Timothy Webster And The American Civil War

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In his career, Timothy Webster served as a New York City policeman in the earliest days of the department, worked as a private detective in the most famous private detective agency ever, acted as a Union spy during the American Civil War, and generally lived a life of adventure and daring. There is no telling what Webster would have accomplished had his life not been cut short.

Timothy Webster Jr. was born on March 22, 1822, in Newhaven, Sussex County, England, the fourth of eleven children born to Timothy and Frances Webster. Two of the children died in infancy and one at the age of two. The Websters immigrated to the United States in 1830 and settled in Princeton, New Jersey. Timothy was eight.

For a time Webster’s life was typical enough. At nineteen he married twenty-three year old Charlotte Sprowls. A year later their first child, a son, was born. They would have four children in all.

Sometime in the 1840s they moved to New York City and Timothy, now with a family to support, embarked on a career in law enforcement, joining the city’s then-fledgling police force.

Before 1845, the force was simply too small for the large metropolis. The Municipal Police Act, signed into law in 1845, set up a larger department, based on London’s department. It laid the foundation for the modern New York Police Department.

In 1853, Webster was assigned to work at the Crystal Palace exhibition, which became known as America’s first world’s fair. It was while he was policing

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