William Seward

QUESTION:  What famous abolitionist is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York near the grave of William Seward?
A)  Lucretia Mott
B)  Harriet Tubman
C)  William Lloyd Garrison
D)  Edmund Ruffin
ANSWER BELOW

A tale of two Billy's.  Yesterday, we talked about William T. Sherman and his life, as inspired by an authentic copy of a genuine lithograph displayed in our Toy Box. Today, we're sticking with the Billy's and moving on to William H. Seward - another name immortalized by the story of the American Civil War.  Born to wealthy New York slaveholders Samuel Sweezy and Mary Seward in 1801, William rarely received financial assistance as he excelled at academics. He abandoned school out of protest, and at 17 found a job as principal of a new school in Georgia. Family pressure compelled him back to New York, where he pursued a career in law. Settling in Auburn, Seward fell into a political career, rising from state senator to governor of the state, and then federal senator. By 1860, Seward had established himself as a respected politician among abolitionists but hated by the slave-holding South.  He became a highly controversial candidate for the top office of the land:  President of the United States. 

The 1860 election would be regarded as one of the most substantial to ever happen in the United States. We won't get into that here, but it left Abraham Lincoln as President, William Seward as his Secretary of State, and the country broken. Seward remained in his position during the volatile 1860's - he saw the Union win the Civil War, survived an attack made against him by one of John Wilkes Booth's co-conspirators on the fateful night of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and remained in office during the entirety of Andrew Johnson's term in office. His most notable action during the Johnson Administration was the purchase from Russia of what many thought was useless land known as Alaska. When U.S. Grant took office, Seward retired from public life and traveled the world.  When he passed away in 1871, admirers saw him as one of America's greatest heroes, while critics perceived him as a terrible villain.

ANSWER: B)  Harriet Tubman