Fletcher D. White, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .
Transcribed biography of Fletcher D. White
FLETCHER D. WHITE. Conspicuous among the good citizens of Porter county, Indiana, stands Fletcher D. White, who is an able exponent of the progressive spirit and strong initiative ability that have caused this section to forge so rapidly forward in the last quarter of a century. Mr. White is an agriculturist by occupation and is but recently retired, his home being made at present in Valparaiso. Theodore Roosevelt has said, "Our civilization rests at bottom on the wholesomeness, the attractiveness and the completeness, as well as the prosperity of life in the country. The men and women on the farms stand for what is fundamentally best and most needed in our American life." It was of the type represented by Mr. White that the great statesman was speaking.
The subject was born near Pagetown, Morrow county, Ohio, January 5, 1842, the son of William H. and Adaline (Morton) White, likewise natives of the Buckeye state. The original progenitors of Mr. White in America were his great-grandfathers, Stewart and White, both of Ireland, who immigrated to America and became Revolutionary soldiers of the Continental line. Both had the misfortune to be taken prisoners on a British man-of-war and suffered the trials and indignities too often incident to such a fate. The brave young patriots were strong of body and courage and survived their misfortunes and, ultimately released, settled in Virginia, where they reared families and later removed to Ohio. James White, son of the White aforementioned, became a citizen of Harmony township, Morrow county, Ohio, and like his father, took up arms against the British, as a soldier in the War of 1812. He was an artilleryman and was stationed with his battery on Craney Island in the Potomac river. His son, William, married and settled near Pagetown, and in October, 1846, William and his wife migrated to Indiana, with a small colony composed of members of the White family, the heads of the families being Heman, William and James White and Lorenzo Morton, the latter a brother-in-law. The family of William White, father of the subject, consisted of eleven children, young Fletcher at that time being about five years of age.
In that day the lowlands, known as the Black Swamp lands, lying between Indiana and Ohio, prevented a straight journey across the county and necessitated a detour through Michigan and over the sandy roads. On a bright morning in the fall of 1846 the company started forth in prairie schooners and made the long journey through White Pigeon, Hillsdale and other Michigan towns. Many things witnessed by the observing little five year old boy made an indelible impression on his memory. Among these is the recollection of seeing his first steam engine at Hillsdale and he was filled with awe and delight by the monster machine, puffing its volumes of black smoke. He also saw his first negro at this time, the colored man causing some little excitement by trying to ford the river with his team and coming near being drowned.
The company came on through South Bend and LaPorte and located five miles south of Valparaiso, where, hearing of a vacant, two-room log house a mile east of Valparaiso, one room being down stairs and one up, the entire company wintered there. The Morton family lived upstairs and three white families below. The women prepared the meals on cranes hung in the fireplace, which was ten feet wide. The question of sleeping room was a difficult one. Finally room was found for all but the five year old boy, but that was happily settled when a little box was produced in which loving hands tenderly tucked him away, where his slumber was as sweet as that of a prince in a palace. When spring arrived all the families rented land and established different households and by upright living and stanch industry became known for their fine citizenship. Their locality was known as the White Settlement.
William White, Sr., had formerly been a member of an independent company of soldiers in Ohio. At one time when General Hinton of Mexican war fame was invited to visit the training ground of the soldiers, he replied that he would not come until eight of their best men were sent as an escort and William White was one of the eight selected. This good citizen passed away in 1861, having long been in failing health, but his memory has by no means been obliterated in the hearts of the older generation, who loved and respected him. Upon his death no small part of the responsibility of rearing the family fell upon the shoulders of the eldest son, Fletcher, who gave valiant help to his good Christian mother in her hour of need.
On December 31, 1864, Fletcher White laid the foundation of a happy household and congenial life companionship by his union with Viola Marine, an estimable young woman, born in Porter county, December 17, 1846, the daughter of Asa and Mary (Crane) Marine. Asa Marine was a farmer by occupation and his children were Harriet, Lewis, John, Charles, Lilly, Jennie, Burt and Viola. John, Lewis and Charles Marine are prominent Porter county business men. Fletcher White and his bride began their married life on a rented farm near his mother's place, consisting of eighty acres, and he was still a great help to his mother in rearing the younger children. He remained on the place mentioned for three years. At that time his ambitions were modest, their height being to own the eighty acres. The young couple were industrious and thrifty and in 1868 they were able to purchase one hundred and sixty acres of land. They prospered in definite fashion and ultimately became substantial land owners, having as their own over five hundred acres of land. In time there children were born to gladden their household by their presence, namely: William, Lula and Lilly, the latter of whom died at the age of ten months. Mr. and Mrs. White carefully reared their two interesting children, sending them to school at Valparaiso, where Lula graduated in music and took a scientific course in the famous college at that place. She was united in marriage to Alonzo Kirk, a former student of the university and now a prominent physician of Chisholm, Minnesota. Dr. and Mrs. Kirk have a son, Harold.
William White, Jr., graduated from the business college at Valparaiso and then engaged in farming and stock-raising, becoming a very successful buyer and shipper of stock. He married Kate Webster and they became the parents of two children, -- Emery D. and Everett, the latter dying at the age of ten years. Emery married Grace Marshall, whose sad death occurred six months later. Later in life William White, Jr., married Miss Lillabel Holland, a charming young woman of Chicago, daughter of A. B. and Eva Holland. This lady was carefully reared in the elevating atmosphere of a Christian home, in company with fine, amiable brothers and sisters, and has developed a beautiful unselfish character. For a number of years she had been active in Christian work in Chicago and enjoyed a large circle of friends who appreciated and admired her qualities of mind and heart, and her true and loyal sincerity to the cause of the Master. She and her husband now reside at Valparaiso, Indiana.
In April, 1904, Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher White decided to give over the active duties of farm life into other hands. They accordingly removed from the beautiful country home to Valparaiso, where they occupy a commodious residence at 604 East Main street, and where in leisure they enjoy the possession of hosts of friends.
Mr. White has many interests even at present. He is one of the directors and stockholders in the Valparaiso First National Bank and he was one of the builders of Altrurea Hall, one of the finest erections gracing College Hill, in which Valparaiso takes just pride. Mr. and Mrs. White are zealous members of the Methodist Episcopal church of this city, and are liberal supporters of the same. They are interested in all good causes which mean the uplift of society. The subject's success has been due to his industry, energy and good business management. One of his convictions is the importance of the temperance cause. After his useful and busy life his years rest lightly upon him and he has doubtless many years of usefulness before him. He is a Republican.
Mr. and Mrs. White have reared in their home a niece. Grace Hubbell, an amiable, talented young lady, who is a graduate of Valparaiso University in the scientific and normal departments. She has taught for three years in the Bundy school near this city and has recently been engaged to teach in the schools of Gary.
Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 564-569
This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.
Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook