- 1 Weylin B. Seymour
- 1.1 Biography
- 1.2 Early Childhood and Family Life
- 1.3 Early Career and Inspiration
- 1.4 Weylin’s Role in New York Society
- 1.5 Personal Life
- 1.6 Weylin B. Seymour and George B. Post
- 1.7 Death, final wishes, and the birth of Williamsburg’s first bank
- 1.8 A new future for The Williamsburg Savings Bank
- 1.9 Renovation
Weylin B. Seymour
Weylin B. Seymour (18 November, 1768 –3 July, 1869) was a well-loved social, cultural and political figure of importance in the Williamsburg and early New York community. He was a famous party host and was known for his matchmaking skills. He died aged 101.
Early Childhood and Family Life
Weylin was an only-child and grew up in a Dutch influenced household. He spent his days drawing, writing stories and learning to cook with his mother, Mrs. Helen Seymour. She was a very talented chef and it’s known that Weylin was always very inspired by both his parents.
Weylin’s grandfather was an English sailor, who disembarked in 1664 when Director-General Peter Stuyvesant surrendered the colony of New Netherland to the English. Weylin’s father, Mr. Louis B. Seymour worked as a veterinarian, specializing in horses. Throughout his career he also worked as a baker, a driver, a policeman and a priest. He died in 1780 on a fishing trip. Mr. Louis B. Seymour’s death remains a mystery and his body was never discovered.
Mrs. Helen Seymour began hosting guests in the family home. She later became well-known in New York for these events. The food, drinks and decorations, plus the playing of musical instruments and dancing were all topics of discussion in Manhattan and beyond.
Early Career and Inspiration
Once his mother became a widow, the young Weylin B. Seymour wanted to support her. He applied for many jobs but was mostly unsuccessful in his applications. Eventually, at the age of eleven, he found work as an assistant at a barber shop.
Weylin was able to pick up on the subtle signs of attraction between potential couples. This skill was honed at a very early age. During his time at the barber shop, after listening in on a conversation about relationships, Weylin suggested a potential match between client and shoemaker Mr. Roy Albany, and New York hat designer, Bethany Beaver. The match was a success and the two were married shortly afterwards.
Encouraged by his accomplishment, Weylin introduced a second barber shop client to a different woman. This match was another success. Weylin B. Seymour quickly found fame as a matchmaker in New York and turned his matchmaking skills into a moneymaking business. Continuing to help his mother, he sold Mrs. Seymour's catering and celebration arranging services as a side product.
Weylin’s Role in New York Society
Weylin B. Seymour amassed a large fortune at an early age and he bought his first house at the age of 22. He was known at this time for holding lavish gatherings and parties featuring live music and lavish catering. His fame stretched overseas to Holland and England, where royals and nobles would often request his matchmaking services.
Weylin declined all offers to leave New York. It is said that he was superstitious and believed leaving the city would end his lucky streak. He also believed that if he left New York, the couples he had already brought together would break up.
Eventually, as New York City grew in popularity, people from other countries came to visit Weylin. Many matches would occur, while others left still single. Weylin instilled hope in his visitors and many who were unsuccessful at first decided to move to New York in order to keep looking for love.
Weylin B. Seymour never married and had no children. His closest friends have divulged he was not concerned about finding such things for himself. It is said that he was so traumatized by his father’s sudden death and his mother’s grief, that he was happy to live without the fear of losing anyone else close to him. Instead, Weylin settled for helping everybody else around him and creating a happy, extended family for himself in New York. The truth about his private family life remains uncertain.
Weylin B. Seymour and George B. Post
Until the late 1860's, the parties and celebrations Weylin held for his clients were held in several different venues around New York. Weylin was inspired by the Vanderbilt House to open his own venue - a busy private event space he saw often in Manhattan. Plans were set in motion when New York's famed architect, George B. Post arrived in the city.
Death, final wishes, and the birth of Williamsburg’s first bank
Weylin B. Seymour died of natural causes at the age of 101 on 3 July, 1869. His death came shortly after architect Post had started to work on the building plans. He died a much-loved and respected public figure, in spite of having never married.
Prior to his death, Mr. Seymour told many of his closest friends of his wish for the building to be used to help ensure the growth and happiness of the Williamsburg community. His wish was granted when George B. Post continued to work on the building plans, influencing its birth as the landmark Williamsburg Savings Bank.
Artist Peter B. Wight designed all interior decoration and art, including the main dome's fresco. The matching initials of Weylin B. Seymour and the Williamsburg Saving Bank are displayed on a unique style monogram logo reading 'WBS'. This logo engraved in many different materials, including iron, wood and glass in the building's High Victorian Gothic interior art.
A new future for The Williamsburg Savings Bank
In 1999, The Williamsburg Savings Bank came under new management and became HSBC. In 2010, the building was acquired by a group of investors comprising successful intellectuals and historians. The objective was to bring it back to its original design and purpose. It will become a space for weddings and life celebration, as well as an art gallery and a unique bar, with top quality catering services.
In 2010 work began on realizing this vision. A team of the most accomplished consultants, architects, interior designers, wall paper designers, artists, graphic designers, art directors and engineers have been working on the project ever since.