Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Waldemar M. Seton, Sr.

Portland, Oregon

"Waldemar Seton came to the United States in 1882 and reached Portland in 1891. He completed his law course in the evening law school of the University of Oregon in Portland in 1896 after which he practiced law until his retirement in 1939. In this period of forty-three years he built up a large practice." [William Carlson Smith, The Swedes of Oregon, from American Swedish Historical Museum: Yearbook 1946][online text]

A poem by Seton appears in the Oregon Law Review, v.4, p. 79 (1924-25).

Seton is also reputed to have served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Portland.

[We had the good fortunate, after posing the brief bio on Waldermar Seton, to correspond with his grandson, Mar (Waldemar) Seton. At our request, he has provided the following biographical information on his grandfather.]

Waldemar Seton - 1865-1945

The story of my grandfather is one I've been told and if I don't write it down it will probably be lost. Some of it may be accurate and some of it myth; I have not found a way to verify it all.

He was born on December 12, 1865, as Bror Seton W Klaessoff Lovenmark but celebrated his birthday on November 12. Of his forbearers, I believe that one of his grandfathers was French and came to Sweden about 1825 with Napoleon. His father was a businessman in Norrtalje, Sweden. The family was living in Stockholm at the time Waldemar was born.

After his father died in 1880, he left Sweden on April 21, 1882 as Seton Lofvenmark and came to America. While he loved his father, he did not get along with his mother. He was 16 at the time and may have had two sisters. One used the name Lofvenmark, and was active in the women's suffrage movement and the other sister, named Dorothy Winston (maybe due to marriage) settled in New York.

At some point he went to an area in northern Iowa where a number of Swedes had settled. An uncle named Robert Emanual Jeanson, who was a sea captain, bought a farm at Eagle Lake, Kossuth County, Iowa, in 1879, and this is where my grandfather came. It was an area with many Swedes.

His Certification of Naturalization gave the name Waldemar S. Jeanson and was dated September 19, 1887, in the City of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. It stated that he was a resident of Brooklyn. He took the name of Waldemar Seton at some point.

When he first arrived, since he was quite articulate and his uncle a devout Baptist they thought he should go to a seminary. From his poetry we know he was in the New York area and also in Preston, Ontario, in the late 1880's. He came to the west coast in 1890 and the troupe went broke in the Willamette valley in 1891.

His book of poetry runs to 77 hand written pages.