Owen, Thomas McAdory, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography (Chicago: The S
DICTIONARY OF ALABAMA BIOGRAPHY, v. 4, p. 1737—
WEBB, FRANK BELL, Presbyterian minister, was born November 5, 1848, at Eutaw, Green County; son of William Peter and Martha Burwell (Bell) Webb, the former a native of Lincoln County, N. C, a lawyer, who came to Alabama and settled in Greensboro, moved to Eutaw in 1839, and practiced his profession there until his death in 1890; grandson of Judge Henry Young and Elizabeth (Forney) Webb, who lived at Mount Welcome, Lincoln County, N. C, the former who was a native of that state, was appointed by President Monroe to be judge of the U. S. district court from the territory of Alabama, went to Alabama in 1818, and held the first court at Neighbors Cross Roads, was elected one of the circuit judges by the first legislature of Alabama, and held that office at the time of his death in 1823, and of John and Elizabeth Randolph (Bacon) Bell, natives of Virginia, who lived at Greensboro.
The Webb family was originally from Dorsetshire, Wales, and it held an honorable position at the time Katherine Parr was regent of England, as far back as 1544. The earliest history that is known of the family runs back to Henry Webb, who was born in Warwickshire, England, 1357.
Mr. Webb received his early education at Eutaw, at Hatfield academy, and at Pleasant Ridge academy. He entered the University of Mississippi in January, 1866, and two years later entered Washington and Lee university, from where he was graduated in March, 1869. He attended the Union theological seminary at Hampden Sidney, Va., and after a three years’ course, was graduated, B.D., 1872. He was ordained as a minister of the gospel of the Presbyterian church, December 1, 1872, and was installed by the Presbytery of Alabama as pastor of the Union Springs church. He remained in that charge for fifteen years; held the pastorate of the Third Presbyterian church of Birmingham for a year; and of the First Presbyterian church of Columbia, Tenn., for twelve years and a half; moved to Talladega in July, 1902, to become president of the Isbell female college; took charge of the First Presbyterian church of Talladega in January, 1902, in connection with the college work; and at the end of two years resigned from the college work and continued in charge of the church.
He was a director on the board of the Columbia Theological Seminary, South Carolina, for four years as a representative from the Synod of Alabama; was for five years at one time and four years at another the chairman of the executive committee of the Synod’s Orphans’ Home; was a member of the executive committee of foreign missions of general assembly for seven years; was moderator of the Synod of Alabama in 1881, 1905 and 1911; was moderator of the Synod of Nashville, Tenn., in 1890; has served as a member of the board of trustees of the Synodical college for Women; was made president of the first State temperance convention, held at Athens, April, 1881; and was appointed delegate to the second World’s Christian Citizenship Conference, 1913. The degree of D. D. was conferred upon Dr. Webb by one of the institutions of learning in North Carolina.
He was a Knight of Pythias and for two years held office as district deputy grand chancellor; served for two years as grand chief templar of the Order of Good Templars in Alabama. While surprising to us today, it was not uncommon for Southern Presbyterians to hold membership in the Freemasons and similar organizations. That practice seems now to have died out among Presbyterians. Rev. Webb was also a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon college fraternity. He was editor of the Orphan’s Home Monthly, published by the Synod of Alabama in connection with its orphanage work.
Married: October 30, 1872, at Lexington, Va., to Mary White Paxton, daughter of Maj. James Gardner and Annie Maria (White) Paxton, of that place, granddaughter of Matthew and Mary White, the former a native of Ireland and the latter of Augusta County, Va., and of Elisha and Margaret (McNutt) Paxton, who lived on a landed estate along the James River Valley of Virginia. The Paxtons are descended from a soldier of Cromwell who emigrated with his comrades to the north of Ireland, and later came to America. Children: 1. James Gardner Paxton, d. July 8, 1902, m. Mary B. Abernathy of Leighton, who lives with her son, Frank Bell, in Tuscaloosa; 2. Martha Bell, m. Mr. Morris, McComb, Miss.; 3. Frank Bell, d. January 22, 1887, at Union Springs; 4. Mattie Frazer, McComb, Miss.; 5. Annette Paxton, Talladega; 6. Virginia Foster, m. Jewell W. Dickinson, Talladega. Residence: Talladega.
Frank Bell Webb died on 30 November 1925.