This collection consists of the papers and correspondence of Thomson Rhodes Webber, an early settler of Champaign County, Illinois. Its contents relate to Webber's business dealings as well as his personal life and family.
Thomson Rhodes Webber (1807-1881) was a prominent early settler of Champaign County, Illinois. Upon arriving in Illinois in 1833, Webber settled in Urbana and became the town's first postmaster. When Champaign County was organized, Webber became the first clerk of the circuit and county courts. He served for 25 years as county court clerk and 28 years as clerk of the circuit court. Webber was also Master in Chancery of the circuit court and a delegate to the state constitutional conventions of 1847 and 1862.
The collection primarily pertains to Webber's duties as an attorney and court clerk. It contains business correspondence dealing with everyday legal and financial matters, such as real estate, estate administration, the collection of debts, estate partitions, and foreclosures. Included is extensive correspondence from Merrit and William Canby of Wilmington, Delaware, for whom Webber served as a land agent, as well as a letter from United States Senator David Davis regarding a divorce case.
The collection also contains correspondence with family members. Letters from Webber's second wife, Anna, offer a glimpse into the husband and wife relationship in the mid-nineteenth century. Also of note is a letter from Webber's cousin, Lucy Ayres, that describes in detail the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 in Minnesota. Additional family correspondence pertains to civilian opinions of Lincoln, the preservation of the Union, and the effects of the Civil War.
Elizabeth N. Sadtler, of Rockford, Illinois, donated the collection to the Library in 1998.