Samuel Blachley Webb (1753-1807) was the son of the Wethersfield, Connecticut merchant Joseph Webb, Sr. and Mehitable Nott (1732-1767), the daughter of a sea captain. Samuel is our fifth-great grandfather.  He lived in a house his father built in 1749, which included a three-and-a-half story home and shop, with a large gambrel roof. The house and an associated house from the Deane family now are an active museum.

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The historic Webb house, Wethersfield, Connecticut.  Credit: Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum.

When Samuel was eight years old his father died, leaving behind a fortune, but also a complex business arrangement.   Two years later, Mehitable Webb married the family attorney, Silas Deane.  Deane turned out to be an exceptional mentor and father figure for Samuel.  But, sadly, Samuel’s mother died when he was fourteen.

Samuel did not let his parents’ deaths deter him.  By 1774 he established himself as the “chief factor” for a pair of trading ships financed by his older brother, Joseph Webb III, Silas Deane, and other Connecticut investors. That spring he also assisted his step-father as he rose as a leader of the fight for Colonial rights.  Deane served on the Committees of Correspondence and of Safety, and was elected to represent Connecticut at the First Continental Congress.  Samuel was therefore a participant in the early independence movement. Samuel would meet with many of the leaders of the coming revolution, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, and John Sullivan.

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The Webb family seal.  Credit: Huxley family collection.

In the spring of 1775, Samuel was the ensign of the Wethersfield Militia Company and deployed to Boston.  He and his company took a prominent role during the year-long Siege of Boston.  According to Journal of the American Revolution author Phillip Giffin, the company provided guards for formal ceremonies such as prisoner-of-war exchanges, courts martial, hangings, and the general’s personal guards.  They also fought in the June 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill, made famous in numerous articles at the time.  Samuel was injured during the battle.  Within a month of Bunker Hill, Webb was promoted to captain.

In the spring of 1776 General George Washington moved his men south from Boston to New York, and sought numerous aides de camp to manage the logistics.  In June of 1776, Washington promoted Webb to the rank of lieutenant colonel and aide on his staff.  Samuel worked for Washington during the difficult failed campaigns of 1776 and showed great resolve. Samuel was injured again at White Plains and Trenton.  In January 1777, Samuel was promoted to colonel, and while leading a regiment at Long Island Sound he was captured by the British.

During his captivity, Samuel enjoyed a surprising amount of freedom of movement, and in the summer of 1779 he became engaged to Elizabeth Bancker of North Raritan, New Jersey.   They married in secrecy on 22 October 1779, but Elizabeth died in childbirth in February 1781, according to researcher Jerry Gottsacker.

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An oil miniature of Samuel Blachley Webb, wearing his Society of the Cincinnati medal.  Credit: Huxley family collection.

Samuel was released in a prisoner exchange in early 1781, and in May he joined a meeting with Washington and General Rochambeau at his childhood home to plan a final surge against the British, in which Samuel participated – ending in American victory.

Upon his retirement, he was promoted to brigadier general by Washington.  He remained a personal friend of Washington.  He founded the Society of Cincinnatus and served as grand marshal at Washington’s inauguration in 1789.  He also continued with the family’s shipping and mercantile businesses.

On 5 September 1790, Samuel married his second wife, Catherine Hogeboom daughter of Judge Stephen Hogeboom.  They had nine children:

  1. Catharine Louisa Webb, 1792-1797.
  2. Maria Webb, 1793-1868; married George Morell.
  3. Henry Livingston Webb, 1795-1876; married Mary Ann Edmonds (1797-1874).
  4. Stephen Hogeboom Webb, 1796-1873
  5. Catherine Louisa Webb, 1798-1798
  6. Walter Wimple Webb, 1798-1876; married Julia Frances Converse (1807-1889).
  7. Rachel Webb, 1802-1869
  8. James Watson Webb, 1802-1884; married Helen Lispenard Stewart (1805-1848).  James and Helen are our direct ancestors.
  9. Jane Hogeboom Webb, 1804-1875
  10. Sarah Lucy Webb, 1810-1877
  11. Jacob Lewis Webb, 1812-unknown.

Samuel and Catharine were buried at the Dutch Reform Church Cemetery in Claverack, New York.