Richard White Sr., born July 4, 1867, had married twenty-year-old
Mattie Platt of Fillmore, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, on June 22, 1892.
They lived in Bonham, where their oldest daughter was a school chum of
Sam Rayburn, later speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
the turn of the century, the couple came to Denison from Bonham with
their three children. These were Mavis White (later Clymer), born June
17, 1893; James Platt White, born December 6, 1895; and William Richard
“Dick” White Jr., born November 3, 1897. The Whites had three more
children after coming to Denison. They were Louisa White (later
Ramsey), born April 7, 1902; Julius Been White, born November 18, 1904
(he died on April 30, 1916, at the age of eleven); and Martha White
(later Parker), born March 27, 1908.
Coming to Denison from Bonham at
the turn of the century, W. R. White, Sr. set up his White Produce
Company at 607 West Main. Soon thereafter (certainly before 1906), he
moved into the building at 100 West Chestnut Street at South Houston
Mrs. W. R. White, Sr. always
called her husband “Mr. White”. Each morning she would rise
early to prepare biscuits “from scratch” and a large breakfast. When
Mr. White was ready to be served his breakfast, he would bang on the
floor next to their bed with his cane. Then his wife would prepare the
breakfast on a tray and take it in for him to eat in bed. Grandchildren
and great-grandchildren called the couple “Mama and Papa White”.
the railroad tracks, along North Houston Avenue, arose a number of
businesses based on the agricultural riches of the land around Denison.
At the corner of East Gansy Street stood White Produce
built in 1906 and operated until 1925 by William Richard White Sr.
(1867 - 1951). Then this structure hosted several overall
manufacturers: Barrow-Johnson (1925), Cowden (1929), Patterson (1933),
and memorably, Levi Strauss and Company (1949-1966) (MAB)
216 North Houston Avenue
site on the southeast corner of East Gandy Street and North Houston
Avenue, at 100 East Gandy Street or 216 North Houston Avenue, was the
home of Michael and Maggie Hanna, who built a home there in 1873.
In 1906, White purchased the
Hanna home, demolished it, and erected the White Produce Company. After
some nineteen years in business, in 1925 White closed the White Produce
Company and went to live in Wichita Falls. He later returned, helping
to found the Denison Poultry and Egg Company at 131 East Sears Street.
White, also known as "Texas Turkey King" owned at
one time 340 distributorships through White Produce Co. in Texas,
and Arkansas. He was known to have sent more live turkeys to New York
rail than had ever been shipped. He lost one million dollars
his historic haul broke the turkey market.
Mr. White died on February 27,
1951. His wife continued to live at 1011 West Bond Street, in their
shingled bungalow-style home filled with Mission oak furniture and her
hand-crocheted doilies, until her death on June 16, 1958.