I was home working today. I was writing about the creation of the New York State Republican Party, which formed in Saratoga Springs in August 1854 as a response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Young Chester Arthur was one of the delegates. In September 1904 during the heat of the presidential race between Theodore Roosevelt and Alton B. Parker–two New Yorkers–the Republicans held a 50th reunion in Saratoga Springs. TR’s running mate, Charles W. Fairbanks, was one of the speakers in Saratoga at that 50th celebration. Members of John C. Frémont’s family were on hand as well, including his son Major Francis P. Fremont who five years later would be court-martialed for a third time in the waning months of the Roosevelt administration.
What caught my eye when reading the 50th anniversary Proceedings was this photograph of the aging Frederick W. Seward. Frederick was of course the son of William H. Seward. He graduated from Union College a year after Chester Arthur and he too would be at the Saratoga Convention in August 1854. Frederick later worked as Assistant Secretary of State for his father in the Lincoln and Johnson Administrations and served in the same capacity for William Evarts for a time during the Hayes’s years, eventually succeeded by John Hay. Seward thwarted the Booth conspirator who tried to assassinate his father and a half a century later was still around to tell the tale. He helped run the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in 1909, a forgotten event today but which among other things involved Wilbur Wright flying from Governors Island, around the Statue of Liberty, and back.Even more incredibly an article in the Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine informs us that passengers aboard the Lusitania witnessed that feat.
Seward died in April 1915, fifty years after the Civil War’s end and two years prior to American involvement in the First World War.
Robert D. Schrock Jr. said:
Robert D Schrock graduated medical school at Cornell in 1912 and then did additional surgery training at New York Hospital. By 1917 he was practicing surgery in Omaha. The call went out for surgeons to join the newly constituted New York Hospital unit to support the American Expeditionary Forces in the Great War. He was not married. He answered the call. So two or three years after leaving New York, he was back among old friends, training on Governors Island before shipping off to France where he would be until March of 1919. Here are his letters to a Cornell classmate about his first days in uniform (Not whites).
The Society of the New York Hospital
6 to 16 W. 16th and 7 223 W. 18th St.
New York New York
July 21, 1917
We go to Governors Island into camp at 8:30 AM. Just time for a note and breakfast. The gang looks good. You know practically everyone. Will send you details as I can. It is good, I tell you, to be around here again. Only, would exchange these trappings for white clothes for comfort. Walked up Third Avenue yesterday, saluting all the Lord and Taylor delivery boys. Probably shall pass up many Majors,etc without proper recognition. Our ignorance is amusing.
It looks very much like we are to get away the coming week. Somewhere in France.
Everyone asks of you and the family. Tell your young man it was not carelessness that kept me from seeing him at the station. He may not like it. Shall send him a later message.
Chet, don’t get panicky and jump into service. You have a greater duty right there. Thanks for the big help of Tuesday
R. D. Schrock 1st Lieut.,MC.USR.
Base Hospital #9 New York City
The last five days have been quite a nightmare. But we’re here and by no means exhausted . Off duty until 8:45 AM. Then, a strenuous day on Governors Island. Imagine me teaching military tactics drill etc. to a squad of enlisted men – but that is what we are doing.
Sept. 19, 1917
After two weeks of mobilization on Governors Island – that in the hottest weather New York has had, we started on a vey quiet, comfortable voyage which had an exciting day at its finish (A German submarine attack) but a safe landing for us all.
Keith Muchowski said:
Thanks for sharing. Maybe we’ll see each other this season at Governors Island.