- William Seward Webb
Dr. W. Seward Webb (
January 31, 1851- October 29, 1926) was a son of Civil War Gen. James Watson Webb(1802-1884). He studied medicine in Vienna, Parisand Berlin. Returning to America, he entered the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeonsand graduated from there in 1875. For several years he practiced medicine, and then forsook the profession for financeat the behest of his wife's family, establishing the Wall Streetfirm of W. S. Webb & Co. In 1883, he married Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt, daughter of William H. Vanderbilt. Eliza's brother George went on to create Biltmore, one of America's grandest country estates.
In 1883 Webster Wagner, the president of the Wagner Palace Car Company, was crushed between two of his own railroad cars. Vanderbilt owned a controlling interest in the company, and asked his new son-in-law to take over the firm. William Seward invited his brother
H. Walter Webbto join him, which started them both on careers in the railroad business. The Wagner Palace Car Company was subsequently merged with the Pullman Company. Dr. Webb later became President of the Fulton Chain Railway Company, the Fulton Navigation Company, and the Raquette Lake Transportation Company. He was the builder and President of the Mohawk and Malone Railway. His railroads were instrumental in opening the Adirondacksto the tourism rush of the mid- to late 19th century.
The Webb property at
Shelburne, Vermontwas created from more than thirty separate farms on the shores of Lake Champlainand is known today as Shelburne Farms. The property is a National Historic Landmark, and one of the main concert sites of the Vermont Mozart Festival. The former Webb estate has stunning views and some of the grandest barns of any Guilded Age property. A great horseman, Dr. Webb had a fine collection of carriages that is on display today at the Shelburne Museum. The Vanderbilt Webb's other country estate was an Adirondack Great Campnamed NeHaSane, a game preserve of some 200,000 acres (800 km²), much of which was later donated to the State of New York to become part of the Adirondack Park. The town of Webb, New Yorkin the park is named after him.
Dr. Webb served as
Inspector Generalof the Vermont militiawith the rank of Colonel. He served a term in the VermontLegislature in the 1890s. He was a founder and former President of the Sons of the American Revolution. The Webbs for thirty years lived at 680 Fifth Avenue, New York. This house, a wedding gift from William H. Vanderbiltto his daughter, was sold in 1913 to John D. Rockefeller. Dr. Webb was survived by his wife, Lila Vanderbilt Webb, three sons - J. Watson, Seward, and Vanderbilt - and one daughter, Frederica.
* [http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyherkim/webb/WilmurtBios1.html Online Biography] at [http://www.rootsweb.com/ Rootsweb.com]
* [http://www.shelburnefarms.org/about/history.shtm History of Shelburne Farms]
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