Dan P. Webster
by Geo. H. Gorham, M.D., Bellows Falls.
We who are so constantly brought in contact with death become in a great measure hardened to the termination of life. But when one whom we have known since our childhood and whom we have learned to love and most deeply respect passes on into the great world beyond, then indeed we feel that we have the same tender, sympathetic feeling as the rest of the world.
Dan Peaslee Webster was born in Northfield, Vt., on Dec. 7, 1846. His father was Rev. Alonzo Webster, a Methodist clergyman. The subject of this sketch received his education in the common schools of the different towns in which his parents resided and at Newbury Seminary. At the age of sixteen years he accompanied his father to the Civil War, the former being chaplain of the 16th Regiment Vt. Volunteers. Even at that early age he accomplished much in caring for the sick and wounded, especially at the battle of Gettysburg. AFter completing his course at Newbury Seminary he entered the Medical Department of the University of Vermont, graduating in 1867. He immediately located in Putney where he remained sixteen years. During all this period he enjoyed a large and extensive practice. In 1883 he removed to Brattleboro where he resided until his death, March 13th, 1904.
In his new field of labor the calls for his professional services were still greater and for many years he had one of the largest clientele of any physician in our state.
On account of impaired health he relinquished active practice in 1898 and he was immediately appointed Postmaster of Brattleboro. He received a reappointment from President Roosevelt in 1902.
Dr. Webster was twice married, his first wife being Miss Ada White, of Putney, who died in 1887. One daughter and two sons blessed their union. For his second wife he married Miss Mabel J. Waterman, of Brattleboro, who with the children of his former wife, survive him.
He early identified himself with the old Connecticut River Valley Medical Society, serving for many years as its secretary and later as President. Afterwards he joined the Windham County and the State Medical Societies.
For some years he was surgeon of the Fuller Light Battery of Brattleboro and he enjoyed the unexceptional honor of being twice appointed to the office of Surgeon General of the State.
From an early age he took an active interest in public affairs. He represented Putney in the General Assembly in 1872 and again in 1874. In 1878 he was State Senator from WIndham County and from 1878 to 1880 he served as Railroad Commissioner.
A few months after he was twenty-one years of age he became a member of Golden Rule Lodge No. 32, F. & A.M. of Putney and ever after he was a strong, enthusiastic, and consistent Free Mason. Three years later he became Worshipful Master of his lodge and from 1876 to 1881 he was R. W. Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. In 1876 he joined Beauseant Commandery Knights Templar of Brattleboro and in 1803, 1894, and 1895 was their Commander. In 1902 he was elected Grand Commander of Knights Templar in this jurisdiction. In September, 1897, he received the 33 and last degree in the Scottish Rite.
He was also a member of the I. O. O. F.
For many years he was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, serving as steward and in various other official positions.
On account of an injury that he received some twenty-five years ago by being thrown from his carriage he suffered extremely at times from pain through his spine and head. Later rheumatism showed itself and ever after he was a victim of this disease. About eight years ago chronic nephritis developed which was followed by heart complications and near the end embolism of the brain.
His funeral took place in the First Congregational church of Brattleboro on Wednesday, March 16th, and the large number in attendance testified to the love and respect that they bore him. The services were under the direction of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar.
In the death of Mr. Webster the community in which he lived lost one of their most skilful physicians and the State one of her most honored sons. No man in our Society enjoyed a larger or more extensive practice. No ride was too lone, night too dark, or patient too poor for him to respond to the call of distress.
As a diagnostician he was preeminent; quick to observe the necessities of a case he was ever resourceful in the treatment of the same. He never allowed himself to fall into ruts or empirical methods.
For many years, and even after his retirement, he had a large and extensive consultation practice, his colleagues always finding in him one who was careful, skillful and of sound judgment.
He had a tender and sympathetic heart which was ever ready to respond to the cry of the unfortunate. His friendship was strong and abiding and although a man of positive convictions no one who know him but to love and respect. He was generous to a fault and no one, except those who received his bounty, know the extent of his charity. He possessed in an unusual degree the confidence, not only of his patients, but of the community at large. He was always conscientious in the performance of every duty, kind, courteous and considerate.
"When such men as he die
Their places ye may not well supply;
Though ye among thousands try
With vain endeavor."