Early History of Webb City, Missouri
John Cornwell Webb was the second child of Elijah C. and Martha Jane
(Johnson) Webb. Hewas born in Tennessee in 1826; the family moving
there from North Carolina shortly before his birth.
John C. married Ruth F.Davis of Clay County, Tennessee in 1849. Ruth
was the daughter of Thomas and Ellen (Fields) Davis. Before coming to
Jasper County, Missouri in 1856, John and Ruth had three children:
Elijah Thomas (E.T.) b:1851; Martha Ellen b:1853 and John Benjamin
b:1855. After coming directly to Jasper County, Mary Susan was born in
John C. entered from the Government 200 acres of land, where Webb City
is now located. He added to the original land until at the beginning of
the Civil War he had 320 acres.
At the onset of war, when Governor Jackson called for volunteers, John
C. joined the Missouri State Guards. He served six months then went
south to serve the Confederacy. At the end of the war he returned to
farming his land in Jasper County, Missouri.
He first discovered lead, while plowing a field, in June 1873. After
doing some prospecting in the fall of that year, he leased a portion of
his land to a mining company, receiving a royalty on the lead and zinc
mined there. He was soon receiving a large income from the mining on
John C. Webb platted the original town of "Webbville" in 1875. He
reserved a block of lots which he donated to the School District. He
also donated lots and helped build the Methodist Episcopal Church,
South. Mr. Webb contributed much to the development of the city,
building many of the business blocks and dwelling.
John C. Webb was listed in the 1850 Overton County, Tennessee Census as
just married and unable to read or write. He is listed in the 1880
Jasper County, Missouri Census as a "Capitalist".
The history of the Webb Family can be found in the Genealogy Room of
the Webb City Public Library. It is one of many stories of great
wealth made from the lead and zinc mining in Jasper County during the
period of 1870 to early 1900 but no story is more interesting than that
of John Cornwall Webb, Founder of Webb City, Missouri.
Jasper County History Page
Jasper County Main Page
Last updated Monday, March 1, 1999 by Claire Wichelmann. With many
thanks to Mary Ann Baker of the Webb City Genealogical Society for
sending these documents.
Graphics used on these pages are courtesy of