When William Magee Seton left New York on board the sailing ship “Sheperdess” on October 2, 1803, he could not have imagined he would never return to his homeland. Born into a wealthy and socially prominent family, he and his wife Elizabeth Baley, known as Eliza, whom he had married in 1794 seemed to have a golden future ahead of them. Educated and talented, they mixed with the likes of Alexander Hamilton and once entertained George Washington. Seton was also a fine musician who played the violin on his own Stradivarius. But, at the beginning of the new century, his father's once flourishing mercantile business went bankrupt and the couple lost their home and just about all they possessed. Seton now found himself with his own five children as well as a large extended family to support. Added to all this, Seton suffered from tuberculosis. The doctor ordered him to seek a warmer climate so he, his wife and eldest daughter together with his Italian banker and aristocratic friend, Filippo Filicchi, the US consul for the port of Livorno, set sail for Italy.