Grand Staircase 1800’s Home
Seward House, A National Historic Landmark, Auburn, New York
William Henry Seward, Secretary of State, United States Senator, New York Governor and abolitionist. He was one of the most outspoken anti-slavery politicians of his time. He and his wife were friends of Harriet Tubman. Frances Seward helped Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad by hiding slaves in the Seward House.
Seward was elected to the New York State Senate in 1830 where he served for four years. In 1838, Seward won the race for Governor of New York and served two terms. In 1849, he was elected to the United States Senate. AS a senator in Washington D.C., Seward emerged as one of the leaders in the newly formed Republican Party.
Seward sought but never attained the highest office in the land. Although a front-runner in the 1860 presidential primary, the party ultimately supported Abraham Lincoln. In 1861, Lincoln appointed Seward Secretary of State.
In 1867, Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia. At the time, skeptics called it “Seward’s Folly” yet it has since proved one of the United States’ best investments. In 1870, Seard left Auburn to tour the world bringing home many rare artifacts now on view at Seward House. He died in the office of his Auburn home on October 10, 1872 at the age of 71.