Our Family Forest
The Webber Family

I have done little research on this family myself, and do not know a great deal of it's history. Most of the my data has come from a cousin, Ralph Henderson, from whom I hope to learn a great deal more. Larry Webber and Joan Rumpf have provided my information about William Webber and some of his sons. Earl Crandall's web site provided some additional information. Some of the more recent information on Wilkie Webber's family came from my father and some census records. In some cases, I have received different dates, names, places, etc. from different sources. If you believe some of this information to be incorrect or have additional information, please contact me at roots1@cushings.com.

My family connection to the Webber family is that my grandmother was Harriet Webber Cushing.

Known History

Our Webber family appears to be one of the oldest in the US, having emigrated from Stepney (near London), England to Boston, Massachusetts prior to 1650. John and Sarah Weber were born about 1600 in Stepney. Their son, John, came to the colonies and his son, also John, was born near Boston in about 1650. Our branch of the family then moved north to the Ipswich/Beverly area of Massachusetts, where it remained for several generations. One Webber of note during this time was William Webber (born 1749 in Wenham, MA), a captain in the Revolutionary War. I'm also told that one of the women in our family tree is a granddaughter, or some close relation, of William Bradford, the famous Mayflower passenger and first governor of Massachusetts. One of William Webber and Anna Porter's eleven children, Israel (born in 1789), married Nabby Jones in 1808, and they moved our branch of the Webber family to Batavia, NY between 1815 and 1818. Batavia is in western New York, not far from Buffalo. I don't yet know anything about these peoples' lives, but they were probably, in general, a wealthy family. John and Sarah, in England, owned property in Marblehead, Massachusetts, which Sarah sold after John's death. I haven't verified this, but I believe that commissioned officers, such as Captain Webber, were generally from affluent families and paid for their commission.

The youngest of Israel's children, William, married Mary Ames in 1837, then moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they were among the first residents and were considered "pioneers". They may have been accompanied by William's brother, Israel Jr. William and Mary bought residential property on Jefferson Street in Milwaukee in 1839. In 1843, they were granted about 280 acres of federal land in Waukesha County, about 10 miles southwest of Milwaukee, near present day Muskego. It's not clear to me the exact chronology of their lives in Milwaukee. By one account, they opened the Washington House hotel upon their arrival in Milwaukee (in 1836). William was a partner in a grocery store, Webber & Dortinback, in 1846. It appears that he installed a pool table in his hotel and soon thereafter began to manufacture them. He also was described as having a "handsome competency in real estate". Before I learned about William's prominence as a businessman, I assumed that the Webbers were farmers because of the enormous amount of land they had acquired. One of their granddaughters remembered that William was very fond of horses, so I suppose they could have had a horse ranch. Perhaps the "competency in real estate" means that they parceled and sold their land when it became valuable real estate. Webber began building his own pool tables in about 1847, and was quite successful. In 1873, he built the "Webber Block" on East Water Street, one floor of which was an elegant pool hall. The other floors were leased to businesses. The building was damaged in a fire, possibly arson, in early January 1884. William Webber died late that year. Mary died in 1890.

William and Mary had eight children in Milwaukee: Albert (1841), William (1843), Charles (1846), Marietta (b1848-d1849), Harriet (1850), Wilkie (1851), Jessie (b1853-d1854), and Harry (1858). In 1861, Albert entered the Civil War by joining the Milwaukee Grays as a 90 day volunteer. This unit was sent to patrol the Maryland side of the Potomac River, near Harper's Ferry, and later fought a skirmish against Stonewall Jackson's troops in Virginia. In 1862, Albert, William Jr., and Charles all enlisted in the 24th Wisconsin Infantry which was quickly sent south, first to defend Louisville, Kentucky, then to Tenessee. At this same time, William Sr. donated a "splendid rosewood billiard table to the war committee to be sold for the benefit of the volunteers". In the early morning of New Year's Eve, the 24th Wisconsin was attacked and over run by the confederate Army at Stones River, Tennessee. Albert was shot and captured, then paroled and sent home. William Jr. was also captured, but returned to duty in February. Both were given disability discharges soon thereafter. Ironically, Albert's unit was unaware of his March discharge and in April promoted him to Sargeant. Charles, a drummer for Company G, remained in the army. Late in 1863, he left his unit, sick, and was reassigned to a Nashville field hospital. He died in June of the following year.

After his discharge from the army, Albert married Cornelia Squires, and had two children: Alice Maud (1865) and Frederick (c1869). Both Frederick and Cornelia died in 1870, and Alice Maud is thought to have gone to live with grandmother Squires. Albert traveled quite a bit as a flagman for the railroad, and eventually settled in Dayton, Ohio. In 1879, he married Lucy Smith. They had four children: William, Frederick, Charles, and Dorothy. Albert died in the Dayton Old Soldiers Home in 1924.

William died in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1888. Harriet married Charles Saxton in 1880. They had two children: John and Sarah. She died in Seattle, Washington in1946. For some reason, the children were not listed as heirs in her will. Youngest brother Harry married Ettie Hufford in 1880 and they had two children: Oliver and Julia. Harry was committed to an "inebriate asylum" in 1887. He died in 1899.

In 1871, Wilkie married Martha Williams. They moved to Minnesota, where most, if not all, of their five daughters were born: Cora (1875), Mame (1877), Daisy (1881), Harriet (1883), and Laura (1886). Wilkie is shown in the 1880 census as a "baggageman". The family moved to Cambridge, Nebraska, where they may have been farmers. They have been described as a "strict Methodist family". We believe that Wilkie died in a horse riding accident in 1894.

Cora married Steve Henderson. They lived in Bend, Oregon, and had one son: Harold. Mame married Frank Chatfield. Daisy married someone named Corbin. Laura married Sylverster Marrin, and passed away in about 1970.

Harriet attended Cambridge High School, where she met her future husband, Frank Cushing. They became engaged in 1902, and she transferred to St. Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana, for her final year of college because Frank, a Catholic, had transferred to the University of Notre Dame in 1904. They married in Chicago, Illinois, in 1906, and had eight children. Frank went on to become a prominent businessman in Chicago, President and CEO of the Great Lakes Dock & Dredge Company, and a Trustee of the University of Notre Dame. The family also owned the Hydraulic Dredging Company in Oakland, California. Harriet's mother, Martha, lived with them for 6 to 8 months a year. Harriet's sisters used to spend long visits with them, as well. Frank Cushing died in 1935 in United Airlines' first major commercial airplane crash. Martha Webber died in Chicago in 1945. Harriet spent the remainder of her life living with her children. She died in the Chicago area in 1971.

Frank and Harriet have approximately 29 grandchildren and 52 great grandchildren living today (1999).

Name spellings

To date, I've only seen two variations in spelling: Webber and Weber. Since I haven't researched this family myself, I've simply kept the spelling provided to me.

Copyright © Michael Cushing.

webber.shtm last updated 11 March 2015