Village of Florida celebrates 13th Annual Seward Day

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    FLORIDA-Area residents got a taste of history as the Village of Florida celebrated its famed native son William H. Seward. After the 13th traditional laying of the wreath at the Seward Monument, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the program continued in the S.S. Seward Cafetorium. Gary Randall, president of The Florida Historical Society introduced Mayor Jim Pawliczek, who led the audience in the pledge of allegiance. Theodore Sly, County Historian brought in an 18th century flintlock musket, belonging to an ancestor of Daniel Wood, 1812-1880, who fought at the Battle of Minisink. The county historian reported that many local settlers perished in this battle. It took 30 years before the remains of these patriots were recovered and a monument to their valiant efforts was placed in Goshen. A power point presentation showed penny-postal cards from the turn of the century, which gave a historic overview of the Village and surrounding area in this time period. The postal card was patented in this country in 1861 by Charles P. Charlton of Philadelphia, Pa. The government-issued postal cards with an imprinted stamp was available in 1873 at a cost of one cent. Previous to this time period correspondence was written on paper, folded into envelope form, occasionally wax sealed and addressed. The postal card enabled people to say a few words or "thoughts" instead of having to write a formal letter. The fourth grade students from Golden Hill Elementary School, under the guidance of Mrs. Leo, Mrs. Crespo, Mrs. Robert and Ms. Beisser, gave an educational presentation. William Henry Seward's life and achievements were portrayed by the students in vignette form behind a large blue picture frame, representing a postal card. The seventh grade students at S.S. Seward Institute, under the guidance of Mark Stewart, researched and created a power point presentation of Seward's life in the context of other events of the day. Each student in the seventh grade appeared in a portion of the screen, verbalizing the event in history. By now, almost everyone knows of Seward's foresight in purchasing Alaska, but did you know he also had the vision to attempt to secure outer lying islands in the Pacific and Caribbean in order to protect America's homeland. He attempted through treaty to secure Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, but the Senate vetoed this attempt. He was successful, however, in gaining part of the Virgin Islands. He tried to obtain land to build the Panama Canal and attempted to gain possession of the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific, but again the Senate denied him, but he was able to get the Midway Islands under U.S. control. Later, after he was out of office, the Panama Canal and the Hawaiian Islands both came into U.S. control. Through funds from The Florida Historical Society and contributions from local businesses, books were donated to local school libraries and The Florida Library. The day continued with a joint community affair including the Chamber of Commerce, The Florida Library, the American Legion and The Florida Museum was open.