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The Great War - William R. Webb Jr. [Son Will] 

World War I 4-Minute Man Collection

Webb 150 - The Sesquicentennial collection
Webb Library History 
Scanned Class Composites
Birds of America Collection
 "Son Will" Collection

Letters from William R. Webb Jr. [Son Will]

Records from Hazel Cemetery 

Pamphlets and other materials written by  William R. Webb Jr. [Son Will] 


Letters between Daniel and Alla

Other Letters  

Family Pictures 

Historic photography


Webb Family photos


The Oracle

Incomplete collection 1930's - Present 

[school newspaper]



Senior Edition

[in place of a Yearbook 1930s - 1940s]

  • 1954 -PRESENT 




Archives Main

Rare Books  


The Webb School Honor Code directly influences the Princeton Honor Code 

"Finally, in the autumn of 1892, at least two undergraduates from a small preparatory school, the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, began to build the movement that the Princetonian had called for. Charles Ottley (Class of 1893) and James Brodnax (Class of 1894) had lived under an honor code established by the school’s founder, Sawney Webb "(Tenner, 2003)

    • Charles Ottley – Webb 1889, Princeton 1893 
    • James “Mac” Brodnax – Webb 1889, Princeton 1894

The Webb School Honor Code  
The Princeton University Honor Code

Bibles and Holy Books at Graduation


Bibles were officially given first in 1939 to the Senior class.  Son Will started this tradition after receiving a graduate Bible at UNC.  Son Will would inscribe the scripture Psalm 119:105 [this was a favorite verse of a family matriarch ]. In this century other Holy books were added as the student body became more diverse.



The Senior Board





William Robert (Sawney) Webb (1842-1926) born in Mount Tirzah, Person County, NC    Married 23 April 1873 Martha Emma Clary (1846-1937) born in Wilkes, NC  {Buried in Hazel Cemetery, Bell Buckle}


Links to Information Online

Items at The Webb School Library and Archives

Sawney's Senate Scrapbook
Sawney's Senate Scrapbook




  • Senatorial Scrapbook possibly compiled by Alla Webb
  • McLean, Emma Webb. Sawney Webb Maker of Men. Claremont, CA, Creative Press of Claremont, CA 1970
  • McMillin, Lawrence. The schoolmaker: Sawney Webb & the Bell Buckle story. Chapel Hill, NC, UNC Press, 1971. 186 pp.
  • Webb, William R. "Sawney Webb." Sewanee University Press, 1942. 16 pp. (reprinted from theSewanee Review April 1942).

Items at the Tennessee State Archives


  • McMillin, Lawrence. The schoolmaker: Sawney Webb & the Bell Buckle story. Chapel Hill, NC, UNC Press, 1971. 186 pp.
  • Parks, Ed W. "Sawney Webb: TN's schoolmaster.NC Hist. Rev. 12 (1935), pp. 233-251.
  • Webb, William R. "Sawney Webb." Sewanee University Press, 1942. 16 pp. (reprinted from theSewanee Review April 1942).

Extensive family tree research in profile name WebbArchives1870

William Robert (Sawney) Webb (1842-1926) born in Mount Tirzah, Person County, NC    Married 23 April 1873 Martha Emma Clary (1846-1937) born in Wilkes, NC  {Buried in Hazel Cemetery, Bell Buckle}



William Robert, Jr. Son Will (1874-1960) - Louise Hall Manning (1872-1958) married in 1898     


Alla (1875-1944) 


John Stanford (1877-1951) 

Wife - Eva May Bowen (1874-1958) married in 1906

Emma Bowen Webb (1907-1987)

Sawney Ben Webb (1910-1971)

Wife - Lena Ellen Cooper (1877-1963) married in 1923


Adeline (1879-1968) - Josiah Sibley (1877-1963) married in 1906

Lois Sibley (1914-1988)

Robert Peyton Sibley (1917-1988)

Josiah Sibley Jr. (1919-1966) 


Daniel Clary (1881-1954)   

Wife - Maude Eleanor Lindsay (1883-1914) married in 1912                

Daniel Clary Webb Jr. (1914 -1931)

Wife - Julia Hannah McCulley (1891-1976) married in 1918

William Robert Webb [WRW III] (1919-2005) Founder of Webb School Knoxville 1955

George McCulley Webb (1920-2007)

Margaret Johns Webb (1923-2020)


Susan (1882-1980) - Edward Thomas Price (1883-1972) married in 1911

               Edward Thomas Price Jr. (1915-2012)

               Emma Clary (Emily) Price (1918-2002)


Emma (1884-1973) - McDugald Keener McLean (18861922) married in 1916

               Susanne Webb McLean (1918-2008)


Richard Thompson I (1887-1975) - Vivian Louise Howell (1894-1971) married in 1915 - Founders of Webb Schools in Claremont, CA 

Richard Thompson Webb Jr. (1917-1998)   

Robert Howell Webb (1918-1993)

William Robert Webb (1921-2010)

John "Jack" Lambuth Webb (1923-2009)



Using and Webb family materials in the archives, we have traced the Webb family lineage to 1350 – Sir Henry Thomas Webb, Sawney’s 16th great grandfather May 15, 1350 - Jan 1, 1397 

Other fun facts include: 
• William Shakespeare was Sawney and John’s 1st cousin 9x removed 
• Stephen Moore, Sawney’s maternal great grandfather was the original landowner of the properties now occupied by West Point. 
• Using this database, we have Sawney’s military battle record from the 15th Infantry Regiment in North Carolina





John Maurice Webb (1847-1916)   married to Harriet Elizabeth "Lily" Shipp (1849-1929)


Birth 29 Nov 1847 in Stony Point, Alexander, North Carolina, USA
Death 5 Apr 1916 in Bell Buckle, Bedford, Tennessee





Albert Micajah Webb (1877-1965) - Clara Louise Jones (1886-1970) married in 1914

John Maurice Webb (1915-1999)


Cornelia Webb (1879-1973)



Mary Gillespie Webb (1881-1957) - Stewart Lea Mims (1880-1961) married in 1914

Mary Webb, class of 1899, daughter of John M. Webb


Stewart Lea Mims Jr. (1915-1945)

Elizabeth Webb Mims (1916-1960)

Cornelia Williamson Mims (1919-1998)







Sarah Webb (1884-1963) - Dr. Benjamin Witt Key (1883-1940) married in 1913

Sarah Webb, Daughter of John M. Webb



Sarah Webb Key (1914-1983)





Hazel Alexander Webb (1886-1888)




 Read about John Webb in John Andrew Rice's I Came Out of the Eighteenth Century

Webb Chapter  "The two had made the school together, disciplinarian and scholar"



The Webb School of Bell Buckle - Preparatory Academies and Vanderbilt University

Price - Webb School in Lewisburg - Preparatory Academies and Vanderbilt University 

Webb Family Papers, 1795-1960  - the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Education: The Webbs of Bell Buckle Time Magazine Sept 16, 1946




 1870 Sawney Webb began teaching in the basement of a Methodist Church in Culleoka
 1886 The school moved to Bell Buckle
 1892 Two Webb students helped to form the Princeton Honor Code
 1905 Princeton's President, Woodrow Wilson, visits Bell Buckle on November 27, 1905
 1913 Sawney was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill out the unexpired term of Robert L. Taylor
 1920 A Board of Trustees and a separate Alumni Association were formed in 1920
 1926 A new administration building and the John Webb Library were built
 1951 A new "Big Room" was completed
 1952 Webb ceased off-campus boarding and began a dormitory system 
 1952-1963   Buildings constructed include the Haun-Ragland Gym, Rand Dormitory, Grace Follin Dining Hall, Bradley AV Center, and faculty homes on Turtle Circle
 1965 The G. Webb Follin Administration Building and Chapel were built 
 1970 Webb began official day student program
1981 Cooper-Farris & Austin Davis dormitories and the Davis-Woosley Science center were constructed 
1993 The student body moved every book by hand into the beautiful new William Bond Library 
2002 Webb's Athletic program added the Imre Lagler Athletic field and the Barton Athletic Center 
2007 The Haun-Ragland Gym was renovated into a Fine Arts Center
2011 After nearly 50 years, Football returns to Webb
2012  The Margaret G. Turner House faculty residence was dedicated
2013  Webb's first Cheerleading team


William R. Webb, Jr. "Son Will"

was the firstborn of Sawney and Emma Webb and became known as "Son Will." He joined his father at Webb in 1908 and assumed the leadership of the School in 1926. Son Will led Webb through some difficult economic times and during World War II, remaining true to the School's mission and ensuring its continuation.

The Webb School Library and Archives is home to the "Son Will" Collection which includes correspondence, writings, pictures, and other material of William R. Webb Jr.

An interesting part of this collection is the box of calling cards from Son Will's wedding with his first wife Louise Hall Manning on October 19, 1898 at the Chapel of the Cross, in Chapel Hill, NC.  

Among the guests attending the wedding who left their calling cards are some prominent characters in education and politics.
  • Francis Preston Venable a chemist, educator, and president of the University of North Carolina 
  • Edwin Anderson Alderman served as the President of three universities
  • Charles Baskerville an American chemist, author of six books and over two hundred scientific papers
  • Joshua Walker Gore, engineer, inventor, and professor
  • Herbert Cushing Tolman, author and Professor of Greek at Vanderbilt University. 
  • John Manning, Jr., lawyer, and congressman
  • George Stockton Wills, author and professor of English at Western Maryland College



 Rhodes Scholar Webb class of :   
 Dr. John James Tigert  1900  
 Dr. Albert Godfrey Sanders 1901  
 Ebb James Ford   1903  
 Theodore Trimmier McCarley  1904  
 McDugald Keener McLean  1904  
 John Andrew Rice 1908  
 Hatton Dunnica Towson 1909  
 William Yandell Elliott 1913  
 George Tayloe Ross 1921  
 William Webb White  1950  



  • Ingram Macklin Stainback - Hawaii
  • Fielding Lewis Rice - Mississippi
  • William Prentice Cooper - Tennessee 


Elton Watkins: U.S. Congressman from Oregon 1923-1925

Thomas Watt Gregory: Attorney General of the United States, 1914-1919

Harold Earthman: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Ewin L. Davis: Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission

Jerry Martin class of 1992 U.S. Attorney for the state of Tennessee 2010 - 2014


  • Charles Alexander:  TIME magazine reporter, writer, and editor
  • Jac Chambliss, Lawyer, poet and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts of London
  • William Yandell Elliott: Rhodes Scholar, Vanderbilt Fugitive, Harvard government professor, mentor of Henry Kissinger
  • Andrew Glaze: Award winning American poet and writer.  Alabama Poet Laureate
  • Vermont C. Royster: Editor of the Wall Street Journal; Winner of 2 Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Allen Steele: Hugo Award-winning science fiction author

Annie Whiteside

 An unwavering devotion to education guided a career spanning fifty-five years as a teacher and administrator. Miss Annie was born in Bell Buckle in 1889 and graduated from Webb School in 1906. Her teaching career commenced as a mathematics instructor at Randolph Macon College for Women. In 1918, she returned to Bell Buckle and became Webb School's first, and for a number of years only, female teacher. Her years left their mark on Webb, and even today many a former student carries a cherished memory of Miss Annie as a teacher, counselor and friend.  In 1933 Miss Annie became a registrar and later director of admissions for Randolph Macon College for Women, and in 1959 she took up yet another new aspect to her career. She founded and was first headmistress of Seven Hills School in Virginia, a post she held until her retirement in 1965.

Jeanne Haynes

 Haynes Grocery "Miss Jeanne's"


Jeanne contains but does not hide her delight at being introduced. This scene has been played countless times, but for Miss Jeanne the wonder of being remembered never wears thin. The proof she will proudly display without request.  Her mementos include a bulletin board pictured with children, Kodak snapshots of alums and their families enclosed in Christmas notes, or notes of "thank you for being you." If names are forgotten, which they rarely are, it has nothing to do with the heart. For it is with "the School" that a good part of Miss Jeanne's heart lies.  She has many memories of Webb, but none compare to the night in 1974 when she received her Bible.



The Rosenbergs

In 1942, Mr. Will Webb, Jr., traveled to Nashville to attend a series of lectures given by a group of "displaced" German scholars. He was so impressed that, afterwards, he invited them to come to Webb to speak before the student body.  One gentleman from the group, an Austrian rather than a German, immediately fell in love with the school and the town of Bell Buckle. Son Will discovered this and, as he had just lost a teacher, asked this Austrian scholar if he was interested in  a job. He was, and he called his wife in New York to see if she was interested in moving south. She was indeed, and shortly after that they moved to Bell Buckle. This was how Dr. Otto Rosenberg and his wife Emma came to Webb School. 



Three Webb Schools

The Webb School in Bell Buckle, founded by W.R. "Sawney" Webb in 1870, hosted representatives from The Webb Schools in Claremont, Calif., and Webb School of Knoxville, Tenn., on Dec. 8. Thompson Webb, son of Sawney Webb, founded the schools in Claremont in 1922, and Robert "Bob" Webb, Sawney's grandson, founded Webb School of Knoxville in 1955.



TSLA Grant

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett visited The Webb School on Feb. 27 to present a library archives grant that will assist with the preservation, processing and storage of historical records. The $2,000 grant to the school’s Library and Archives Department will fund archival supplies and equipment. Sen. Jim Tracy and Rep. Pat Marsh joined Hargett at the presentation in The Bond Library on campus.





Thompson Webb III  visits Webb

The 57 seniors in The Webb School Class of 2012 participated in one of many traditions, Nov. 11, as they received their senior blazers. Marking the ceremony, Thompson Webb III, great-grandson of school founder, W.R. “Sawney” Webb, and Brown University professor emeritus, geological sciences, was the keynote speaker.

Using a story to illustrate how Sawney Webb immersed himself in study when presented with a topic of debate, kept an open mind and was receptive to new thinking, Thompson Webb III told seniors that life, climate and the earth each evolve and change. “So as you look out on life, the message I can give you as a geologist is ‘expect change.’ And the message from Sawney Webb is ‘keep an open mind.’ Who knows where the changes may carry you and what you can learn by studying as Sawney once did.”

Thompson Webb III received a Bachelor of Science with honors in botany from Swarthmore College and a doctorate in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was an I.S.T. Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan. He was elected as a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall and Botany School, University of Cambridge, was a CIRES Visiting Fellow at the University of Colorado, and a Bullard Fellow, Harvard University. Individually and in collaboration with colleagues, he has received numerous research grants. Webb also has an extensive list of awards and publications. He retired in 2005 after 36 years of teaching and research. He received the American Quaternary Association Distinguished Career Award for 2006.

 Julie Webb visits Bell Buckle

Students at The Webb School in Bell Buckle were treated to a mini-history lesson Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009 as a relative of William R. “Old Sawney” Webb discussed the heritage of The Webb School and its two namesakes, The Webb School in Knoxville and The Webb Schools in Claremont, Calif.  Visiting the Bell Buckle campus in honor of the 167   th    birthday of Sawney (The Webb School Bell Buckle’s founder) and the presentation of senior blazers to the graduating class of 2010, Julie Webb addressed the student body, recalling her time on the Bell Buckle campus as a young wife and dorm parent.

Archival Photos

Throw Back Thursday on Sawney Facebook

The Webb School Library and Archives Phone: 931-389-5758