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    Frances Adeline Seward

    Birth: 12-9-1844

    Death: 10-29-1866

    Nickname: Fannie

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Biography

The daughter of celebrated American statesman William H. Seward and his wife, the former Frances Adeline Miller, "Fanny" Seward was a delicate young woman who aspired to be a writer, keeping detailed journals of her life in New York and Washington political circles. Afflicted with tuberculosis, her frail health was broken during a confrontation with Lewis Powell, a co-conspirator of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, during the attempt on her father's life on April 14, 1865. The traumatic event left her father severely wounded and seriously injured several members of the Seward family and their household, including her mother, who suffered a heart attack and died less than two months later. Fanny herself died at age 21 the following year. She was subsequently interred in the Seward Family plot, joining her mother, her paternal grandfather, and a baby sister who had died before her birth. This infant had originally been a namesake of Mrs. Seward like Fanny, but her name was listed as Cornelia when her remains were transferred to Fort Hill in the mid-1860's, perhaps to avoid confusion (transcriber note, cef: this is untrue. Cornelia was always Cornelia, she was referred to as such in all of the letters written about her when she was alive). In any case, Frances Street in Auburn, NY, one of four streets forming a city block memorializing the Seward family, was inspired by the name that came to be borne by many Seward descendants. Fanny was survived by her grieving father and her three brothers, Augustus, Frederic, and William, all of whom were eventually buried here. Her monument is in need of restoration, as the wreathed marble cross which formerly adorned its capstone was recently broken off by vandals and lost. 

Thus in 1861, Fanny, at sixteen years old, became in a rather matronly manner her father's closest domestic companion. She devotedly accompanied him into office and life in wartime Washington, into the roiling maelstrom of the nation's darkest hour.
A sensitive and precocious girl with pronounced literary aspirations, Fanny Seward would maintain a voluminous diary throughout the course of the Civil War, documenting with pricelessly intimate detail the social and political milieu of Washington D.C. during the Lincoln administration. She witnessed the war's final concerted acts of bloodletting. As John Wilkes Booth was making his way into Ford's Theater just after 10 p.m. on April 14, 1865, his fellow conspirator and collaborator-in-arms Lewis Powell stormed into the Seward house and began a savage rampage by stabbing, slashing and pistol-whipping his way through the cordon of family and servants. Upon reaching the bedridden Secretary of State, Powell repeatedly stabbed Seward's face and neck. Only the collective effort of Fanny, her brother Augustus and a military sentry caused Powell to flee the bedroom and house, not before inflicting wounds on everyone present including Fanny. All of those wounded in the attack eventually recovered from their physical injuries. For his crimes, Lewis Powell was hanged with three other convicted Booth conspirators.
In the eighteen months following the attack, her mother died the following June, and Fanny Seward herself succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 21 in October, 1866.

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Biography and Citation Information:
Biography: 
The daughter of celebrated American statesman William H. Seward and his wife, the former Frances Adeline Miller, "Fanny" Seward was a delicate young woman who aspired to be a writer, keeping detailed journals of her life in New York and Washington political circles. Afflicted with tuberculosis, her frail health was broken during a confrontation with Lewis Powell, a co-conspirator of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, during the attempt on her father's life on April 14, 1865. The traumatic event left her father severely wounded and seriously injured several members of the Seward family and their household, including her mother, who suffered a heart attack and died less than two months later. Fanny herself died at age 21 the following year. She was subsequently interred in the Seward Family plot, joining her mother, her paternal grandfather, and a baby sister who had died before her birth. This infant had originally been a namesake of Mrs. Seward like Fanny, but her name was listed as Cornelia when her remains were transferred to Fort Hill in the mid-1860's, perhaps to avoid confusion (transcriber note, cef: this is untrue. Cornelia was always Cornelia, she was referred to as such in all of the letters written about her when she was alive). In any case, Frances Street in Auburn, NY, one of four streets forming a city block memorializing the Seward family, was inspired by the name that came to be borne by many Seward descendants. Fanny was survived by her grieving father and her three brothers, Augustus, Frederic, and William, all of whom were eventually buried here. Her monument is in need of restoration, as the wreathed marble cross which formerly adorned its capstone was recently broken off by vandals and lost. Thus in 1861, Fanny, at sixteen years old, became in a rather matronly manner her father's closest domestic companion. She devotedly accompanied him into office and life in wartime Washington, into the roiling maelstrom of the nation's darkest hour. A sensitive and precocious girl with pronounced literary aspirations, Fanny Seward would maintain a voluminous diary throughout the course of the Civil War, documenting with pricelessly intimate detail the social and political milieu of Washington D.C. during the Lincoln administration. She witnessed the war's final concerted acts of bloodletting. As John Wilkes Booth was making his way into Ford's Theater just after 10 p.m. on April 14, 1865, his fellow conspirator and collaborator-in-arms Lewis Powell stormed into the Seward house and began a savage rampage by stabbing, slashing and pistol-whipping his way through the cordon of family and servants. Upon reaching the bedridden Secretary of State, Powell repeatedly stabbed Seward's face and neck. Only the collective effort of Fanny, her brother Augustus and a military sentry caused Powell to flee the bedroom and house, not before inflicting wounds on everyone present including Fanny. All of those wounded in the attack eventually recovered from their physical injuries. For his crimes, Lewis Powell was hanged with three other convicted Booth conspirators. In the eighteen months following the attack, her mother died the following June, and Fanny Seward herself succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 21 in October, 1866.
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