Frances Adeline Miller Seward

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Frances Adeline Miller Seward (September 25, 1805 – June 21, 1865) was the First Lady of New York and the wife of William Henry Seward, a senator in the New York legislature, Governor of New York, a senator from New York and United States Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln.

Early life

Frances Adeline Miller was born on September 25, 1805 in Cayuga County, New York. She was the daughter of Judge Elijah Miller (1772–1851)[1] and Hannah Foote Miller (1778–1811), who was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts.[2] She studied at the Troy Female Seminary (now known as Emma Willard School).

Hannah Foote, niece of Ebenezer, married Judge Elijah Miller

Frances Adeline Miller Seward (1805 – June 21, 1865) was born in 1805, the daughter of Judge Elijah Miller and Hannah Foote Miller. (She was the second cousin to Charles A. Foote.) She studied at the Troy Female Seminary (now known as Emma Willard School). She married New York attorney William Henry Seward on October 20, 1824 after meeting through his sister, a classmate, in 1821. In his lifetime, William served as a senator in the New York legislature, Governor of New York, a senator from New York and United States Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

The couple raised five children:

  1. Augustus Henry Seward (1826-1876),
  2. Frederick William Seward (1830-1915),
  3. Cornelia Seward (1835-1836),
  4. William Henry Seward, Jr. (1839-1920)
  5. Frances Adeline "Fanny" Seward (1844-1866).
  6. Some years after his wife's death, in 1870, William formally adopted his companion Olive Risley Seward (1841-1908).

On April 14, 1865, her husband and two of their sons, Frederick and Augustus, and Fanny, were injured in an assassination attempt on her husband in their house. The man responsible for this ordeal was Lewis Powell a.k.a. Lewis Paine, an associate of John Wilkes Booth who had shot and killed President Abraham Lincoln the same day. The attack put Frances into a state of great anxiety about her family. She thought that Frederick would die of his injuries, although he survived. She died on June 21, 1865 of a heart attack. The events of April 14 undoubtedly hastened her death.