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Thomas Webb, son of Joseph and Barsheba Webb, was born December 11, 1825, probably in Sevier County, TN, and died September 12, 1916 in Cocke County, Tenn. He is buried in the Smith Cemetery (Rooster Town), Cosby, TN.

At one time, Thomas lived in Rooster Town and operated a tub mill on Little Creek. Ella V. Costner's Book Song of Life in the Smokies describes Thomas as being a very tall and powerfully built man. Thomas was reportedly almost 7 ft. tall and wore a size 14 shoe. He had to have them special made.

Thomas Webb was known as "Tom Cat" Webb by one and all. According to family sources, the nickname of "Cat" was given in recognition of Thomas's hunting ability. He was skilled at killing panthers, commonly called just "cats" by the early settlers. Since panthers were plentiful in the early days and posed a threat to life and property, this was a real service to the people.

Unfortunately, in his last years the old sharpshooting "Tom Cat" went blind. However, the nickname of "Cat" was applied to the names given to two of his sons, William and Isaac Webb. In the 1910 Cocke County Census, Thomas Webb; age 84, is found living in the home of his son, William "Billy Cat" Webb.

Thomas Webb was married at least three times, maybe four. In the records of Wade Giles, three marriages are found. The Cocke County Census verifies three marriages. They are as follows: 1850-Thomas Webb and Anna Giles; 1870-Thomas Webb and Mary McGaha Baxter; 1900-Thomas Webb and Lucinda Baxter Dorsey Baxter. Elizabeth "Bets" Shults has been named by some as a wife between Mary and Lucinda, making four marriages a possibility.

Thomas Webb's first marriage was to Anna Giles, daughter of Jesse and Phoebe Giles. Jesse Giles was born in Virginia in 1789, marrying Phoebe, whose maiden name is unknown. Their daughter, Anna, was born in 1822 and died in 1861. She is buried in the Webb (Barter) Cemetery located a short distance from the home of 0. W. Rarer, Cosby, TN. Her grave is marked with a slate stone with hand-carved inscription.

Thomas Webb's second marriage was to Mary McGaha, daughter of Isaac and Frankie McGaha and widow of James Baxter. Mary's husband, James Baxter, did not return from the Civil War. Mary brought three daughters -- Fannie, Annie, and Nancy Baxter -- into this marriage. Mary McGaha Webb was born July 18, 1832, and died July 17, 1891. She is buried in the Smith Cemetery, with Thomas being buried beside her in 1916.

In 1896, when Thomas was about 71 years of age, he married Lucinda "Cindy" Dorsey Baxter, 39 years of age. Lucinda C. Baxter was the daughter of Perry Baxter and Permelia "Millie" McMahan. After the death of Perry Baxter, Permelia McMahan married Robert Valentine. The 1870 census shows Lucinda as a 9-year-old step-daughter in the household of Robert Valentine. Lucinda brought into her new home her son, McNulty Baxter. McNulty ran Thomas's water mill at their home on little creek, Cosby, Cocke County, Tennessee.

The 14 children of Thomas Webb were children of the first two wives, 10 children to Thomas and Anna Giles Webb, and 4 to Thomas and Mary McGaha Webb.

Bibliography:

  • Cocke County Census 1850 (taken 10/ /50)
    WEBB Thomas 24 M TN Farmer 1008-826
    Anne 25 F TN
    I Jesse 8 M TN
    Peggy 6 F TN
    Polly 4 F TN
    Phebe 2 F TN
    Joseph 6/12 M TN
  • Cocke County Census 1870
    H/H 84 Webb Thomas head 12/11/1825
    Wife #1, Anna Giles Webb is deceased
    Wife #2, Mary Jane McGaha Baxter Webb 7/18/1832 1st hus James Baxter, Jr deceased
    James Webb Son April 27, 1852 18 yrs old
    John Webb Son February 22, 1854 16 yrs old
    Barsheba Webb Daughter April 24, 1856 14 years old
    Rhoda Webb Daughter May 15, 1858 12 years old
    Thomas Webb Son 1861 9 years old
    William Son February 21, 1867 3 years old
    Isaac Webb Son April 18, 1870 New
    Fannie Baxter Step-daughter 14 years old
    Nancy Baxter Step-daughter 10 years old
    Anna Baxter Step-daughter 6 years old

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