Sunday, February 12, 2012

Backward Glance - James Webster

The search for James Webster has been a long one, and continues to be a source of learning for me. I've used parts of my search experience as a teaching tool for multiple presentations and classes. After more than 30 years, I know many details of his life, and those of his wives, children and grandchildren. However, I still cannot conclusively prove exactly where he was born, or who his parents are. Neither can I prove when and where he died and is buried. Sometimes, I feel like the lone stranger in my family history research. Surely, somewhere out there, is another descendant of James Webster who has more information. One can hope!

extracted bible info
extracted bible info
According to the family bible, James was born on November 7, 1801. His parents and his birthplace are not recorded there.  Two out of the three censuses in which his information is recorded show him having been born in New Hampshire; the other says New York. There are many books and documents about Webster families from those areas, but James doesn't seem to be listed among any of those families.

The bible does show that James was married on January 1, 1827, to Jane Shreve. Jane was the daughter of Barzillai and Nancy (Clarke) Shreve. She was born on May 27, 1811, in Pennsylvania. I presume James and Jane were married in Pennsylvania, as they were living in Bloomfield Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in 1830. James was called James Webster, Jr. However, he may just have been the younger of two James', not necessarily the son of James. Jane's parents lived in the same location.

Their children born in Pennsylvania were Luther Eliphlet, Cynthia S., Lydia Ann and Sarah Mariah. Lucinda was born after Sarah, but it isn't known where. The family then moved to Michigan in about 1835, where the following children were born: Emaline, Nancy J., Oliver, Adaline, Daniel, Marrilla Vivla and Olive Orrel

James and his family arrived in Clay Township, St. Clair County, Michigan, in about 1838. He and Jane were enumerated there through 1860. Jane died on April 7, 1861, which is also recorded in the family bible. Again, presumably, she died and is buried in Michigan. However, I've not yet found records to prove that assumption.

On July 21, 1863, James married the widow Betsy Blauvelt in Clay Township. They continued to live there until James' death on May 13, 1877. After his death, Betsy lived with her daughter, Harriet Hontoon, also in Clay Township.

There are still mysteries to be solved in order to 'complete' James Webster's story. We are fortunate to know as much as we do. Never fear! I'll keep looking.

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