Friday, July 21, 2006

Former Seward Estate, Montrose, NY

"In the mid-1800's, the original church land on Montrose Point became the home of Frederick W. Seward (1830-1915), son of William H. Seward (1801-1872), U.S. Secretary of State during the administration of Abraham Lincoln. The older Seward was the man instrumental in purchasing Alaska from Russia for $7 million, a purchase which was known as "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox." Frederick, the son. who was a journalist and diplomat, became politically prominent himself as Assistant Secretary of State under his father. In the spring of 1865, Frederick assumed the position of acting Secretary of State when his father was seriously injured in a carriage accident." "On the evening Lincoln was assassinated, one of the conspirators forced his way into the injured Seward's home in Washington, intent on killing him. Frederick confronted him in the hall and was seriously injured trying to prevent the slayer from reaching his father's bedside. The gun, broken on Frederick's skull, was unusable for the assassination, thus saving his father's life. Both Sewards survived the vicious attack, but it is said that Frederick lived out his life with a silver plate in his skull." "The handsome Seward Estate covered about 30 acres. A stately mansion with a beautiful Victorian garden and various outbuildings, it commanded a magnificent view of the Hudson River. The grounds of the estate were dotted by little ponds that had been made by excavating clay for the brickyards which flourished along the Hudson during that period." "Frederick married Anna M. Wharton of Albany on November 9, 1854. He died in Montrose on April 25, 1915, and was buried at Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, New York. Sometime after Frederick's death, the house which was occupied by Mrs. Seward alone, burned. A tangle of wisteria vines marks the spot where the house once stood. The property is currently owned by the Catholic Kolping Society. The gardener's house and other outbuildings are used to house vacationers seeking a peaceful country setting." Page 65 has a photo of the large open porch of arches Mr. Seward and five women, "Figure 24. Frederick W. Seward, President Abraham Lincoln's Assistant Secretary of State, with family on the porch of his Montrose Point home. (Courtesy of the Church of Divine Love, Montrose)" "History of the Town of Cortlandt" by the Bicentennial Committee, 1988, pps. 64-66. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 88-51063 ISBN 0-9621119-0-2 I reposted this, as the location was inside Georges Island State Park which was wrong and should be "next door" to the north according to a county "Riverwalk" map. The park had the second oldest shell midden in New York. Nearby also was the Kings Ferry road, where at the Kennedy House, Alexander Hamilton recovered from a grave illness while there for two weeks. It was also where in 1778, was held the "moving" trial of General Charles Lee, for "disobedience and disrespect" suspended for one year over the outcome of the "Battle of Monmouth" in New Jersey. The French troops, 6000 strong, arrived after marching from Rhode Island, and the combined forces crossed the Hudson River nearby with the Americans, and onto the defeat of General Cornwallis in Virginia, and winning the American Revolutionary War.

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