LOWREY W. WEBB, of Larned, grew up on the plains of Western Kansas when this section was passing through its most discouraging period, and from the hardships and struggles he witnessed as a boy, together with some experiences of his own that were by no means productive, he acquired something of an aversion to farming as a means of steady profit, and turned himself to an occupation which is more nearly an expression of his talents and for many years has been the leading auctioneer in this part of the state and is also widely known for his abilities in that direction in Colorado.
Mr. Webb was born in Jefferson County, Iowa, February 28, 1863, and was brought to Western Kansas when ten years of age. Grandfather Webb was a son of Irish parents, and spent the last years of his life as a farmer in Jefferson County, Iowa. He married Elizabeth Hoskins, of English ancestry. Their children were: James, of Higby, Missouri; Mrs. Ann Boyd, of Jamesport, Missouri; Mary J., who married James Frost and died in Iowa; and William P.
William P. Webb, father of Lowrey W., was one of Pawnee County's best known and most highly esteemed pioneers. He grew up in a home that was somewhat lacking in ideals and comforts, and knew more of hard work than the advantages of school. He was determined to get an education, and obstacles being placed in his way at home he ran away and made for himself the opportunities he desired. He became a farmer and also was a skillful carpenter.
When he brought his family from Jefferson County, Iowa, to Kansas in 1873, the journey was made by railroad. The car of household goods was unloaded at Larned, and William P. Webb took up as his homestead a tract of land a mile east of that town. On his land he built perhaps the best country home of that day. It was a frame building, and is still stanch and is used by the owner of the land. William P. Webb exerted every effort to make his farm produce crops sufficient for the family support. There were failures in his case, as was true of practically every other early settler here, and when there was nothing to be taken from the fields he supplied deficiencies by working at his trade as carpenter. However, the household never went without the necessities of life. There was good management and industry all around. He and the children picked buffalo bones and sold them, and gathered buffalo chips for fuel. In the early days in this region only two lone trees stood out on the prairie along the banks of the Arkansas River. It is a somewhat unusual fact which Mr. Webb brings to notice that in the early days the river was always full of water, but no timber grew along its banks, while now the Arkansas is almost a dead stream in some seasons of the year and yet there is an abundance of timber.
William P. Webb proved up his homestead and lived there until his removal into Larned about twenty years later. He was elected and served as trustee of Larned Township for several terms and was always interested in and frequently identified with the schools as a director. He was one of the prominent republicans of the early days. He frequently attended state conventions. Usually his party work was done in company with such men as Booth, Rush, McCarthy and Edwards, but he was rather inclined to be independent and formed his own judgment of men and matters. He possessed some ability as a speaker, but seldom assumed that role. He was active both in the Ancient Order of United Workmen and Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was one of the organizers of the Odd Fellows Lodge at Larned. Though he never joined a church he attended services regularly, upheld religious movements and was a thorough Bible student.
William P. Webb married Nancy Troy, who was born in Iowa and was a daughter of substantial farmers in that state. She died in 1887, leaving the following children: William W., of San Diego, California; Lowrey W.; Rosa, wife of O. G. Wheaton, of Milliken, Colorado; Dr. Owen E., of Milliken, Colorado; Eva, wife of George Timms, of Tuscola, Illinois; Herbert O., who died in Larned; Raleigh T., of Los Angeles, California; and Minnie, wife of Howard Young, of Elbert, Wyoming.
Mr. Lowrey W. Webb acquired some education in the schools of Jefferson County, Iowa, and attended a term or two of the very primitive district schools taught in Western Kansas. His chief education came by practical experience. He is a graduate of the university of hard knocks and he early realized a sense of responsibility beyond his years. While a school boy he contributed his labors to the support of the family household. He worked as a cowboy, as a farm hand, and was out on the frontier among the buffalo herds and the antelope before those animals had been driven away forever. Then with strength and experience he tried farming. It was a discouraging proposition, and his own failure was accentuated by the frequent failures throughout the district on account of long continued dry weather. Thus he did not even take the pains to prove up a homestead when it was possible to do so.
At the age of twenty-one Mr. Webb took up the profession of auctioneer. At twenty-two he was appointed under sheriff of Pawnee County, and during that service he gained much experience as an auctioneer selling farms under foreclosure proceedings. In the course of time he was giving practically all his efforts to auctioneering. He finally left Kansas and going to Denver, Colorado, engaged in the ice business and was an auctioneer for fifteen years. While at Denver he was stockyards auctioneer and became an expert in selling cattle and other livestock. Returning to Larned, he resumed his profession in this city about the opening of the present century and for a time he conducted a sales stable. He has been called upon to sell livestock over a wide area of Kansas, and there is no one in the profession whose work has been more generally satisfactory. He has given the art of salesmanship the best thought of his lifetime, and has grown into the work until it is now second nature with him. Mr. Webb is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, is a past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias and is a past master workman of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is popular in fraternal affairs and among citizens and business men generally.
At Larned on January, 17, 1887, he married Miss Rosa A. Shell. Mrs. Webb was born near Terre Haute in Vigo County, Indiana, in 1863. Her father, P. W. Shell, moved from Indiana to Wayne County, Iowa, and from there came to Pawnee County in 1883. He was a farmer and died near Larned at the age of seventy-seven. The Shell children were: Henry W., of Portersville, California, Lewis, of Corydon, Iowa; Mrs. Artilla Hubbard, of Chicago; P. W. Shell, of Delano, California; Belle, wife of Ira Boyd, of Denver, Colorado; and Mrs. Webb.
Mr. and Mrs. Webb are the parents of four children. Claude is a telegraph operator and a plumber at Denver, Colorado; Wallie is head operator at the Terminal Station in Wichita, when he entered a volunteer company there and is in the signal corps as first sergeant and is in France; Willa, who married Clarence Cook, of Larned, has a daughter, Gwendolyn. The youngest of the children is Edgar.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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