor Richard Benson Sewall died on 16 April 2003 in Newton, Massachusetts, at the age of 95.

Richard Benson Sewall, English scholar: born Albany, New York 11 February 1908; Instructor in English, Yale University 1934-40, Assistant Professor 1940-51, Associate Professor 1951-59, Professor 1959-76, Master, Ezra Stiles College 1959-70; married 1940 Mathilde Parmelee (died 1974; three sons); died Newton, Massachusetts 16 April 2003.
If a biographer's empathy can be inherited, then Richard Sewall was well placed to understand the New England context of his one great subject, the poet Emily Dickinson. For the Sewalls themselves are a New England family of historical lineage – there were family members living in Salem, Massachusetts, during the infamous witch trials of the 17th century, and Richard Sewall's own father was the 13th in a consecutive line of Congregational ministers.
Sewall himself was born in Albany, New York, and educated at Philips Exeter Academy, then Williams College, for his BA, before taking a PhD at Yale in 1933. After teaching briefly at Clark University, he joined the Yale English department faculty in 1934 and taught there for over 40 years, retiring in 1976. But this traditional background and education belied a truly individual mind, as well as a humane morality – rigorous but liberal, always questioning – which made him both a powerful and popular figure to the young.
This influence was of particular importance during the campus traumas of the late 1960s, which afflicted Yale in particular. As Master of Ezra Stiles, one of Yale's two new colleges designed by Eero Saarinen, Sewall managed to win the trust of a radicalised student body by appointing such dissident voices to the new college's fellowship as the anti-war leader and Yale chaplain William Sloan Coffin and Allard Lowenstein, the progressive Democrat who helped drive President Lyndon Johnson from office.
With the trial of the Black Panther Bobby Seale in New Haven during 1969, the threat of widespread violence on Yale's campus and in the city was very real, and temperatures were only lowered by the successful intervention of Yale's President, Kingman Brewster (later Ambassador to the Court of St James), who, influenced by Sewall and others, declared that he personally doubted the ability of Seale to receive a fair trial. This declaration made Brewster a pariah among conservatives and Yale alumni (at the time the two were largely indistinguishable) but placated the young and arguably saved the university from being burned to the ground.
As a teacher Sewall was enormously popular, but he was never a showman. It was rather the moral and human emphasis he put on literature which entranced countless Yale undergraduates. His lectures on tragedy (to several generations of Yale students) were especially appealing, and resulted in one of the only two books he wrote, The Vision of Tragedy (1959). Sewall saw tragedy as occupying a primary and primal position in human life, rather than as a set of dramatic conventions first laid down by Aristotle. For Sewall, the tragic hero so often found in the greatest works of Western literature was a resonant, archetypal character, whose bewildered quest for the meaning of his experience recalls the original terror, harking back to a world that antedates the conception of philosophy, the consolations of the later religions, and whatever constructions the human mind has devised to persuade itself that the universe is secure.
But a far larger audience than former undergraduates will remember Sewall for his magisterial two-volume The Life of Emily Dickinson – 25 years in the making – which won the National Book Award in 1974. Like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson enjoyed an entirely posthumous fame, for, other than a handful of poems published anonymously, none of her work saw print until after her death.
Even then, it was only in the second half of the 20th century that she began to assume her rightful canonical status as a major American poetic voice; before then, her work was known chiefly for its eccentric punctuation and, more vulgarly, for the fact that virtually every poem she wrote can be sung to the monotonous cadence of "The Yellow Rose of Texas".
Her life attracted more interest, as she had become extraordinarily reclusive in her late twenties, confining her interactions with people thereafter to correspondence, but the resulting stereotype of Dickinson as an oddball again detracted from serious consideration of her poetry.
Thanks to the efforts of critics such as Harold Bloom, we can now see the powerful originality at work in Dickinson, and the very Modernist accent of her preoccupation with her vocation as a poet. The new seriousness with which Dickinson began to be treated was fortified by Sewall's biography, which by thoroughly researching the details of Dickinson's solitary adult life in Amherst, Massachusetts, refuted many of the more superficial perceptions of the writer. The chief effect of Sewall's labours was to demonstrate that from a very early age Dickinson saw herself as an artist, and that her self-imposed isolation was the result of her immersion in her poetry rather than its cause.
Dickinson's emotional life – the subject of wild speculation, from hints of lesbian entanglements with her sister-in-law to the presumption of a failed love affair that led to heartbreak and hermeticism – is never neglected by her biographer, but, as Sewall recognised:
The whole truth about Emily Dickinson will elude us always; she seems almost wilfully to have seen to that.
The recognition of his biography's limits was characteristic of Sewall's essential modesty, which, combined with a mild, wry sense of humour, made him such an attractive figure. Named by Yale's President in the early 1950s to head a committee on "Manners and Morals", Sewall announced:
I have never had any manners, and my morals are slipping badly. But I'll bluff it through.
Andrew Rosenheim.3


  1. [S210] Social Security Death Index.
  2. [S232] Ancestry.com, North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011.
  3. [S205] Newspaper, The Independent, 6 May 2003.

Richard Black Sewall1

M, #15674, b. 19 June 1837, d. 28 October 1917
     Richard Black Sewall was born on 19 June 1837 in Massachusetts.2,3 He was the son of Moses Sewall and Louisa Lentner.1 Richard Black Sewall died on 28 October 1917 in 66 Beacon Street, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, at the age of 80 unmarried.4 He was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery and Crematory, Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.5
He had long been associated with the Sewall Day Cordage Company of Boston and since the winding-up of the affairs of that concern he had been president of the Warwick Cotton Mills.4


  1. [S109] 1850 United States Census.
  2. [S208] 1900 US Census, Boston Ward 11, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
  3. [S364] Eben Graves, The descendants of Henry Sewall. Vol. II (Unpublished), #140.
  4. [S205] Newspaper, Boston Daily Globe, 30 October 1917.
  5. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 192127300."

Richard Brent Sewall1

M, #18003, b. circa 1813, d. 19 July 1839
     Richard Brent Sewall was born circa 1813.1 He was the son of Dr. Robert D. Sewall and Mary (Polly) Brent.1 Richard Brent Sewall died on 19 July 18391 and is buried in Poplar Hill Cemetery, Clinton, Prince George's County, Maryland.2


  1. [S205] Newspaper, Daily National Intelligencer, (Washington, DC) Thursday, July 25, 1839.
  2. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 23622086."

Richard Forristall Sewall1

M, #18883, b. 26 July 1914, d. 5 March 1972
     Richard Forristall Sewall was born on 26 July 1914 in Winthrop, Massachusetts.2,3 He was the son of Raymond Thomas Sewall and Edith Gorham Forristall.2 Richard Forristall Sewall married Margaret Tully Hollywood, daughter of George H. Hollywood and Mary Ann McElroy, on 9 September 1937 in Seabrook, New Hampshire.1 Richard Forristall Sewall and Margaret Tully Hollywood were divorced.4 Richard Forristall Sewall died on 5 March 1972 in Edgecomb, Maine, at the age of 57.5


  1. [S89] Family Search, New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947.
  2. [S206] 1920 US Census, Winthrop, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
  3. [S89] Family Search, Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915.
  4. [S232] Ancestry.com, Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2001.
  5. [S232] Ancestry.com, Maine Death Index, 1960-1997.

Richard Hartwell Sewall1

M, #17556, b. 23 March 1921, d. 6 April 1946
     Richard Hartwell Sewall was born on 23 March 1921 in Waltham, Massachusetts.1,2 He was the son of Homer Sewall and Marjorie Hartwell.1 Richard Hartwell Sewall married Madelon Willis, daughter of Arthur Willis, on 30 April 1944.3 Richard Hartwell Sewall died on 6 April 1946 in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, at the age of 253 and is buried in Mount Feake Cemetery, Waltham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.4

At Holderness School, Chapel Lane, Holderness, NH 03245 "[the] aisle window in the Chapel of the Holy Cross is dedicated to the memories of brothers Richard Hartwell Sewall '39 and Homer Sewall Jr. '42. While at Holderness, both boys were varsity athletes, active in the school musicals, and heavily involved in school life and leadership.
Homer, known at Holderness as "Squeak," threw a game-winning touchdown pass in the 1941 game against Proctor, and helped spearhead campus fund-raising for the British War Relief Fund. Homer joined the army right out of Holderness, and was placed in the medical corps with a unit that was scheduled to remain in England during the invasion. He instead volunteered for service with the airborne troops, landed with them in Normandy on D-Day, and died two days later. The window panel honoring Homer depicts Saint Stephen, the first martyr (l).
Richard was a dive-bomb pilot in the central Pacific during the war, later training other pilots until his discharge in December, 1945. He died the following May from complications related to rapid changes in altitude. Richard's panel depicts Saint Timothy (r), who assisted St. Paul and who became bishop of Ephesus at a young age. Bishop Dallas said of the window's subject that, since Richard "was unusually mature for his age and had already undertaken heavy responsibilities, the choice is especially appropriate."5


  1. [S344] Lyman Willard Densmore, The Hartwells of America, p. 168.
  2. [S232] Ancestry.com, Massachusetts, Birth Index, 1901-1960 and 1967-1970.
  3. [S344] Lyman Willard Densmore, The Hartwells of America, p. 193.
  4. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 146434306, Richard H. Sewall, showing gravestone photograph."
  5. [S34] Unverified internet information, http://www.holderness.org/podium/default.aspx

Richard Lang Sewall1

M, #15261, b. 24 October 1933, d. 13 December 1998
     Richard Lang Sewall was born on 24 October 1933 in Massachusetts.2 He was the son of Dr. Weston Fullerton Sewall and Ruth R. Lang.1 Richard Lang Sewall married Joanna Charlotte Wyman in 1955 in Monroe, Florida.3 Richard Lang Sewall died on 13 December 1998 in Pembroke, Massachusetts, at the age of 652 and is buried in Center Cemetery, Pembroke, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.4


  1. [S205] Newspaper, Boston Globe 2 Sep 1986.
  2. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 83396642."
  3. [S232] Ancestry.com, Florida Marriage Indexes, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001.
  4. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "Memorial # 83396642, Richard L Sewall, showing gravestone photograph."

Rita M. Sewall1

F, #26458, b. 1920, d. 1968
     Rita M. Sewall was born in 1920 in New Hampshire.1 She was the daughter of Clarence Eben Sewall and Myrtie Cummings.1 Rita M. Sewall married Walter J. Smith in 1940.2 Rita M. Sewall died in 1968.1


  1. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "#69923025."
  2. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "#69923000."

Robert Sewall1

M, #24536, b. circa 1874
     Robert Sewall was born circa 1874 in Louisiana.1 He was the son of John Albert Sewall and Fannie E. "Nannie" Doles.1


  1. [S107] 1880 US Census, Bossier, Louisiana.

Robert Albert Sewall1

M, #22897, b. 22 July 1919, d. July 1970
     Robert Albert Sewall was born on 22 July 1919 in Etzikom, Medicine Hat Census Division, Alberta.2 He was the son of Chadwick "Bud" Irving Sewall and Gladys Isabella Paul.3 Robert Albert Sewall married Norma Elizabeth Symons in 1949.3,4 Robert Albert Sewall died in July 1970 in Millicent, Lethbridge Census Division, Alberta.3,5


  1. [S591] 1921 Canadian Census, Calgary.
  2. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "#128803275."
  3. [S34] Unverified internet information, http://www.agsbrooks.com/cemetaries/brooks-3/s/…
  4. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 128803281."
  5. [S392] Website findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com/) "# 128803275."