I’m researching a railwayman named William Alfred Webb (born in Ohio in 1878). In 1911 he was appointed general manager of the Texas Central Railroad (coming from the Colorado & Southern based in Denver) and less than a year later, he was promoted into the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad of Texas (the Katy) in Dallas and quickly became involved in the larger company of a similar name operating north of the Red River. Later, in 1920-21 he worked for the St Louis Southwestern Railroad at Tyler.
During his time on the TEXC Webb made quite an impression as a progressive, working general manager. While he had his own luxurious carriage, he frequently rode on the footplate and even traversed the line by handcar (during summer no less) to get to know his line, employees and customers.
Accessing Texan historical material is rather challenging from Australia so I’m hoping my questions below find eager readers.
1. At Walnut Springs on Saturday September 9 1911, the Texas Central held a free barbecue picnic and baseball game. I’m looking for any personal records of that day, specifically the baseball game. I am aware that some postcards were printed later (Bryan Sowell’s book ‘Texas Central Headquarters - Walnut Springs’ has some) and I would be keen on obtaining copies of these somehow (Webb is featured in the line-up of the TEXC team - he was first-baseman but may have also been catcher, as he is seen holding a catcher’s glove in one of the images). I have scoured local papers but no score for the game appears to have been published (it would be nice to know who won!).
2. I’m having trouble locating the following books: ‘Humor Along the Katy Lines’ and ‘The Katy Cards’. If anyone has access to these (and the time to check), I’m keen to know if the following names appear (and what is written about them): William Alfred WEBB; Herman (aka Harry) Louis GOLDBECK; Card (maybe seen as Carl) Garnet ELLIOTT; Dr Sam WEBB (no relation to WA Webb); Charles E SCHAFF.
You may be wondering why someone from Australia is interested in Webb. Well, in 1922 he was appointed to manage the South Australian state railways on a seven-year contract. His tenure was very controversial and not much has been written about him (mainly because he is a difficult research subject). He returned to the US in 1930 to Denver, and a year later moved back to Dallas. He was a City Councilman for two years (1933-1935) and then became the general manager of the trouble-plagued Texas Centennial Fair. He turned it around to open on time in June 1936 but died of overwork in August. I’m writing his biography (or trying to).
Please note that I have already received excellent help from staff at the Bosque County Collection, Archives of the Bosque County Historical Commission.
Thanks for any help or guidance you can provide.
Cheers, Peter Buske
South Australia, Australia