Happy birthday Daniel Webster!

12 Jan

Daniel Webster, the man after whom our town was named, turns 240 years old on January 18. It’s a benchmark that should be noted (if not celebrated with a 240-candle cake). He’s pictured above, in a photo provided by the Webster Museum along with news of his fast-approaching birthday. Looking at the photo, I’m not sure he would consider celebrating the occasion a valuable use of our time, however.

The Museum folks also remind us that Daniel Webster never actually visited Webster during his 70 years on Earth. However, he did speak in Rochester at a fortuitous time, around 1840, just when North Penfield was looking for a new name. Several North Penfield residents attended the speech, and were so inspired by his message and eloquence that they decided to propose his name for the new town. The Town of Webster was born and named in 1840.

A year later, Daniel resigned as a U.S. Senator and became Secretary of State for the first time, resolving some long-standing disputes with England that facilitated westward expansion. He would continue this work as well as domestic and trade issues through a second term as Secretary of State.

Webster died in office in 1852. Our town, his namesake, continues to grow and thrive bearing his name.

The Webster Museum will actually be open on January 18, Daniel Webster’s birthday, so that would be a great day to visit. While you’re there, check out the museum’s winter exhibit, which highlights many of the fun ways we’ve found to actually enjoy the cold winter months.

I remember stories being told by some of our told-timers about sledding on the village streets east of four corners, and even on North Ave. itself. I’m looking forward to hopefully learning more about that on my next visit to the museum.

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster, and is open Tuedays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are always greratly appreciated.

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