James Davis "Jim" Webb


J.D.”Jim” Webb left home at an early age and never talked much about his family. When genealogy research was begun, the reason for this became apparent. He was born in Butler County, Alabama, on September 11, 1861. Butler County is in the central part of the state not far from Montgomery which was the capital of the Confederacy. His father, John Webb, died when Jim was only 16 months old. The Civil War had just begun so Jim’s mother had the added problem of living in a war zone and being responsible as head of her household. Probate documents reveal that his mother, Apalaney Kennedy Chandler, was the 2nd wife of John Webb. She had 4 children by her first husband and 3 sons by John Webb. James Davis “Jim” Webb was the youngest of those 3 sons.
John Webb, Jim’s father, was born in Georgia in 1797, the son of Charles Webb. John married 1) Sarah Chivers and had seven known children: Elizabeth, Enoch, Harriet, Sarah, James Ross, Lydia and Martha. The couple split for unknown reasons although family rumor says it involved “another man”. 
John married  2) Apalany Kennedy Chandler about 1854. They had three sons:  
John Risby Webb (18 Sep 1855 – 1 Jan 1941), Evans Rutherford Webb (25 Jul 1857 – 20 Mar 1939) and James Davis Webb (11 Sep 1861 – 12 Sep 1944).  
When the Civil War ended, Apalany Webb had some of her property stolen by the Union soldiers and eventually moved to Limestone County, Texas, where other neighbors and friends had also moved – to start a new life. Jim Webb was living with one of his half-sisters in Limestone Co., and felt left out of the family, he later told one of his grandsons. He met George Farnsworth who befriended the young man. The two of them later bought some property in West Texas and moved to Floydada.  
Jim Webb married Araminta Farnsworth, George’s oldest daughter. They were married on January 14, 1890 in Limestone County but soon moved to Floyd County in the Texas Panhandle. One son said the house was so cold in the winter that his father declared “If I could ever move from here, I will”. In 1906 Jim went to Yoakum County and bought 13 sections of land. The year was good, the grass was green and thick & tall. They thought it was a dream come true. But, it was only a dream because the next year things were very dry and were never that good again. With his father-in-law, Jim then moved to Frio County but wished he was back in West Texas, he later said.  
By this time, Jim and Minta had a nice family of 3 sons and a daughter. Mary Lillian Webb was born Nov 18, 1891, Elma Davis Webb came along on July 12, 1893, George Evans Webb was born in January 1895 but only lived a few days. On August 26, 1897, Oran Ewart Webb was born and on October 23, 1905, the youngest of their children, Alton, was born.  
After Jim left Frio County to return to West Texas, he lived in Post and in Brownfield, renting land to farm in order to pay the taxes on the Yoakum County land. He bought 13 sections in that county in 1906 and was able to sell four sections but not the other 9. On March 20, 1921, his son, Oran, married Stella Victoria Stewart whom he had met while the Webb family lived in Dilley, Frio County, TX. Stella and Oran moved to Haskell, Texas, where they set up housekeeping. Oran’s brothers, Elma and Alton, lived with them for a while. Then Elma married Lena Faye McCurdy on September 21, 1923 and moved to Yoakum County. Alton went to live with his parents.  
Sad events hit the Webb household in 1925. Lillian, first born of Jim's & Araminta’s children, became ill during an influenza epidemic and died. The family came from around the state for her funeral. Almost immediately after that, Araminta became ill and died one week later. The family stayed over to attend her funeral. Lillian and Araminta are buried at the Brownfield Cemetery.  
In March of 1929, Alton married Melba M. Cornelius and his father, Jim, soon married again to Grace Youree in July of that same year. Both families lived in Brownfield.  
When James Davis “Jim” Webb died in 1944, he did not know what a legacy he was leaving for his surviving children, his sons: Elma, Oran and Alton. When oil was discovered on the 9 sections of Yoakum County land in 1951, each son had 3 sections. The oil wells were steady producers and gave the family security for their later years.  
Jim Webb was widowed twice, his second wife, Grace, died in Brownfield in 1940. He soon became ill, himself, and was cared for by Elma and Lena Faye for a while. His death came in 1944 and he was laid to rest beside Araminta and Lillian at Brownfield Cemetery. Their large gravestones are right by the entrance to the cemetery and are a greeting to those who visit.  
Jim Webb was a good man, a gentle provider, and a man who made it on his own after a childhood of unhappy events. The property he acquired in Yoakum County is still partly owned by his descendants.

(From interviews with Lena Faye Webb Ballinger, Mary Lou Webb Gilleland, Stella Stewart Webb and Lanny Webb & from genealogy research and family records)

Copyright 2003 © Shirley D. Webb
This page was last updated on 05/27/2016