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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Webb, Edwin Yates

by H. Holt Mcpherson, 1996

23 May 1872–7 Feb. 1955

Photograph of Edwin Yates Webb, between 1911 and 1917. Image from the Library of Congress.Edwin Yates Webb, congressman and federal judge, was born in Shelby, the son of the Reverend George M., a Baptist minister, and Priscilla Jane Blanton Webb. He received an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest College (1893), studied law at The University of North Carolina (1893–94), did postgraduate work at the University of Virginia, and was awarded the LL.D. degree by Davidson College (1918). In 1894 he was both admitted to the bar and elected to the state senate. He won a seat in Congress in 1900 and served eight terms; he was coauthor of the Webb-Kenyon Act and the bill establishing the Boy Scouts of America. He introduced the Webb Export Act, helped to write the Eighteenth Amendment, and played a significant role in shaping the Pure Food and Drug Laws. He also submitted the bill for appropriations to erect a monument at Kings Mountain commemorating the American victory there on 7 Oct. 1780.

Webb and his brother, state senator and superior court judge James L. Webb, and other men in their part of the state Edwin Yates Webb circa 1910-1915. Image from the Library of Congress.associated themselves in support of political activities. For many years in the 1920s and 1930s they gave North Carolina and the nation leaders so outstanding that their effectiveness came to be labeled "The Shelby Dynasty." The Webbs' concerns were broader than mere politics, as they promoted broad educational and religious interests throughout a state in which their constructive involvement was widely acclaimed. Their role was recognized in the establishment of Gardner-Webb College, a four-year Baptist institution at Boiling Springs, near Shelby. Webb was honored with a testimonial dinner at the college on his eightieth birthday, and a portrait of him hangs in its library. Other portraits of Webb are in the federal courtroom in Charlotte and in the Cleveland County Courthouse, in Shelby, where he presided for thirty-six years.

He was a leading layman of the First Baptist Church of Shelby, moderator of the Kings Mountain Baptist Association, and a member of the Kiwanis Club. Webb's first wife was Willie Simmons of Wake Forest, and they were the parents of Elizabeth, Edwin, Jr., and William. His second wife was Mrs. Alice Pender Taylor of Tarboro and Asheville. He was buried in Sunset Cemetery, Shelby.


Asheville Citizen, 8 Feb. 1955.

Charlotte Observer, 31 Oct. 1937.

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1971 (1981).

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina (1924).

Men of Achievement in the Carolinas (1952 [portrait]).

North Carolina Biography, vols. 3 (1919), 3 (1941), 4 (1929).

Who's Who in the South and Southwest (1952).

Additional Resources:

"Webb, Edwin Yates, (1872 - 1955)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed April 18, 2013).

E. Y. Webb Papers (#3482) 1901-1955 (collection no. 03482). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.,E.Y.html (accessed April 18, 2013).

"E.Y. Webb House." National Park Service. (accessed April 18, 2013)

"Webb, Edwin Yates." Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. Federal Judicial Center. (accessed April 18, 2013).

Image Credits:

Harris & Ewing. "Webb, E.Y. Representative From New York [sic]." Photograph. Harris & Ewing Collection. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. (accessed April 18, 2013)

Bain News Service. "Edwin Webb." Photograph. George Grantham Bain Collection. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. (accessed April 18, 2013)

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