William WEBSTER married Ruth RENNISON in July 1786 in Kendal. Based on this he would have been born in about 1755-1765.
Neither William nor Ruth appear in the 1841 census. There are no burial or death records for either William or Ruth WEBSTER between 1806 and 1841 near Kendal.
A compelling record from the Michaelmas 1815 session of the Westmorland Quarter Sessions, dated 27 Sep 1815, requires William WEBSTER, shoemaker, and William WEBSTER, senior, weaver, both of Kirkby Kendal to appear and for William junior to keep the piece towards John STEPHENSON of Kirkland, shoemaker. William senior would have been about 50-60 and his son William junior, 18, a likely age to be getting into confrontations1. It is thought that William junior later became a weaver and is described as such on his son George's baptismal record.
None of the known baptisms of William WEBSTER near Kendal, 1750-70, look like a strong candidate. These include:
- 9 Mar 1750/51 in Askrigg by James WEBSTER of Grange. William's first son was James, but possible mothers' names (Dorothy and Grace) were not used.
- 3 Sep 1758 in Cockerham, Lancs (25 miles to Kendal) by John WEBSTER. There were no children named John.
- 16 Sep 1759 in Askrigg, Yorkshire by Alexander WEBSTER of Bainbridge (26 miles to Kendal). There were no children named Alexander.
- 23 Jan 1760 in Ingleton, Yorkshire (15 miles to Kendal) by Jacob WEBSTER of Ingleton. William's first son was named James (a variant of Jacob). Jacob married Alice PARCY in 1750, but none of William's children were named Alice, nor Isabel after Jacob's only other known child (bap. 1754 in Bentham). A William WEBSTER left a will in Bentham in 1774.
If William and Ruth named their children for their parents then William's may have been called Thomas and Elizabeth:
- Jane - Ruth's mother
- James - Ruth's father
- Betty - William's mother ?
- Thomas - William's father ?
- Sally/Sarah, Ann, Eleanor, Hannah
Widening the search and restricting to William WEBSTERs baptized by Thomas and Elizabeth there are two records:
- Pannal, Yorkshire (66 miles from Kendal) - 27 Sept 1747. Sister to Ruth bap 26 Mar 1745. William would be 41 when he married and 61 when his youngest child was born.
- Haslingden, Lancashire (55 miles from Kendal) - 25 Mar 1766, father a dyer of Hutch Bank. They also baptized Henry (1764 - 1848). William would be 20 when he married and 40 when his last child was born. There is no obvious marriage, burial or death of a William WEBSTER in Haslingden, but no evidence that this is the right person either.
One (unlikely) possibility is that William or his father was a soldier which may explain why a baptism can't be found.