First Lieut. Horace WEBSTER

First Lieut. Horace WEBSTER

Male 1794 - 1871  (76 years)

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  • Name Horace WEBSTER  [2, 3
      USMA CLASS OF 1818
      CULLUM'S REGISTER. # 183



      183 ( Born Vt. ) HORACE WEBSTER ( Ap'd Vt. ) 4

      ( BORN SEP. 21, 1794, HARTFORD, CT. )

      Military History : ---- Cadet at the Military Academy , Apr. 1, 1815 to July 24, 1818 when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

      ( SECOND LIEUT., 3D INFANTRY, JULY 24, 1818 )

      Served: at the Military Academy, 1818-25, as Asst. Professor of Mathematics

      ( FIRST LIEUT. 3D INFANTRY, APR. 5, 1820 )

      Aug. 30, 1818, to Sep.1, 1823, ---- and as principal Asst. Professor of Mathematics, Sep. 1, 1823, to
      Oct. 3, 1825.

      ( RESIGNED, DEC. 31, 1825 )

      Civil History :---- Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, Geneva College, N. Y., 1825-48. Principal of Free Academy , New York City, July 19, 1848, to Mar. 30, 1866, and of the College of the City of New York ( to which name the Academy was changed by law ) Mar. 30, 1866 , to July 21, 1869; and Professor therein of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Oct. 15, 1851, TO July 7, 1852, and of Moral, Intellectual, and Political Philosophy, July 7, 1852 , to July 21, 1869, and Emeritus Professor, July 21, 1869 , to July 12, 1871. Degree of A. M. conferred by Nassau Hall, Princeton, N. J., 1823; and of L.L. D., by Kenyon College, Gambier, O., 1842, and by Columbia College, New York City, 1849; and of M. D. , by the University of Pennsylvania, 1850.

      ( DIED, JULY 12, 1871, AT GENEVA N. Y., AGED 77 )



      Father was LABAN H. WEBSTER a Vermont tavern owner and member of the Vermont House of Representatives.
      Mother was LUCY WRIGHT.
      LUCIEN BONAPARTE WEBSTER was a graduate of West Point, Class of 1823. He fought in the Mexican War and died at Ft. Brown in Texas in 1853.


      1). HORACE WEBSTER JR., born 1832, died 22 March 1865, of Consumption in Shanghai, China following a voyage on the ship Resolute. Small statement on the death can be found in the New York Times.
      2). MARGARET S. WEBSTER, born 7 July 1840, died 13 January 1903. Married WILLIAM SLOSSON 4 July 1873.
      3). EDWARD BAYARD WEBSTER, born 2 September 1842, died 2 September 1914. Married HELEN FARR in 1867.
      4). WILLIAM H. WEBSTER, born 1848, died ????. Before 1855



      Professor Horace Webster was born , Sep. 21, 1794, at Hartford, Conn. and died July 12, 1871, at Geneva , N. Y., at the age of 77. He became a Cadet in the Military Academy , April 1, 1815, and was graduated from that institution July 24, 1818, fourth in his class. His history and character are so feelingly presented in an obituary by Professor Charles Davies that we give it entire ---

      " Reared among the hills of Vermont, he brought with him to the Military Academy the habits of early labor, the simplicity of country life, and the inspirations of beautiful and varied scenery. At West Point in the bosom of the Highlands, exact military discipline , unremitted toils in the paths of science, and the conscientious discharge of every duty, developed the buddings and the pure tastes of early life into the ripened fruits of a noble manhood."

      The time spent at West Point in these disciplinary studies was the golden period of his life, for there were laid the foundations of those useful labors which were its crowning glory. His scholarship , his habits of study and order, his dignified and simple manners, and his great gift of imparting knowledge to others, were treasures too valuable to be lost to his Alma Mater, and on being graduated in July, 1818, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Mathematics, which place he filled till September, 1823. During these five years he devoted himself assiduously to the acquisition of general knowledge, and especially to the science and art of teaching."

      " In September , 1825, he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy in Geneva, now Hobart College. Here he contributed his full share to the establishment of an admirable system of collegiate instruction. Here he taught many pupils who have since filled places of trust and honor, --- and here his name, which is associated with the birth of the College, will be cherished through its whole life as one of its able founders and honored professors."

      " In the year 1848, Dr. Webster was appointed principal of the free academy then being organized in the City of New York. The institution owes its existence mainly to the ability and indefatigable efforts of Townsend Harris, a liberal-minded merchant , who conceived the idea of extending the benefits of a liberal education to the laboring classes of the City of New York. He has lived long enough to realize his fondest hopes. His portrait , and the memory of what he has done, are among the precious treasures of the College, while his services to the country , as its representative abroad, have won for hi=m an enduring fame."

      " The Free academy was placed under the care of a Board of Trustees elected by the people, and all its pupils were taken from the common schools of the city. To this Board, Dr. Webster had to submit such plans of organization as would receive approval, and such also as would be most likely to stand the tests of public scrutiny. During his entire administration, from 1848 to 1859, when he retired from the Presidency and accepted the place of Emeritus Professor. Dr. Webster was in harmony and pleasant relations with the Board of Trustees, the Faculty, and the Public. The Board of Trustees approved his plans because they were wise. The Faculty upheld his government because it was just , and the public obeyed, respected and loved him because their interests were the aim and study of his life."

      " Under his able administration the institution grew and developed so rapidly , that it soon became the pride of the City and State , and is known under the imposing name of "The College of the City of New York." Few men have left behind them a nobler record. He had a great work assigned him, and lived long enough to perfect it. In the Military Academy , on the banks of the Hudson, in the College of the City of New York, and in Hobart College , at Geneva, where the evening of his life drew to its final close, he will be long remembered as an able educator. His academic life was marked by a love of knowledge which grew and strengthened with his years, by habits of study early formed and long continued , by a firm and gentle manner, which commanded obedience and won regard , by a sense of justice, never weakened by fickleness or passion, and by a punctuality in the discharge of every duty, which was an admonition to the heedless, an encouragement to the orderly and a beautiful example to all."

      ' Perhaps the marked characteristic of Dr. Webster was the exact balance and beautiful harmony of all his faculties. His mind was clear and discriminating and the logic applicable exclusively to one class of subjects he did not apply to another. His science and his faith ran in parallels, and hence never conflicted with each other. He found the axioms of the one in the outer sense, and those of the other in the inner soul. On the first he constructed the laws applicable to all that concerns the present life, and on the other , a living faith embracing all that relates to the world to come. Hence there was no conflict of ideas, for he saw clearly that both would meet each other and harmonize I the Infinite."

      " Dr. Webster, in the common acceptation of the term, was not an author. He wrote , it is true, but little on the perishable leaves which record the thoughts of men, but he wrote much on the hearts and minds of his generation, and thousands who have listened to his teachings will read there, though their whole lives, and with emotions of the deepest gratitude , his many lessons of wisdom and instruction."



      Member of the Faculty , Geneva College
      October 6, 1990

      Horace Webster was born in Hartford, Vermont, in 1794. He graduated at the head of his class at West Point in 1818, and after teaching mathematics there for several years, went in 1825 to Hobart (then Geneva College ), where he taught mathematics and natural philosophy for 23 years. During that time he also served as acting president twice ( 1828-30 and again 1835-36 ) and as treasurer ( 1844-48 ).

      He was revered as both teacher and administrator for the College during its difficult years and was one of only two faculty members retained during a particularly dire period. He was a popular professor who was affectionately known among the students as " Old Fess ". Webster was considered " the giant " of the College during his years here, and it was a near disaster for Hobart when he left in 1849 to become the first president of the Free College of New York ( later City College of New York ).

      Professor Webster received an A. M. degree from Princeton in 1822, degrees from Kenyon in 1846 and Columbia in 1849, and an M. D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1850. He wrote one book of note, " The History of Scandinavia " ( 1858 ), and in addition to serving as president of CCNY and professor of moral, intellectual, and political philosophy there for 20 years, he served as a director ( 1851-70 ) and a Vice President ( 1859-67 ) of Norwich University.

      He retired in 1869 to his old home in Geneva, where he was emeritus professor until his death in 1871. A local obituary spoke of his " shrewdness and remarkable organizing power " and said that, " amidst the high county tone of a West Point professor, there was also the simplicity and gentleness of a child." He was a remarkable man, who left his mark on the students he taught and the institutions he served.


      July 14, 1871

      Prof. Horace Webster

      The announcement of the death of HORACE WEBSTER, LL.D., which occurred at Geneva, N. Y., ion Wednesday last caused a feeling of deep sorrow among those who knew him in this City. He had a very large circle of acquaintance among the Faculty and Alumni of the College of New York, of which he was the President for many years, and was greatly esteemed for his kind disposition and his high attainments. He was born in Vermont about the close of the eighteenth century, and at the time of his death was one of the oldest graduates of the United States Military Academy. He graduated from there in 1818, and was promoted to be a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He served as Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Academy from 1818 to 1825, after which he resigned and took the position of Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Geneva College. he became Principal of the New York Free Academy at the time of its formation 1848, and was retained in his place when its name was changed to the Free College. for a long time he acted as Professor of Moral, Intellectual and Political Philosophy at the Academy, or College as it is now termed. He retired from the Presidency of the College in 1869. Among the degrees which he had conferred on him was that of A. M. by Nassau Hall at Princeton; LL.D., by Columbia College and the Kenyon College of Ohio; and M.D. , by the University of Pennsylvania.


      Virtual American Biographies


      WEBSTER, Horace, educator, born in Hartford, Vermont, 21 September 1796 ; died in Geneva, New York, 12 July 1871. He was graduated at the United States Military Academy in 1818, and was assistant professor of mathematics there till 1825, when he resigned his commission in the army. He was then professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in Geneva ( now Hobart College ) till 1848, when he became principal of the Free Academy in New York City. here he held the chair of moral and intellectual philosophy from 1851, and in 1852 that of political philosophy was added. In 1866 the name of the academy was changed by law to " The College of the City of New York," and he continued at its head till 1869, after which he was emeritus professor till his death. He was eminently successful in his administration of the affairs of the college, and the impression he made on the students was lasting. From his precept and his example they learned thoroughness , devotion to duty, and regard for the best ideals of life. Columbia gave him the degree of LL.D in 1849 and the University of Pennsylvania that of M. D. in 1850.




      Horace Webster ( Hartford, Vermont, September 21, 1704--- Geneva, New York, July 12, 1871 ) was an American educator who graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1818. Webster remained at West Point as a mathematics professor until 1825, leaving with the rank of first lieutenant. He then moved to Geneva College, where he taught as a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy until he left in 1848 to head the Free Academy of New York, where he continued until retirement in 1869. The school was renamed City College in 1866. Horace Webster served as its first President.


      Researched and Transcribed by:
      12/25/2020 [1]
    Prefix First Lieut. 
    Birth 21 Sep 1794  Hartford, Vermont Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Census 1850  Living in Seneca, Ontario Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Census 1855  Living in New York City, New York Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Census 1860  Living in New York City, New York Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Census 1870  Living in Seneca, Ontario Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Death 12 Jul 1871  Geneva, Ontario County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Burial Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, Albany Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I59786  Main Tree
    Last Modified 19 Jun 2021 

    Family Sarah Maria FOWLER,   b. 1807, Albany, Albany Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 30 May 1875, Geneva, Ontario Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 68 years) 
    Marriage 27 Mar 1827  [3
     1. Margaret S. WEBSTER,   b. 07 Jul 1840, Geneva, Ontario, New York Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 13 Jan 1903 (Age 62 years)  [Birth]
     2. Edward Bayard WEBSTER,   b. 02 Sep 1842, New York Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 02 Sep 1914, Geneva, Ontario County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 72 years)  [Birth]
     3. Walter H. WEBSTER,   b. Abt 1848, New York Find all individuals with events at this locationd. Bef 1855 (Age 6 years)  [Birth]
    Family ID F05619  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 19 Jun 2021 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 21 Sep 1794 - Hartford, Vermont Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1850 - Living in Seneca, Ontario Co., New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1870 - Living in Seneca, Ontario Co., New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 12 Jul 1871 - Geneva, Ontario County, New York Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Headstones
    First Lt. Horace Webster and Sarah Maria Fowler Headstone
    First Lt. Horace Webster and Sarah Maria Fowler Headstone
    Horace Webster and his wife Sarah M. Fowler are buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, Albany Co., New York.

    Maintained by: Ed Catterson
    Originally Created by: Sidney
    Photo added by: Marie

  • Sources 
    1. [S02329] Find A Grave Website.

    2. [S03336] Slason-Slauson-Slawson-Slosson Family by George C. Slawson dated 1946.

    3. [S12628] Fred Q. Bowman, 10,000 Vital Records of Western New York 1809-1850.

    4. [S00214] 1850 Census Seneca, Ontario County, New York.

    5. [S6283] 1855 Census New York City, New York County, New York.

    6. [S00338] 1860 Census New York City, New York County, New York.

    7. [S12629] 1870 Census Seneca, Ontario County, New York.