Family Tree Tuesday – Noah Webster
Noah Webster, Jr. was a lexicographer, English spelling reformer, political writer and has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education.” His name became synonymous with “dictionary,” especially the modern Merriam-Webster dictionary that was first published in 1828 as An American Dictionary of the English Language.
He was born on October 16, 1758 in West Hartford, Connecticut to Noah Webster, Sr. and Mercy Steele. His mother spent long hours teaching Noah and his siblings spelling, mathematics and music. He began attending primary school at the age of six. At the age of fourteen, he began receiving tutoring in Latin and Greek from his church pastor to prepare for entrance to Yale College. Webster enrolled at Yale just shy of his 16th birthday.
Noah Webster, Jr.’s third great grandfather was John Webster who was an early colonial settler of New England. He served one term as governor of the Colony of Connecticut in 1656. He was one of the nineteen men representing the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor in 1638-1639 who participated in the drafting and adoption of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document that is widely acknowledged as establishing one of the earliest forms of constitutional government.
Daniel Webster, a senator from Massachusetts during the period leading up to the Civil War was Noah Webster’s 10th cousin once removed. He sponsored Noah’s proposed copyright bill, which was the first major statutory revision of U.S. copyright law, the 1831 Act was a result of intensive lobbying by Noah Webster, Jr. and his agents in Congress.
Webster, Jr.’s third great grandfather on his maternal side was Mayflower passenger William Bradford. He served as governor of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts for over 30 years. Bradford is credited as the first civil authority to designate what popular American culture now views as Thanksgiving in the Untied States.
Did you know Noah Webster changed the spelling of words to make them “Americanized?” He chose s over c in words like defense, he changed the re to er in words like center and he also changed “tongue” to “tung”, but that never caught on.
Check out Noah Webster, Jr. family tree and see how you may be related!