History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, 1887

White Family - THE WHITE FAMILY Biography

The White family, members of which are and have been for many years influential and potent factors in the various leading enterprises of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, noted for their strong mentality, absolute business integrity and quick and unerring judgment, was founded by Hugh White, a pioneer settler of Lancaster (now Dauphin) county, Pennsylvania, who suffered all the hardships and privations incident to the settlement of a new country.

The line of descent is traced through his son, Colonel Hugh White, who was born in Lancaster (now Dauphin) county, Pennsylvania, in 1737. Prior to the Revolutionary war he came to the West Branch valley, settling west of the mouth of Pine Creek, in what is now Clinton county. On April 1g, 1775, he was commissioned " Captain of a company of foot in the First Battalion of Associators in the county of Northumberland," this commission being now in the possession of his grandson, Henry W. White, of Williamsport, mentioned at length in the following paragraphs. In 1776 he was appointed as one of the committee of safety for Pine Creek township by the council of Northumberland county. He proved himself a faithful and valuable officer, and in 1778 was appointed to the rank of colonel, in which capacity he served for some time as commissary, and was untiring in his efforts to provide supplies for General Washington's army. He was colonel of a Pennsylvania regiment in the war of 1812, and until his discharge from the service was stationed at Black Rock, on the Niagara river. He also took an active part in civil and religious affairs, b,e* the representative of his district in the legislature during the years IV, '96, 1803, '04, performing the duties with credit and to the satisfaction of his constituents, and was one of the elders of Pine Creek Presbyterian church, to which office he was chosen in 1795i serving two years.

Colonel White was twice married. His first wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Allison, daughter of John and Ann Allison, of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, bore him a family of six sons and one daughter, all of whom are now deceased. He married for his second wife Mrs. Charlotte White, nee Weitzel, daughter of John and Tabitha (Morris) Weitzel, and widow of James White, a pioneer hotel keeper of Trevorton, Northumberland county, and afterwards the owner of White's Island, in the Susquehanna, near Georgetown. James White lived on the east side of the river, opposite the island, and was killed in 1812 by being thrown from his wagon. The issue of the second marriage is as follows : 1. Isabella, born February 13, 1815; in January, 1833, she became the wife of Robert S. Bailey, of Jersey Shore, who died April 24, 1851. On October 12, 1853, she became the wife of Colonel James S. Allen, of Jersey Shore. 2. George, who, after acquiring a thorough education, migrated to Alabama, where he assumed charge of an academy, read law, and after a period of time returned to his home and completed his studies with R. G. White. He was admitted to practice in the several courts of Lycoming and Tioga counties, and became distinguished in his profession as an eminent counsellor. He died at his residence in Williamsport in 1869, survived by his wife, who was a daughter of the late Rev. Dr. Parker, of the Presbyterian church of the city of New York, two sons and a daughter. 3. John, mentioned hereinafter. 4. Henry, mentioned hereinafter. Colonel White, father of these children, was killed on his farm in 1822 by being thrown from his horse. His remains were interred in the old Pine Creek graveyard.

John White, second son of Colonel Hugh and Charlotte White, spent his youth amid the scenes of the homestead farm, and his education was acquired in the schools taught by John Austin and the Rev. John H. Grier, two excellent teachers of pioneer days. He studied mathematics and theoretical surveying under the tuition of Mr. Austin, and at the age of seventeen left school and became a member of the state engineer corps, then in charge of James D. Harris, chief engineer, and thus obtained a practical knowledge of that profession. He assisted in the survey of the Tangascootac and Sinnemahoming extensions of the Pennsylvania canal, also in the construction of the Williamsport and Elmira railroad, now the Northern Central, and later was engaged in locating the eastern and western reservoirs of the canal, and was afterwards engineer-in-charge of the canal for several years. He then engaged in the mercantile and grain business at Freeport, Pennsylvania, which he continued for ten years, and at the expiration of this period of time was employed to locate the dams on the Monongahela river for the Monongahela Navigation Company, which occupied his time until April, 1854. He then took up his residence in Williamsport and the following five years was engaged in the lumber trade in Cogan Valley. In October, 1859, he became a member of the well known lumber firm of Herdic, Lentz & White, which conducted business under that style until 1867, the year of the retirement of Peter Herdic, when it was changed to that of White, Lentz & White, and for the succeeding thirty years continued in the active duties of the lumber business.

He was a man of sound judgment and broad intelligence, his investments were always conservative and safe, and hence he accumulated an estate estimated among the most valuable in his native county. He was a director in the Williamsport National Bank, a stockholder and director in the Lycoming Electric Company, filled a similar position in the Williamsport Steam Company, a trustee in the Savings Institution, and president of the Citizens and Williamsport water companies. He was a member and vestryman in Christ Episcopal church, and a life-long Democrat, but took no active part in public affairs. He always manifested a deep interest in the social and material development of Williamsport, and contributed liberally of his means to the charitable, religious and educational institutions of the city.

On September 19, 1843, John White was married to Emily Weaver, daughter of the late Henry S. and Mary (Stauffer) Weaver, of Freeport, Armstrong county, Pennsylvania. Three sons and five daughters were the issue of this marriage, namely: Henry W., mentioned at length hereinafter; Charlotte, widow of Hon. Hugh H. Cummin; Mary L., wife of George L. Sanderson, of Jersey Shore; Hugh L.; Gula W.; Emily, wife of E. P. Almy, of Williamsport; Jennie P., wife of Henry N. Almy, of Philadelphia; John A. White, deceased. The mother of these children is also a member of Christ Episcopal church. John White, father of these children, who was born in Lycoming county (now Clinton), Pennsylvania, November 4, 1818, died at hiss handsome residence on West Fourth street, Williamsport, June 3, 1890.

Henry White, fourth and youngest child of Colonel Hugh and Charlotte White, was born near Pine Creek, Pennsylvania, August 8, 1810. He received his education in the public schools, Grier Academy, and Alleghany College, at Meadville. He then pursued a course of legal study in the office of his brother, George White, and after his admission to the bar of Lycoming county became associated in business with his brother, the style of the firm being G. & H. White. Subsequently Henry White located at Freeport, Pennsylvania, and during the years 1849-50-51 was interested in a line of packet boats plying between Pittsburg and Kittanning, and a stage route from the last named point to Clarion. After his removal to Williamsport he was interested in a stage route from that point to Clearfield and Jefferson counties, this being the means by which the United States mail was carried in that day, his associates having been Messrs. Mathias Eder and Robert S. Bailey, the latter named being his brother-in-law. When the stage was superseded by railroads he engaged in the lumber business and became a member of the firm of Herdic, Lentz & White, and later of the firm of White, Lentz & White, this connection continuing until his death. During his residence in Freeport he was awarded the contracts for many of the public works. Mr. White was repeatedly elected to the city council,. and served a number of years as president of the common branch, making a dignified and efficient presiding officer. In 1877 he received the Democratic nomination for congress in the sixteenth district, his opponent being John L. Mitchell, and ran ahead of his ticket.

Henry White married (first) Catherine Anthony, daughter of Judge Anthony. He married (second) Martha Covell, of Elmira, New York, daughter of Robert and Almira (Baldwin) Covell, the former named having been a son of Matthew Covell, and the latter a daughter of Thomas and (Fuller) Baldwin. Robert and Almira (Baldwin) Covell are the parents of eleven children, as follows: Aurelia, Mary Ann, Robert, Stephen, Edward, Thomas, James, Myra, Caroline, Martha and Elizabeth. Mr. White died March 7, 1880, in the seventieth year of his age, survived by his widow, who passed away May i_5, 1905.

Henry W. White, eldest son of John and Emily (Weaver) White, acquired his rudimentary education in the public schools, which was supplemented by attendance at Dickinson Seminary. The two years following his graduation from the latter named institution he studied law in the office of his uncle, George White, and in 1859 entered the employ of the firm of Herdic, Lentz & White, lumber merchants. In 1867 the firm name was changed to White, Lentz & White, the members thereof having been John White, George Lentz and Henry White, and they conducted business under this style until 1893, in which year the partnership was dissolved. Owing to his thorough knowledge of business affairs and the high reputation he gained in commercial circles, he was fully competent to serve as president of the Williamsport Passenger Railway, vice-president of the Williamsport Savings Institution, and vice-president of the Water and Gas Company. He is also a large stockholder and director in several of the manufacturing companies in the city, which have added so materially to its growth and development.

Henry W. White was united in marriage to Christina Siegel, daughter of William and Catherine (Welcome) Siegel, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Source: Genealogical and Personal History of Lycoming County, John W. Jordan, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1906.

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