Dr. William Seward Webb

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William Seward Webb, Dr.

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Death: October 29, 1926 (75)
Shelburne, Chittenden, VT, USA
Place of Burial: Bronx, Bronx, NY, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Gen. James Watson Webb and Laura V. (Cram) Webb
Husband of Eliza (Lila) Osgood Webb
Father of Frederica Vanderbilt Pulitzer; James Watson Webb; Vanderbilt Webb and William Seward Webb, Jr.
Brother of Sarah Augusta Webb Singer; H. Walter Webb; Col George Creighton Webb; Francis Egerton Webb and Jacob Louis Webb
Half brother of Lt. Colonel Robert Stewart Webb (USA); Lispenard Stewart Webb; Helen Matilda Webb; Amelia Barclay Webb; Catherine Louisa Benton and 4 others

Managed by: Carol Ann Selis
Last Updated:

About Dr. William Seward Webb

William Seward Webb Memorial Photos Flowers Edit Birth: Jan. 31, 1851 New York New York County New York, USA Death: Oct. 29, 1926 Shelburne Chittenden County Vermont, USA

Businessman, Philanthropist. The son of Civil War General, diplomat and newspaper publisher James Watson Webb, he received his medical degree from Columbia University in 1875. After his marriage to heiress Eliza (Lila) Vanderbilt he became active in the railroad business. In 1883 he took over management of the Wagner Palace Car Company, which later merged with the Pullman Company. Webb also became President of the Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railroad, the Mohawk and Malone Railway and other ventures. His railroads were instrumental in opening the Adirondack region to tourism, and he maintained a 200,000 acre estate called NeHaSane, which he donated to the State of New York to become part of the Adirondack State Park. He became a resident of Vermont in the 1890s, purchasing over thirty properties along Lake Champlain in the town of Shelburne and combining them into one holding, which he operated as a model farm. Shelburne Farms, now a museum, is also a National Historic Landmark. Webb served as Inspector General of the Vermont militia with the rank of Colonel, was a Trustee of the University of Vermont, became prominent in the Vermont Historical Society, and represented Shelburne in the Vermont House before an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the Republican nomination for Governor in 1902. Webb was a founder of the Sons of the American Revolution and served as its President. The town of Webb, New York in Herkimer County was named for him. (bio by: Bill McKern)

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Burial: Woodlawn Cemetery Bronx Bronx County New York, USA


William Seward Webb, M.D. (January 31, 1851 – October 29, 1926) was a businessman, and Inspector General of the Vermont militia with the rank of Colonel. He was a founder and former President of the Sons of the American Revolution.


He was born on January 31, 1851 to James Watson Webb. He studied medicine in Vienna, Paris and Berlin. Returning to America, he entered the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and graduated from there in 1875. For several years he practiced medicine, and then forsook the profession for finance at the behest of his wife's family, establishing the Wall Street firm of W. S. Webb & Co. In 1883, he married Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt, daughter of William H. Vanderbilt. Eliza's brother George went on to create the Biltmore Estate, one of America's grandest country estates.

In 1883, Webster Wagner, the president of the Wagner Palace Car Company, was crushed between two of his own railroad cars. Vanderbilt owned a controlling interest in the company, and asked his new son-in-law to take over the firm. William Seward invited his brother H. Walter Webb to join him, which started them both on careers in the railroad business. The Wagner Palace Car Company was subsequently merged with the Pullman Company. Dr. Webb later became President of the Fulton Chain Railway Company, the Fulton Navigation Company, and the Raquette Lake Transportation Company. He was the builder and President of the Mohawk and Malone Railway. His railroads were instrumental in opening the Adirondacks to the tourism rush of the mid- to late 19th century.

Dr. Webb served as Inspector General of the Vermont militia with the rank of Colonel. He served a term in the Vermont Legislature in the 1890s.

He died on October 29, 1926 and was survived by his wife, Lila Vanderbilt Webb, three sons – J. Watson, William Seward, and Vanderbilt – and one daughter, Frederica.


The Webbs for thirty years lived at 680 Fifth Avenue, New York. This house, a wedding gift from William H. Vanderbilt to his daughter, was sold in 1913 to John D. Rockefeller. The Webb property at Shelburne, Vermont was created from more than thirty separate farms on the shores of Lake Champlain and is known today as Shelburne Farms. The property is a National Historic Landmark, and one of the main concert sites of the Vermont Mozart Festival. The former Webb estate has stunning views and some of the grandest barns of any Gilded Age property. A great horseman, Dr. Webb had a large collection of carriages, many of which are on display today at the Shelburne Museum. The Vanderbilt Webb's other country estate was an Adirondack Great Camp named NeHaSane, a game preserve of some 200,000 acres (800 km²), much of which was later donated to the State of New York to become part of the Adirondack Park. The town of Webb, New York in the park is named after him.


William Webb mentioned in the record of William Webb and Eliza Vanderbilt Name William Webb Event Type Marriage Event Date 20 Dec 1881 Event Place Manhattan, New York, New York, United States Event Place (Original) Manhattan, New York Gender Male Age 31 Marital Status Single Race White Birth Year (Estimated) 1850 Birthplace New York, N. Y. Father's Name James Watson Webb Mother's Name Laura Virginia Spouse's Name Eliza Vanderbilt Spouse's Gender Female Spouse's Age 22 Spouse's Marital Status Single Spouse's Race White Spouse's Birth Year (Estimated) 1859 Spouse's Birthplace Staten Island, N. Y. Spouse's Father's Name William Henry Vanderbilt Spouse's Mother's Name Maria Louisa Kissam Citing this Record "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24S9-Y96 : 20 March 2015), William Webb and Eliza Vanderbilt, 20 Dec 1881; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,562,500.

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Dr. William Seward Webb's Timeline

January 31, 1851
New York, New York, United States
November 18, 1882
Age 31
New York, New York, United States
July 1, 1884
Age 33
Burlington, Chittenden, VT, USA
May 11, 1887
Age 36
New York, New York, United States
Age 39
October 29, 1926
Age 75
Shelburne, Chittenden, VT, USA
October 29, 1926
Age 75
Bronx, Bronx, NY, USA