James webster married at first sight -
Noah Webster’s Story
Noah the Married Man
Noah Webster married Rebecca Greenleaf of Boston, whom he always called Becca. His diary offers a running account of his romance with Becca in the spring of 1787. They had a normal two year courtship and were married in 1789. They spent Thanksgiving of that year at this house, and that may well have been their last visit to Noah’s birthplace, since Noah Senior sold the house in 1790.
Romantic letters from Noah to Rebecca, attesting to their loving relationship, are part of the historical collections at the Noah Webster House, as well as the Webster ring. The center of this ring contains hair, believed to be that of Noah and Rebecca. On the back an inscription reads:
Noah the Teacher
Since he could not go into law immediately, Webster went into teaching. He possibly taught first in Glastonbury and then taught in Hartford for a while and lived with Oliver Ellsworth, one of the state’s most distinguished jurists. In those days most potential lawyers did not go to law school. Instead they “read law,” residing with a lawyer and learning from him, his books and records. Webster did this with Ellsworth.
In 1779-1780, he taught in the West Division and lived in this house. During that winter, we get the first glimpse of the Noah Webster to be. Elementary education was in a deplorable state. The one room school house was a very poor system of education. The school houses were usually ill-heated, ill-lit, the textbooks were poorly written and scarce, the teachers were ill-paid, and the guiding rule of the school house was “spare the rod and spoil the child.” A class might have 50-70 students aged 6-16.
Most teachers were discouraged by the situation and so was Webster, but unlike most others, he sat down and wrote an essay. Throughout his life, whenever he saw something that he felt needed correction, he wrote something about it in the form of an essay. He saw this as a challenge. Webster felt that Americans should have their own text books, and that they should not rely on English textbooks. He also felt that Americans should have copyright laws to protect authors. He believed that Americans should have their own dictionary. Webster wrote, “People never misapply their economy so much as when they make mean provisions for the education of children.” He went on to say that teachers should spare the rod and encourage students to learn. “The pupil should have nothing to discourage him.”
He continued to study law, passed the bar in 1781 and returned to teaching, this time in Sharon, CT and later in Goshen, NY. He started to draft the “Blue-Backed Speller” and completed it in 1783. After he published the “Blue-Backed Speller,” he opened a law office in Hartford but spent most of his time petitioning legislatures for adoption of copyright law and promoting the “Speller.”
Noah’s Writings and Publications
The “Blue-Backed Speller”
Spellers were text books that taught students how to read, spell and pronounce words. Most educators believed that children did not need to understand what they were reading, so teaching was done using recitation and memorization. Most spellers used in America were from England and taught English pronunciations, geography and historical facts. Now that America had won its political independence, it now needed to win its cultural independence. Noah thought that Americans needed their own speller that would teach American ways and instill a sense of pride in the new nation. He scoffed at English textbooks which did not contain words that were purely American or American geography.
First published in 1783, Webster planned to call his “Speller” the American Instructor, but the president of Yale, Ezra Stiles, suggested a more grandiose title. Webster adopted it: A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. In the book Noah implemented changes that helped to improve the teaching of pronunciation, spelling and reading. The “Speller” was used all over the country and therefore helped to standardize pronunciation in America. As a result, our country is most homogeneous in terms of spelling and pronunciation.
To promote the “Speller,” Noah systematically traveled from state to state, meeting with politicians and war heroes, asking each to attest to the greatness of his book. He would ask each to introduce him to someone else, thereby getting introduced to all the important people of that time. His used this huge list to influence the publisher to take on his project.
Throughout its history, between 50,000,000 and 100,000,000 copies were sold (though Noah never made much money on it). The speller was the number one used school book in America until the end of the 19th center when it was gradually replaced by the McGuffy reader.
Noah realized that England and the new United States had different forms of government, institutions, customs and laws. Because of this, he believed that they needed different vocabularies. He also knew that science and technology were developing rapidly, and new words were being introduced just as quickly. So, he spent over 25 years researching words and their origins and writing the first American dictionary. This dictionary helped Americans to feel pride in their new country, and enabled everyone across the new nation to have a standard vocabulary.
Webster’s greatest achievement was the dictionary. In 1800 he published his intentions of writing a dictionary. He published a shortened, concise but comprehensive, version in 1806. The final version was finished in 1825 and published in 1828. It contained 70,000 words. It is no exaggeration to say that it was immediately accepted as the greatest dictionary of the English language on both sides of the Atlantic. Webster had an absolute genius for defining words.
Dining with President Andrew Jackson in the White House
When he was ready to publish the book, he found that there were no federal copyright laws. Any one could make copies, and he would get no income from it. This was because the Federation Government that existed then did not have the power to pass a copyright law. Therefore, if he wanted protection of his books, Webster would have to go to every state and get every state legislature to grant him a copyright. Under the new Constitution of 1789, that was changed, partially as a result of Webster’s work. In 1790 our congress passed the first federal copyright law, which granted 14 years of protection.
Webster continued to work for better copyright legislation for the rest of his life. His efforts were rewarded in the 1830-1831 congressional session, when congress seemed ready to improve the law. Webster was a distinguished man of letters, and people listened to him. He received three honors in Washington: he was allowed to address Congress in person on the copyright question, he was invited to dine at the White House with President Andrew Jackson, and he watched as the new bill was passed into law. The new law granted protection of the author or his heirs for 28 years, with the right of renewal for another 14 years.
Webster described his dinner at the White House in uncomplimentary ways. “The president asked me to dine with him and I could not well avoid it. We sat down at 6:00 and rose at 8:00. The president was very sociable and placed me, as a stranger, at his right hand. The party, mostly members of the two houses, consisted of about 30. The table was garnished with artificial flowers placed in gilt urns, supported by female figures on gilt waiters. We had a great variety of dishes, French and Italian cooking. I do not know the names of one of them. I wonder at our great men who introduce foreign customs to the great annoyance of American guests. To avoid annoyance as much as possible, the practice is to dine at home and go to the president’s to see and be seen, to talk and to nibble fruit and to drink very good wine. As to dining at the president’s table, in the true sense of the word, there is no such thing.”
Meeting George Washington
Webster felt that the American central government, the Articles of Confederation, was too weak. He found with his copyright experiences that a weak central government, granted few powers by the states, was dangerous. In his 1785 publication, Sketches of American Policy, Webster tried to convince people to call another convention to draft an amended form of the confederation, or a new plan of government. Webster showed the sketches to George Washington at Mount Vernon, and Washington showed them to James Madison. So clearly, the Sketches had something to do with the calling of the convention and the framing of the constitution.
A Founder of Amherst College
In 1808, Noah had a religious conversion experience. His wife and children brought him to an evangelistic meeting. He was “saved” and this had a profound affect on his thinking in a lot of areas. He became much more conservative as a result of this experience. In 1812 he moved from New Haven to Amherst, Massachusetts and helped to found Amherst College.
A Man of Varied Predictability
As successful as Noah Webster was, he had notable weaknesses. He was arrogant. When he went to Philadelphia for the first time Dr. Benjamin Rush met him and said, “I congratulate you on your arrival at Philadelphia,” to which Webster replied, “Sir, you may congratulate Philadelphia on the occasion.”
He was against the Bill of Rights, as were many people. He felt that freedom of the press would be abused. He argued that women should be educated enough to raise children, but no further. They should never go above their station and should never read novels. He felt that female education should be in support of the husband, the family and caring for the house.
In the early nineteenth century, he stated that no one should vote until he turned 45 and that no one should hold office until the age of 50. He was 50 at the time. He supported the church tax in Connecticut, while most opposed it. He also supported the Anti-War of 1812 Hartford Convention. He translated the Bible because he thought it was dirty and felt that “a woman couldn’t read it without blushing.”
While he was often thought of as “stiff” and a “curmudgeon”, he also had a fun-loving side. In his younger years he would socialize and “paint the town Red” with his friend, Benjamin Franklin. He was known to love music and dancing and was a very committed family man.
Slooper Ole Olson
Col. Porter Olson
Lt. Soren Olson
Sgt. James W. Olson
Rasmus Anderson excerpt
Our story begins with Ole Olson Hetletvedt, who was the 5th of 10 children1 born to Ole Knudsen Hetletveit and Bretha Sørensdatter at Hetletveit /Hetletvedt Farm.2 This farm was under the Sjernerø Parish and was located on the northeast of the city of in what is now Finnøy kommune, Rogaland fylke(seeMAPS LINK for location). Ole was said to have been a school teacher3 in Norway prior to joining the small party of religious dissidents who came to the USA on the famous sloop Restauration (Restoration) in 1825.4 Legend has it that Ole was the first Norwegian to preach the gospel to his fellow Norwegians in the USA, although he was never formally ordained.5
Soon after arrival in the US, Ole dropped his farm name and was known thereafter as just “Ole Olson. Ole did not stay long with most of the other Sloopers who initially settled in the Kendall/Murray area of upstate New York. He went on to Niagara Fallsto work in a paper mill. There he met & married Sarah “Sally” Porter Chamberlain (a 1st cousin of Mrs. Daniel Webster6). They had their first child atNiagara Falls in 1830, a daughter named Bertha Ann. After having 2 sons, the family moved to Illinoisin 1835, first to theFox River Settlement in 7 In Illinoishe continued his role as an activist, preaching, selling bibles and helping escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad. In 1837 Ole and Sally had a son that died in infancy. In 1839 the couple would have their last child, a son they named James Webster Olson (sometimes called "Web" by family members). Just a couple of years laterOle's wife Sally died in March of 1841. Four years later Ole would marry the "American" widow Elizabeth Brown, but there would be no children from this second marriage.
In addition to his religious activities, it is important to note the role he played in bringing about the first Norwegian newspaper in the US, the "Nordlyset." Rosdail (p 123) states that Ole was the "key man in promoting the appearance of the Norwegian press." Ole was also "one of the earliest and most frequent contributors to Nordlyset. As might be expected he supported the cause of abolition." (p 124)
The four surviving children, born to a prominent Norwegian immigrant and his Yankee wife would leave some interesting marks in Norwegian-American history.8
1. Several of Ole’s siblings also emigrated to the
2. This family had ancestral connections to farms in the Nedstrand Parish, Fevold and Skiftun farms in Hjelmeland, as well as other places in Jelsa and Finnøy. They shared some of the same distant ancestors as other Sloopers, including some of those of Jakob Anderson Slogvik.
3. It is said that Ole was "well educated" in Norway; that he was the "first teacher for the children of the Norwegian immigrants;" and that he, "was the first to teach Norwegian parochial school." (Rosdail p. 101 referencing Norlie)
4. In July 1825 when the Restauration sailed from Stavanger, , Ole was a single man at the age of 27 years, 11 months. For an excellent, 2-part, summary of the "Slooper" story see "Norwegian Sloopers of 1825" by Georgia Adkins, a Minnesota Slooper and great great granddaughter of Ole Olsen.Part I - Part II
5. OLE, A COMPLEX RELIGIOUS MAN: Around the time he was leaving Norway one author stated that he was “classed as” a Quaker (Rosdail p 9) which would fit with the common belief that most on the sloop were seeking religious freedom either as Quakers, Quaker sympathizers or those following the teachings of Hans Nielsen Hauge, and it was later stated that he “was a Haugean in leaning.” He could be considered a lay minister as he apparently held no religious status of ordination. It has been suggested that Ole probably preached on the Sloop as the group sailed to America. Probably before he went to
6. Massachusetts born Sally (Sarah) Porter/Chamberlain (1805-1840) was the daughter of James Chamberlain/Chamberlin and Joanna Stevens. James had a sister Rebecca who married Elijah Fletcher, and this couple had a daughter Grace. Grace Fletcher was the noted Daniel Webster's 1st wife. Therefore, Ole's 1st wife Sally was a 1st cousin to Webster's 1st wife (see .pdf chart "Descendants of Ephraim Chamberlin").
7. See: "Ole Olson," Kendall County Record, May 16, 1906; edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson - appearing as information on one of the Pioneer Norwegian Immigrants, Kendall County, Illinois, web site that is part of the USGenWeb Project.
8. Children of Ole Olson and his wife Sally:
1. Bertha Ann Olson*, b. NY, 29 Jul. 1830, d. WI, 24 May 1898, married 31 Mar. 1850 at**; had 8 children & many descendants spreading throughout the US.
2. Porter Chamberlain Olson, b. 11 Apr. 1832, d. (died in battle, Civil War).
3. Soren Luther Olson, b. 23 Mar. 1834, d. (died in battle, Civil War).
4. James Webster Olson, b. 29 May 1837, d. (died young).
5. James Webster Olson, b. IL, 18 Aug. 1839, d.
*Bertha Olson Shaver
[photo scanned from p.380, Slooper book]
** William Shaver
[photo scanned from p.380, Slooper book]
|[click on thumbnails above for larger image]|
Return to Santa Rosa's Slooper Son Homepage
James Perry Webster, the man for whom this city was named, settled here about 1880. In 1963, his granddaughter sent the Reporter and Farmer some information about him. Here is her story.
James Perry Webster, the son Cyrus and Martha Webster, was born in Boston, Summit County Ohio, Sept. 1, 1837. Very little is known of his early life, but in the spring of 1880, James, his father-in-law, Enos Babcock, and brother-in-law, Frank Deavereaux and their families traveled by covered wagon from Pine Island, Minn. to the plains of South Dakota.
Until a permanent home could be built, James his wife Wilmina and their three children, George, Cora and Clara, lived in a tent on a 160-acre tree claim. Webster is now located on that tent site. Since there were very few trees, lumber to build the Webster home and farm buildings had to be brought by team and wagon from Watertown. After settling his family in the tent, James and his son George, then nine years old, prepared for a trip to Watertown to buy lumber, groceries and tree seedlings for planting.
Before leaving, James told Wilmina not to worry about In- dians, because the ones in the vicinity were friendly. But Wilmina was uneasy anyway; her nearest neighbor was five miles away and she did not relish the thought of being left alone with two small girls in strange country.
The second day that James was gone, Wilmina saw a caravan of horses and wagons in the distance. Soon a wagon stopped near the tent, and an Indian chief approached. Standing in front of the tent, he reached inside his coat. Wilmina expected him to draw a weapon, but instead he pulled out a slip of paper and handed it to the terrified woman. The note said the Indians were friendly, and meant no harm. James arrived home a few days later and later hired some of those Indians to help with work and tree planting. They were able workers and helped on the Webster farm for many years. After the Websters built their. home, James built a country store and Wilmina fed the families and single men moving to South Dakota territory. After the railroad came to Webster, James became an insurance agent.
Ten years after arriving in South Dakota, the Websters returned to Minnesota, where James became a traveling salesman. He died Dec. 27, 1906 in Waite Park, Minn. at age 69.
The Graduating Class of 1894. L-R Edith Lumer, Maude Abbott,
Emma Warner, Ida Gilbert and Eva Warner.
Road building was important work in the early days of Day County. These pictures were taken in 1927 using state-of-the art road building equipment.
John McKeown and his wife Mary (Burke) McKeown were pioneers in Day County. They had seven children.
McKeown children L-R Back John, Isabelle, James Bottom: William and LeoThe younger of the McKeown were Phil and Edmond.
One or more of the Steve Pearson family has lived in Webster continuously through all but the very earliest years of the 100-year life of Webster. The history of this family is probably quite typical of a family which had an immigrant as the male parent, the principal bread winner. Steve was an immigrant from Sweden. His wife, Agnes (Flagstad) was born in Ortonvile, Minn. in 1884. Steffan Perrson, Steve Pearson as he came to be known in America, was born in Varmiand in 1877, the son of Per and Ingard (Anderson) Pearson. His father was a farmer.
Vilhelm Mobery in his books, "The Emigrants" and "Unto A Good Land" describes the economic and social conditions in Scandinavia which caused thousands of Swedes and Norwegians to migrate to America during the last half of the 19th century. A farm boy, unless he was the eldest, would not inherit the farm and had almost no chance of finding work in a city because Sweden had not at that time developed the steel, glass and paper industries which were to bring prosperity to the country.
Sons of farmers, except for the eldest, were turned over to very large land owners and became little better than indentured servants. When a young lad reached maturity, which was considered to be when he reached the age of 15 and was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, he was expected to break away from his family home and support himself.
Steve's father was determined that Steve should not suffer the fate of most farm boys so he offered to send him to "the good land". As Steve set forth his father handed him a coin purse containing a small amount of money for emergencies. Steve's destination was Pipestone, of earing horses so he moved west to Webster His first employment, however, was that of the delivery boy for the Chilson & Haugen Store with the responsibility for caring for the horse. Before long Steve had learned to speak English well enough to move into the store as a clerk. Later he served as a clerk in George Boldes Clothing Store.
His longest employment by a private firm started when he became manager of the Equity Elevator, the first of a number of elevators along the railroad tracks east of Main Street. Steve managed elevators for different firms, including Bagley and Potter, Garrick, & Potter and in other towns, Andover and Marvin. It was a happy day for his family when he started earning $75.00 per month.
In 1916 he sought the Republican nomination for the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court. In that day the nominees were selected by party conventions. He won the nomination but lost the election to Bert Johnson, the incumbent. In a second try in 1918 he was elected and held the office for 22 years. In 1940 he joined with two of his sons in starting a second hand furniture and clothing store in the building just south of �the Reporter and Farmer.
When Will A. Wells ceased publishing the Webster Journal and the Kading Building, which now is the American Legion Hall, became available Pearson rented it, establishing a variety store on the main floor and continuing the second hand furniture business in the basement.
Steve and Agnes, the daughter of Julius and Anna Hanson Flagstad, were married June 9, 1902. The Flagstad family had moved to Webster from Ortonville in 1887. Agnes and Inez (Egeland) Cook became the f9irst telephone operators ("hello girls") in Webster, serving the local telephone company which was organized and managed by A.W. Ross. The switchboard and office was located in a part of the Harris building which stood whee the Tjelle Recreational Parlor now stands. At various times this building housed Dr. J.L. Harris' office, the telephone company, Halbkat's Drug Store, Ross Jewelry Store, the office of Dr. H.J. Herman, and Henry O'Ready's Five and Ten-Cent Store.
The first all modern home for the Pearsons was once owned by Dr. M.M. Judge. It was located south of Judge's livery stable on the corner of 1st St. and 5th Avenue West. It was an exciting place to live because at each end of the block there was a livery stable, and when one turned toward Main Street on 6th Avenue there were livery stables on each side of the block. Many interesting, scarey men hung around those places.
The Judge house was also the route home for many who had a few drinks too many at the Miller saloon, which was located where the old creamery building, now an auto parts store, stands.
Instead of buying ready made clothes for herself or the children, Agnes hired Emma Schultz, a seamstress and sister of John Schultz who was at one time a banker in Waubay and later became the manager of the Peabody Hospital, who came and stayed in the home for a week or longer to make or alter clothes. The children were never very happy when Emma came in the spring and fall because she was a strict disciplinarian. The children particularly resented her forcing them to eat every scrap of food on their plates whether they liked it or not, preaching to them about the starving Armenians. Homegrown food
When the children were small Steve grew most of the vegetables used during the winter. Potatoes, beets carrots and parsnips were kept in a bin of sand in the cellar. The children were expected to keep the garden free from weeds and potato bugs. Sometimes Steve paid children as much as a penny for every ten bugs picked from the potato plants.
Agnes spent long days and nights canning and preserving other vegetables and fruit. Neighbors like the Hammerbachers, Albert Smiths, Comptons and Duntons allowed children to pick the currants, gooseberries and chokecherries in their yards and these with wild plums which Indians peddled from door to door were made into jam and jelly.
The cabbage from the garden was taken to Mrs. Gus Lundgren, a German lady who lived south of the tracks, who made a ten gallon crock of sauerkraut for the Pearsons. She also made headcheese and blood sausage which Steve bought but which children would never touch.
Several crates of peaches, a bushel of pears, and basket of grapes became the desserts for the winter. All of this was done a woodburning cook stove without benefit of artificial pectin. In those days before supermarkets provided packaged foods the children rushed home to smell the wonderful aroma of fresh baked bread hoping that they might some in time to spread the butter over the still hot loaves and hear the crust crackle. p
And before the days of electric appliances and indoor plumbing and furnaces it might seem that life was crude and devoid of culture. Quite the opposite was true. People found time for the amenities. They were more courteous, gentle and fastidious reflecting it in their demeanor and dress.
Agnes took voice lessons, had beautiful singing voice and loved to sing. Remembered particularly are the songs she sang to children as they helped her wash the dishes and do other kitchen chores.
When the family could afford it, tickets were bought for the Chautauqua, a week-long series of lectures and music programs held in a tent which was pitched on the lots now occupied by the Catholic Convent. The Episcopal Church was often served by a young unmarried vicar whom Steve invited to dinner following the Sunday service. Decorum was the rule, and if the children got out of line they learned about it following the vicar's departure.
Steve must have learned much about proper American customs from his association with a number of fraternal organizations. During those early years at the turn of the century, lodges were the center of much of the social life of rural communities. In keeping with Steve's desire to do as Americans do, he joined practically every lodge that organized a chapter in Webster, including the Knights of Pythias, Woodman, Odd Fellows and Masons. While other lodges disbanded in later years the Masonic bodies continued and Steve was a member for more than fifty years.
Steve died in 1965, 88 years old. About five years before his death he returned to Sweden for a visit.
Ten children were born into the Pearson family. Lynn, who was born in 1905, died from diphtheria in 1908. Richard, born in 1921, died from scarlet fever in 1923. .Julian, the first born, died in 1971 at the age of 69. Inez (Mrs. Peter Spehr) lives in Columbus, Md. Robert lives in Webster, Frank lives in Wahpeton, N.D. and Margaret, (Mrs. Dallas Butterbrodt) lives in Watertown. David lives in Brookings, Patricia lives in Watertown during the school year and in Webster during vacation periods. Joan (Mrs. John Kelly) lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio.