Obituary of Dr. Claudius Buchanan Webster

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Dr. Claudius Buchanan Webster

A Native of Hampton and the
Donor of the Webster Memorial Chapel

December 10, 1815 - September 7, 1902

Hampton Union, Friday, September 12, 1902

Dr. Claudius Buchanan Webster
Dr. Claudius Buchanan Webster

{Photo courtesy Joseph Dow's
History of Hampton, N.H.,

The announcement of the death at Concord Sunday of Dr. Claudius Buchanan Webster was received with keen regret in Hampton, where he was born and prepared for college.

The deceased was a native of Hampton, born here December 10, 1815, the son of Rev. Josiah and Martha (Knight) Webster, his father being the pastor of the Congregational church, and familiarly known as "Parson" Webster. He went through the common schools of his native place and fitted for college at Hampton Academy; was graduated from Dartmouth College, 1836; then taught in the Academy at South Berwick, Maine.

He then engaged in civil engineering in Illinois till 1840, when he began the study of medicine, and was graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City, 1843; practiced a short time in Northwood, N.H.; removed to Norwich, Connecticut, in 1845, where he carried on a family school for young ladies till 1862.

He then served three years in the army, as acting assistant surgeon, having charge of hospital trains in the Southwest. In September, 1865, he returned to Norwich, and remained till 1870, when he was appointed by President Grant as United States Consul to Sheffield, England, one of the most important consulates in Great Britain. He filled that position until 1886. In view of the frequent changes in consulates, it is worthy of remark that Dr. Webster's term of sixteen years at Sheffield extended over four administrations at Washington, and was the longest United States consulship on record in that country.

He made no attempt to become conspicuous in English public life, but devoted his time, outside of direct official labors, to the cultivation of cordial and friendly relations with those English Manufactures and merchants who were extensively engaged in shipping Sheffield goods to America. The entent of this commerce may be shown by the fact that in one year during Dr. Webster's tenure of office, the value of shipments from Sheffield to America amounted to $1,500,00. While at Sheffield the honor devolved upon him to receive ex-President Grant while on his journey around the world.

After the announcement of a successor to Dr. Webster at Sheffield the London papers expressed sincere, regret that there should be withdrawn one who had so long represented his country with such fidelity, tact and unswerving courtesy. After leaving Sheffield Dr. Webster took a long European tour and then returned to New Hampshire, where he has since made his home, although passing more or less time in Washington and Chicago.

On Oct. 31, 1844, Dr. Webster was married to Miss Mary Elizabeth Webster of Pembroke, a lineal descendant of Hannah Dustin. She was a lovely, refined lady, and after a happy married life extending over forty-two years, death came to her at Sheffield, after a long, useful and exemplary life. Dr. and Mrs. Webster had no children.

Dr. Webster had four brothers: Dr. Eliphalet K. Webster, already named; Josiah Webster, a farmer of Illinois; Prof. John C. Webster, of Wheaton college, Illinois and Maj. Gen. Joseph D. Webster, United States army, who became famous in the war of the Rebellion, as General Grant's Chief of Staff, and who by his bravery and military skill while chief of artillery, was credited with having turned the tide of battle and secured the great victory for the Union army at Shiloh. The last two named were Dartmouth college graduates of the class of 1832, while Dr. E. K. Webster was an alumnus of the Dartmouth Medical college, thus constituting the probably unparalleled record of a father an four out of five sons being graduated from the same college.

Dr. Webster has lived for twelve years in Concord, visiting Hampton on occasions. He cherished a lively interest in his alma mater, and is said to be the oldest, with one exception, of the Dartmouth alumni in the country. He had been in poor health for the past year, but took to his bed only a week ago.

The funeral was held on Tuesday and was very largely attended. The body was sent to Chicago, where it will be placed beside that of his wife in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Dr. Webster's name is perpetuated at Hampton by the Webster Memorial Chapel of the Congregational Church, built in 1893 at a cost of $2300, of which he contributed $1,700. He was a speaker at Hampton's 250th anniversary celebration in 1888.

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