Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Dr. F. E. Webster, The Painless Dentist

Today I did a search for my maternal great-grandfather, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster, on the Chronicling America website. My regular readers may remember that I refer to Watson as "The Traveling Dentist" here on my blog. At some point in his life Watson changed his name to Frederick Emory Webster.

One of the search results on the Chronicling America website was this article on the front page of The Brinkley Argus newspaper.1

The article reads:

Coming this Month.

Dr. F. E. Webster, the painless Dentist, now in Mexico will return to Brinkley during the month of October. Patrons and friends requested to wait his coming.

Announcement of exact date of coming, will be made later.

Dr. F. E. Webster
The Painless Dentist.

This article was dated October 12, 1906 and said that Frederick would be arriving that month. I wonder when he arrived. I'd like to see if there are any newspaper articles stating that he did arrive. I could then add this to my timeline for his life.

The article states that Frederick was in Mexico during this time period. I know he was in Mexico as early as 1904 according to a record that I have yet to share here on my blog.

Frederick called himself "The Painless Dentist" in this article. What did dentists typically use in the early 1900s for pain control during dental procedures?

I love finding information about my ancestors in newspapers. Researching in newspapers can provide such interesting glimpses into their lives. And newspapers can provide clues for future research. For instance, is there a border crossing document associated with Frederick's return to the United States in October of 1906? How many times did Frederick travel back and forth between Mexico and the United States to do dental work? I found one border crossing document from Mexico to the United States for Frederick that was dated 2 August 1926. It states his occupation as a dentist but doesn't say why he was traveling to the United States.

What interesting information have you found about your ancestors in newspapers?

Thanks for stopping by!


© 2020 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved

1 The Brinkley Argus. (Brinkley, Ark.), 12 Oct. 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


  1. Your great-grandfather certainly knew how to get PR! And that's good news for you when you search in newspapers for ads and articles. Fun post!

    1. Thank you Marian! Yep, he did practice good PR. And I have found so many articles/ads about him. It's amazing!




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