07 November 2011

Nathan H. Webb

NATHAN H. WEBB was elected on the Republican ticket in 1893 to his present position as Justice of the Peace of Jackson Township, Hardin County. He has made his home in the village of Forest for several years, but he is well known, not only hereabouts, but in various portions of the state, as a hotel-keeper of some thirty years' standing. He has been retired from this business only for the past five years, since which time he has devoted himself more than ever to politics and public affairs.

The parents of our subject, Benjamin and Lois (Hart) Webb, natives of Maine and New Jersey, respectively, were among the early settlers of Ohio. In 1812 the former went to Muskingum County with his father, Dr. Benjamin Webb, who was a skillful physician for his day. The disease known as the "cold plague" was prevalent in Muskingum County about the time of his arrival there, and death was the almost inevitable consequence. After much hard study he adopted a plan of treatment that proved successful, and he never afterward lost a case. His first plan was to produce perspiration by covering the patient with hot ears of corn. He made no secret of his treatment, which was soon adopted by the other physicians of the locality, and the plague lost its terrors. About 1846 he moved to Lafayette, Ind., passing his last days near Olney, Ill. His wife, Lois, was a daughter of Asher Hart, who moved with his family to Muskingum County prior to 1812. On both sides of the family our subject comes from a long-lived race, and his grandfather's mother lived to the extreme old age of one hundred and twelve years.
Born in Muskingum County, Ohio, January 1, 1821, Nathan H. Webb is the eldest of four children and the only survivor of the family. Until eighteen years old he lived on a farm, but at that time entered his uncle's general store at Dresden, Ohio, and was there employed from 1841 until 1849. This uncle, for whom he had been named, also owned an establishment at Mendon. He and our subject carried on a store at Spencerville about 1849, and also started a sawmill, and in both of these lines were very successful.
In 1852 Nathan H. Webb started in the hotel business at Spencerville, where he had conducted a dry-goods store for six years. Five years after opening the hotel there he sold out his interest, and, moving to Delphos, ran the hotel in that village for ten years, enjoying a lucrative patronage. Thence he went to Defiance, Ohio, taking charge of the Russell House, of which he was manager for four years, and on New Year's Day, 1881, he became proprietor of the Forest Hotel of this city. Two years later he took possession of the Scott House, which was afterward burned, and of which he was the genial "mine host" for seven years.
In former days Mr. Webb was an old-line Whig and cast his first vote in 1844 for Henry Clay. He has frequently found it possible to attend conventions of his party and always takes an enthusiastic part in its councils. He has served for three years as Superintendent of the Miami & Erie Canal. For upwards of forty years he has been identified with the Masonic fraternity.
March 14, 1844, Mr. Webb was married, in his native county, to Miss Mary S. Roney, who was born in Maryland. Their two sons, Thomas H. and Charles P., are engaged in the real-estate, loan and insurance business, the former being situated in Peoria, Ill., and the latter in Indianapolis, Ind. Lillie M., the only daughter, resides with her parents. Mr. Webb and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, while the daughter belongs to the Presbyterian' Church. The family have many warm friends in this place.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Marion and Hardin Counties, Ohio, Chapman publishing co., 1895 pages 322-323.
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