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Special Collections & University Archives: Webber Family

This is the webpage for UTRGV Special Collections & University Archives.

Books from Our Catalog

Webber Family Research Guide

Summary: Webber Family

This research guide for John Ferdinand Webber and Silvia Hector Webber shows a biracial family who endured the trials of a changing nation during the American Civil War Era. The purpose of this guide is to provide primary and secondary sources pertaining to the presence of biracial farming and ranching families and how their social and economic status contributed to the narrative of race relations in Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. The guide contains images of original census documents, digitized collections from university archives, and it may be used for genealogical research, farming and ranching research, and race relation research.

Background: Webber Family

John Ferdinand (Juan Fernando) Webber and Silvia (Puss) Hector Webber were a biracial ranching and farming family who migrated throughout Texas during the Civil War era. They helped establish two Texas townships: Webberville in Bastrop County and Donna in Hidalgo County and traded on the banks of the Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers. As a racially mixed family, they encountered many challenges to their livelihood and found acceptance and sanctuary within the Rio Grande Valley where they integrated within prolific Mexican American families.

Silvia Hector Webber was a former slave, born ca. 1807 in either Louisiana/Florida/Arkansas where her heritage was obscured. In 1819, she was transferred to the Cryer family. John F. Webber purchases her and their three children emancipation papers in 1834 and have eight more children thereafter. John Ferdinand Webber was born ca. 1795 in Danville, Vermont to John Webber and Hannah Morrill. He served as a private & medic in Captain. S. Dickenson’s 31st Infantry and fought in the battle of Shadage Woods. In 1840, racial tensions over his family in Webberville forces them to relocate to the Rio Grande Valley.

For more information on John F. Webber see his entry in the Handbook of Texas Online

The Webber Family:

John Ferdinand Webber, father. (1795 – 1882)

Silvia Hector Webber, wife. (1810 – 1892)

Elise Webber Jackson, daughter. (1829 – 1900)

Henry Webber, son. (1832 – Unknown)

John Webber, son. (1834 – Unknown)

Leonard Webber, son. (1836 – Unknown)

Sarah Jane Webber Biddy, daughter. (1838 – 1911)

James Morrill Webber, son. (1839 – 1922)

Nelson/Wilson Webber, son. (1842 – Unknown)

Sabrina Webber, daughter. (1848 – Unknown)

Andrew Webber, son. (1846 – Unknown)

Rachel Amanda Webber, daughter. (1851 – 1903)

Jeremiah Marcelino Webber, son. (1853 – 1903)

Juanita Webber, c. 1915
Photo from slide 82-773 MA-7, Archives Alert, Hidalgo County Historical Collection.

James M. Webber, Hidalgo Co. Marks & Brands

Research Compiled by Stephanie Montalvo

Stephanie V. Montalvo earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology (UTRGV 2019) and is pursuing a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Ms. Montalvo has volunteered at The International Museum of Art and Science where she assisted in cataloguing pre-Columbian artifacts and digitizing images for the 50 Years: History of IMAS exhibit. As a student intern at The Museum of South Texas History, she created Master Lists of Donors and Trustees for Development Officer, Lynne Beeching. Ms. Montalvo contributed towards the publication of the Fike Family Farm: A Porcion of Edinburg through the Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS) department at UTRGV. She continues to work at UTRGV Special Collections and Archives as a Student Assistant, where she assists in processing materials and pursues research related to the borderland region. Stephanie Montalvo photo


The research guides compiled by UTRGV staff and students are intended to assist patrons who are embarking upon new research endeavors. Our goal is to expand their knowledge of the types of resources available on a given topic, including books, archival materials, and websites. In so doing, our compilers have taken care to include collections, digital items, and resources that may be accessed not only through UTRGV but also via other institutions, repositories, and websites.

We wholeheartedly respect the research interests of others. Therefore, please contact us if you wish to submit a resource for consideration, or if you have a question about or an issue with a specific cited resource.