William Henry Seward’s birthday will be celebrated this year on Sat., May 20 in the Village of Florida, where he was born on May 16, 1801. His political career culminated in his service as Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln.
The celebration will begin with a wreath laying ceremony at 9:45 a.m. at the Seward Monument, located on Main St. in front of the S.S. Seward Institute. Gary Randall, the president of the Florida Historical Society, will welcome everyone to the annual celebration, which will be held in the cafetorium of the S.S. Seward Institute.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Golden Hill Elementary School’s fourth graders will show a PowerPoint presentation on their historic walking tour of the Village, hosted by the Historical Society members and community leaders. The seventh grade will make a presentation of information on William Henry Seward and his family. “The Young Historians,” led by Joan Kissinger, will wear period clothing and will be present in the cafetorium to mingle with the guests.
Presentation on the Monitor
Edward Dubin, a member of the Florida Historical Society, will then give a presentation on a little known but pivotal decision made by William Henry Seward to build the Monitor, an ironclad warship and how this ship affected the outcome of the Civil War. His presentation will include a PowerPoint program prepared by Bob Scott, with a description of the Battle of Hampton Roads and models of the North’s ironclad ship, the Monitor, and the Confederacy’s ironclad ship, the Virginia, previously known as the Merrimac.
The Society will have a display of photos of the ironclad ships and models of the Monitor and the Virginia. There will also be a table with books and memorabilia from John Kimiecik’s Collection, loaned by Dorothy Kimiecik.
Mark Stewart, a seventh grade history teacher, will be remembered for his contributions to Seward’s Day with a table display of his collection of Seward family historical items that were given to the Historical Society by his widow.
Books will be presented by the Florida Historical Society to the three local libraries, Golden Hill Elementary School, S.S. Seward Institute and the Florida Public Library.
At the conclusion of the celebration refreshments, including a very special Birthday cake, will be served. The event is open to the public and is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about William Henry Seward.