Joseph WEBB (1806-1871)
Joseph was the youngest of ten children born to
and Judith Ham,
at Beenham Hill on 19 July 1806. Joseph's parents were aged in their
mid forties when Joseph was born. Beenham is a small village in
the Bradfield district, situated around fifteen kilometres to the SSW of the
Berkshire capital of Reading and five kilometres to the north of the
Although Beenham's population appears to have stagnated at around four
hundred, the English population rose from less that 10 million to in excess
of 20 million people, by the end of Joseph's lifetime.
Joseph's mother originated from Basing, Hampshire, some fifteen
kilometres to the south of Beenham, but Joseph's father Elisha,
like his father before him, was also a native of Beenham. The Webb
name is linked to Beenham church registers, dating back to the register's
very beginnings in the early 16th Century, needless to say if you weren't
related to a Webb from Beenham, then you weren't a local.
Joseph's second eldest brother
took over the family estate, Hill Foot Farm at Beenham, which was sometimes
known as Beenham Lodge Estate. Richard was eighteen years
Joseph's senior and the 1851 census listed Richard's farm as
sixty-four acres employing four labourers. A total of twenty-one
persons with the surname of Webb resided at Beenham in 1851. By 1881
the farm had been transferred to Richard Webb, junior and the farm
had grown to 75 acres.
When Joseph left school, Elisha paid for Joseph's four
year carpenter's apprenticeship, giving Joseph an opportunistic start
to the workforce. On 13 November 1836, Joseph married Martha
Noyse daughter of William Noyse and Jane, a native of
Tadley from just over the Hampshire border. The wedding ceremony was
held at the Primitive Methodist Church, in St. Mary's Reading.
At the time of their marriage, the couple had produced no less than four
children: Sarah born in 1829; Robert in 1831; Mary
in 1833; and William in December 1835. The Webbs lived in
several locations around Reading, including Carthe Street and Provelance
Place, where their first two children were born. Following Joseph's
mother's passing in 1834, the returned to Beenham. In those pre-Queen
Victorian times, children born before a marriage were common practice and
families moved about far more often that today's folk give them credit for.
After their marriage, the couple produced a further six children:
Martha in 1840; George in 1841; Benjamin in 1842; Jabez
in 1844; James in 1847; and finally Elizabeth in 1850.
Jabez died in May 1854 and his sister Martha just a few months
later. The Webbs lost a third child James in October 1863.
The Webbs eldest daughters Sarah and Mary went to the USA, and
although Sarah married a John Cunningham of New York, both
girls are thought not to have had any children. Robert and
Benjamin migrated to central Victoria, Australia. George
became a blacksmith and eventually resided at 22 Vachel Road, Reading.
He and his wife Sarah had at least five children. William
never married and became a gardener, residing at 30 East Street and later
number 5 Boult Street, Reading.
The youngest daughter Elizabeth married Matthew Ford of
Mortimer, approximately ten kilometres to the east of Beenham.
Martha's will, which was written some three years prior to Elizabeth
and Matthew's wedding in 1875, named Matthew as a nephew.
Matthew was a timber merchant and the Ford family of six children
resided at Mortimer, West End and Padworth, Berkshire before settling at
Heatherbrae, Silchester in Hampshire.
The Fords were reputedly related to Henry Ford, the founder of the
Ford Motor Company. Laura Ford corresponded with Benjamin's
descendants' in Victoria, from 1905 until she had a stroke which left her
unable to write in 1974; so ending contact with our relatives in England.
Joseph died at Beenham on 30 May 1871 aged sixty-four years.
Following Joseph's death and Elizabeth's marriage, Martha
moved in with the Fords, finally passing away at Mortimer on 14 January
1885, she was seventy-six.