An enumeration of the men of the present generation who have won success and public recognition for themselves and at the same time have honored the state to which they belonged, would be incomplete were their failure to make prominent reference to the one whose name initiates this paragraph. He holds distinctive precedence as an eminent lawyer and statesman, as a man of broad attainments and as a valued and patriotic citizen. He has been and is distinctively a man of affairs and one who has wielded a wide influence. A strong mentality, invincible courage and a most determined individuality have so entered into his makeup as to render him a natural leader of men and a director of opinion. He has, moreover, not yet attained the prime of life and undoubtedly the future holds for him greater successes, for his talents and powers will develop still more with the advancing years.
Mr. Webb was born September 29, 1864, in West Virginia, a son of Cyrus Webb, a representative of an old Virginia family and a captain in the Civil war. In 1869 the father removed to Kansas, where he engaged in farming and stock-raising, spending his remaining days in that state. His death occurred in 1899, when he was seventy-three years of age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Eliza Cather, was also a representative of an old Virginia family and is still residing on the family homestead in Kansas at the age of sixty-nine years. By her marriage she became the mother of five sons and two daughters, and with the exception of the subject of this review all are yet residents of the Sunflower state.
Ulysses Sigel Webb was a mere lad when taken by his parents to Kansas, and in the public schools of Augusta, that state, he pursued his early education, while later he became a student in the normal school at Fort Scott, Kansas. He finished his own course in 1885 and then engaged in teaching school for a short time, after which he became connected with journalistic interests in Augusta, editing a weekly paper in that city until 1887. In the meantime, however, he had determined to enter upon the work of the legal profession and took up the study of law in August, diligently pursuing his reading. In the spring of 1888 he came to California, locating in Quincy, Plumas county, where he entered upon the practice of law, being admitted to the bar soon after his arrival in this state. The political positions he has held have been in the line of his chosen calling. In 1890 he was elected district attorney of Plumas county, and served so acceptably that he was three times re-elected, his term of service therefore covering twelve years, had he not resigned in the summer of 1902 on being appointed attorney general for the state in order to fill a vacancy. At the Republican convention held in that year he was nominated for the office and was elected at the succeeding election for a term of four years, so tht he is now at the head of the legal department of the state. While engaged in the general practice of law he conducted a number of very important mining interests. As a lawyer he is sound, clear-minded and well trained. The limitations which are imposed by the constitution on federal powers are well understood by him. With the long line of decisions from Marshall down, by which the constitution has been expounded, he is familiar, as are all thoroughly skilled lawyers. He is at home in all departments of the law, from the minutiae in practice to the greater topics wherein are involved the consideration of the ethics and the philosophy of jurisprudence and the higher concerns of public policy. But he is not learned in the law alone, for he has studied long and carefully the subjects that are to the statesman and the man of affairs of the greatest import -- the questions of finance, political economy, sociology, -- and has kept abreast of the best thinking men of the age. He is clear in argument, thoroughly in earnest, full of the vigor of conviction, never abusive of adversaries, imbued with highest courtesy, and yet a foe worthy of the steel of the most able opponent.
In October, 1895, was celebrated the marriage of Ulysses S. Webb and Miss Grace Goodwin, a native of California and a daughter of Judge J. D. and Martha Goodwin, of Quincy, Plumas county. They have three children, Hester, Sigel Goodwin and Grace. Mr. Webb belongs to the Masonic and Knights of Pythias fraternities, and to the Union League Club. While undoubtedly not without that honorable ambition which is so powerful and useful as an incentive to activity in public affairs, he regards the pursuits of private life as being in themselves abundantly worthy of his best efforts. His is a noble character, one that subordinates personal ambition to public good and seeks rather the benefit of others than the aggrandizement of self. Endowed by nature with high intellectual qualities and well versed in the line of his profession, he merits the honor which has been conferred upon him by his election to the highest office in the law-enforcing department of the state.
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