The Enumerator (Census Taker) of the 1830 US Census of the Madawaska Settlement, St.John River

The Enumerator for the Madawaska Settlement, at that time within Penobscot County, was John Webber (b. October 29, 1786; d. December 16, 1858). As were all enumerators, Webber was an Assistant US Marshal, in his case in the District of Maine.

According to a British document, which refers to him as General Webber, he was accompanied during his enumeration of Madawaska by John Baker, an American from Kennebec who lived upriver from the Fish River along the St.John:

"In June, 1830, the Marshal for the District of Maine sent a Deputy (General Webber, who was accompanied by John Baker,) into the disputed Territory, with Instructions to take a Census of the Population of the Madawaska Setttlement, and of all the Settlements upon the Aroostook River; but upon his being ordered by one of the Magistrates of the Province of New Brunswick to desist, he readily commplied, and withdrew from the Territory." Source: "Doc. 33: American North-Eastern Boundary. Memorandum, shewing what has passed between the Goverments of Great Britain and the United States, upon the Question of the Occupation, Sovereignty, and Jurisdiction, of the disputed Territory on the North-Eastern Boundary of the United States," April 1839, in British Documents, pp.56-57

What is unclear from this is whether the 1830 census actually includes all inhabitants of Madawaska; did Webber stop his enumeration after having finished Madawaska, but while surveying the inhabitants along the Aroostook? Or is the survey of Madawaska incomplete?

John Webber was also one of the Commissioners appointed in 1843 by the State of Massachussetts to undertake a report on the land held by settlers in Madawaska as part of the Treaty of 1842 settling the border dispute. He and the other Commissioners undertook the survey in August 1844 (See my page on the Joint Report on Lands Held by Settlers for the details).

Here is some biographical information on Webber, from the book Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, by William Richard Cutter, vol.II (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1908), from page 616:

(V) General John Webber, third child and second son of Michael and Sarah (Campbell) Webber, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, October 29, 1786; died December 16, 1858. During the war of 1812-1815 he served as first lieutenant of Captain Woodman's company, Colonel Foxcroft's regiment, stationed at Portland harbor. In 1815 he was commissioned captain and by subsequent promotions he attained the rank of major-general. After having represented his native town in the Maine legislature in 1825, he removed to Gloucester, Massachusetts, and became a permanent resident there. He was chosen to fill many positions of trust and responsibility, and died at the age of seventy-two years, and was buried with masonic honors by Tyrian Lodge of Gloucester, of which he was a member. General Webber married, November 10, 1823, Harriet Sawyer, born at Gloucester, January 17, 1793, died there November 3, 1872, daughter of Abraham Sawyer and Rachel Dolliver his wife, and by whom he had two children: 1. Harriet Somes, born in Gloucester, Dec 30, 1825: married Nov 6, 1862, Charles W. Dennison, of Portland, Maine, who died in 1886; one child Frederick W. Dennison, born Jan 18, 1864, died April 11, 1869. 2. John Somes: see forward.

In 1831 Webber also surveyed the township of Orient, in southern Aroostook County. This became the towns of Orient Gore and Amity. [source: A History and Description of New England, General and Local General and Local, by Austin Jacobs, published by A.J. Coolidge, 1859, p.241]

To date I have found no other information on Webber. If you know anything about this person, or about the 1830 census of Madawaska, I'd appreciate hearing from you! Thanks.

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Last revised 18 Jan 2009
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