Abigail Eastman Webster
Patron Saint of the Revolutionary Period
“Daniel Webster’s Father—Ebenezer Webster, had two wives and ten children in all—four sons and six daughters. After the death of his first wife Mr. Webster attempted for some time to take care of his family and attend to his public duties but he was forced to give up and acknowledge that he was unable to do so.
“He went for council and consolation to his brother’s wife, called Aunt Ruth, and after a little thought Aunt Ruth laid her hand on his arm and said: ‘Eben, have you ever heard of Nabby Eastman? She is a cousin of Deacon Moses Sawyer’s wife. She is a tailoress [sic] by trade and knows what life is in every respect. She is a most excellent person. She comes from down below (Salisbury, Mass.) visiting her relations here. Now, Eben, it is my opinion that Nabby Eastman will make a good wife for you and a good mother for your children. Go home, put on your Sunday suit, and ride over and see Nabby.’
“Mr. Webster obeyed to the letter the directions given him and before many months the manly form of Captain Webster could have been seen on his horse with Miss Eastman seated on a pillion behind him on their way to the minister to be married. When they arrived at their home after the ceremony, they saw the children playing around the house and their father introduced the new mother in these words: ‘There, Nabby, are my children.’
“Abigail Eastman was born at Salisbury, N.H., July 1737, and died in 1816. She was married to Ebenezer Webster, in 1774. They had six children, one of whom was Daniel Webster, born in 1782.
“Abigail Webster was a woman of clear vigorous understanding, and more than ordinary common sense, and she enjoyed nothing better than a debate on any subject. She was a woman of high spirit, proud of her children and ambitious for their future distinction. Mr. Webster built the first frame house in town, the most northern on the route to Canada. Mrs. Webster was left in this wilderness to care for her family while her husband was in the army—a task that required great courage and determination. A part of their original house is still standing. A ‘Webster Birthplace Association’ has been formed, which owns the farm, and when the necessary funds are at hand, will make repairs and improve the grounds. Daniel Webster’s farm, to which he was so fond of coming, as long as he lived, is near Salisbury.”
The Abigail Webster Chapter. D.A.R. of Franklin, N.H., perpetuates the memory of Nabby Eastman Webster and their regent, Mrs. Nannie B. Berleigh, has written this sketch of their patron saint.
Reference: The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.