Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prince & Betty Webb Family

Prince Albert Webb was born in 1861 (probably in Illinois) to John Keston Webb and Tabitha Hensley. Tabitha died sometime in 1863. Not long afterwards, John died in 1867. Prince and his siblings were sent to live with his mother's family in Lewis County.

Elizabeth (Betty) Jane Carroll was born in 1860 in Lewis County to William Andrew Carroll and Sarah Jane Quillen. She married George Hinson and they had two children, both of whom died quite young. George died in an accident, being dragged to death by two runaway oxen. [I have not been able to determine if George was related to David Hinson.] In 1881, she remarried to Prince Albert Webb.

Betty and Prince were at the scene when the mob came to the home of Betsy's aunt Malinda Carroll Conder. Prince was a minister for the Free Will Baptist Church. Family tradition states they had no interest in the Mormon Church, but had traveled by ox cart to visit Betty's aunt. With them were their two children Byron F. Webb and William "Kess" Webb. Kess was being held in Malinda's arms when she was shot in the hip during the Massacre.

There was a note in the Nasville Banner that Col Johnson interviewed a man named Prince who lived on Swan Creek about the events. Prince claimed to have spoken with a Mormon Elder (probably Elder Jones) Sunday afternoon after the massacre. He asked for directions to Shady Grove in Hickman County. I don't know where Prince Albert Webb lived, but Betty's family lived on Swan Creek. It is likely this was the "Prince" at the Conder home
An anonymous source gave an interview with a newspaper (Nashville Daily American, August 19, 1884) in which he summerized, second hand, the eyewitness account of Betty Webb.

At about 10 o'clock, she saw the mob near the gate with old man Condor under arrest. He immediately called his boys to get their guns. They were off a short distance from the house, and made a rush for the home, as did also three of the attacking party, all reaching the house about the same time. Young Conder made an effort to get his gun. But before getting entire posession of it, one of the attacking party seized it, and for some time "begged him" to use her words, to give it up at one, and make no further attempt to molest them. He became more violent, and, by a quick movement, got posession of the gun, and quick as thought knocked his antagonist on the head with it, when he was shot dead by David Hinson, who had remained motionless during the struggle over the gun.

Elder Berry made a rush for Hinson, gathered him and had him partially unmasked, when he was shot dead by young Condor's first antagonist. Elder Gibbs, after making an unsucessful effort to assist Berry, was killed by the third party in disguise, all dying instantly. The house being cleared, Hinson and his party started to the gate to rejoin their company, when hutson, who had unknown to them, ran upstairs after his gun, appeared in the door and shot Hinson, who lived but a short time. Hutson started to run, but was shot down as he passed through the back door. Another barrel was emptied into him, and then the mob retired, carrying Hinson with them.

The account, though attributed to Betty Webb is paraphrased by the unnamed resident of Palestine, in Lewis County, Tennessee. Regardless of the "name dropping" it is still a heresay version.

One historian, Jeremy Ricketts, noted that Betty Webb never made any public statement to confirm or deny this version which is attributed to her. This description does differ on many specific points. If this account accurately represented her testimony, one might expect her to have made a statement herself. More likely, she feared the reprisals of the vigilantes, and so made no effort to make a statement or correct any of the details.

Not surprisingly, no published historian has seriously considered the facts as presented here as reliable. There have been several non Mormon historians who have written about the Massacre: W. L. Pinkerton, William W. Hatch and Marshal Wingfield, just to name a few. None have relied on the details from this story.

Prince and Betty later had six more children; Minnie Jane Webb, Tabitha A Webb, Bertha Webb, Earnest Sewell Webb, Walter Marion Webb, and Delia E. Webb. Betty died in 1922. Prince died in 1930. Both are buried in Lewis County.


Ardis Parshall said...

You continue to amaze me and do what I like best in history: you take what is usually presented as an isolated event, with little lead-in or aftermath, and make it so real by recreating the human lives involved -- who are these people, and why were they there, and how did they react, and why did they behave as they did? When you answer those questions, you make us see the massacre as one moment in a long, natural chain, not an artificial thing that came out of nowhere and disappeared just as fast.

That's probably clear as mud, but I have genuine admiration for you and what you're doing.

Amy said...

I'll second Ardis's comment.

I have no idea what the demand would be for a book on the Cane Creek Massacre, but if you write it, I'll be one of the first in line to buy a copy. :)

BruceCrow said...

History, as it is taught in schools is a boring list of dates to remember; isolated events taken out of context. People who love history know better. With the Cane Creek Massacre there were probably 50+ people there, each with their own story. There may be just as many who were not there whose lives were immediately changed by what happened there. Each one has a story to tell.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. You are not the first to suggest a book. I'm pretty sure the audience would not be very large. If I do get something published I'll let you know.

Ardis Parshall said...

WHEN you publish it, I'll fight Amy for first copy.

Seriously. As often as people have mentioned this, nobody has identified the people, collected the stories, and woven all the links that you have. You're in too deep. You owe it to all those people to tell their story the way it should be told.

BruceCrow said...

You make it sound like work.:)

Honestly, I have been trying to do as you suggest. I have the beginings of a manuscript already.

Stephanie said...

Just to set the record straight, His name was Princeton, not Prince. Another interesting fact is he was later preacher of Freewill Baptist Church in Lewis county.

BruceCrow said...

Thank you Staphanie. In this area, both in time and geography, it is difficult to distiguish someones real name. I have seen him refered to as "Al" and as "Prince" in several places, but Princeton makes sence. It fits the pattern of having a formal name but going by a less formal version of it. Are you related to the Webb family?