8. William Douglas WEBB36,37,38,39,40 was born in 1821 in Newport, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Or Hunterdon County. He appeared in the census on 8 October 1850 in District 1, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.41 roll 16, p.149b
According to family tradition, William Douglas, dissatisfied with his home life and a "mean" mother, ran away at the age of 16, working on a boat that ran up and down the coast until he finally disembarked at Mobile, Alabama, around 1840 (about 15 years later) or shortly thereafter. He wrote a letter of "enquirment" back to the "old post office" and reached an "old maid sister". She wrote back to him asking if he remembered the cow getting into the hornet's nest. She told him his father "had raised up a whole new family." She also told him his brothers - he supposedly had around four brothers -- "went West." She had told him their mother thought he was dead." This letter was written by his son Melvin, after he moved to Marion County, Alabama, in 1878, so it is not known if he was illiterate or this was because of his blindness which was later cured. However in the 1870 census neither he nor his older children can read or write.
Albert Jr. describes William Douglas Webb as "a humble person, walked very, very straight. He had real straight black hair, as straight as a stick - they say my daddy had hair as straight as William's." Albert Jr. also says that William Douglas liked to ice skate, a sport almost unknown in Alabama. William Douglas taught his children how to ice skate, something he had probably learned while growing up in New Jersey.
When William was older, he went blind because of growths over his eyes. The blindness lasted for approximately one year. The family story is that the growths were "burned off." One night, while he was sitting by the fire, he could suddenly see his wife.
William Douglas Webb first appears on written Alabama records, 2 August 1842, when he married Louisa Boyd in Tuscaloosa County. The Justice of the Peace officiating was Alexander Kyle.
He next appears in the 1850 Census where his age is given as 29, making the year of his birth 1821, not 1819 as family tradition had it.
In the 1830, Cumberland County, Downe Township, New Jersey census a family of WEBBS and PEPPERs are shown living just a few dwellings apart. This census is the only census in the entire state of NJ in 1830 that shows these two families living near each other. Because of the extremes difficulty of travel in the early days of settlement, people tended to find their future mates among families who lived nearby.
The seat of Downe Township is Newport, the other city, often cited as the birthplace of William Douglas Webb. This town is situated on the Atlantic coast, at the mouth of the Delaware River, in the extreme southeastern end of New Jersey. The area was settled by English and German immigrants in the mid-1600s and had more Baptist churches than any other denomination, although there were some Presbyterian and Methodist churches around, plus some Quaker meeting houses. Newport and all the surrounding villages of Downe Township are situated in a flat, marshy area which remains sparsely populated even today. There was some farming, much shipping, fishing and oyster harvesting. Many of the farmers used the marshes to grow hay, which they then shipped down the coast.
It would have been very easy for WD Webb to sign onto a coastal ship from here. And, even at the age of 16, he probably would have already been familiar with working on boats. The county still houses the Maritime Museum, which displays tools and equipment related to the days when -- to quote an Internet description of the area --"Cumberland County was noted for the construction of the schooners which transported cargo to ports along the coast of America or were used to harvest oysters from Deleware Bay." (http://www.rootsweb.com/njcumber/cumbernj.html) . It is probably one of these ships which eventually carried WD Webb to Alabama.
On the 1830 census only the names of heads of household were given, and the inhabitants of the homes' ages were merely estimated within a 5-year range; no occupations or points of origin were given.
p. 483 shows the next house inhabited by JACOB WEBB,with the following children: 3 males 0-5, 2 males 5-10; 1 male 30-40, 1 female 10-15; 1 female 20-30. This Jacob Webb would have been born 1790-1800. He does not appear on the 1840 Downe Township census, but Jacob Webb of the right age re-appears on the 1850 Downe Township Census.
p. 483, also shows the next house inhabited by WILLIAM WEBB, with 1 male 15-20, 1 male 70-80, 1 female 5-10, 1 female 60-70. This William would have been born 1750-1760 and is almost certainly WD Webb's grandfather. If this is so, then the Webb family has easily been in America since the 1700s and possibly even earlier. Few older men attempted the arduous Atlantic crossing, so William must have come as a young man or might have even been raised in the Colonies. There is further a Jacob Webb listed as having died in the area, 1781-1782, possibly William's father. The Newport area was a debarkation point for Atlantic crossing from both England, Germany and the Netherlands.
p. 480 just several households away from the Webbs, the following PEPPER families are shown. Maggie Mangum, daughter of Melvin Webb, a son of WD Webb, remembers hearing that WD's mother had "a bunch of sisters". 2 PEPPER women are listed as heads of households in this census and may have been widows.
MARY PEPPER, with 1 male 0-5, 1 male 15-20, 1 female 5-10, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 15-20, 1 female 40-50 (Mary) This Mary was possibly born 1780-1790, probably a widow who married a PEPPER between 1800-1820
AMOS PEPPER, with 1 male 70-80, 1 female 70-80. Probably grandparents or great grandparents of the aforementioned PEPPER. Amos and his wife being born 1750-1760. Amos is the most likely candidate for WD Webb's Pepper grandfather or great-grandfather.
p. 482 MARY PEPPER, with 2 females 20-30, 1 female 50-60. This Mary was born 1770-1780. Probably another PEPPER widow.
p. 478 ELIJAH PEPPER, 1 male 0-5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 30-40, 1 female 0-5, 1 female 20-30. Elijah would have been born 1790-1800
On the 1840 Census the WEBBS and PEPPERs are still living in close proximity to each other
WILLIAM WEBB, 1 male 80-90; 1 female 50-60, 1 female 70-80.
p. 73 AMOS PEPPER. Now widowed
p. 74 AMOS PEPPER, JR
p. 73 ELIJAH PEPPER, 1 female 15-20, 1 female 50-60
p. 71 ELIZABETH PEPPER
1850 Cumberland County, NJ Census
p. 109/218 JACOB WEBB, age 52, Downe Township, b. NJ, living alone, no occupation (b. 1798, probably same as the Jacob who was not tabulated on the 1840 Census). NOTE: There is a family tradition that one of the Webbs, possibly WD's father left NJ to work for a while in the Pennsylvania coal mines, then returned to NJ.
p. 198/397. JACOB WEBB, age 36, Bridgetown Township, b. NJ, Occupation "Nailer". Lives with ANN Webb, 34, a milliner, and Alexandria H. Webb, age 10, Charles Webb, age 8, and George Webb, age 1
p. 108/217 JOSEPH WEBB, age 22, Downe Township. b. NJ, Living in household with Joseph Marshall, 25, and Elizabeth Marshall, 22. Joseph Marshall is listed as a laborer.
p. 240/24, MARIA R. WEBB, age 29, Cohansey Township. Living in household of Daniel and Sarah Pierson. Daniel Pierson is listed as a blacksmith by trade with $1700 worth of real property. Maria R. Webb is listed as having $1500 of real property. All born in NJ: NOTE: a list of wills filed in Cumberland County, shows the following: ALEXANDER WEBB, Bridgeton Township, will filed May 7, 1849, proven July 30, 1849, lists Alexander's wife as Maria Webb, and his father-in-law as Daniel Pierson.
By the 1850 Census neither John or William Webb are shown in Cumberland County. William and his wife have almost certainly died in the interim.
Both a JOHN WEBB and a WILLIAM WEBB turn up in Ocean County, Dover Township in the 1850 Census for that area. William on p. 101, Since Ocean County is closer to New York City, these Webbs may be unrelated. Louisa H. BOYD and William Douglas WEBB were married on 4 August 1842 in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.42,43
Aug 2 is the date of application for the license, they were actually married on the 4th.
9. Louisa H. BOYD was born about 1823 in North Carol na. She appeared in the census on 7 October 1850 in District 1, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.
Year: 1850 State: Alabama County: Tuscaloosa Page No: 290
32 | 145 145 | Louisa H. Webb | 27 F W | | NC | X | W100 |
Had red hair and was supposedly of Irish descent.
This might possibly be the Louisa M. Boyd daughter of John Montgomery Boyd and his wife Louisa Moore of the Sumpter County, Alabama Boyds, who go back to North Carolina.
or: From the will of Thomas Boyd, dtd 28 Feb 1839, Montgomery Co, Al; wife Margarett, sons Robert, George H., William L., and Hezekiah; and daus Martha and Louisa; wit--Baretell Hilliard, William Boyd, Sr and Samuel Humphrey.
The 1850 Census of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama shows Louisa H. , wife of Wm. B (sic) Webb as being born in NC. In the same District is Robert Boyd, age 69, also born in NC and a woman age 32, Liddia, born in NC, children aged 12, Robert Mc, Samuel M. age 8, David B, age 7. Later censuses might show if these were children by a second marriage to Liddia or if Liddia was his daughter-in-law and she was widowed with these children and was living with her father-in-law.
Robert Boyd is tentatively listed here as the father of Louisa, but other reports on him show no child named Louisa.
There is another possibility. A Louisa Boyd is shown in Generations Back p. 35, as being the daughter of Susannah Norton, daughter of William Norton and Jemima Pickerel, and her husband Thomas Boyd. Susannah died in Mississippi, and before that they had lived in Pendleton District, South Carolina.