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Honoring Whitestown Namesake
~ Albert S. White
To: Boone County INGenWeb
October 2, 2006
Dear Friends -
My family wants to do something special to honor Whitestown,
IN, which was named after our Great-Great Grandfather, U.S.
Senator and Federal Judge appointed by Abraham Lincoln,
Albert S. White of LaFayette, IN. Our thought is a
ceremony with a special framed photo, including three
dedicatory plaques: one to be placed in the town hall and
the other two on the North and South edges of Whitestown, if
you think this is a good idea.
We will pay for and arrange for the photo and the plaques.
We would like your help on setting up an appropriate
ceremony and time of year, if the Whitestown officials and
citizens deem the idea a good one.
Several years ago when my 90-year old mother, Eleanor White
Mintener of Minneapolis and I from Canton, NY were doing
family history research in Indianapolis and Lafayette, on my
two Great-Great grandfathers from Indiana, Senator/Federal
Judge Albert S. White of Lafayette and Indiana pioneer
painter Jacob Cox of Indianapolis, we stopped in at the Town
Clerk's office in Whitestown, IN on our way to Lafayette,
curious about the history of the town.
My first question was how and after whom was the town,
Whitestown, named? The answer was uncertain, with a couple
of possibilities mentioned. I then wondered if the town was
named after my G-G Grandfather, who started the railroad
which went through town on the way to LaFayette. I said I
would do some research, and I did and I discovered from the
Indiana Book on Place Names that the town was named after
Albert S. White who was a Whig U.S. Congressman from
Tippecanoe County from 1837-39, then ran for the U.S. Senate
and won for a 6-year term until 1846, when he decided to
retire from politics and return to law practice, start a
utopian community with John Purdue and others in Stockwell,
IN and work on bridges, railroads and the end of the Erie
Then, one day in 1860, when nextdoor neighbor Abraham
Lincoln was passing through LaFayette on a campaign tour, he
stopped in to see Albert S. White to urge him to step out of
retirement and run as a Republican for the U.S. Congress
again. Grandfather White said: "Yes, on one condition
(according to the renowned Civil War author Carl Sanburg in
his third volume). That you name my friend postmaster of
LaFayette when you become President." Lincoln promised to do
so. Both White and Lincoln were elected respectively to
President and Congress.
A year or so later, Congressman Albert S. White and my
Great-Great Grandmother Harriot Randoplh White (one of Mary
Todd Lincoln's four best social friends during and after her
White House years...that's another interesting story....
about the Whites' marriage in Richmond, VA and her
connection to Tuckahoe plantation on the James River and to
Thomas Jefferson learning to read and write with her father
in the one-room school house still standing at Tuckahoe) was
at a social function at the White House and when he was
greeted by President Lincoln. White said to Lincoln that he
had not kept his promise about his friend and that Lincoln
appointed someone else, at which point, Lincoln turns his
backside to White, lifts up his frockcoat and, in a way of
apology, says to White to "kick him right here on my
backside, if you will." There are many other stories, which
I am trying to put in a book and a pre-article for the
Indiana and Boone County Historical magazines.
I would like to be in touch with all of you on what we can
do together to recognize Whitestown's namesake.
Bradshaw (Brad) Mintener
P.O. Box 423
77 Main Street
Canton, NY 13617
phone: 315/386-2585 or 315/386-8621 (days)