Webster Genealogy

Leeds, San Francisco, Southport, Connecticut

This is still a work in progress...

Unnamed source ca. 1908


This is copied from a book with "CONNECTICUT" in the header on both left and right leaves and page number 376. The edges of the copy were cut off so some of the information is a guess. The books is not identified. It may be an old Who's Who or a volume of obituaries. It must have been compiled after 1905 since my uncle, Benjamin is mentioned, but before 1912 since my mother's name is not mentioned.

"Benjamin Webster descendant of an old English family lived at Bradford, England and followed the trade of butcher. Among the children was Benjamin, mentioned below. (II) Benjamin (2) , son of Benjamin Webster was born at Bradford, England in 1820, died at Leeds, England. September 1896. He was educated in the schools of his native town, and engaged in the railroad business. He became a station master at Leeds. He married Eliza Parker, who was born at Bradford, died at the age of seventy-two in Leeds, England. Children; Benjamin mentioned below; William lives in California; Clara married and lives in England; Samuel came to Bridgeport, Connecticut and died there, was a die sinker; Ha?? lives in England; Isaac; Edwin lives in England; George died in Philadelphia.

(III) Benjamin (3) son of Benjamin Webster, was born at Bradford, England, died December 11, 1908 at Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was educated at the schools of his native town. He began to work at Leeds, England in 1868 (my note - about age 25, but this seems off). He came to New York City (perhaps around 1857?) where he was in the employ of The Shelton Company (this may actually have been in CT), manufacturers of carpet tacks. Thence he came to Bridgeport, for sixteen years was with the Glover Sanford Company (CT), hat manufacturers. He was then chief engineer of the Bridgeport Brass Company for twelve years and retired from active business about 1885. (handwritten note added "age 50 Born 1835?") He took an active interest and had a potent influence in the affairs of the city, though he never aspired to public office. He was a Republican and a stout supporter of the candidates and principles of his party. He became a large taxpayer as he invested in real estate and l??(leased??) a number of houses in the city. He built engines, heaters and lubricators, patented a number of them. He was a member of no secret order and had few interests outside his business and his home to which he was devotedly attached. He was a member of St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church and assisted in raising the fund for the building. He was studious and read history chie?? being able to read and readily translate Greek history. Few men of his age had acquired more general knowledge from reading and study and few indeed had covered so thoroughly the range of history. His death was mourned by a host of friends and was a distinct loss.

He married, July 19,1865 at Leeds,England, in St. Luke's Church (by Rev. Brackenburgh), Margaret Calam, born Eastrington, Yorkshire, Daughter, William and Sarah (Longhorn) Calam. Her (father) ????er was born in 1812, died at Howden, England, July 14, 1840. Children of William Calam; George; Robert resides in England; ????r, died young; William, deceased, was a (blacksmith) ?????smith at Bridgeport; Margaret, mentioned above; Mary resides in London, England married Peter Stephenson; Elizabeth, (deceased) ????ased. Isaac Calam, father of William Calam, was a chemist. Children of Isaac Calem: Isaac, Thomas, Peter, Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth and William. Children of Benjamin and Margaret (Calem) Webster: 1. Edward Parker, born October 23, 1867, at Leeds; Assistant Superintendent at Smith & Egge Company; married Bertha Miller: children; ?? Parker, Edgar Ferdinand and Lillian Margaret. 2. Mary Florence Webster, born November 1869; married Benjamin Webster of California, a draughtsman; child Benjamin Chester 3. Harry Calam, born January 22, 1871, Bridgeport; foreman in Smith & Egge Company; married Mary Lehman; children ??? Elizabeth and Margaret Anna. 4. Ross, born November 28,1878; an engineer in the Smith & Egge Company; married Carrie Ballard."



"The formation of the Smith and Egge Company came about in 1873 when William Smith, a former postmaster at Bridgeport, Connecticut and Frederick Egge got together to try to win a United States Post Office Department contract to supply a new lock for post boxes.

In the perfect partnership, Smith invented the lock and Egge the key. The design was a winner and the company was born.,

It was set up in Bridgeport Connecticut, close to the mighty Wheeler and Wilson factory which dominated the town.

The company developed as a as a specialist manufacturer of locks for sewing machine cabinets but soon expanded into making other sewing machine hardware .

Other lines included chains for sash windows and it was to promote this side of the business that Smith arrived in England in 1891. He sep up the Automatic Chain Company in Birmingham and soon had contracts in Mexico, Haiti, Chile and San Diomingo.

No sewing machines were produced in England and the last recorded Tue, Nov 16, 1993 for the company in Birmingham is 1900 although a history of Bridgeport written in 1937 suggests that the company was still operating in England.

It is possible that it was also responsible for producing some of the special tooling used in Wheeler and Wilson factory.

During the last decade of the 19th Century the company began producing a miniature sewing machine for the giant John Wannamaker store. This carried the Wannamaker name but later Smith and Egge used tits own name and sold in bulk to other retailers simply adding what ever name was required to the base casting.

All Wannamaker and Smith and Egge machines were sold as "adult" models and all advertisements and other literature stresses this.

In fact we could write off any suggestion of the machine ever being sold as a toy were it not for those few examples bearing the Schwarz label.

For Schwarz was New York's leading toy retailer in the early years of this century. It's reasonable to conjecture that after sales of the "adult" version ran down, surplus stocks were sold off to Schwarz to retail; as toys.

Another possibility is that the same thing happened on the introduction of the later, improved modeled to the general adult market."


International Sewing Machine Collector's Society

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