The social, political and business history of this section is filled with the deeds and doings of self-made men, and no man in Stone County, Missouri, is more deserving the appellation than Mr. W. F. Webster, for he marked out his own career in youth and has steadily followed it up to the present, his prosperity being attributable to his earnest and persistent endeavor, and to the fact that he has already consistently tried to follow the teachings of the “Golden Rule.” He is a native Missourian, born in Ralls County, June 18, 1828,
The eldest but one of four children born to the marriage of Elizure D. and Jane (Fourman) Webster. The grandfather, Daniel Webster, who was related to the famous Daniel Webster, was a native of the Old Bay State, and he was with Jackson at the battle of New Orleans. He and wife died in Massachusetts, within twelve miles of Boston, where the family was a noted one. The father of our subject was born in Massachusetts in 1799, and when eighteen years of age, or in 1817, he turned his face west-ward and settled in Ralls County, Missouri, where he soon became the owner of a farm. He learned the blacksmith’s trade, was handy with tools, and could work at the millwright’s trade as well as at all kinds of wood work. Mr. Webster was married in Ralls County to Miss Jane Fourman, and later settled in Monroe County, Missouri,where, in connection with farming, he followed black smithing, and ran a water mill on Salt River. There he resided until 1845, when he moved to Texas and settled about two miles from the present site of Whitesborough. There he passed the remainder of his days, dying in 1861. Mrs. Webster, who was of German extraction, died in 1832, and Mr. Webster subsequently married Miss Mary J. Bradley. After her death he married Polly A. Bradley, sister of his second wife. The first union resulted in the birth of two children, our subject, and Marcus, who resides in the Lone Star State. To the third marriage three children were born: Daniel, Delpha J. and Mary A., all living.
Our subject, was reared in northeastern Missouri, and received the advantages of a common-school education. When seventeen years of age he went with his father to Texas, but not liking the country he returned as far north as Crawford County, Arkansas, where he remained a year. Thence he moved to Stone County, Missouri, and located in the neighborhood where he now resides. In February, 1849, he married Miss Elizabeth J. Reed, a native of Jackson County, Missouri, born in 1833, and the daughter of Matthias and Mahala (Hoof) Reed, both natives of Kentucky. At an early date her parents came to Missouri and settled in Jackson County, where the father died. The mother subsequently moved to Stone County.
Previous to his marriage, in 1848, Mr. Webster went on the plains, where he remained one year. Then, after his marriage, he hired out as a train boss over the plains and followed this for some years. He and wife then settled on the James River, within a mile of where Cape Fair is located, and followed farming from 1858 to 1892. At that date he moved to the village of Cape Fair and bought forty acres on the edge of the town, where he has since made his home. Farming has been his life’s work, but in connection with it he has followed other enterprises, saw milling, etc., and has been unusually successful, being classed among the wealthy and influential men of his section. He owns about 600 acres of productive land and, as he has been the architect of his own fortune, has much to be proud of.
When the war broke out he enlisted in the Home Guards, but in 1862 entered the Seventh Provisional Regiment, Company F, E. M. M. Cavalry, under Capt. Smith, and was located in Missouri. He took part in Price’s raid at Big and Little Blue River, and was in it three days, participating in many skirmishes and guerrilla fights. On July 13, 1865, he received his discharge, and returning to his farm found it in a ruinous condition. In 1873-74 he held the office of sheriff and collector of Stone County. Mr. Webster was formerly a Democrat, but he is now with the third party. Socially he is a member of the G. A. R. post of Galena. Being one of the oldest men in the county, at one time he was acquainted with every one in it.
To his marriage were born ten children: Millie P., wife of S. A. Wilson, resides in this county and has a family of ten children; Malinda, wife of S. A. Carr, resides near Cape Fair, and has six children; William D., married and has two children; Elizabeth, wife of Charles H. Knight, resides in Stone County and has three children; Larue M., wife of J. G. Russell, resides on the old home and has two children; the remainder are dead: Amanda A., Eliza J., Matthew G., Margaret M. and Vina A. Mr. and Mrs. Webster are members of the Church of Christ, and active workers in the same.
Photo: WM. F. WEBSTER, M. T. WEBSTER, Stone Co., Missouri