Richard Webb, a prominent citizen and capitalist of Jackson, Amador County, is a native of England, born in Oxfordshire on the 1st of October, 1843. His parents, Henry B. and Harriet (Flowers) Webb, were both natives of England, whence they immigrated to Australia, taking with them their family of seven children; and the father followed the blacksmith’s trade during his active business career. He is now in his ninety-sixth year, but his wife has passed away, her death having occurred when she had attained the age of eighty-three years. They were reared in the Episcopal Church but later became Methodists. Seven of the family are still living and all residents of Australia with the exception of our subject.
Richard Webb was only three years of age when his parents removed to Australia. He was educated in Adelaide, South Australia, finishing in the Congregational College at Melbourne, Victoria, with the intention of entering the ministry. He began to preach when only sixteen years of age, as a disciple of the Methodist faith and for a number of years was a very acceptable local minister. Before attaining his majority he learned the printer’s trade in Adelaide, and in his twenty-first year he became the editor of the Northern Argus, in that colony. At length he determined to establish his home in America and in 1871 sailed from New South Wales to San Francisco, after which he worked on various newspapers in that city and in Sacramento for about three years. In 1874 he went to Utah, where he established a paper, but conducted it only three months. Subsequently he worked in various newspaper offices in Salt Lake City, being for some time connected with the Salt Lake Tribune, after which he went to New York. Six months were passed in the eastern metropolis and at the end of this period he took up his abode in Virginia City and Winnemucca, Nevada, where he continued his journalistic work until his removal to Sutter Creek, Amador County, where he began the publication of the Fort Hill Ensign, which he issued for five months. In 1875 he purchased a half interest in the Amador Ledger, took editorial charge and later became the sole proprietor, editor and publisher. For seventeen years he continued his connection with that journal until selling out in 1892. Two years later he became the owner of the Amador Republican, which he issued until 1898, when he sold the paper and plant and retired from the journalistic field.
During his long connection with newspaper work in Amador County, Mr. Webb wielded a potent influence for good; earnestly supporting every measure which he believed would be a public benefit. He was very outspoken on the side of justice and right, sparing neither high nor low when their conduct was reprehensible. On one occasion, when a number of robbers were tried and acquitted, he was very severe in his criticism on the court and for this was arrested on the charge of contempt of court. At the trial he was fined and imprisoned, but appealed the case on habeas corpus and was acquitted by the Supreme Court. Later he again severely criticized things which he deemed wrong and was arrested and tried for libel, but was able to prove that which he had published was fact and again came off victorious before the court. His prosecution, of course, cost him some money, but during the trial the subscriptions to the Ledger increased rapidly, and instead of the arrests harming him they served but to build up the paper. As a journalist he was ever independent, fearless and true, and he espoused with the same loyalty and strength any cause which he believed right. He has always been an active Republican, giving his aid and influence for the promotions of the party’s interests. In 1892 he received the appointment of United States Commissioner of Amador County, which office he holds at the present time.
As a businessman and financier, Mr. Webb has met with very creditable success and has become one of the large property holders of the town. He is the owner of the new National Hotel and built and owns the Webb Block, one of the finest structures of the town, and he has two store buildings and several dwellings. He is also the owner of the Lode Hotel and the Pine Grove Hotel, all in Amador County and good paying property. He is a man of sound judgment in business affairs and his capable management has brought to him creditable prosperity.
In 1877 Mr. Webb was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jones, a native daughter of Jackson, and her father, Thomas Jones, was one of the first settlers of the town. Mr. and Mrs. Webb enjoy the high regard of all who know them. He is not connected with any sect or society and is a materialist in his views of life. His fearless conduct in what he believes to be right, his fidelity to duty and his sterling worth commend him the respect of all.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.