biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
JOHN WHITE, deceased, one of the pioneers of Jefferson and Mahaska Counties, was born in Pepperell, Mass., on the 23d of November, 1813, and was a son of Jeremiah and Anna White who emigrated to Western Ohio, and settled on the banks of the Big Miami River, near a little town by the name of Venice. Here he grew to manhood and received his early education. His father was a carpenter, which trade he learned in the shop at home. While engaged in plowing his father received serious injuries by the team running away, which soon after caused his death, and upon the son devolved the care of his mother for many years. He removed about the year 1833 to White Water in the southern part of Ohio, and became acquainted with Miss Martha Jane Cloud, to whom he was afterward married in Dearborn County, Ind. She was a daughter of John and Mary (Johnson) Cloud, natives of Kentucky, who were among the early settlers of Ohio, emigrating to White Water, Hamilton County, at a very early date. In those early times the Indians were yet troublesome and dangerous, and Father Johnson stood guard many nights with gun in hand, ready for any emergency. Mr. and Mrs. Cloud were the parents of five children, three daughters and two sons: John, now living near Cincinnati, Ohio; Ruth A., wife of James Van Dolor, now of Bourbon County, Kan., near Ft. Scott; and Martha J., wife of the subject of this sketch. Mr. and Mrs. Cloud were lifelong members of the close communion Baptist Church. He was an ardent supporter of Gen. Jackson, and a believer in that school of politics. He was a man of strong likes and dislikes, and well informed upon all matters of importance. They removed to Dearborn County, Ind., and are both now deceased. In 1840 the subject of this sketch, with his wife and two children, removed to Jefferson County, Iowa, coming by boat to Burlington, and by stage to Fairfield, near which he purchased a piece of land and engaged in farming, remaining there till the month of May, 1843, at the time of the New Purchase, when he visited Oskaloosa and entered a body of land one mile north of the public square. He remained here through the summer, while Mrs. White looked after the farm in Jefferson County. In the spring of 1844 he removed with his family to this county and established himself on his land north of the city. Mr. and Mrs. White came to this county poor, but with a determination to succeed in life, and he eventually became the wealthiest man in the county. His first business was that of farming, in which he engaged extensively and successfully, and by economy and the careful investment of his means, accumulated a large amount of real property. He afterward engaged in the business of banking, and in the year 1857 established the private bank of John White & Co., which continued only a few months, when the firm sold out to W. H. Seevers & Co. who shortly afterward were compelled to close their doors, by the panic of 1857. A few days later this bank was again reopened by John White & Co., and on the 12th of October, 1858, upon the establishment of the Oskaloosa Branch of the State Bank of Iowa, voluntarily quit business and transferred its trade to the new institution, the capital stock of which was $50,000. Mr. White was a stockholder, one of the Directors, and its first President. Jan. 1, 1864, the First National Bank of Oskaloosa established, of which Mr. White was the principal stockholder and President, and the organization continued until Dec. 7, 1868, when it went into voluntary liquidation. Mr. White then opened a private bank, which he operated for a short time, when he bought a controlling interest in the National State Bank, of Oskaloosa, which had been organized May 1, 1865. He removed its books and papers from its location on the north side of the square to his own building, and for several months its business was practically suspended, for reasons best known to its owners. It was, however, revived, and Mr. White continued as its President until his death in 1870, sometime after which the bank and its franchise was sold to Seth Richards. It has since been succeeded in its business and good-will by the Oskaloosa National Bank of this city, regarding which, see elsewhere in this volume. The building so long used by Mr. White as a banking house is at present occupied by the Mahaska County Bank, of which the Hon. J. A. L. Crookham is President. Mr. White was a close observer of men and things, a man of fair education, and a shrewd business man, careful in his investments, which generally yielded good returns, with few, if any, losses. He was a man of temperate habits, using neither tobacco nor intoxicants. Politically he was a Jackson Democrat, and a leader in his party, a man who never desired political prominence or office for himself, but always manifested a deep interest in the success of his friends. By reason of his long experience in the banking business he was well known over the entire State, and abroad as well as at home enjoyed the confidence of the business world, and the esteem of friends and neighbors who best knew him. He was a member of the various Masonic bodies in this city, and upon his death, Dec. 24, 1870, was buried with full honors of Masonry by Commandery No. 6, K. T., of this city, of which he was an honored member. Mrs. White still survives, and resides in Oskaloosa. She is a lady whose whole life has been a continued work of kind actions and benevolence, and enjoys not only the highest regard of a large circle of friends and acquaintances, but receives as well the blessings of scores of poor people in Oskaloosa, who have been the recipients of her bounty for many years. There were born to Mr. and Mrs. White twelve children, one of whom is yet living: Edmund Bond was born Aug. 13, 1848, and died Jan. 13, 1859; Mary A., born Aug. 16, 1840, died March 12, 1853; Harriet, born July 10, 1842, died the same day; Anastasia, born May 20, 1844, died Oct. 1, 1850; Iowa, born Dec. 2, 1846, became the wife of E. W. Strong, Jan. 10, 1864, and died in this city on the 11th of December, 1864; Jennie was born Oct. 2, 1856, and is the wife of Ernest H. Gibbs, Esq., a capitalist of this city, and the wealthest man in the county. The portraits of Mr. White and wife are presented in connection with this sketch.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy