Winfield S. Webster

Winfield S. & Ellen (Clark) Webster

Energy, application and unremitting industry have been the watchwords of the career of Winfield S. Webster, who for many years has been identified with the insurance business in Postville and who is today numbered among the prominent, representative and deservedly successful business men of the community. He was born in Schoharic county, New York, June 15, 1842, and is a son of Daniel D. and Jane (Malick) Webster, also natives of that part of the Empire State. The father was born in 1806 and in early life turned his attention to merchandising, later abandoning this occupation in favor of farming. He was a brigadier general in the New York State militia and held the rank until 1851, when he left the state and moved west to Iowa, locating in the old town of Moneek, in Winneshiek county, where he purchased land which he developed and improved until he moved to Ossian. While on his first Iowa farm he had also engaged in the insurance business and he now turned his attention entirely to that line of work, continuing in it until his death, which occurred May 10, 1892. He had long survived his wife, who died September 16, 1876. They were the parents of eight children, of whom the subject of this review is the fifth in order of birth.

Winfield S. Webster acquired his education in Moneek and in the grade schools of Waukon and after completing it remained at home with his parents until he was twenty-two years of age. He began his independent career as salesman for a history of the Civil war which was published at that time but after three months turned his attention to the insurance business, traveling as a special agent through northeastern Iowa, his territory covering a quarter of the entire state. He was thus occupied for two years and at the end of that time came to Postville, engaging in the insurance business for himself, a line of work in which he has been active since that time, building up a large and representative patronage which he has proved very successful in conducting [transcriber: a line appears to be missing] He is in addition a dealer in real estate; is a stockholder in the Clay Products Company; the Citizens Bank, which he helped to organize; the local Canning Factory, and he owns valuable city property in Postville and extensive farming lands in the west. A spirit of enterprise and progress actuates him in all that he does and his unremitting industry, his unquestioned integrity and his known reliability have been salient elements in his success.

Mr. Webster married on the 1st of January, 1874, Miss Ellen I. Clark, a native of Rock county, Wisconsin, born September 30, 1847, and a daughter of Andrew and Laura (Bush) Clark. The father, who was a native of Benningten, Vermont, born January 5, 1807, spent his entire active life in farming. He went to Rock county, settling near Johnstown at an early date, and later moved to Alberta Lea, Minnesota. From there he came to Castalia, Iowa, and there purchased a farm upon which he resided until within a few days previous to his death. His demise occurred January 12, 1890, in Postville, where he had gone to visit his daughter. He was well known in local affairs, having held some important township offices, and he was known as a representative of one of the oldest families in America, his father having been a soldier in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary war. His wife, who was born in Sheridan, New York, August 2, 1812, passed away in May, 1896. They became the parents of ten children, of whom Mrs. Webster is the eighth in order of birth. Four of their sons served in the Civil war and one was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant, dying, however, before he received his commission. Mr. and Mrs. Webster became the parents of three children: Roy Clark, who was born July 7, 1876, and who died December 3, 1885; Ruby W., born December 17, 1877; and Arthur C., an electrician, who was born August 12, 1884, and who married on December 26, 1912, Miss Glessner Harris.

Mr. Webster gives his political allegiance to the Republican party but has never sought nor desired public office although he has served ably on the town council. He is well known in the Masonic order, having attained the thirty- second degree in that organization. He has resided for many years in Postville and he expects to spend the remainder of his days in the community, where he is honored as a man who has worked his way upward to success by upright and worthy means and who uses his prosperity not alone for his own benefit but for the best interest of the city at large.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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