The Diary of Horace Webb
Barry County Missouri
Submitted by Sandy Lee

I was born in Barry Co. Mo., 4 mi SW of Cassville, Mo, Dec. 10 - 1850. Parents John F. Webb end Alzira Elizabeth (Stubblefield) Webb. Started to County School in 1888 -waited until I was coming 8 yrs old and sister Alice was 6 years. And eligible. to go with me. School was a one-room building. Located 1/4 mi S. and 1/4 mi E. from my home. School was on Old Wire Road or Butterfield Trail. First teacher was Johnathan Brooks and for three years. All my country schooling was to men teachers.

In 1896 attended summer Normal for 30 days. at Exeter, which was only 3 miles N.W. from Home.

In 1898 after the country school, Vanzandt, by name, was out in Feb. I attended high school at Cassville, commuting by horseback - for 10 weeks - under the tutorage of Prof. N.L. Maiden, a one-armed ex-confederate soldier.

In Sept 1898 I enrolled at Fayetteville, Arkansas in University of Arkansas. Was in school there until June 1899 - then back home for summer and in Sept 1899 I enrolled at Fayetteville again and attended until Feb 1, 1900.

When I had completed Sub-Freshman course or equivalent of High School course and was promoted to Freshman in University on Feb 5, 1900, Sister Alice died at home and I never got to return to Fayetteville. During my stay at University I studied military tactics arid had Army drill for 1 hour each day.

At home I helped with crop and in May, made application for a job as Census enumerator of my home Township arid for which I was out classed by ex-postmaster Joe West.

Not to be defeated I saddled a mule and rode to Neosho, Mo. some 40 miles North West of home to see a Mr. Morrow, a district supervisor for census enumerators for Berry Co. Mo. Mr. Morrow offered me the job of canvassing Kings Prairie Township, which was in North part of Berry Co. and SE. of Monett Mo. and I accepted. This was a territory of 6 mi. x 12 miles, inhabited mostly by people of foreign parentage and spoke poor English.

June 1,1900, I went to this territory, which was more then 15 mi. from my home. Went on a borrowed nag and put in 11 days listing between 900 and 1000 people. When at home I put in 2 days preparing my report and sent it in to Washington L.C. Soon after finishing this job I was stricken with granulated sore eyes and went to Springfield to a Dr. B.M. Farnsworth on South Street who treated me for more than 30 days and removed a pterygium from right eye which was the second time to have one removed from that eye. And while in Springfield I drew my pay for 13 days of census enumeration, $57.00 and began wearing glasses.

Back home again I helped with farm work until Spring of 1901. I rented 15 A of land from Jno. T. McCary, a nearby neighbor. This land to be planted in corn. Land being already broke, I was to pay 1/2 corn raised, shucked and put in his crib. Corn was planted in check rows arid was just coming up when a torrential rain came and damaged it extensively. All this made me considerably down cast. A Mr. Rousey Brattain offered me $15.00 for my crop and I accepted it. This $15.00 along with $100.00 1 had received for some calves and a cow that I owned and had kept in father's woodland pasture. I bought a ticket (Railroad) to Sheridan Wyoming in the later part of May 1900-


On the way I visited Uncle Jno. Stubblefield at Kansas City, Mo. who offered me a job on a surveying project, this I turned down - reached Sheridan on Tuesday night, 1201 miles from home. Put in Friday and Sat., when I got a job with a Mr. Geo. J. Harper on a hay ranch 16 mi. south of Sheridan, near an (?) Post Office of Bainer Wyo.

Went out and worked for Mr. Harper until 19th of Dec. 1901. I worked at irrigating and putting up alfalfa hay. Last work was feeding 179 horses hay on the snow.

These horses were being conditioned and to send to South Africa to mount English soldiers who were fighting the Boer African War. These horses weighed from 750 to 900 lbs each.

Mr. Harper had a family of 4 little ones, 3 boys, Earl, Ray, Steve and a little girl, May. An older boy will come home when cold weather comes. This ranch was east slope of Big Horn Mountains. Near Massacre Hill, better known as where Gen Custer made his first stand against Crow Indians before he followed them on over into Montana some 8 mi. north of Sheridan and made his last stand against the Indians who annihilated his command..

Massacre Hill was on a ridge extending east from Big Horn Mountains and Piney Creek formed by melted snow, ran along south side of Massacre Hill, which was some 15 mi. long.

Mr. Harper, assisted by a half dozen neighbors fell on the plan of putting a tunnel through Massacre Hill from South to North and forcing Piney Creek through the tunnel for irrigation water. They used a temporary dam made of tree boughs and hay to force the water to flow through the tunnel.

My work for Mr. Harper was building fence, irrigating hay and stacking hay. Put up more than 100 tons of hay. Gathered in hay with buck rakes and stacked with horse-powered stackers.

Had one little round of branding 450 head of yearlings and drove same to ranch over in Montana. Harper sold hay by measuring in stacks for 46.00 per Ton. Put in about 60 days hauling hay and feeding to 179 horses on the snow.

I spent night of Dec 19, 1901 at home ranch and went by horseback next day to Sheridan on a horse named "Satan" - snow was about 20 inches on level and were large drifts - a 16 mile trip. Spent night at Sheridan, up early A.M. to catch 4 A.M. Burlington train for Kansas City on way home - a two day trip - spent Christmas at home.

Through Jan. and most of Feb. worked for a Mr. Jno. McCary bailing hay, from stacks and barns. Received 12 1/2 cents per ton for tieing off and stacking bales 4 high. Then helped with farm work at home until about first of May 1902.

I joined Masonic Lodge at Cassville, Mo. Pythagoras Lodge #383 Mar 1902. Capt Livinston Master of Lodge.

About May 1, 1902 Father and I left for Okla with mule team and covered wagon. Route was through Neosho Mo., Vinita, Tulsa, Sapulpa, Stroud, Chandler, Okla City, Chickasha, Anadarko and Lawton - then south to base line, then west 47 mi to 1 mi East of where Tipton now is, to Uncle Bill Webb's place that he got in drawing at Lawton Aug 1901.

Were on road 17 days and were in rain 15 days of the trip. Spent about a week looking over country and getting prices of quarter sections Northwest of Frederick, which originally Hazel, then Gosnell, later changed to Frederick.

After a week at Uncles, we started home one morning and reached 4 miles N.E. of where Snyder now is and camped near Otter Creek. Rained all night and next morning water was over double trees on wagon. We waded out and hitched team up and headed S.E. toward Lawton.

After traveling less than a mile we encountered 2 men shooting prairie dogs on a plateau, Jno. Shepherd and his friend. Made a deal with Shepherd to give us $200.00 for team, wagon and camp outfit, everything except bedding. And he was to take us to Lawton. Spent that day and night with Shepherd waiting for creeks to run down so we could travel - next day water was too night toward Lawton and we went to Mt. Park and spent night and next morning left for Hobart by mail hack and Indian ponies. By late afternoon made it to Hobart and caught Rock Island train for Chickasha.

At Chickasha we walked up town for some thing to eat. Changed trains and made El Reno and Father caught Rock Island train east to Weister Junction on east side of Okla, where he changed trains again to Frisco, then North through Ft. Smith Ark., Fayetteville, Rogers then to Exeter Missouri at home.

I stayed at El Reno with a former country school mate, Ralph Edison. During my stay with Ralph I had several small jos around town and plowed corn 12 mi west of town 6 days for a Mr. Mecklendorf, when I quit and headed north to Newton Kan. West to Pueblo Colo. Got a job 6 miles south on small ranch, with C. C. Mendell, later part of July I left for home via Kansas City on the return part of a tourist R R ticket to Burlington, Ill. At Kansas City I turned in my ticket. Drew $10.00 for balance and left for Exeter Mo. Reached home about August 1st 1902.

After a few days at home, Cousin Dave Webb and I went to Exeter (3 mi) for mail, when I was called to Railway station and given a telegram from Uncle Bill Webb who had driven by wagon to Vernon, Tex. And sent to me stating that trade was made on McGee place and meet him at Lawton on Aug 14, 1902 to complete trade and receive a relinquishment on the land. Then I could file on it at US Land Office. Then a few very busy days getting ready to return to Okla. Followed. Had to make a trip to Pea Ridge Ark. To complete trade that Pa had made with Aunt Eliza Miser on a 20 A piece of land father had inherited from grandfather Webbs old home place.

That all completed, and loaded with all necessary papers, I left Exeter, Mo. By train for Lawton, Okla. Reaching there at night on Aug 12, 1902. Next day while loafing the town, I met Uncle Bill and the Mr. McGee that I was to trade with. That day was spent in completing the trade, but not in time to file, so had to wait till next day. When we went to land office and he relinquished all of his rights to the S.E. 1/4 of Sec 18 - 15 - 18 WIM - containing 160A. according to government survey.

Then I wrote a check to him (McGee) for $1000.00 on Barry Co. Bank, Cassville, Mo.

After all of this, we McGee and son, Uncle and I all loaded in Mcgees wagon and headed south 6 mi to Base line, then 47 mi west, then 3 south to the above land. Which trip was most of 2 days.

I spent night at Uncles and next day, he and I went to place and gave Mr. McGee $25.00 for his housekeeping outfit. Which was in a 16 x 16 house. I helped Uncle Bill harvest his kaffir also shocked up 10A of kaffir on my place. Bought seed wheat in Greer County, it was at that time hired 10 A of sod planted corn land. Bought 1 hog, 12 hens from my neighbor on west, $2.50 for hog and 25 cents each for hens. In 1903 we broke out balance of my place and we all made a crop.

Made a contract with school Board (O.R. Gillespie, E. L. Brisley and L. A. Storm) to teach 3 months school in home district, which had a new building 1 mi. west and 1 mi South of my home place for $30.00 per month.

In Oct. I made a trip to Lawton to stand teachers examination.

On receipt of teachers Certificate on Nov 11, 1902, I notifed board and opened school at Circle Valley Nov 13, with 13 pupils and closed out Feb 13 with 13 pupils.

I gathered my sod corn with a cotton sack and fed the hog and chickens, batched and walked to school each day.

Christmas Eve I butchered my hog and rendered enough lard to supply me for a year.

Hired my 35 A of sod planted cotton picked, borrowed Uncle's team and ginned by 2 bale crop at Frederick 10 miles SE of my home at Nickason gin.

First of March 1903 Father moved Mother and family to my place where Sister Faye was born on April 6, 1903.

Winter of 1903 I taught school again at Circle Valley. In 1904 I joined Royal Arch and Commandry Lodge at Frederick, Okla. where I belonged until they closed out and disbanded.

Spring of 1904 Father had bought a school Land Lease on N.W. 1/4 Sec 13-15-19W-2 1/2 miles from home and I bought a team of mules from Wagner Ranch at Electra, Tex and we farmed 2 quarter sections of land in cotton, corn and maize. Gathered 44 bales of cotton, ginned at Barretts gin near Kinnick Post Office and was offered 9 centers per pound, hauled it home and piled it up near the house on the open prairie, and kept it till following March. When heavy rains began to fall, it was hauled to Frederick and sold for 6 cents lb.

Father and family moved to school land lease and I established bachelor camp again and made a crop on my place. In Sept 1905 I began to work at Farmers Gin at Farmersville, near corner (N.E.) of present Tipton site. I managed gin and we ginned about 900 bales for the season. In 1906 I continued to batch and made a crop on my place and taught in summer. I made final proof on my claim. Mortgaged it for r$1200.00, paid Government $1.25 per acre or 200.00 and paid father $1000.00 original cost price of claim.

In April 1906, father bought Baxter place, which is 1/2 mi south of where Tipton now is. He filed on that place April 24, 1906. Father used the 1000.00 I paid him along with $3,800.00 received for home place in Mo. And we all put in to make the amount up to $5,000.00 which lacked $300. Being enough to make the deal. So father and I signed a note payable to Mr. Baxter.

After crop was made to complete the trade, and Father got possession of same Oct. 1-1906. In Oct 1906 I hauled a load of household goods for Mr. Baxter to Petersburg, Tex. Was 5 days going out and 8 days coming back. Was delayed account of so much rain and streams were overflowing and no bridges made it necessary to just wait several times for streams to go down.

After coming back from Texas I taught school at Circle Valley and when school closed in spring of 1907, WC Gillespie and I went by train to Santa Monica, Calif, where Gillispie went to business School, and I worked until Nov. 1907 when I came home by train via El Paso, Amarillo, Vernon and Frederick.

At home until after Jan 1, 1908 when began teaching school at Kell Okla. SE part of Tillman Co, now Grandfield. After school was out, went to Okla City to attend Hills Business College. Taking Book Keeping, Shorthand and typing. Spent most of the year 1908 at School and part of 1909. Being back home part of the time until Sept 1909 I was shipped to Wellington, Kansas by the Santa Fe RR for which I worked 62 days as night clerk at the Round House on a night shift 6 PM to 7 AM. When I quit there I came home and spent a nice vacation.

Jan 10, 1910 I returned to school at Hills. Feb 1, 1910 Sadie Woodworth and I were married, and went to the City to live.

In May 1910, got a job at Frederick at deputy County Clerk of Tillman Co, Okla and moved to Frederick and worked there until July 1, 1911 when I lost my job, but continued to live in Frederick until Jan 1, 1912. When Sadie and I moved to my home place on the farm 4 m SE of where Tipton now is. Stocked the place and made a crop and with the help of Jno Williams a colored man and family from Frederick. In Sept, Sadie and I, also Mrs. Woodworth who had lived with us ever since we were married moved to Tipton and worked at Simmons gin Co. with J.K. Gilliland as manager. After gin season was over we moved back to the farm and put in a crop in 1913-was a dry hard year and in August I was stricken down with an intermittent fever for some six weeks.

In 1912 I made an unsuccessful race for County Clerk. Was defeated by R.O. Ray - had 5 other opponents, got second place.

Made a crop in 1914 and in Spring of 1915 Sadie was sick and I took her to St. Josephs Infirmary at Ft. Worth, Tex where Dr. Bacon Sanders performed an operation on her. Were there 15 or 20 days before bringing her home.

In 1918 Mrs. Woodworth was stricken down with a throat and stomache trouble, and Sadie and I went with her to Ft Worth where she had major surgery on stomache, a silver tube was put in her stomache through which we fed her until May 1919.

In Nov 1919 Father sold his home place and he and I went to Norman where he bought a hosue at 222 S Crawford. Preparations were being made to move by Dec 15th. But father took sick Dec 6th with cancer of stomache and died Dec 19, 1919. Bros. Ulys and Nix and I rounded up the business and moved Mother, Xoe, Faye, and Dorris to Norman, reached there Jan 1st 1920. In Feb 1920 Mother sent money to buy a new Dodge car which I delivered to her later part of Feb. 1920.

We farmed until 1921 and Sadie had to go to Mangum where Drs. Border and McGregor performed surgery for her. She spent some 20 days in hospital and during this time I had to go to same place for a varicose vein operation on my right leg. A colored man and wife, Earnest Warren & wife Lois, made a crop and gathered it - 4 small bales from 40 A. On account of so many washouts in spring.

In 1916 I made a successful race in Dist #1 for County Commissioner for term of 2 yr. Beginning Jan 1917. Made the race again in 1919 and held that office until July 1921. During my tenure in office th County Court house was built at Frederick. Completed in July 1921. Was a $200,000 job.

(Served on Circle Valley School board from 1914 till 1918 when District consolidated into #8 - Tipton.)

Courthouse was four stories with jail on top of that, 98 ft. by 102 ft.

In Jan 1922 Ernest Warren and I got a contract from County Commissioner to build 1200 ft of road 1 mile west of my hosue on to Highway #5. Was to make it 24 ft wide and 2 ft high for which we received $200.00. On this money he and I lived and made a crop in 1922.

In Aug '23 accompanied by Mother, Xoe, Faye and Dorris, Sadie and I went to Mo. And Ark for a visit by car, and on to Kansas City to see Nix and Clara. Back to Barnsdall to see Ulys and Berthe Webb.

Had our first good rain of the season Aug 20, 1923. General from Kansas City to Calif. Made a good crop of cotton.

Spring of 1924, Ed Manning and I made a joint trade with A.M. Atkison, heirs, for the North 100 A of their old home place, east of me. And Ed got the north 50 A at $3150, or $7,000 for the total. Ed got that part as his house was on it. My 50 A was rented to T. W. Neil for the season and I received rent from him. He sold more cotton from that 50 than I paid for the land.

In 1924, I got possession and put it all in cotton and everyone made a good crop. Best crop ever made in Tillman County.

Had no frost all fall and winter came in at Christmas with a freeze. Warm weather kept the cotton making until freeze came at Christmas.

History of Horace Webb. He lived there until death.

Although the next page of this little book was numbered, this is the end written in this book.

NOTE: This diary excerpt was copied by hand by sister Iva. A copy was then sent to sister Faye, which, upon Faye's death came to sister Dorris.

At the end of his life Horace was approached by his housekeeper with a request to provide a job for her boyfriend who was getting out of jail. Horace was known as a man who always lent a helping hand, so he gave the man a job. The man tried to rob Horace, but Horace did not keep money at home, and so he was murdered by the boyfriend. on September 16, 1962 in Altus, Oklahoma.
Return to

Return to

Barry County website since Sept. 23, 1996