Elder J.A. Webb
The Baptist Trumpet--1969
Although my life has been fraught with many changing and shifting scenes, yet, through the mercy of a kind Heavenly Father, I have been blessed in more ways than I am able to enumerate.
I was born three miles west of Lexington, Henderson County, Tennessee, on February 11, 1870. My father was William J. Webb and my mother was Adiline (Dunn) Webb. I had two brothers, Isaac E. Webb, who was almost 97 years old when he died, and J. Lee Webb, who now is 90 years old and is living in Ardmore, Oklahoma. I had one sister Mary Frances Webb who married Jonn Towwater.
When I was eleven years of age, in the year 1881, my mother died, leaving four of us children and our dear father in sorrow and grief. Indeed we could say in the language of the poet, "Oh, Dear Mother, how we miss you." Our father kept us together, the best he could, until the year 1887, when it pleased the Lord to call him by death, leaving us alone in a very poor country. I then worked a while for a Mr. Joe White at $6.00 per month. After this, I lived a while with my older brother, I. E. Webb, who was almost six years older than l, and who had married in thc meantime.
In the year 1890, I went to live with my Uncle John Webb, who lived in our old home place. In the early part of the year 1891 I entered the M. and F. School of Lexington, Tennessee, and attended the remainder of the term, and in the autumn term until Christmas.
At that time my grandfather, E. B. Webb, was taken ill with pneumonia, and died. During his illness, his brother, Elder S. W. Webb, and his brother's son, Dr. A. L. Webb, both from Texas, came to see Grandfather in his last hours. So, when Uncle Sam and Cousin Abner Webb got ready to return to Texas, I came with them to Texas in 1892.
I worked on the farm here in Texas for three years, and in the autumn of 1895, I entered the Blue Ridge School under the principalship of Professor C. F. Trotter. I attended two terms at Blue Ridge, and then I taught one term of school at Barnett School, just south of Blue Ridge.
In the autumn of 1898, I entered the Leonard School at Leonard, Texas. There I finished for a first grade State Certificate to teach school. (This was the top certificate the state offered--not a certificate to teach first grade.) After this I taught at the following places: Johnson School, Cross Roads, McKinney, all in Collin County, and in Lamar County I taught at Powderly, Madill, Craddoc, and Eureka, and again in Collin County at Arnold. My teaching extended over a period of 12 years.
Now to the religious phase of my life. My father was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church and my mother was a Methodist by name, although she attended the Primitive Baptist Church regularly, and I have heard her shout praises to God many times as she listened to Primitive Baptists ministers. I professed a hope in Christ when I was 17 years old, before I came to Texas. Because I had been influenced and told by others that the Primitive Baptists taught, and believed, that God predestinated all things both good and bad, I united with the Missionary Baptists, and I attended regularly. But from some cause I didn't feel satisfied, but kept on going. Then one day my grandfather asked me if I believed that I was instrumental in saving people for Heaven and Immortal glory. I said, "I most assuredly do not." Grandfather said, "Your preacher does, but you just watch, pray and study God's word."
So, the very next Sunday I filled my seat at church, and to my surprise, our pastor went into the stand, and do you know he started off by saying almost exactly what my grandfather pointed out to me--with things such as, and he pointed me out to the congregation, and said, "Now you take this young man he is here every time, he doesn't miss and he is sure for Heaven"--and so on.
Well, I was really troubled, my heart was so burdened. The next Sunday Elder J. E. W. Jenkins was to be at Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, so I went and he explained that some people accuse us Primitive Baptists of believing and preaching that God predestinated everything both good and evil. He said, "Now we don't believe a word of it, and if anyone wants to question me on this, I'm ready for them." Then he read in the 2nd Chapter of Ephesians, 1st verse through 10th verse.
"And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were be nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7. That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any many should boast. 10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
And then he went to the 2nd Chapter of Philippians, 12th and 13th verses:
"12. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
So when this dear old servant of God showed so vividly these two salvations, I was shown the dear old Primitive Baptist Church, and through the grace of God I shouted praise to God all over the place. I don't know why, but I didn't join the Church that day. I united with Providence Primitive Baptist Church in Collin County, Texas, in the year 1894. I was baptized in Arnold Creek near the Church, by Elder J. H. Gotcher, the 1st Sunday in March of that year.
I was married to Miss Lou Annie Aulds near Ladonia, Texas, on November 16, 1902. We were blessed with 9 children, 6 of whom are still living., They are: Mary Rushing, Lou Vada Webb and four sons; Willie, Dalton, Luther, and Alton. We have 18 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
I was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry the first Sunday in June, 1903, by a presbytery of two ministers---Elders J. H. Gotcher and J. W. Herriage, and two deacons--Brothers J. N. Butler and Isaac E. Webb. I have served as pastor to all the way from one to four churches at the same time, teaching some of the time and also farming between Sundays. Usually I left home Friday afternoon and returned late Sunday night or early Monday. The brethren and sisters have been so very good to me, even in controversy and sad misunderstanding. I feel that through the divine mercy of God, He has enabled me to keep sight of His true Church.
I have no record of me number that I've had the privilege to baptize, but it has been many; the last being Sister Lela Flemming, in the spring of 1960, when I was just past 90 years of age. It has been my privilege to assist in many, many ordination services. When I was just past 97, I had the honor of delivering the charge in the ordination service of Elder James Henthorn, whom I love and esteem greatly.
I have united many dear couples in holy matrimony, some of whom were my own children and grandchildren.
I have tried many times to comfort hearts both old and young in funeral requests. I have walked, gone on horseback, in a buggy, ridden a bicycle, gone on bus and by train to serve God's children. The' weather was never too cold nor too hot for me to go. L have left my dear companion sick many times. She would always say, "Albert, you go--we will be all right." I have left home when some of the children would be sick, but through the grace of God I was blessed to return and find them alive. However, we lost our first two children, also a baby girl in 1923, but neither time was I away from home. Many times God has opened the way for me to go when it seemed impossible. For example, once I had started to catch the train to go to church, knowing that I didn't have enough money to get there and back. On the way to the train, I met Brother David Rushing and stopped to chat for a moment. Brother David, not knowing what my situation was, said he had been wanting to see me, because he wanted to give me some money. He did, and thus I had plenty for the trip.
It has been my great privilege, also my companion's, to be entertained by my sweet brethren and sisters at associations and meetings in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Also, we have been blessed to have many, many of our dear brothers and sisters in our home, our home church and in our association which has given us much joy and happiness.
I love the Lord's people everywhere, and I have as much zeal for God's Church, the dear Primitive Baptist Church, which I believe with all my heart that God set up right here on earth, as I ever did, and if I were at church and someone united and requested me to baptize them, I'd try my best to grant their request. I long to see God's children who linger outside the Church come in and live and labor just as the Lord commanded.
This isn't a complete history; many things I can't call to mind. Please pray for me and mine when at a throne of grace. May God bless all of you is my humble prayer. J. A. Webb.