The Gentle Scholar: New book released

BrayBree Publishing will release a new book in April by Terry Barkley of Monteagle. Entitled The Gentle Scholar: The Forgotten Story of John Webb and the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, the foreword for the book is written by Margaret Britton Vaughn, Poet Laureate of Tennessee and a resident of Bell Buckle. BrayBree Publishing of Dickson, Tennessee, is an independent publisher in the Nashville area specializing in works about Tennessee history and Tennesseans.

John Maurice Webb (1847-1916) was the younger brother of William R. “Sawney” Webb who served with his brother as co-principal of Webb School, first in Culleoka (1873), then in Bell Buckle, Tennessee (1886), for some forty-three years. Known as “Old Johnny,” later “Old Jack,” John Webb was most responsible for the academic prowess of Webb School. During the lives and service of the Brothers Webb, Webb School alumni included nine future Rhodes scholars (a tenth graduated later), the presidents of four colleges and universities, the governors of three states, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee (Sawney Webb also served briefly as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee), and a host of Webb Old Boys and Girls who distinguished themselves in all walks of life. Even the honor system at Princeton University owes its beginning to Webb alumni who emulated the honor code at Webb School. When president of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson claimed that the best students they received came from a small school in Tennessee known as “Old Sawney’s.” Wilson even visited Webb School and addressed the student body. Finally, one of Woodrow Wilson’s daughters befriended one of John Webb’s daughters, creating a lifelong friendship.

Terry Barkley is a retired professional librarian, archivist, and museum curator, and former history teacher. A native of Huntsville, Alabama, he attended Jacksonville State University and graduated from the University of North Alabama. Barkley holds graduate degrees/certificate from The Citadel, University of Alabama, and Harvard University. An accomplished musician, he was a working drummer for more than forty years and is listed in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

The third edition of Barkley’s first book, One Who Served: Brethren Elder Charles Nesselrodt of Shenandoah County, Virginia, was published in 2004. He is currently working on a coffee table-style art book celebrating the artistry of Nebraska landscape artist, Ben Darling. The working titleis Son of the Great Plains: The Prairie Landscapes of Ben Darling. Barkley’s published articles range from The Brethren Encyclopedia to Living Blues magazine.

Terry Barkley is an admirer of the work of Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer-Prize winning biographer and Sewanee graduate. “His books are templates for how it’s done.”

Pre-orders for The Gentle Scholar can be made at Publishing Company LLC, P. O. Box 1204, Dickson, TN 37056-1204).