Origins of the VCS Historic Site
The Historic Webb Farm

The Webb Children
The Webb Slaves and Descendants
Succession of the Webb Farm
The Oaks
Artifact Recovery


Origins of the VCS Historic Site

      Around 1728, the descendants of the Lords Proprietor of North Carolina returned their lands back to the crown in exchange for positions in the colonial government. Only one of the eight Lords, John Carteret the 2nd Earl Granville, decided to keep his land and sell it in smaller parcels. One of these parcels was granted to William Morrow between 1750 and the American Revolution, and it was on this land that Victory Calls Stables would one day be located.


The will of William Morrow Sr. “2 I give unto my son James Morrow the plantation where on he now lives”

     William Morrow Sr. (1734-1807) was born in Ulster, Ireland before immigrating to either Pennsylvania or North Carolina, and eventually relocating to the area known as Oaks, NC sometime between 1750 and the Revolution with his wife, Jane Parks Morrow (1731-1794). The old Morrow homestead, where William and Jane Morrow are buried, was located about 1/4 mile from Victory Calls. After the Revolution, the land became property of North Carolina, but was granted back to the Morrow’s by the state in 1779. William Sr. left his lands to his sons William (1767-1852), who received the Morrow Homestead, and James (?-1842), part of whose inheritance would become VCS.
     James Morrow married three times, first to Christian Ray with whom he had three children, then to Sarah Thompson with whom he had six children, and finally to Nancy Lloyd. When James died in 1842, his land was divided in six parts. Legal contest between James' heirs prevented the sale of the land until 1844-1845, when all six parts were purchased by Alexander Smith Webb and Cornelia Adeline Stanford Webb.


Orange County Deed from George B. Morrow to A.S. Webb, Jan 2, 1845. “…a certain tract or parcel of land lying situate + being in the County of Orange state of No Carolina adjoining the land of William Bingham, William Morrow Elijah Pickard + others containing four hundred + sixty acres be the same more or less, it being the land formerly belonging to James Morrow…”

 

The Historic Webb Farm

      Alexander Smith Webb (1804-1849) has been described as coming from “one of the most prominent families in middle North Carolina,” descended from the Webb's of Essex Virginia. He married Cornelia Adeline Stanford Webb (1811-1891), daughter or U.S. Representative Richard Stanford and granddaughter or Revolutionary War General Stephen Moore. They began their life together near Mount Tirzah in Person County, NC, having nine of their eventual twelve children there. In 1845, Alexander Webb moved his family to Orange County (later Alamance County) near the Oaks community, such that his children might attend the prestigious Bingham School (now a bed and breakfast about 1/2 mile east VCS). The Webb’s called their new home “Stony Point”. The Webb home is believed to have been built in the same footprint as the home now occupied by the owners of VCS.


Above: One of two Bingham School uniform buttons excavated at Victory Calls

     The home at Oaks is described by several sources as the hub of the Webb family line. R. Bingham described the role of Cornelia and the old home in her obituary, as follows:
“She very rarely went out of the door of her own house except to enter the doors of the house of God, and though she visited no one everybody visited her, and everybody felt sure of her sympathy, and everybody loved her because she loved everybody … And so from that quiet and retired home a calm and gentle and helpful radiance went out, and her house was a sort of Bethel, a house of God and a gate of heaven, where her children and her grandchildren and her neighbors and their children seemed to get into touch with a higher and purer and better life through her example of sweetness and gentleness of faith and patience, of tenderness, sympathy and Christlikeness.”

     In the 1940 publication “Our Webb Kin of Dixie,”7 William James Webb wrote:
“Susan Webb never married. She kept the home fires burning at the old home at Oaks which the distant kin continued to visit. She was a collector of family relics and old letters, and she supplied a great deal of the history data to Dr. Robert D. Webb for his excellent book THE WEBB FAMILY.”


Left: Alexander Smith Webb, Center: The Webb house, Right: Cornelia Adeline Stanford Webb


Historical Maps showing the location of the Webb Farm at Stony Point. (Top to bottom) 1) The William Luther Spoon map of Alamance County, circa 1893, 2) The Spoon, Lewis, and Camp Map of Alamance County, 1928, 3) An aerial map of Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd. from Google Maps, 2008

The Webb Children

      The Webb's raised 11 children on this property, creating a legacy that reveals Alexander's emphasis on the necessity of education, and their Cornelia's focus on the importance of religion. These children were:


James Hazel Webb (1829-1902) served in the CSA during the Civil war. He married Catherine “Kate” Russell and moved to Granville, NC where he served on the county board of education. His son is the namesake of J.F. Webb high school in Oxford, NC, and his grandson is James Edwin Webb, was the administrator of NASA from 1961-1968 and namesake of the James Webb Space Telescope, set to replace the Hubble telescope in 2013.


Henrietta "Etta" Webb (1830-1882) attended the prestigious Burwell School for Girls in Hillsborough, NC, which is now a museum. She battled mental illness during much of her adult life, and was hospitalized at least twice in 1858 and 1861. She never married. Shown above is an excerpt regarding Henrietta’s second trip to the asylum from the diary of sister Susan Webb.

Susan "Suny" Webb
Susan Ann "Suny" Webb (1831-1905) also attended the Burwell School. She started a small school of her own in 1859, which she named the Almeda Schoolhouse, on the “mountain field” south of Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd. She lived at the old home in Oaks until her death, never having married.

Mary Caroline "Line" Webb (1833-1904) was the last of the Webb girls to attend the Burwell School. She has been described as “one of the most popular and charming young girls of “The Oaks” community.” Mary Caroline married the neighbor’s boy, Rev. Calvin Newton Morrow, in 1859, and they moved to a four acre orange grove in Florida in 1883. They had no children.

Sidney Smith Webb (1835-1910) married Eliza Ellen Morrow, with whom he had eleven children, and lived in a farmhouse that still stands on Mebane Oaks Road across from the Bingham School. There he ran a general store and the Oaks post office.

  Rev. Richard Stanford Webb (1837-1901) was a Methodist minister and served as Chaplain of The 44th N.C. Reg. C.S.A. He married Jennie Morrow Clegg, and had five children, one of whom (William Alexander Webb) went on to become President of Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, VA.

Alexander Smith "Tip” Webb Jr. (1840-1928) served in the confederate army as 3rd Lieutenant and Adjutant in the 44th N.C. Reg. C.S.A., and captured near Petersburg, VA. He married Annabella Moore, and had seven children. He moved to Warren County where he served as Justice of the Peace, town commissioner, chairman of the county board of education. His son Charles A. Webb owned the Asheville Gazette-News in addition to serving in the NC State Senate and as a US Marshal.

Left: Rev. Richard Stanford Webb
Right: "Tip" Webb

Senator William Robert Webb
Senator William Robert “Sawney” Webb (1842-1926) served as 1st Lieutenant, 15th NC C.S.A., and was wounded and captured. He was the founder of the prestigious Webb School at Bell Buckle, in Tennessee, described as “the best training school for boys west of the Alleghenies.” He represented Tennessee in the United States Senate in 1912. He married Emma Clary, and they raised eight children. His son Thompson founded the Webb Schools of California, and his grandson founded the Webb School of Knoxville.

Arianna Adeline Webb (1845-1897) married Leonidas Webb, and had seven children. They lived in Nashville, TN, where Leonidas worked as a grocer and Arianna worked for the publication Tennessee Methodist.

John Maurice Webb (1847-1916) moved to Bell Buckle, TN with his brother Sawney, and was co-principal of the Webb School at Bell Buckle. He married Lily Shipp and they had five children.

Samuel Henry Webb (1849-1929) was too young to join the CSA, but served as a Captain in the 7th NC reserves. It was said that Captain Sam was present at Bennett Farm when General Johnston surrendered to General Sherman. Samuel lived at the homestead with his sister until his death, working as a lawyer, farmer, and county commissioner.. He never married, but took in and raised orphans Bruce and William Talbert. William Talbert lived with Sam in his elder years, caring for him at the Oaks homestead until his death.


Above: Letterhead for Samuel H. Webb, Attorney at Law
Right: United Confederate Veterans 1927 Reunion Medal, believed to have once belonged to Capt. Webb. It was recovered at the farm site in 2010.

 
Left: John Maurice Webb, Right: Capt. Sam Webb

The Webb Slaves and Descendants

      The Webb family claimed ownership of about a dozen slaves. Among them were Doctor (Dock or Doc) Webb (ca.1821 - ?) and his wife, Julia Stub Webb (ca. 1826 - ca. 1910's). Names weren't recorded with either the1850 or 1860 slave census, but ages reveal that the two likely lived with the Webb's during these years. The family continued to live near and work for the Webb's after emancipation until the 1880's. Julia had a total of 19 children, some of whom eventually relocated to Durham, and still have descendants in the area.


1880 census sheet showing Dock and Julia Webb

     It is unknown when Doc passed away, but Julia lived with her daughter, Mary Webb Gattis, as late as 1910. The first born daughter and son of Mary Webb Gattis and her husband Richard Gattis were named after their grandparents. Julia Gattis (Julia Webb's granddaughter) married Rev. Matthew Nunn, and the two founded Nunn's Chapel northwest of Chapel Hill, NC. The church, which has since burned leaving only the church steps, was said to have seated as many as 150 people.

 

Succession of the Webb Farm

      Alexander Webb had been in Oaks just four years before his death in 1849. He left his estate, including the farm, to his wife Cornelia. Cornelia passed away in 1891, leaving the property to daughter Susan Webb. The Spoon map of 1893 shows Susan living at the location of Victory Calls Stables, and Samuel living in a separate house just west of the farm. Susan left the home to her brother Samuel at her death in 1905. The 1928 Spoon, Lewis, and Camp map shows Samuel now living in the homestead at the site of VCS. When Samuel died in 1929 the farm was left to William Talbert, one of the boys he had helped raise, in payment of a shared debt for the purchase of an automobile.


The will of Alexander Smith Webb, 1849
“First to my beloved wife Cornelia A. I give and devise the tract of land on which I now live
containing three four hundred and sixty acres, be the same more or less to her & her heirs forever.”


The will of Cornelia Adeline Stanford Webb, 1891
“First – I will and bequeath to my daughter Susan A. Webb her heirs and assigns one
hundred and fifty acres of land including the homestead and improvements.


Excerpt from a legal description for the boundaries of the land willed to Susan Webb by her
mother Cornelia Webb, and written by executor Richard Webb, and filed by attorney Samuel H. Webb.
"The boundaries of a tract of land willed to Susan A Webb by her mother, and the
boundaries established by me as executor May 28th 1892 R.S Webb Executor"


The Will of Samuel H. Webb
“Second: I give and devise to William Talbert in fee my home and about seventy five acres of land”


The Webb Oaks

    The mighty oaks, namesake of the town, stood through it all. For hundreds of years they watched as the Morrows farmed the land around them, and the Webb children played, learned, and worshiped under their expansive canopies. They still stand tall over Victory Calls Stables, providing shade over the horses and guests of the farm. The huge central oak is shown below, with Emily standing 5'3" at the base for scale.

Artifact Recovery

    Literally hundreds of artifacts have been recovered from the farm site over many years. These include tools, cut nails, buttons, buckles, bullets, coins, and a few more unique pieces. Several Civil War artifacts have been excavated at VCS and surrounding properties, including several bullets, part of a knife scabbard, a Union cavalry carbine sling buckle, a shoulder eppaulette, and a rare North Carolina State Seal button. Of particular interest on a horse farm are the cast iron horse bit, and cart-horse shoes. Other items of note include a travel-trunk lock plate made by locksmith Conrad Liebrich circa 1850, a piece from the pour spout mechanism of a mid- to late-1800's gunpowder flask, part of a coil from a Model T Ford. This may be from the very same "automobile" referenced in the will of Capt. Sam.

   We have also recovered two rare Bingham School uniform buttons, likely belonging to one of the Webb children or the family's student boarders (see The Historic Webb Farm). Other flat style buttons date back intto the early eighteen hundreds.

    The oldest coin found to date is an 1853 silver three-cent piece, although this is far from the oldest man-made object recovered. That distinction belongs to a Guilford Point, a stone tool found in our back pasture but manufactured 4,000 years ago! For perspective, that's about the same time as the construction of the pyramids. Other old coins from the property include a mid 1800's large cent, and America's first nickel five cent piece, the shield nickel dating from the mid-late 1800's.

    Perhaps the most interesting finds are a pair of delegates medals from the 1924 and 1927 reunions of the United Confederate Veterans, shown above (see The Webb Children). Several sources have mentioned Capt. Sam's great level of participation in this organization all the way up until his death, so it is likely that these medals were once his. Needless to say, artifact recovery is an ongoing process, and this page will be updated as new discoveries are made.