Senator John Francis Webber View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Date of Death: 4/7/1928
Birth Place: Ferris, ILL
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Assemblies Served:
Senate: 34 (1911) - 35 (1913)
Home County: Wapello
John Francis Webber
Wapello County


MR. PRESIDENT: Your committee which was appointed to report resolutions commemorating the life, character and services of the late Hon. John F. Webber, beg leave to submit the following report and move its adoption:

John F. Webber, prominent citizen of Ottumwa, who was shot to death at his home, 133 E. Court Street, Saturday night, April 7, 1928, was born in Ferris, Illinois, September 26, 1874. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William J. Webber.

He gained his early education in the public schools of Hancock county, Illinois, and in the meantime helped his father on the farm on which the family lived. He pursued an academic course in Carthage College, Carthage, Illinois, and later entered the law college of the State University at Iowa City and finished the law course there. After leaving school he traveled for three years for a nationally know farm implement company. In 1902 he entered upon the practice of law, opening an office in Ottumwa. Later he became interested in the Ottumwa National Bank and the Wapello County Savings Bank. A Democrat in politics, he became a candidate for State Senator in 1910 and was elected. He was a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Appropriations Committee, Judiciary and other important legislative committees. He was recognized as one of the leaders in the legislature of that day, on matters pertaining to taxation, and laws governing public utilities. He was one of the authors of the workmen's compensation law, passed by the Thirty-fifth General Assembly, and was one of the measure's most ardent supporters.

During the latter days of his life he acquired numerous land holdings in Iowa and Illinois and became known for his stock feeding enterprises. He was intensely interested in the economics of agriculture and was a keen student of farm conditions. A short time following the economic slump which struck the middle west, after the so-called inflation period had passed, Webber and others appeared before the Executive Committee in the State House at Des Moines, and, due largely to his efforts and those who supported him, land values as between farm land and city property were adjusted. This effected a saving of thousands of dollars to the farmers of Iowa.

In 1919 he became president of the Ottumwa National Bank and retained that position until January 1, 1928, though previously he submitted his resignation from that office to the directors, due to his burden of other business duties. He was also president of the Wapello County Savings Bank, an institution which he headed at the time of his death.

Senator Webber was one of the outstanding figures in the good roads movement in his county and state. During the road campaign here in the early part of 1926, he made numerous speeches throughout the county in behalf of the proposed bond issue. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Iowa Good Roads Association. He was a member of the Wapello Club and a charter member of the Ottumwa Country Club. He was prominently mentioned recently in connection with being a candidate on the Democrat ticket to run for Congress from the Sixth District.

On October 2, 1900, he was united in marriage to Miss Estella L. Bailey of Ferris, Illinois, who with two sons, John Francis Jr., and Bailey C., survive him. He is also survived by his mother, Mrs. Mary Webber Lambert of Carthage, Illinois, and one brother, Charles A. Webber, of Ferris, Illinois.