That man is William H. Seward, 19th century abolitionist governor and senator from New York State who served as secretary of state under President Lincoln.
Seward never lived in the city. But his name lives on here (think Seward Park and Seward Avenue in the Bronx) because he was recognized as a great statesman . . . and maybe also thanks to his miraculous luck surviving the Lincoln assassination conspiracy in 1865.
On the night of April 14, as John Wilkes Booth aimed a gun at President Lincoln in Ford’s Theater, Booth conspirator Lewis Powell conned his way into Seward’s D.C. home, repeatedly stabbing him (below).
He recovered and stayed on as secretary of state until 1869, then died in 1872.
Oh, and don’t believe the myth that the Madison Square statue is merely Seward’s head attached to a preexisting mold of Lincoln’s body. The New York Parks Department assures us that it is not.
Tags: Lewis Powell, Lincoln assassination conspiracy, Madsion Square park history, New York in the Civil War, New York politicians of the 19th century, statues in New York City, William H. Sward, William Seward Madison Square Park, William Seward statue