With Sawney known for his drive and discipline and John known for his "saintly character, deep learning and the gift of imparting it," according to Vanderbilt University professor emeritus Edwin Mims, the brothers were a powerful force in education.
"The two had made the school together, disciplinarian and scholar" John Andrew Rice
"Returning from Versailles, Woodrow Wilson, onetime president of Princeton, told Webb alumnus Norman Davis: "The Webbs defy all the accepted laws of pedagogy, but their boys were the best prepared that we got." - Time Magazine 1946
In 1869 while teaching at The Horner School on the outskirts of Oxford, North Carolina Sawney spoke at length with a fellow teacher about his dream of an “educational utopia.” The very next year W. H. Wilkes the town father of Culleoka, Tennessee wrote in a letter, “the school is yours.”
The first couple of years were a struggle. In 1873 Sawney wrote his younger brother John M Webb asking him to join him at Culleoka. John was eager to join his brother’s new venture. Sawney was quite proud of his accomplished younger brother and placed an announcement of his arrival in the Columbia Herald. In the late 1870s, the school’s name was changed to Webb Brothers’ School. Although the brothers were offered professorships at Vanderbilt in 1875, the brothers remained the school principals until their respective deaths John Webb in 1916 and Sawney Webb in 1926.
Dr. Price, a physicist specializing in elementary particles, holds degrees in physics from Pomona College (BA) and Harvard University (MA and PhD). He is retired from a career at Argonne National Laboratory, where he held the rank of senior physicist and was director of the High Energy Physics Division.
PhD in Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1971 MA, Brown University, 1976 BA in Botany, Swarthmore College, 1966 -- Tom directed the Pollen Lab and Quaternary Paleoenvironments group at Brown since 1972 and is now Professor Emeritus of Geological Sciences. He is a paleoecologist and paleoclimatologist who studies both vegetation and climate dynamics. His research has focused on the mapping, modeling, and interpretation of vegetation and climate changes that have occurred since the last glacial maximum, 21,000 years ago.
Though the historic marker states John joined in 1874, John may have actually joined as early as the 1872-1873 school year.[FACT]
Sawney advertised John's principalship in The Columbia herald. January 24, 1873
Women first began attending Webb in the 1970s. [Fiction]
Female Students were among the members of the first class in 1870 [FACT]
From 1946 until 1969, Webb went from a coeducational institution to all-male.
Females returned after the 24 year period and the 1970s brought first female residential students to stay in Webb dorms.
Webb was founded as a Methodist school. [Fiction]
Though the founders were devout Methodists - Sawney boasted the school was founded as the first ‘strictly preparatory school’ west of the Alleghenies (Maury County Historical Society) [FACT]
"Webb School is non-sectarian. Among our students, there are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and often other faiths. No attempts are made to disturb a student's faith in any way." - G.W. Follin around 1931
Webb's future is intimately connected to the values of its original visionaries. The school supports six enduring understandings based upon these founding values. They are:
Integrity is a cornerstone of a flourishing life and community.
School's motto: "Noli Res Subdole Facere." Do nothing on the Sly
Honor Code "I pledge my word of honor that I will not lie, cheat, or steal."
Learning is an enjoyable and ongoing process.
"Go out and lead a large life" - some of Sawney's final words
Respect for self and others is essential to a harmonious society.
Self-discipline and autonomy are essential to success.
Progress is made only by experiment manipulated by individual initiative. In this age of transition from authority to experiment, there must be somewhere an experiment station for the children where authority in the use of tools and methods is not compulsory. - Sawney Webb 1905 speech to the SEA
Don't be a spectator take a hand in the game.
Each person has unique gifts and capacities and a responsibility to develop them.
Don't be a "me too!"
Each person shares the responsibility and honor of serving others.
William R. Webb Jr. "Son Will"
William R. "Bob" Webb III
Progress is made only by experiment manipulated by individual initiative. In this age of transition from authority to experiment, there must be somewhere an experiment station for the children where authority in the use of tools and methods is not compulsory.
The Webb School of Bell Buckle by Susan Coop Howell; Hannah Byrd LittleThe Webb School of Bell Buckle is the oldest continuously operating boarding school in the South. In Culleoka, Tennessee, in 1870, William Robert "Sawney" Webb Sr. founded the school, and classes were taught in the basement of a Methodist church. Webb's brother, John Maurice, joined as coprincipal in 1873. Having family ties to the town of Bell Buckle, the Webbs moved the school to its permanent home in 1886. With Sawney known for his drive and discipline and John known for his "saintly character, deep learning, and the gift of imparting it," according to Vanderbilt University professor emeritus Edwin Mims (Webb School class of 1888), the brothers were a powerful force in education and later became founding members of the Southern Association of Independent Schools. In addition to 10 Rhodes Scholars, the school has produced governors, university presidents, diplomats, CEOs, actors, artists, and several award-winning authors. The Webb School celebrates its sesquicentennial in 2020.