The first leg of our field trip was actually a visit to the Harriet Tubman Home which is only about a half mile or more down the road from the Seward House. We learned that Harriet had been visiting friends in Auburn during a women’s meeting (this area of NY is also home to the start of the Women’s Rights movement) where she met Mrs. Seward. Mrs. Seward went home and told her husband all about her. The next time she came to town (she had been living in Canada at this point), the Sewards invited her to dinner at their home and that was the beginning of a long friendship.
William Seward gave Harriet a house on the outskirts of Auburn, NY where eventually she purchased the land from him and later on purchased from auction the 25 acres surrounding her buildings and land. The original structure she lived in was demolished, but these other buildings remain.
This house was built after the two story home and was built for Harriet to take care of elderly people. You can’t take pictures of the inside, but it is furnished with items she used that were given to the home by her family who also still live in the Auburn area. R9 was especially taken with Harriet’s beautiful treadle Singer sewing machine. It was a really nice looking machine! We saw a butter churn, an icebox, and other things from a slice of life very different from the Sewards! Very neat stuff in there.
This is a cool poster of the homes that were Underground Railroad stations in the Fingerlakes Region of NY. I’m excited to receive a full map of NY state with the UGRR stops from The Seward House. They are sending their materials plus the cool map!
We also got to watch a little cartoon that really helped the kids understand the seriousness of her life and all the people she helped. R9 is going to be a Harriet expert because she’s been reading everything she can find about her. All I have to do is spread out books I get from the library around the house and she will find them and read them! So, we’re going to be working on some biography skills these next few weeks and doing a multi-media report on their person- R9 will do Harriet Tubman and E11 will do William Seward. I’m looking forward to the results!
And as a teaser…I just found out about another field trip we will take. Check this out. The online exhibition is here if you’d like to see it. If you look at the second painting in the exhibit, you’ll see William Seward. He is at the table sitting to Lincoln’s left right in front. After we go, I will blog on this one too.
“I love it when a plan comes together! ” – Hannibel (of the A Team)