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Early History of Webb City, Missouri

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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 1857.
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 that land.
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.

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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.

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