AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) A descendent of Abraham Lincoln's secretary of state is asking a judge to force a foundation to return a valuable painting to a central New York museum.

Thomas Cole's "Portage Falls on the Genesee" was removed from the Seward House Museum earlier this year. Museum officials say they intend to sell the artwork, which has been appraised at $18 million to $20 million.

The painting was given to William Seward when he was governor of New York in the 1840s. The artwork had hung in Seward's home in Auburn for more than 150 years.

The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports ( ) that Seward descendant Ray Messenger has filed a petition in Cayuga County Court, requesting that Fred L. Emerson Foundation return the painting to the museum. Arguments are scheduled for Sept. 12.


Information from: The Post-Standard,