“Mother’s Two Brothers” Part 1 can be found here.
Registers of Enlistment for the United States Army provide some details of James W. Webb’s military career. He enlisted on September 9, 1897 at Nashville Tennessee. His birthplace was Campbell county, Tennessee, his previous occupation a salesman. He was discharged September 8, 1900 at Meycauayan in the Philippines, and the remarks on his record note “Excellent. Sgt.” On the 1900 Federal Census (taken in June just before his discharge date), Corporal James W. Webb of Knoxville Tennessee, born July 1873, was enumerated while serving in the Infantry, Third Regiment, Co. E, in the Philippines.
He reenlisted on May 29, 1908 at Jefferson Bluffs Missouri and again on June 10, 1911 at San Antonio Texas. He was discharged November 13, 1913 at Camp E.S. Otis in the Panama Canal Zone. James also appears on the ship’s manifest of the S.S. Turrialba, arriving at the Port of New York from Colon, R.P. on August 6, 1912. Another manifest shows him arriving at the Port of New Orleans on May 25, 1917 on board the S.S. Heredia, sailing from Limon and Cristobel, Canal Zone.
Of particular interest is the Emergency Passport Application, filed in Paris France and issued January 31, 1919. As a major in the Army, he had not been required to have a passport for international travel, but a mission to Poland for food relief demanded that he obtain one for travel on February 1. The application provides a number of details: his full name, James Williams Webb; his birth date, July 3, 1873, and his father’s name and birthplace: Jno. C. Webb was born at Coal Creek Tennessee. James had last left the United States on July 6, 1918, arriving in Glasgow Scotland. His application also includes a photo of him in uniform.
Not long after, on August 26, 1920, James applied for another passport at Washington D.C. With vital statistics matching and another photo showing him to be the same man, he did nonetheless report several changes, the most important of which was his new residence in Washington D.C. James’ destination was Mexico and his purpose, United States Consular service. He was to serve as a clerk in the American Consulate at Guaymas Mexico, leaving September 5, 1920. The last page of this application brings the search full circle: a handwritten note that reads:
To whom it may concern:
I, Mary Webb Davis, resident of Washington, D.C. make affidavit that I am personally acquainted with James Williams Webb, that he is my brother and was born in Campbell County in the State of Tennessee on or about July 3″ 1873.
Mary Webb Davis
The affidavit was notarized on August 24, 1920. I found no more records after that date. Now realizing that Mary Webb Davis was a resident of Washington D.C., it now seems more likely that she, and not Mattie Davis Webb as previously speculated, is the subject of this portrait.
Also worth noting: in spite of his storied career, I found no evidence that James W. Webb ever married, so Grandma and Grandpa Shaw could not belong to his non-existent spouse.
So far we’ve traced both Roscoe Webb and James Webb and have found no hint of the Shaws. However, there’s a shadow figure in these brothers’ story, and she is the one I’m most interested in locating next. The original caption on the photograph referred to Roscoe and James as “mother’s two brothers.” The caption was written by a child of either Alice Webb or Mary Webb Davis.
Why is this shadow person important? It’s a reasonable guess that the entire group of photos found their way to the antique shop via one person’s collection. That means that while Roscoe and James Webb don’t appear to have a direct connection to the Shaws, the person who owned the photos just might. Join me on September 10th to see if we can identify “Mother.”