William H. Seward Birthplace

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35 South Main Street
Florida, New York
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Corner view - Seward

Inscription

William H. Seward 1801 – 1872 was born on this site in house now used as a barn in rear.

Erected

By the State Education Department — 1935

What was there

The structure at the back of the property, built c. 1797, was Seward’s boyhood home where he lived with his parents, 5 siblings, and 3 black slaves.  There were 5 rooms downstairs and 2 bedrooms in the upstairs loft. Seward’s father, Samuel, the town postmaster and physician, sent his 6 children and the slave children to school together.  Seward later wrote in his autobiography, “I early came to the conclusion that something was wrong with slavery and that determined me to be an abolitionist.”  Seward was incredibly bright and began persuing his college degree, entering the sophomore class at Union College at the tender age of 15. In 1887 a large home was built in front of the Seward Homestead.  If you visit, you will want to walk to the back of the property to see the original structure(s).

Side Portrait - William Seward

What is there now

In 2010, the town of Warwick purchased the entire property from its then owner.  Restoration is in progress and there are plans to make the birthplace a museum/education center and the Mapes House a venue for community events.  More details and photos of the restoration project here: The William H. Seward Homestead

More information

  • Born May 16, 1801 (Florida, NY) – Died October 10, 1872 (Auburn, NY) – Buried in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, NY
  • The purchase price for Alaska, then part of Russia,  in 1867 was 7.3 million dollars in gold.  The effort was spearheaded by Seward.

Alaska Payment Seward 1

  • William Seward on Biography.com
  • As part of the conspiracy to murder Lincoln and those who would succeed him if killed, Seward was also attacked the same night as Lincoln.  He survived, but was left facially disfugured.

Seward - Before and After murder attempt

  • Seward, an attorney, was one of the first, if not the first to use the insanity defense on behalf of his clients.

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We would like to thank the following for helping us with this entry: Kelly Lucero



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