Biography of John White
FROM: History of Livingston County, New York
By James H. Smith
Assisted by Hume H. Cole
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1881


John White was born in the town of P i qua, Northumberland county, Penn., December 25, 1788. In 1794, his parents with their family emigrated to the town of Lima, where they lived for four years, then purchased and removed to a farm, (long know as the Rambeau farm,) one and a half miles southeast of the village of Geneseo. In these boyhood days Indians were often his companions in the games of wrestling and ball playing.

In 1805 while yet but a youth he started out for himself and began the battle of life in earnest. In company with a brother and a friend he followed the Indian trail westward to the Holland Purchase" where each purchased a farm in the unbroken forest, but all living together for a year in a rude log-cabin doing their own house-work, and furnishing their cabin in the style of those days. Split bass-wood logs fastened on standards of different heights serving for tables and chairs, and maple wood dishes were their only supply.

He cleared a portion of his farm and built a house and on Jan. 6th, 1807, was united in marriage with Miss Anna Griffith of Geneseo. In 1808 he united with the M. E. Church and from that time forward his religious faith and principles controlled him in all the duties and relations of life. In 1813 he returned to this vicinity and bought the farm in Groveland, on which he resided for 62 years. Thus did he become identified with the early settlement and material prosperity of the town where so great a portion of his life was spent. He held for many years the various offices within the gift of his townsmen, truly the gift for he never solicited a vote nor even voted for himself, and in the discharge of these duties his record is of one who did his work well and honorably.

In 1826, he assisted in the organization of the M. E. Church at East Groveland, was elected trustee and class-leader, which offices he held until his death. In the same year he with Lemuel B. Jennings donated a lot of five acres to be occupied as a parsonage ground, and it is still used for that purpose. He was the first farmer in Groveland to break away from the then prevailing custom of providing ardent spirits for his laborers, while to protect the pioneer temperance lecturer in his work he has even interposed his own powerful physical frame as a barrier in the door against the enemies of the temperance cause.

Firmness of purpose and perseverance in d u t y characterized him in every position he was called to occupy. He died in Geneseo at his home with his only remaining child Joseph E. White, June 27th, 1880, in the 92d year of his age.

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