Friday, April 20, 2012

Charles Webster

This mossy obelisk is set back in a sort of alcove of trees on a little knoll overlooking Consecration Lake and marks the grave of noted Albany printer Charles Webster.

Charles Webster (cousin to the more famous Noah Webster) was born in 1762 in Connecticut and, as a young man, served in that state's militia during the Revolution. Having been apprenticed at a Connecticut newspaper prior to the war, he took up the printing trade when he settled in Albany. Later joined in the business by his twin brother, George, he printed everything from handbills to newspapers to Masonic literature.

His first Albany office was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1793 and he relocated to one of Albany's busiest intersections, Elm Tree Corner (the northwest cornerState and Pearl Streets).

A greatly respected man known for his “simple habits” and “unwearing activity,” the “Father of Albany printing” took a trip to Saratoga Springs in 1834 in the hopes that the mineral waters there might benefit his health. He died there on July 18 at the age of seventy-two.

Charles Webster was originally buried in the First Presbyterian section of the State Street Burying Grounds, but his remains and monument were transferred to the Rural Cemetery around the time the old municipal graveyard was closed to make way for Washington Park.

The Webster monument at the State Street Burying Grounds as it appears in Joel Munsell's Annals of Albany

A small plaque noting his service in the Revolution was added to his grave by the Yosemite chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Carl Johnson at Hoxsie! has some great pieces on Webster.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out but, more importantly, thanks for finding him! I've probably seen this stone but not gotten close enough to know it was Mr. Webster's. So many important Albanians I need to look up there.