Photograph of Lewis Powell (1844-1865), would-be assassin of Secretary Seward, and co-conspirator in the Abraham Lincoln assassination, taken aboard the USS Saugus, where he was confined for a time
William Henry Seward (1801-1872) was born into a slave-holding family in Orange County, New York. He served in Albany as a legislator from Auburn, New York, and was elected to the United States Senate in 1849. Seward joined the nascent Republican Party and rose through the ranks to become the foremost and favored potential candidate for President in 1860. So confident of election was he, that he took a European vacation during the campaigning months leading up to the election. He and four or five other candidates were defeated by the consummate politician of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Seward was so skilled and politically powerful, that after the election, Lincoln chose him as Secretary of State, a role he relished and excelled in, as expected, setting aside his personal ambitions, and remaining loyal to Lincoln’s administration.
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, April 14, 1865