Biography of George Washington Webster

GEORGE WASHINGTON WEBSTER. As a progressive tiller of the soil the subject of this sketch has no superior throughout Ozark County, Missouri, for he is industrious, decidedly progressive in his views, and has always taken advantage of all new methods for the improvement of his land. His fine and valuable estate is located ten miles west of Gainesville on Bratton Spring Creek, and comprises 480 acres, in two different tracts, all of which has been acquired through his own efforts. He is also quite extensively engaged in the raising of stock; in fact, is well up in all branches of agriculture and is well worthy of bearing the title of “self-made man.” At the time he settled on his farm there were about twelve or fifteen acres cleared, but all this has been changed and his farm is now a remarkably well-improved one. He was born in Martin County, Indiana, in 1834, a son of Jonathan and Catherine (Graham) Webster, natives of New Hampshire and Kentucky, respectively, the birth of the former occurring in 1804 and that of the latter in 1806. In 1854 they removed from Indiana to Douglas County, Missouri, having spent the previous winter in Illinois. After one year in Douglas County, Missouri. they removed to Ozark County, near the Arkansas line and there resided until the Civil War, when they removed to Illinois. At the end of about two years they returned to Douglas County and after the war to Ozark County, where Mr. Webster died in September, 1892, his wife, having been called from life in Douglas County about 1886, at the home of one of her sons. She was a member of the Missionary Baptist Church and Mr. Webster acquired a wide-spread reputation for honesty and for the patronage he bestowed on all enterprises of a worthy nature, and for his support of all measures of morality. Their family consisted of two sons and three daughters: Seth, Richard, Phoebe, Hettie and Eliza. Their grandfather, Richard Webster, was a native of the Granite State, but was one of the very early settlers of southeast Indiana and died in Washington County of that State before our subject was born. He was a shoe and harness maker by trade and was a member of the same family as Daniel Webster. His wife, whose maiden name was Sarah Heath, died in Martin County, Indiana, about 1854. The maternal grandfather, Samuel Graham, was a Kentuckian, but an early settler to Richland County, Illinois, where he was called from life about 1835, his wife having been called from life prior to his removal from the Blue Grass State.

The subject of this sketch is the fourth of eight children born to his parents, the other members of the family being: Richard of the Choctaw Nation, I. T.; Samuel, who died in early boyhood in Arkansas; Sarah, the wife of Frederick Graham; Seth, of Douglas County; Mary, who died in Ozark County, the wife of Mac Turley; Margaret, the present wife of Mac Turley, and Lucinda, who died in Arkansas, the wife of John Worlington. The primitive schools of his native State afforded George W. Webster but meager advantages in the fields of learning, but he possessed a naturally good mind and managed to acquire a sufficient knowledge of the “world of books ” to fit him for the ordinary duties of life. At the age of nineteen he became a resident of Missouri and was married here, in 1855 to Isabella, daughter of Ignatius and Eliza Turley, natives of Indiana. The Turleys became residents of Missouri about fifty years ago and Mr. Turley died here about 1876 and his wife in the Indian Territory. Mrs. Webster was born in Phelps County; Missouri, and died July 6, 1882, having become the mother of the following children: Ira, of Newton County, Arkansas; Greene; Oliver; Margaret, wife of Elijah Breedon; Mary, wife of James Lawrence of Stone County; Sevilla, wife of Jackson McCullough; Shelt, of the Indian Territory; Amanda, Lula and Walter:

Mr. Webster has been a resident of Ozark County ever since his marriage, but for four years during the Civil War his family lived in Iowa and northern Missouri. In July, 1861, Mr. Webster joined the Home Guards, with which he served about three months, was then a member of the Thirty-sixth Regiment of the Missouri Militia and in 1862 joined Company H, Forty-sixth Missouri Infantry and was on duty in Missouri and Arkansas and fought at Mountain Grove, Vera Cruz, Big Creek and several engagements in Arkansas. He was honorably discharged from the service at the close of the war and then returned to his family who were living in Douglas County. Mr. Webster is a member of Robert Burns Lodge No. 496, of the A. F. & A. M., at Gainesville, and also belongs to the G. A. R., at that place. He was a Democrat in his political proclivities until the war and has since been an active Republican. He cast his first presidential vote for Buchanan in 1856.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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