In the middle of the nineteenth century, news was circulated that the will of Wolfort Webber, said to be the grandson of King William "the Silent" of Holland (sic), and who had left his inheritance to the fifth generation, was to be opened. This precipitated an attempt by various American Webber families to trace their descent from Wolfort, and a representative was hired in Holland to investigate the claim. (This appears to be one of the scams which circulated such rumors in order to collect large investigators fees from the unsuspecting families.)
As part of the attempt to make the connection between her grandfather, William Webber, a Revolutionary War soldier and early settler of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, and colonist Wolfort, Mrs. Harriet E. (Webber) Chamberlain, Worthy Lecturer of the Wisconsin State Grange, wrote from Ripon, Fond du Lac Co., Wis. to her aunt, Mrs. Emeline (Haswell) Webber in Bradford Co. requesting information on William. She also sent letters to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., concerning his pension file. As a result of these letters, a followup letter was sent to Mrs. Webber by Mrs. Chamberlain on July 5, 1879. This letter gave a detailed account of the life and descendants of this William Webber, as she knew them at that time. The text of this letter was copied by Susan Webber, a granddaughter of Mrs. Webber and this copy is still in the possession of the family. From this letter, family records, and other sources, it has been possible to construct an accurate account of the life and family of William Webber.
Regarding the belief that William Webber descended from William I, King of Holland, it turns out not to be the case. However, the search begun over a hundred years ago to identify royal ancestry for the descendants of William and Lois (Baldwin) Webber has recently met with success.
In identifying the father of William Wibber, we are a little farther than we were in 1879, but more work is required. His first wife Lois Baldwin, however, can be traced on her father's side to Experience Abell, wife of John2 Baldwin. She was daughter of colonist Robert Abell, descendant by at least ten different lines from King Edward I of England, and hence from monarchs and nobles from every corner of Europe, including such as William the Conquerer, Charlemagne, and Alfred the Great.
Thus these descendants of William Webber, patriot and patriarch, early settler of what is now Bradford Co., Pennsylvania, did indeed share a descent from royalty as was beleived when the research on the family was begun over a century ago. However, in the process of learning this, much more was learned of William Webber and his descendants than could have been imagined when Harriet Chamberlain wrote to her aunt, Emeline Webber, communicating what little she knew of the family in 1879.
This is an account of William Webber, and his descendants in all lines to the fifth generation. It has been developed from a range of sources: census, probate, and other primary records, published family histories, and the collections of generations of researchers. Not all of the information can be documented in primary sources, but much of the uncorroberated material comes from what is likely to be authentic family correspondence and tradition.