Monday, April 9, 2012

The Traveling Dentist - Part 3

So, just where was my "traveling dentist" great-grandfather, Frederick Webster, all those years from 1902-1946?  I have made a timeline for him and it shows that Frederick was a prolific traveler!

Here is his passport application issued April 1907.1  It states that his permanent residence was El Paso, Texas, that his occupation was a dentist, that he left the United States on January 19, 1907 and that he was residing at Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.  The application also states that his purpose for the passport was for traveling in South America and that he intended to return to the United States within eighteen months.

I don't know all the places in Mexico where Frederick traveled, but I do know that he traveled to Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico at some point because that is where he met his future wife, my great-grandmother, Esther Matus Villatoro.

Esther Matus Villatoro
Esther Matus Villatoro

Unfortunately, I don't have Frederick and Esther's marriage certificate yet, but I'm going to assume they married (notice her wedding ring in the picture).  Esther was born in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico on September 18, 1893.  Esther was the daughter of Nicanor Matus and Raymunda Villatoro Vasques.  Nicanor Matus was from Oaxaca, Mexico and Raymunda was from Chiapas, Mexico.  Frederick and Esther had five children:
  1. Carlota Adelia Webster - born January 11, 1910 in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico
  2. Edna Lilie Webster - born September, 1912 in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and died before 1923
  3. Debs Warren Webster (my grandfather) - born April 27, 1914 in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil and died August 15, 1994 in Petaluma, Sonoma, California
  4. Eugene Rollin Webster - born December 4, 1915 in Santos, Sao Paulo Brazil, and died before 1923
  5. Alice Webster - born 1918 in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and died before 1923
Unfortunately, Esther Matus Villatoro Webster died on November 2, 1919 in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.  According to Esther's death record she died of Tuberculosis.  And three of her children died before 1923.  Only Carlota and my grandfather, Debs, survived to adulthood.  My grandfather, Debs, didn't talk a lot about his growing up years.  I think it must have been very painful for him to talk about his childhood because of the death of his mother and three of his siblings.

I have some priceless pictures of Fred, Esther and their family.  Here are a few of them:

Esther with one of her children

Fred, Esther and one of their children
Fred, Esther, Carlota and Edna Lilie Webster
I just LOVE this picture of Fred and Esther with two of their children.  Esther's hat is so pretty!

Fred, Esther and their children traveled between the United States and Mexico and Brazil.  I found several Passenger Lists listing this family and their travels.

More on that in an upcoming blog!  See you then!

Thanks for reading!

Copyright © Jana Last 2012

1 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Emergency Passport Applications (Issued Abroad), 1877-1907; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 1187503 / MLR Number A1 515; NARA Series: M1834; Roll #: 21; ; Volume #: 35. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007.


  1. I love the photos of the family with Esther looking so fancy and pretty. It's such a shame that Debs had to grow up without a mother. Funny how history repeated itself in the next generation, isn't it?

  2. Cindy, Esther really does look like the elegant lady doesn't she? I too love those photos! And yes, it really is a shame that grandpa grew up without his mother. And like you said, history did repeat itself. Very sad indeed!

  3. A wonderful collection of stories. How sad that three of the children died. I wonder if the children died from tuberculosis also?
    Do you know where the name "Debs" came from? It is very unusual.
    I always enjoy your posts and look forward to reading more.

    1. Sharon, thank you so much for your kind comments.

      It is really sad that only two of the five children survived to adulthood. Unfortunately I don't know the causes of death for these sweet little ones. I need to do more research to find out what happened to them.

      As far as the name "Debs" is concerned, I believe Debs is the last name of a man my great-grandfather admired. My grandfather actually did not like the name "Debs" and later went by his middle name Warren.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a lovely weekend.




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