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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - John S. Webber

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


JOHN S. WEBBER. The ancestors of Mr. Webber were originally from North Carolina, and moved in an early day to Kentucky, where, in Harrison county, John S. Webber was born, on the 28th of September, 1830. His father died when the subject of this sketch was only a few years of age, and his mother having married as her second husband John F. HUFFMAN, the family came from Kentucky to Illinois in the year 1835, and settled in Newell township, Vermillion county, six miles north of Danville. That part of the county was then very thinly settled, and it may be supposed that educational advantages were exceedingly limited. Mr. Webber attended the subscription schools, in log school houses, and afterward the free schools, on their establishment. Beyond this his education was acquired by his own efforts. No college or seminary was open to him, and his attainments are the result of his own unaided industry.

At the age of seventeen he went to Danville and learned the trade of a cabinet-maker, which he followed three years. The year 1849 brought the great excitement concerning the gold fields of California, and thousands started for the Pacific Slope. Mr. Webber was one of a party which left Danville in March, 1850, with the first wagon that ever started from that town for California. After the adventures usual to an overland trip, he reached California in September, 1850. He was on the Pacific coast nearly three years. For the greater part of the time he was mining gold, and afterward went to farming, at which he was more successful. With about a thousand dollars as the result of his labor, he left California, in 1853, on his return to Illinois, taking the ocean voyage and Nicarauga route to New York, from which point he came directly to Vermillion county, in the northern part of which he purchased a farm.

The same year of his return (1853) on the 28th of September, he married Seraphine LE NEVE, daughter of John LE NEVE, one of the earliest settlers of Vermillion county. Mr. Le Neve first emigrated to Illinois from Kentucky, and settled opposite Vincennes, Indiana, and afterward moved up to Vermillion county, and is said to have split the first rails ever split north of the Vermillion river.

Mr. Webber, in 1864, became a resident of Harwood township, Champaign county, settling on the place which he now occupies on section 11, township 22, range 10. Mr. and Mrs. Webber have had seven children. The oldest son, William Perry, died on the 27th of July, 1875, twenty-one years and twenty-three days of age. The other children are Almond F., John L., Julia B, Charles H., Sanford L., Nettle N., and S. Ross

While in California, in 1853, he attended Methodist preaching, and became connected with the Methodist Church, of which he has since been a member. For several years he has been a local deacon in the church, formerly preached frequently, and has taken an active part in advancing the interests of the Methodist denomination in Champaign and neighboring counties. He was an early Republican, and his views of late years have only differed from the principles of that party on questions of financial policy.

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