Webber was born in Bucyrus, Ohio in 1834 and came to California in 1860. In 1868, he opened a drugstore and apothecary at Eleventh and Broadway. He carried a best selling women’s fragrance call “Orange Flower Cologne,” which the Oakland Tribune called “all the rage.”
He was elected to the Oakland City Council in 1872 and served as president for two terms (1873–1874). He was named to succeed Henry Durant as Mayor on February 1, 1875, and was elected to a full term on March 1, 1875. In 1876, he became one of the first people to warn the East Bay that it would have to find its own water supply. At the time, Anthony Chabot’s San Leandro Reservoir was providing adequate water to Oakland, but Webber and others suggested that an aqueduct be built connecting the Sierra to Oakland.
He could have been easily reelected, but opted to head to Nevada to pursue mining interests. He returned to become the assistant appraiser and deputy collector at the Custom House in San Francisco.
On January 5, 1901 he suffered a stroke while on business in San Francisco and taken to St. Luke’s Hospital. He died there on January 8, 1901 and is buried at Mountain View.