William W. Webb

WILLIAM W. WEBB. A resident of Topeka thirty years, Mr. Webb was at first in the service of the Santa Fe Railway Company, later a merchant, and for many years past has been in the real estate and insurance business. Successful in private affairs, his enterprise in public matters is worthy of special mention.

In 1890 he became identified with the Topeka Commercial Club. Through that medium he has worked in and out of season for the improvement and betterment of his city. He has assisted in every undertaking prompted by the club, and was particularly active in the movement to keep the Santa Fe shops at Topeka, being one of the committee of fifteen to raise $25,000 for the purchase of ground for the new shops. He was also active in the campaign when the city purchased the waterworks plant. Still later he was chairman of the committee to establish the "Great White Way" lighting system of Topeka. For this service each member of the committee was presented a handsomely engraved resolution of appreciation by the club. His many services were given a fitting token in January, 1916, when Mr. Wehb was elected president of the Topeka Commercial Club.

He is a native of Michigan, and was born at Ontonagon, in the Upper Peninsula, May 22, 1865. When he was five years of age his parents, William and Jane (Ester) Webb, moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, where his father engaged in business as a mining broker. The son grew up at Appleton, attended the public schools, was for two years employed as clerk in the local postoffice, later was clerk for the firm of Morgan & Bassett in their foundry and machine works, and in 1880, on account of overwork and ill health, he went to Columbia, South Dakota, and spent two years recuperating on a ranch. On returning to Appleton Mr. Webb was for three years connected with the Gas Works, of which his father was treasurer.

His next location was at Manistique, Michigan, where he remained during 1885-86 and carried out a contract to transcribe the records of Alger County, which had just been organized. This work he completed in May, 1887, and on June 1st of the same year arrived at Topeka.

Until the latter part of 1889 he was clerk in the engineering department of the Santa Fe Railway under B. S. Crocker. He was then in the general freight department of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway, but in 1889 engaged in the jewelry business for himself. He was one of Topeka's active merchants until 1895 and then established his present business, real estate, loan and insurance. On January 1, 1908, he formed a partnership with W. C. Stephenson.

Mr. Webb is a republican and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. On October 9, 1915, he married Rachel Edith Phelps. Among other interests he is a great lover of sports, especially of fishing. He has fished in all the waters of this country and has caught tarpon off the Mexican coast and at Catalina Island.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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