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Federal House History

When one wanders through the sleepy streets of Ludlowville, it's hard to imagine that it was once a bustling commercial community going back to the time of the late 18th century. Settled by Thomas Ludlow in 1791, the area grew due to its location on Salmon Creek. The first gristmill was built there in 1795, followed by four more powered by the nearby waterfall. Farmers traveled to this town from Auburn in order to make use of the mill for their crops, and during that time a tavern was built there to house overnight travelers. Ludlowville became a key destination for travelers, as it was the main connector from Auburn to Ithaca. In 1867 the Brick Block was constructed to house a general store, a post office and town clerk. Today the building stands as a resident apartment dwelling.

The area became attractive to the wealthy residents of Auburn who sought to capitalize on its unique geographic location as a second residence in the summer months. Two prominent brothers were residents of Auburn and traveled to nearby Ludlowville, Judge Elijah Miller and his brother Abijah, also an attorney. Abijah chose to build his home in Ludlowville in 1815, which is the same sight that has become The Federal House Bed and Breakfast, formerly known as the Miller mansion. It is said that the mantle built in Elijah's Auburn home is identical in style to that in the Federal House, known to have been built and constructed by a young craftsman, Brigham Young.

In 1822, William Seward, a young law clerk was hired by Elijah Miller to serve a position in his office. It is during that time that Seward courted Elijah's daughter, Frances, both of them traveling often to nearby Ludlowville to visit her uncle Abijah. They became engaged in 1824, marrying shortly thereafter. Seward went on to have a lucrative career in politics, and served as Secretary of State during Lincoln's administration, as well as later serving as State and U.S. Senator and Governor of New York.

Old Door

The home has had many owners since Abijah and Mary Miller were residents here. It is a home both elegant and stately, and has remained an important landmark in the history of Ludlowville. It seems that all of the local residents have a story about this home and many remember it well, as their friends or ancestors were visitors there over the years.

The home has been lovingly restored and maintains both its stately presence with added modern touches. One can only imagine the huge number of visitors over the years, as both an elegant home and modern day bed and breakfast.

Read more about the Miller family and the Seward House in Auburn, NY. www.sewardhouse.org