The great great grandson of William Seward has been named an administrator of the William H. Seward III's estate in Cayuga County Court. Acting Cayuga County Surrogate Court Judge Thomas Leone ruled in favor of Messenger agreeing that the Seward family should be represented in determining what is done with the Thomas Cole painting. Messenger says the 19th century painting- "Portage Falls on the Genesee"- is central to the Seward House as it was a gift for Seward's work on the Erie Canal
The painting-owned by the Emerson Foundation-could be worth as much as $20-million dollars. The painting was removed in February and put into storage. The foundation wants to sell the painting and split the profits with the Seward House. Whatever happens with Messenger's case, the sale of the painting as to be approved by the a New York Court and the New York State Attorney General. The appointment will allow Messenger to pursue legal action to prevent the sale of the painting.