The Sept. 29, 1860, Quincy Whig and Republican published a letter from local prominent businessman James Woodruff stating that the U.S. senator for New York William Henry Seward and his entourage, who were campaigning for Lincoln, would arrive in Quincy that evening for speeches at a reception followed by “a grand Mass Meeting.” Two days later the Oct. 1 Quincy Herald published an account of his short visit on Sept. 30.

Seward was passing through because Quincy was an important transportation hub. Connections between the nationally prominent politician Seward and Quincy, led residents of the city and Adams County to anticipate such events, especially among the leading citizens, including founder and first settler of the city John Wood.

Rudy Ray Seward is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of North Texas, Denton. He grew up in Quincy. W.H. Seward is his second cousin five times removed.

The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County is preserving the Governor John Wood Mansion, the History Museum on the Square, the 1835 Log Cabin, the Livery, the Lincoln Gallery displays, and a collection of artifacts and documents that tell the story of who we are. This award-winning column is written by members of the Society. For more information visit or email

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