Select White Miscellany

Here are some White stories and accounts over the years:

The Whyte Family in Ireland

The Waterford & S.E. Ireland Archaelogical Society Journal had the following entry about the Whytes:

The family of Whyte held a distinguished position in Wales in the reign of Henry II, where Ethebert Whyte governed the southern province as Justiciary or Proconsul.  His son Chevalier Gautier (Walter) Whyte and his brothers assisted Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in the invasion of Ireland.  The Whyte family established themselves in county Waterford and in different parts of Ireland.  Sir Nicholas White was Master of the Rolls in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and owner at that time of Duncannon Castle.”  

Abbe MacGeoghegan remarked that the Whites were to be found in the counties of Kilkenny, Wexford, and Down. Among the different families of the Whites, “that of Lexlip was the most celebrated for its opulence, magnificence and illustrious alliances.”  Leixlip lay outside Dublin and had been acquired by Sir Nicholas White in 1567

Early Whites in England

Walter Whyte, knighted by Henry II in 1171, was the first known bearer of the White surname in England.  He was one of the soldiers of fortune who accompanied Strongbow to Ireland in 1168.  He died in the year 1188 and was buried at the Abbey of Greyfriars in Wexford.  

Robert Whyte of Egton in the North Riding was recorded as a knight in Yorkshire in 1303.  His line has been traced in Yorkshire through the 14th century.   Johannis White was an alderman of York in 1394.  His son of the same name, then living at Cilyngham in Nottinghamshire, was named in the list of landed gentry in 1428.

The Whites of Farnham

The first sighting of this family was in Yateley in Hampshire and Robert White, recorded as a wool merchant there.  He may have been the mayor of Sandwich in the 1430’s.  He died in 1467 and his son John died in 1469 two years later.

John’s son was the Robert White who made the family fortune as a merchant in Calais.   During his lifetime Robert acquired estates at Farnham in Surrey and South Warnborough in Hampshire.

Robert died in 1518.  Eight sons were mentioned in his will: Robert, Henry, Thomas, William, John the elder, John the younger, Leonard and Eustace.   John the elder was the future Bishop of Winchester, John the younger the future Sir John White, MP and Lord Mayor of London in 1563.  The line meanwhile from the eldest son Robert descended to Sir Thomas White of Warnborough.

John the Bishop and Sir Thomas had strong Catholic tendencies.  John the Bishop was described as follows:

“A man of austere life, eminent for piety and learning, an eloquent orator, a solid divine, a nervous preacher, and a tolerable poet for the time.” 

He was also a resolute pursuer of heretics during Queen Mary’s reign. Afterwards he was briefly imprisoned, deprived of his see, and soon died.  His nephew Sir Thomas then died.  An ex-Marian priest was charged in 1567 with having buried him “with tapers and other papistical ceremonies."

Peregrine White, First-Born in New England

The name Peregrine is derived from the Latin word peregrinus,meaning "pilgrim."  He was the second son of Mayflower Pilgrim William White and his wife Susanna.  Susanna was pregnant during the Mayflower voyage and gave birth to Peregrine in late November 1620 while the ship was at anchor at Cape Cod.

Peregrine is thus believed to have the distinction of being the first known English child born in America. Pilgrim Hall in fact owns and exhibits the cradle of Peregrine White.  His father did not survive the first winter and his mother remarried in the first wedding to take place in New England.

Peregrine settled in Marshfield north of Plymouth with his older brother Resolved in 1636.  He died there in 1704 at the age of 83.  We have not much idea of his character, but certain traits reported about him suggest a possible dissolute youth (at least in terms of the Puritan norms):

  • in 1648 Peregrine and his wife Sara were fined for fornication before marriage
  • in 1649 Peregrine and William Halloway were cautioned for fighting
  • in 1696 Peregrine White, “the first born child of New England” was finally admitted into the Marshfield church at the age of 78.
  • in 1704, on his death it was said that “although he was in the former part of his life extravagant, yet was much reformed in his last years and died hopefully.”

His descendants remained in Marshfield until the Revolutionary War.  Whites later migrated north to Maine.

Martin White, Texas Pioneer

Martin White, born in Louisiana, came early to Texas.  He moved to Sabine, Texas in 1822 with his mother and his brother Benjamin, having received a land grant from the Mexican government.  Their family was listed in the 1835 census for Sabine.  As was required by Mexican law, the religion of all of them had to be shown to be Catholic. 

In 1836 Martin joined Sam Houston’s army fighting for independence and was involved in the decisive Battle of San Jacinto.  For his service he received a bounty land grant. 

In the following years, Martin and his brother Benjamin moved around various places in East Texas.  Benjamin served as a sheriff of Trinity county and Martin died at Alabama Creek in the same county in 1861.

Early White Settlers in South Australia

Two brothers, John and George White from Worcestershire, were early settlers in South Australia, arriving at Port Adelaide on the Tam O'Shanter in 1836.

John was a building contractor and a man of some means.  He had brought with him a large load of building materials, as well as nine laborers and their families. John had pre-purchased town acres and a section of land in Reedbeds on which he established the Fulham Farm suburb of western Adelaide.  His son Samuel developed some reputation as an ornithologist.

Meanwhile his younger brother George was a carpenter who experienced some financial problems early on in the colony.  He recovered and settled with his wife Mary Ann and family at Scotts Creek in the foothills of the Lofty Ranges near Adelaide.  He lived there until his death in 1863.

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