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This biography is from ANNALS of the Medical Society of the County of Albany, 1806-1851, by Sylvester D. Willard, M. D.

Ashbel Webster

The Websters were the printers and book publishers of Albany at the beginning of the present century. Their reputation extended as far the books which they printed ever strayed. Their establishment forms a prominent part of the history of Albany, and its situation on the corner of Pearl and State Streets, known as the Old Elm Tree corner, is a Dutch classic location. The establishment was not large and pretending, as are the printing houses of these days. It consisted of a few hand presses, and a few cases of type, and about a dozen workmen were employed in the institution. An annual almanac was issued from this publishing house, which has survived the changes of time and each year is still continued by Mr. Munsell as Webster's Almanac. This place was frequented by the literary men of Albany, and perhaps a part of its fame was from so important a fact.

One of this firm was Charles R. Webster, and his third son, the subject of this notice was Ashbel Webster. Ashbel was born in the city of Albany in the year 1796. He went to Union College, where he maintained a respectable standing, and graduated in 1815, a classmate of Dr. Thos. W. Blatchford of Troy. Soon afterwards he turned his attention to the study of medicine and became a pupil of Dr. James Low, and subsequently attended lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the city of New York, where he took his degree in medicine in 1818. He joined the Medical Society in 1819, and took an office on Pearl street, where he continued for several years. He resided for a short time at Jamaica Plains, Long Island. His practice was never general, and he had withdrawn entirely from professional life for a considerable period before his death, which took place in Albany on the 24th March, 1840, at the age of forty-four years.

Dr. Webster had two brothers, Henry and Richard; the former was a lawyer, and the latter a clergyman of the Presbyterian church in Mauch Chunk, Penn., who died June 19, 1856. A posthumous volume entitled a "History of the Presbyterian Church in America," by Rev. Richard Webster, which was nearly ready for press, was completed, and published by the Rev. Dr. Van Rensselaer, of New Jersey.

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