EDGAR D. WHITE

With PERKINS & SPRAGUE FAMILIES

BIOGRAPHY

AS RECORDED IN:

COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF 
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE  CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P. 1013 - 1016

EDGAR D. WHITE.  The origin of this family of Whites in America is somewhat uncertain.  According to various records and other sources of information they appear to be descended from James White, a Spaniard.

James White, the first representative in America, was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1675, of Spanish Catholic parents.  According to tradition, when he was a lad of sixteen he either shipped or was enticed aboard a sailing vessel, and for a time was a slave; but securing his freedom, he sailed for America, where he landed both penniless and friendless.  He found friends, however, in Boston, where he learned the tailor’s trade, and in time married Martha Owen, a woman of English blood.  His death occurred in 1782, and he left the following children:  James (2), ancestor of Edgar D.;  William;  Samuel, who probably settled in Maine; and a daughter, whose name is lost.

According to Nancy White, granddaughter of James White (2), however, it was the latter who first came to America, on a whaling voyage from Lisbon, Portugal, and it is positively known that James (2) was born in Lisbon.  He afterward decided to make his home in this country, and settled in Hebron, Conn.  He persuaded his father, James White (1), to come to the New World, and the latter also made his home in Hebron, where he followed the tailor’s trade.  The wife with whom he lived there is supposed to have been American-born, and was his second wife; they probably met and married in Boston before his removal to Hebron.

James White (2) settled in Hebron, Conn., where it is recorded that he was married Jan. 14, 1747-48, to Rachel Chappell, daughter of Jonathan and Ruth Chappell.  Mrs. Rachel White was born in Hebron, May 24, 1728, and died Jan. 10, 1795.  Mr. White died July 23, 1806, at the age of eighty-eight years.  To this union came nine children:  Joseph, born Oct. 23, 1748;  Alexander, Dec. 2, 1750;  Adonijah, Oct. 22, 1752;  Rachel, Aug. 15, 1754;  James (3), Oct. 10, 1756;  Mary, May 26, 1759;  Mabel, April 24, 1761;  Ebenezer, Feb. 13, 1764;  Aaron, the grandfather of our subject, Sept. 20, 1767.  Of the sons of this family, the five eldest served in the Revolution.  Joseph and James served the longest period, and Joseph was present at the capture of Gen. Burgoyne.  His military life was full of privation, and in the evolutions that culminated in the battle of Saratoga, for two days the Continental forces to which he belonged went without food or drink.  When water was found the soldiers were forbidden to take more than a certain number of swallows, on pain of being shot.  This was simply a precaution.  At another time a half-decayed pumpkin furnished him all his food for the day, and it was pronounced by him the sweetest food he had ever tasted.

Aaron White, the grandfather of Edgar D., was born in Hebron, where he always lived, following the double occupation of farmer and joiner, and having his home in that part of the town which is now Andover.  He died March 15, 1838.  On March 25, 1790, he married Salome Hibbard, who was born April 17, 1771, daughter of Joseph and Temperance Hibbard, and died Dec. 25, 1816.  To this union came the following children:  Aaron, Jr., born Sept. 11, 1790, deceased April 6, 1794;  Laura, April 5, 1792;  Erastus, June 5, 1795;  Nancy, May 9, 1797;  Harriet, Oct. 2, 1800;  Orrin Chester, April 23, 1803;  Charlotte B., Aug. 27, 1807;  George Hibbard, father of Edgar D., Aug. 25, 1814.

Of this family, Nancy White never married, and lived to a ripe old age.  The following appeared in the Hartford Times, for April 16, 1891:

“Miss Nancy White, Andover’s oldest inhabitant, died of pneumonia, on Friday evening, April 10, after an illness of about ten days, at the advanced age of ninety-three years eleven months and one day.  By the death of her mother, when Miss Nancy was only nineteen years old, the latter had almost the entire care of her youngest brother, George H. White, of Andover, who was at the time only two years old.  She afterward kept house for him until he was married, and soon after that made her home with him, within a mile of the birthplace of her father’s and grandfather’s families, where she remained until the time of her death.

“The writer of this has heard her tell of the hardships endured by her five uncles during the Revolutionary war, and how she made home-spun cloth for the family use; also has seen her card and spin flax with the little old-fashioned spinning wheel.  It is rarely that one meets an aged person with so good a memory of the many things that had come within her life.  Her knowledge of scripture was equal to the best.

“There are but few persons ever found who are permitted to live long enough to see relatives representing six generations, as has been her lot, viz: Her grandfather, who died at her father’s home when she was nine years old; her father and uncles, her brothers and cousins, one of her cousins being grandfather to Judge J.Hurlburt White, of Hartford, whose father she well knew, and whose son she had met, as well as quite a number of others of the same generation.”

George Hibbard White grew up in his native town.  During his young manhood he was almost an invalid, recovering his strength so much, however, that his life was afterward devoted to farming.  In politics he was a Democrat, and in religion a Baptist, belonging to the church at Andover.  Mr. White was married Oct. 28, 1840, to Lucia Parker, daughter of Asa and Hannah (Sprague) Parker, of whom a sketch appears elsewhere.  Mrs. Lucia Parker White was born in Coventry, June 16, 1813, and is now living with a daughter, Mrs. Burnham, in Andover.  Mr. White died Sept. 11, 1885.  To them were born the following children:  Henrietta, born July 18, 1841, deceased at the age of ten days;  Adaline Calista, born May 12, 1845, who has been twice married, Jan. 22, 1867, to Joseph J. Watson, and Nov. 23, 1884, to Selah A. Burnham;  Lorin Fulton, a deaf mute, born Sept. 2, 1846, who has his home in Andover;  Edgar Davis, born Feb. 20, 1848.  The family home was about one mile south of Andover depot, at the junction of the Gilead and the Hebron roads.

EDGAR DAVIS WHITE grew up in Andover, which became a town the year he was born.  His education was secured in the local schools, and at the age of seventeen he began teaching on Grant’s Hill, in district No. 9, in the town of Coventry.  In the twenty-three terms that he has been in the school room he has taught during every month in the year, though the greater part of his work has been done in the winter time.  Mr. White feels that during his first year as teacher he learned more than in any year of his life, not only along educational lines, but in discipline and patience as well.  His work was in Coventry and Andover, in three districts in the first town, and in every district in Andover.  In all but two districts he taught more than one term, showing that his efforts were appreciated.

For some years after his marriage Mr. White continued teaching, carrying on farming operations as well.  In recent years he has given most of his time to farming, bestowing special attention on matters of trust, settling estates and similar undertakings.

In 1893 Mr. White traveled extensively in the West, visiting the World’s Fair at Chicago, stopping at Denver, Col., and at a number of points in Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado and Ohio, where he spent much time among relatives.  He made other visits to Ohio when he was called there for the purpose of contesting the will of his wife’s uncle, William A. Perkins, who had given $20,000 to Oberlin College during his life time; he brought the contest to a successful conclusion after three trials.

Mr. White has always been an out-and-out Democrat, taking a leading part in the political doings of the town, and has been collector for ten years, assessor, justice of the peace, constable, grand juror, school director and auditor.  For four years he was clerk of probate, for nine years notary public, and in 1899 represented his town in the General Assembly, serving on the committee on Agriculture.

Mr. and Mrs. White are both members of the Andover Grange, of which he has been master.  Both belong to the Andover Baptist Church, of which for a number of years he has been trustee and deacon.  Since 1883 Mr. White has been active in church work, having been since that time clerk and treasurer of the church, serving as superintendent of the Sunday-school.  Mr. White was on the committee that built the temporary home for Dependent Children at Vernon, which was completed in 1900, and is a credit to the committee having it in charge.

Mr. White was married March 16, 1869, to Lydia Amanda Sprague, who was born Feb. 1, 1848, and to this union came one child – Edith Bell, born April 12, 1872; she married William J. Maxwell, of Bolton, Nov. 7, 1892, and they have the following children:  Edgar Norman, born Oct. 1, 1893;  Helen, Jan. 4, 1895;  Mary Sprague, Jan. 19, 1898;  Avery Brewer, Aug. 8, 1899;  Francis Herbert, Aug. 13, 1901.  Mrs. White is a daughter of Norman and Laura (Perkins) Sprague, both the Spragues and Perkins being old and well-known families in New England.  Mrs. Laura Sprague was a daughter of Amos and Olive (Alford) Perkins.

Asa Perkins, of Lebanon, and Olive Manley, of Coventry, were married Sept. 9, 1778, and had the following children:  Asa, born March 12, 1780, who died in 1851;  Amos, the grandfather of Mrs. White, who was born Nov. 20, 1781;  George, born July 17, 1783;  Chester, July 17, 1785;  Darius, May 3, 1787;  John, April 23, 1789;  Septimus Manley, April 21, 1791;  William Bela, June 6, 1793;  Selah, March 26, 1795;  Olive Manley, Sept. 20, 1797.  Soon after the death of this last daughter the mother died and Asa Perkins married Lois Loomis, of Coventry, in February, 1800, the ceremony being performer by Dr. Joseph Parker.

Amos Perkins, the maternal grandfather of Mrs. White was born Nov. 20, 1781, and died July 3, 1849.  Olive Alford became his wife Feb. 7, 1805.  She was born Oct. 12, 1786, and died July 25, 1848.  In 1844 Amos Perkins and his wife removed to Ohio, where they spent the remainder of their lives.  The following year their son William A. also went to Ohio to live.  To Amos and Olive Perkins were born four children:  (1) Laura, born Jan. 11, 1806, died Feb. 4, 1894;  (2) Olive Amanda, born Oct. 23, 1807, married Dr. Lemon Sperry, of Ohio, in August, 1848, and died March 3, 1853;  (3) William Alford, born July 31, 1809, died in Windham, Ohio, May 26, 1894.  He married Eliza Boynton, of Coventry, May 20, 1838, who was born June 16, 1816, and they had a daughter, Mary, born July 17, 1839, who became the wife of M.C. Woodworth, M.D., and bore him one daughter.  Both are now deceased.  (4) Sally Maria, born July 22, 1816, married Nov. 28, 1850, David J. Martin, and died June 26, 1852.  They had one daughter, Sarah A., who was born Sept. 11, 1851.  The mother with her babe in her arms was thrown from a buggy, and in falling struck her head against a bridge, living only forty-eight hours after the accident.  Her child fell into the stream, but was rescued, and lived to become the wife of William Herman Critchet, and the mother of three children:  William Legrand, born Feb. 18, 1877;  Bird Byington, Aug. 13, 1879;  and Minnie Belle, Aug. 25, 1881.

The Spragues are an old New England family.  Eliakim Sprague was born about 1710, and died Dec. 10, 1786, aged seventy-five, being survived six years by his widow Hannah.  They had three children:  (1) Samuel, who died March 18, 1806, aged seventy.  His wife Jerusha bore him six children:  Samuel, Jr.;  Elizabeth;  Eliakim;  Annie;  Jerusha, who married Stephen Bingham and lived to be eighty-one years old, her husband dying at ninety-four;  Daniel, whose son, Daniel Porter, was the father of Mrs. Albert Lyman, of Andover.  (2) Elisha.  (3) Molly, Mrs. Bidwell, died July 15, 1793, at the age of thirty-six.

Elisha Sprague, the great-grandfather of Mrs. E.D. White, was born July 15, 1751, and died Jan. 7, 1824.  Sybil Jones, who was born Dec. 10, 1747, and died July 16, 1827, became his wife, March 31, 1774.  Her parents, Jonathan and Abigail Jones, lived to be seventy-eight and eighty-eight years old, respectively.  Their children were:  Sybil, Levi, Esther, Amos, Samuel, Simon and Enoch.  Mr. Jones was a farmer all his life.  To Elisha and Sybil Sprague came:  (1) Elisha, Jr., born Feb. 18, 1775, in Coventry, who became the grandfather of Mrs. White;  (2) Hannah, born in 1783, who married Asa Parker, Dec. 23, 1806, and whose daughter is the mother of Edgar D. White and Mrs. Selah A. Burnham;  (3) Asenath;  (4) Lydia, who married Israel Loomis, of Coventry;  (5) Bela, who married May 7, 1806, Esther Parker, born April 24, 1785.  He was the father of Almira;  Louisa;  Charles, who was a physician, and died in 1867, leaving a son, Charles;  Willard, who died in 1857, leaving a widow, who died in 1864, and three children, George, Lester and Louisa;   Ralph, deceased April 4, 1838;  Betsy;  Electa;  and Sally.  The last three were unmarried, and Electa is still living.

Elisha Sprague, Jr., the grandfather of Mrs. White, was married Nov. 12, 1803, to Mrs. Lydia (Young) Woodward, who was born Nov. 26, 1774, in Windham, and died Nov. 24, 1858, outliving her husband by seventeen years.  She was a daughter of William Young, who came to this country from Ireland, where he left two children, Robert and Polly.  His children probably born in this country were Alfred, Zephaniah, William, Fannie House and Polly (2).

Mr. Sprague engaged in farming and carpentering, making plows and cider mills, and won an enviable reputation as an honorable and upright man.  When the stage coaches were the principal vehicles of conveyance he kept a hotel for some five years near the present depot, just north of the tracks.  In politics he was a Democrat.  Mrs. Sprague was a Baptist.  By her first husband, Mr. Woodward, she had one son, Horatio N.

To Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Sprague came three children:  (1) Norman, the father of Mrs. Edgar D. White, was born in Coventry, Jan. 11, 1805, and died Jan. 22, 1894.  Laura Perkins became his wife Jan. 1, 1835.  (2) William Young, born June 9, 1808, died in New York, May 17, 1854.  (3) Fanny Y., born March 20, 1810, died March 19, 1831.  She was an idolized daughter, and her marriage, Oct. 28, 1829, to William D. Townsend, of Columbia, was an event of social notice, her bridal outfit costing a great sum of money for those days; her wedding gown, of white silk, trimmed with white satin, was a splendor and cost much beyond the means and ideas of the day.  She died March 19, 1831, a few years after her marriage, leaving a daughter, Fanny Elizabeth, born Oct. 13, 1830, who died March 16, 1833.

Of the children of Norman Sprague and Laura Perkins, (1) Henry, born Oct. 25, 1835, married Mary Augusta Dickinson, Oct. 19, 1865, and died Sept. 24, 1868.  They had one daughter, Nellie Augusta, who was born Jan. 28, and died Dec. 16, 1868, the same year.  (2) William, born Nov. 7, 1837, never married, and died Jan. 27, 1870.  (3) Fanny Jane, born June 25, 1840, died July 14, 1852.  (4) Sarah Maria, born Nov. 7, 1844, never married, and died Sept. 30, 1873.  (5) Lydia Amanda, Mrs. E.D. White, was born Feb. 1, 1848.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel

 

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