Source: Taken in part, from the
book, "Transactions of the Oneida Historical Society at Utica, N.Y., 1881
- 1884," Printed for the Society, by Ellis H. Roberts & Co., Printers,
1885. The Whitestown Centennial, Address of WILLIAM M. WHITE.
Contributed by Laura Perkins
Chairman Campbell then introduced William M. White, who read a carefully prepared Genealogy of the White family. In introducing it he said:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen
As the son of Hugh White I lost my inheritance, my birthright, before I was of sufficient age to enter my protest and know my loss. My name should have been Hugh, and then genealogy would record six Hugh Whites in America, each the son of Hugo, but the first, beginning with 1691 and continuing nearly 200 years.
The family trace their descent from Elder John White, one of the first settlers of Cambridge, in Massachusetts, of Hartford, in Connecticut, and of Hadley, in Massachusetts.
These facts conclusively show that the spirit of the pioneer was strongly developed in the father of the family in America. From his connection with Reverend Thomas Hooker and his church, it is supposed that he was born in Chelmsford, the county seat of Essex county, England, about the year 1595. Our first certain knowledge is that he was a passenger, with Mary, his wife, and two children, on the ship Lyon, Captain Pierce, which sailed from England about the 25th of June, 1632, and arrived in Boston on Sunday, the 16th day of September, 1632.
Mr. Hooker's company or congregation had had
assigned to them for settlement by the general court of Massachusetts the
town of Cambridge, then called Newtown. Elder John White's "home lot" was
on the street called "Cow Yard Row," not far from where Gore Hall, the
beautiful library building of Harvard University now stands. His
social standing, or position, or condition of life__it is fair to infer___was
of the middle class, neither rich nor poor; and that his home life in England
had been of reasonable comfort, and that he had not been driven to expatriation
by necessity or want. The English people have been likened to their own
beer. the top all froth, the- bottom dregs, the middle pure. John White
was admitted a freeman of Massachusetts, March 4, 1633, and in February,
1635, the town of Cambridge elected a board of seven men "to do the whole
business of the town." John White was one of the number chosen. In 1636,
he sold "his betterments," and accompanying his pastor, Rev. Mr. Hooker,
with about one hundred others, took departure for "the new towne" on the
Quin-e-tac-quet river (Connecticut.) In the records of Hartford, John White
appears as one of the original proprietors, and he was one of the "selectmen”
of the town. On the death of Rev. Mr. Hooker, in l647, a schism arose which
seems to have been of a personal character. It resulted in a new departure
under Elder Goodwin; and sixty persons from Hartford and Wethersfield went
up the Connecticut river, and laid the foundations of Hadley, in Massachusetts.
John White was of the party. He remained there eleven years, when he returned
to Hartford and was chosen to the office of elder in the South Church.
His life was prolonged to a good old age, and he died early in 1684, just
two hundred years ago. He had four sons and two daughters.
His oldest son, Captain Nathaniel White, was born in England about 1629. At the age of 21, he removed to Middletown with his father, and was one of the first settlers and proprietors. He acquired great influence and was a leading man in the colony. He was a member of the legislature or general court, and for fifty years in succession was annually chosen deputy from that town. Very few instances exist of so long an official life, dependent on annual popular election. In military life he rose through the successive grades to the rank of Captain, by which title he has been known to his posterity. He died August 11, 1711, at the age of 82 years, and the record is: "He was a man of high religious character and sound judgment." By his will he left one-quarter of his undivided lands "to remain for the use of the public school already agreed upon by the town of Middletown, forever," perhaps the first legacy to the public school system in America. He had five sons and three daughters.
Ensign Daniel White was the third son of Captain Nathaniel, and was born at Middletown upper houses, February 23, 1661. He lived in his native town, held various town offices, and died December 18, 1739. He had eight sons and three daughters.
Hugh White was the fifth son of Ensign Daniel, and the father of the pioneer of western New York. He was born February 15, 1691. He always lived in Middletown, and was a man of substance and respectability. His wife was Mary Stone, of Guilford. They had three sons and four daughters.
Hon. Hugh White, as he is designated in the records of the family, was the youngest son of Hugh White, and was born in Middletown, Connecticut, January 25, 1733. He "settled,” in Middletown, and married Mary Clark of the same town. All of his children were born there. His wife died in 1774. He afterwards married Mrs. Lois Davenport, widow of Rev. Ebenezer Davenport. She joined him early in 1785, in the settlement of Whitestown, and died there in 1829. When a resident of Middletown, Hugh White was a "selectman" from 1779 to 1783. He was a commissary in the army during a part of the Revolutionary war, and soon after the close of the war he joined in the purchase of Sadaqueda Patent with Zephaniah Platt, Ezra L'Hommedieu and Melancthon Smith. Early in the spring of 1784, he started, with most of his family, for their new home, in what was to be known as "the Whitestown country." They arrived here one hundred years ago to-day, June 5, 1784. He divided his purchase of about 1,500 acres among his sons and his daughters, and he lived like a patriarch of old, surrounded by his children and his grandchildren. He had five sons and three daughters, who accompanied him, or joined him in settling this town. And yet, to-day, there is not in the town of Whitestown, nor yet in the county of Oneida, a male resident of his name and lineage. And it comes to pass that you, today, are celebrating, not the arrival of a family now with you, and of you, but are commemorating the first settlement of western New York, which happened to be made by Hugh White (my ancestor.) You are celebrating the founding of the first colony, outside of New England, by the Puritans, the first swarm of the Puritan hive. And these bowlders of England granite are to be, for all time, witnesses of the settlement of Whitestown by Hugh White and family of Middletown, Connecticut, and in the annals of the future may be looked upon as the second Plymouth Rock.
Of Hugh White, as a man, a Christian, and a citizen, no better conception can be had, than from the inscription on his tablet in your own cemetery on the hill. It reads:
HERE SLEEP THE MORTAL REMAINS
WHO WAS BORN 5TH FEBRUARY, 1733, AT- MIDDLETOWN, IN
CONNECTICUT, AND DIED APRIL 16Th, 1812.
IN THE YEAR 1784, HE REMOVED TO SEDAUQUATE, NOW
WHITESBOROUGH, WHERE HE WAS THE FIRST WHITE INHABITANT IN THE
STATE OF NEW YORK, WEST OF THE GERMAN SETTLEMENTS
ON THE MOHAWK.
HE WAS DISTINGUISHED FOR ENERGY, AND DECISION
OF CHARACTER, AND MAY BE JUSTLY REGARDED AS A PATRIARCH,
WHO LED THE CHILDREN OF NEW ENGLAND
INTO THE WILDERNESS.
AS A MAGISTRATE, A CITIZEN AND A MAN, HIS
CHARACTER FOR TRUTH AND INTEGRITY WAS PROVERBIAL.
THIS HUMBLE MONUMENT OF VENERATION FOR HIS
MEMORY IS REARED AND INSCRIBED BY THE
AFFECTIONATE PARTNER OF HIS JOYS AND HIS SORROWS,
MAY 15TH, 1826.
Let me add in simple justice to this noble woman who shared in the labors, trials and hardships, equally with her husband, the monumental tribute to her worth:
IN MEMORY OF
WIDOW OF THE LATE JUDGE WHITE
WITH WHOM SHE EMIGRATED TO THIS PLACE THEN
A WILDERNESS, A. D. 1785.
SHE EXHIBITED IN HER CHARACTER A RARE UNION OF THE
NOBLEST ATTRIBUTES OF HUMANITY WITH THE EXCELLENCIES
OF THE DISCIPLES OF THE LAMB.
EARLY IN LIFE SHE BECAME A PROFESSED
FOLLOWER OF THE CROSS, AND DURING HER PILGRIMAGE BELOW,
BY AN HUMBLE WALK WITH GOD ADORNED THE DOCTRINES
OF HER SAVIOUR.
SHE ENTERED INTO REST
APRIL 13TH, 1829.
AET. 86 YEARS.
PRECIOUS IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD IS THE
DEATH OF HIS SAINTS.
The peculiarity of the settlement of Whitestown was that it was settled by one family, and all the members of that family joined in the enterprise. The family, aside from Judge White and his wife were:
Daniel Clark White and his wife and child, Joseph White and his wife and child, Hugh White, Jr., Ansel White, Philo White, Aurelia (Wetmore,) Mary Stone (Young); these (with the exception of Rachel, the oldest of the family, who was born in 1757, and married John Allen long before the exodus,) constituted the family of Hugh White.
The next year arrived Amos Wetmore and Lemuel Leavenworth, and possibly Nathaniel Loomis and Roswell Goodrich. So that it was literally a settlement "by Hugh White and family."
The energies of the pioneers seem to have been given to making homes in the wilderness, and caring for their families; providing food and raiment and clearing the land for agricultural use. The intense physical exertion necessary left little time for culture, and tbere were no broad, smooth avenues to knowledge for the children as you have them now. Books were a rarity, newspapers were unknown, and the Bible and the preacher the only sources of mental food. So it happened, that while the father, on the formation of the county, became a judge, the sons followed the vocation, made necessary by the enterprise, and contented themselves with filling the position of the American farmer. Owning the land, and tilling the soil, "making the wilderness to blossom as a rose" and laying the foundation of that productiveness and industry, that thrift and prosperity which charm and astonish the stranger, and make this new world, the attraction to all people, the Mecca, of the civilized world.
Of their descendants, a few may be mentioned as men of mark in their day and generation.
Hon. Fortune Clark White, LL. D., son of Colonel Daniel Clark, was born in Whitestown, July 10, 1787. He studied law in Judge Platt's office and became first judge of Oneida County about 1837. He was a brigadier general of the State militia, and twice a member of the legislature. He died at Whitestown, August 27, 1866. He had five son's and two daughters.
Hon. Philo White, LL. D., son of Philo, was born in Whitestowne, June 23, 1796. He graduated in a printing office in Utica, removed to North Carolina and became an editor, and finally State printer. He removed to Wisconsin while it was yet a territory; was a member of the legislature; United States Consul to the Hanseatic league, and Minister resident to Ecuador, South America. He returned to Whitestown in 1859, and died there February 15, 1883.
Canvass White, son of Hugh, Jr., was born in Whitestown, September 8, 1790. His early life was spent on the farm. At the age of seventeen he was a clerk in the store of Colonel Carpenter. In the Spring of 1811, he went as supercargo on a voyage to Archangel in Russia. In 1814, he was a lieutenant in the regiment of Colonel Dodge, in the company of Captain B. F. Knop, and was on the Niagara frontier, at the sortie of Fort Erie. He was one of the engineers on the Erie canal under Benjamin Wright, and subsequently rose to great eminence in his profession. He was engaged on the Union, Lehigh and on the Delaware and Raritan canals; built the Delaware breakwater. But failing health cut short his career, and he died, December 18, 1834, at the age of 44 years. As an indication of his ability, capacity and standing, it is related that Henry Clay said to a gentleman seeking an engineer for the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, "Get Canvass White. No man is more competent, no man more capable, and while your faith in his ability and fidelity increases, your friendship will grow into affection."
Hon. Hugh White, son of Hugh, junior, was born in Whitestown, December 25, 1798. He graduated at Hamilton college in 1823, and fitted for the bar in the office of Colonel Charles G. Haines, New York city. But he soon turned to business pursuits. In 1825, he was located in Chittenango, engaged in boating on the Erie canal, and in the manufacture of water lime, called "White's water-proof cement," for his brother Canvass White, being the first made in America, and afterwards at Rondout in Ulster County. He established and built up the Rosendale cement works, where he manufactured much of the cement used on the Croton aqueduct. He was also largely interested and engaged in the development of the water power at Cohoes, on the Mohawk. In 1844, he was chosen representative to Congress, where lie served three terms. He was then active with the Litchfields, D. B. ST. John, Governor Hunt, John Stryker and others in building the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana railroad, and carried it to a successful conclusion. He married, April 10, 1828, Maria Mills Mansfield, of Kent, Connecticut. He died at his home in Waterford, Saratoga County, October 6, 1870, aged 72 years. They had two sons and five daughters, of whom one son and one daughter are living. His widow still occupies the homestead at Waterford.
Colonel William C. Young, son of Mary Stone White, and John Young (the founder of Youngstown, Ohio,) was born at Youngstown, Ohio, (then a territory,) November 25, 1799. His parents returned to Whitestown and occupied their "home farm" in 1802. He attended school, had some knowledge of Latin, geometry and surveying, aside from the ordinary schooling of the period. At sixteen years of age he was assistant surveyor of the islands of Lake Ontario, for the State of New York: the next year a rod-man locating the Erie canal, and participating in the ceremony of "ground breaking" for that work at Rome, July 4, 1817: the next year, a cadet at West Point in a class of 125 members; and graduates No. 12 in his class in 1822. After four years given to army life he resigns June 30,1826, and engages in superintending the locating and construction of railroads in New York State. Under John B. Jervis the Saratoga and Schenectady road is built, and Mr. Young originates the system of cross-sills or ties as now used. Then as engineer and general manager he gives fifteen years to the Utica and Schenectady railroad, resigning that to be chief engineer and manager of the Hudson River railroad, which he pushed to completion and became its president. A lifetime given to developing the resources of his country, and one of the few minds that have created and developed the railroad system of America, Mr. Young still lives, a splendid specimen of the men of a previous generation. His brother, Charles Clark Young, and his sister, Jane M. Rosevelt, widow of Rev. Washington Rosevelt, Mrs. Catherine Crouse, wife of John Crouse of Syracuse and daughter of Ansel White, and Susan Porter, youngest daughter of Hugh White jr are all of the surviving grandchildren of the pioneer. Three generations cover one hundred and fifty years.
With 1595 as the date of the birth of John White, and many of the seventh generation still living, we have the fact that a generation has averaged over 41 years, and a record of 289 years is made. Twenty-four years ago the known descendants of John White were 5,074. Of these 2,850 bore the name of White, and 2,224 bore other names. There were then 542 families of Whites, and 458 families of which the mothers were Whites.
Of the descendants of Judge White, bearing the name of White, known to be living are:
Nathaniel Patten, Edgar, James Hillhouse, and Frances Amelia, children of Judge Fortune C. White.
Morris Pratt, Mary; Lewis, Philo, and Charles, children of Jonas White.
Halsey and Mary, children of Halsey White. Maria M., Robert Sayre, Canvass and William M., children of Charles Loomis, and grandchildren of Canvass. Harry, son of Lewis White. Mary Adelia, J. Franklin, Edgar Adelbert and Arthur Shirley, children of Edgar White. Nathaniel C., son of James Hillhouse, Port Huron, Mich., Hugh T., son of Nathanil C., Port Huron, Mich.
William Mansfield White and Isabel White (Niles,) children of Hon. Hugh, son of Hugh, junior.
Hugh, William Pierrepont, Anna Maria, Hubert Lawrence, Florilla Mansfield, Mary Pierrepont, Cornelia Butler, Isabel, DeLancey Pierrepont, Charles Carroll and John Dolbeare, children of William M. White and Anna M. Pierrepont.
In regard to the date of the arrival at Whitestown, the date of the month, the preponderance of proof justifies us in celebrating it to-day (June 5). M. M. Jones says he distinctly remembers that his father, the author of "The Annals of Oneida County," got the date of the same from Philo White, who afterwards dictated the record to his daughter, Julia Ann (Kennedy,) for the "Philo White Bible." It is in her hand writing. The Bible was published in 1849, and as Philo White died April 12, 1849, the dictation must have been made shortly before his death. But he was born June 25, 1767, and he has confounded the date of his birth with the date of the settlement. He was seventeen years old in 1784, and if they had arrived in Whitestown on his birthday, the coincidence would have been noted.
John White sailed from England about the 25th of June, l632 He died early in the year 1684; just two hundred years ago, making this a second centennial in the family.
Permit me to add, speaking for the family, and the whole family, whether they bear the name of White or have been given in marriage and now bear other names, that this movement of the Oneida Historical Society, and this generous co-operation of the citizens of Oneida county to do honor to our common ancestor, and to mark the spot where the first home was, in the wilderness of western New York, and the time when it was made, and to commemorate the actors, and their memory, has gratified our pride:. has warmed our hearts; has increased our faith in humanity; has strengthened our love. And we reverently thank God that our fathers and our mothers were of those "whom the people delighted to honor."
Royal blood is an inheritance. Noble blood if it begets noble deeds is a blessing. But above all and beyond all, is the inheritance of a pious, God-fearing, God-serving ancestry.
Mr. White closed his remaks by saying:
Mr. Chairman: With a due sense of the honor and consideration shown in designating me to unveil this monument to the settlement of Whitestown and to the first settlers, permit me to waive this honor and to designate that it now be done by Hugh White and William White Niles, whose grandfather was Hugh White, son of Hugh the pioneer.
The monument was then unveiled by Hugh White, son of the speaker and William White Niles, amid the cheers of the assembled multitude and appropriate music by the Oriskany Cornet band.
Rev. Anson J. Upson, D. D., of Auburn Theolgical
Seminary, formerly professor of rhetoric and elocution in Hamilton College,
was then introduced and delivered the dedicatory address, which was attentively
listened to, and often applauded.
Copyright © 2000 Laura Perkins