Review of Henry County, Iowa
Biographies submitted by Polly Eckles.
Edward Ezekiel White, a representative of a pioneer family of Henry county, is prominently identified with business interests in Tippecanoe township, where he is now engaged in the raising and feeding of stock and in the dairy business and he also operates a stone quarry which is proving a profitable source of income. He was born April 24, 1849, upon the farm which is still his home.
His paternal grandfather, Morgan White, was a native of Pennsylvania and married Miss Catherine French, who was also born in the Keystone state. Their son, Nathaniel F. White, was born near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when nine years of age accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, the family home being established in Brown county, that state, in 1820. There he was reared to manhood amid the wild scenes and environments of pioneer residence and he assisted in the arduous task of establishing a new home upon the frontier.
He was married in Brown county to Miss Mary A. Rose, who born in Fleming county, Kentucky, and was a daughter of Ezekiel and Catherine ( Stites ) Rose, both of whom were natives of New Jersey. She had accompanied her parents to Brown county, Illinois, in 1828. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel F. White lived upon a farm in that county until 1836, when they came to Iowa, settling in Burlington, where they resided until 1839, and then removed to Mount Pleasant.
After a year Mr. White purchased eighty acres of land on section 12, Tippecanoe township. It was a tract of wild timber and in the midst of the green forest he built a log cabin of one room. Having thus provided shelter for his family, he at once began to clear the land and placed fifty acres under the plow. He also worked at his trade of cabinet-making, which he had following his residence in Burlington and also in Mount Pleasant. His brother, Samuel S. White, built the first log cabin in Flint Hills, now Burlington. In company with his father and brother Nathaniel F. White explored the Iowa purchase as early as 1835, and there often saw the noted Sac warrior chief, Black Hawk. They staked out claims for homesteads on Des Moines river in what is now Van Buren county, Iowa, but becoming convinced that civilization would never permanently extend so far westward, they entirely abandoned their claims.
Nathaniel White was closely associated with the agricultural and industrial development of this part of the state and is numbered among the valued and worthy pioneer citizens who aided in laying broad and deep the foundation for the present progress and prosperity of the county. He died June 17, 1883, honored and respected by all who knew him and his wife survived until January 28, 1897. They were the parents of four children: Emeline, the wife of Samuel Summers; Rachel, who married Marcus K. Smith and resides in Jefferson county; John N.; and Edward E. The surviving members of the family are Rachel and Edward E., who is the youngest.
In taking up the personal history of our subject we present to our readers one who is widely and favorably known in Tippecanoe township and the central portion of Henry county. His early education, acquired in the district schools, was supplemented by a course of study in Howe’s Academy in Mount Pleasant. He was reared to farm labor and at his father’s death he purchased his sister’s interest in the old homestead, to which he has since added a tract of thirty acres so that the farm now comprises one hundred and ten acres of good land. The soil is rich and productive and he carried on general farming until 1900, since which time he has rented his farm land, while he now gives his attention to the raising and feeding of stock. He also keeps a dairy and manufactures butter, and this branch of his business is a profitable one. He also has one of the best stone quarries in the state, from which he quarries magnesia limestone. He furnishes building stone for the construction of various buildings in this vicinity. In 1873 he became the owner of a farm of ninety acres in Trenton township, which he sold in 1874.
On the 25th of October, 1877, occurred the marriage of Mr. White and Miss Dora A. Bell, who was born in Henry county and is a daughter of John Davage and Rachel ( McBride ) Bell. They had two children but one died in infancy. The surviving daughter is Florence Effie, who was born June 13, 1881, and is now acting as her father’s housekeeper, for Mrs. White was called to her final rest on the 15th of September, 1883, her remains being interred in Tippecanoe township.
Mr. White’s life has been one of continuous activity, in which he has not been denied the satisfactory reward of earnest and persistent labor. As the years have gone by he has extended the field of his operations and is today well known as a representative of stock-raising, dairying and quarrying interests in his native county. He is practical in his business views and methods and his industry is supplemented by keen business discrimination and unfaltering enterprise. Public opinion is not divided concerning his worth as a citizen and business man and many warm friends entertain for him genuine regard and confidence.
Mr. White was for many years a democrat but of late years has been independent. For fifteen years he was road supervisor, and also has held different school offices. In religious matters he is liberal and in his belief not being especially connected with any creed.
Upon the farm where he now lives in Tippecanoe township, Heman A. White was born on the 7th of April, 1851, a son of Wallace and Jane E. ( Higgins ) White, the former a native of Delaware and the latter of Vermont. The father came to Henry county, Iowa, about 1838, settling in Mount Pleasant when it contained but three houses. He was a carpenter and worked at his trade in the embryo city. He also entered one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 2, Tippecanoe township, which was covered with timber and on this he cleared seventy-seven acres, which he made his home place. In 1850 he supplemented his little log cabin by a frame house, in which was a fireplace. He also built, in 1860, a barn which is still in use. He resided upon this farm until the fall of 1864, when his life’s labors were ended in death, but he is still survived by his wife, who was born in 1824, and therefore has reached the very advanced age of eighty-two years. In their family were ten children, six sons and four daughters.
Heman A. White, the sixth in order of birth, spent his boyhood days under the parental roof, remaining with his mother until 1870 and in the meantime he acquired a fair English education in the district schools. On leaving home he went to Kansas, whence he afterward made his way to Missouri with an uncle, remaining there for six months. He next removed to Pottawattamie county, Iowa, where he worked at farming for a year and a half, after which he returned to the homestead residing thereon until his marriage.
It was on the 18th of May, 1873, that he wedded Miss Elizabeth A. Fordyce, who was born in Jefferson county, Iowa, and is a daughter of Robert Fordyce, a native of Ohio. Her education was acquired in the common schools and by this marriage there have been born four children: James P., now living in California; Hugh R., at home; Effie Jane, a nurse now in Tipton, Iowa; and Ora Adele, who is a student in Howe’s Academy, which is one of the oldest and best known schools of Southeastern Iowa.
For two years after his marriage Mr. White remained upon the old homestead and then spent a year at farm labor in the employ of others. He next purchased sixty-one acres of land just west of the old home place and built thereon a new house, a stable, corn crib, a well, and made other improvements. His attention was assiduously given to the cultivation and development of the farm until 1898, when he traded that place for the interest of his brother Wallace in the old homestead and removed to the farm, purchasing the interest of the other heirs. He now has one hundred and twenty-eight acres of land in one body. The residence was built by his mother in 1887. The farm is supplied with modern equipments. Mr. White raises here the various cereals adapted to the climatic conditions of the country, and he also raises horses, cattle and hogs.
In his political views he is an earnest republican, and is now serving as president and director of the school board. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church. He has lived in the county for more than half a century and is a representative of one of its oldest pioneer families, the name of White having been associated with its agricultural development from the period when much of the land was still government property, and work of improvement had scarcely been inaugurated by the white pioneer man.