Biography - William Webster

WILLIAM WEBSTER. Every community has among its citizens a few men of recognized influence and ability, who by their systematic and thorough method of work attain to a success which is justly deserved. That a lifetime spent in the pursuit of one's calling will result in substantial success, especially if perseverance and energy are applied, is found to be true in the case of Mr. Webster, who from boyhood has given the occupation of agriculture the principal part of his attention. He is now a resident of Nokomis Township, Montgomery County. A native of England, he was born in Yorkshire, near Bradford, in 1827. The parents of our subject, George and Martha (Gath) Webster, were natives of England, and the father followed the occupation of a wheelwright. In 1841, the latter emigrated to America and located at Shelbyville, Ind., where he engaged in the manufacture of wagons. He also owned a farm near that place, and was engaged both as a farmer and a manufacturer for many years. He accumulated considerable property and was a man of much enterprise and ambition. His death occurred at Shelbyville, Ind., in 1874, his wife having passed away a few years prior to his demise. Of their children, James is a prominent physician at Colfax, Ind., and Charles F. is a civil engineer at Indianapolis. The eldest son, William, was fairly educated for his day, but when quite young was obliged to take the management of his father's farm, on which he worked until 1851, when he came to Illinois. After reaching this State, he located on a farm near Cherry Valley, Winnebago County, and after remaining there for a year and a-half, he went to Iowa, where he was engaged in farming for about five years. He subsequently spent one year in Missouri, and in 1860 crossed the plains to Denver, Colo.
Shortly afterward, Mr. Webster returned to Illinois, located in Madison County, and on the 13th of August, 1862, enlisted in Company K, Eightieth Illinois Infantry, as a private. He was sent to the front at Louisville, Ky., where his regiment joined the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. McCook. He was first under fire at Perryville, Ky., and for three years was in active service, fighting bravely for his country. For some time after the battle of Perryville he was on guard duty at Munfordville and engaged in scouting after Morgan's army. He spent the winter of 1862-63 at Munfordville and, after participating in the battle of Milton, in the spring of 1863 he started with Strait's brigade on a campaign through Tennessee and Georgia. At Rome, Ga., he was taken sick and was sent to the hospital at Nashville, which accounts for the fact that he was not taken prisoner with his regiment. He rejoined his regiment after it had been exchanged and returned to Nashville. Later, he took an active part in the battle of Mission Ridge, being in the Eleventh Army Corps, under Gen. Howard, and afterward went with Gen. Sherman's command to Knoxville, to relieve Gen. Burnside, who was being besieged by Longstreet.
After remaining in Chattanooga during the winter of 1863-64, the army started on the Atlanta Campaign in the spring of the following year, and our subject participated in all the battles of that noted campaign, among them those of Dalton, Resaca, Marietta and the fall of Atlanta. On his return to Nashville, he fought in the battles of Pulaski and Franklin. Afterward the army was re-organized and his regiment was assigned to the Third Brigade, First Division, Fourth Army Corps. He accompanied Gen. Sherman on his raid into North Carolina, and while at Greenville heard of the assassination of President Lincoln. He was soon ordered to Camp Harker at Nashville, and there remained until mustered out June 10, 1865. He was discharged at Springfield on the 19th of the same month.
After the war, Mr. Webster remained in Madison County, Ill., until the spring of 1866, then he came to Montgomery County and was engaged in farming near Litchfield for eleven years. In 1877, he came to Nokomis Township and has here been engaged in tilling the soil ever since. He has met with substantial results in this occupation and is now the owner of a fine farm of nearly five hundred acres, all in a high state of cultivation. He is one of the highly respected, influential and wealthy farmers of his community. He was married in Indiana, in 1848, to Miss Olivia Smith, a native of the Hoosier State, and the daughter of Jonas and Abigail Smith, the father a prominent farmer of that State. Their union was blessed by the birth of the following-named children: G. W., a successful attorney of Nokomis; G. H., a farmer of Nokomis Township and a prominent factor in local politics; and Walter, also a farmer in Nokomis Township. The mother of these children died in Iowa in 1856.
The second marriage of Mr. Webster occurred in 1858 and united him with Rachel Wallace, who died March 20, 1889, leaving four children, as follows: Clara, who married D. Bote, a farmer by occupation; Jessie, the wife of C. H. Rhine, who resides on one of Mr. Webster's farms; Orpha, who married Charles Sullivan, a farmer of Roundtree Township, and Minnie, who resides at home. Politically, Mr. Webster is now and has always been a stanch Republican.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 334-338.

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