Biography of Sulvanas J. White

SULVANAS J. WHITE is a well known resident of Union county, near the town of Lagrande, having been identified with the industrial life of that city for some time and having also operated in the mercantile business here, being attended with success and also manifesting his characteristic ability and integrity during his residence here, while also he is one of the pioneers of the northwest, as his father was also, and has wrought for many years in the development and for the progress of this and adjoining states.

Charles F. and Elizabeth (Buchanan) White are the parents of our subject, who was born to them in Stark county, Illinois, on January 6, 1846. It was in 1851 that the parents determined to try their fortunes in the west, and accordingly fitted out the requisite conveyances and ox teams and started on the long and dreary journey across barren plain and rugged mountains infested with dangers of savages and wild beasts, besides the lurking disease that was then sweeping across the country. In due time they landed in Portland, having lost some from the train by accident and one by the Indians. The savages charged toll for crossing the streams, and had the train not been large doubtless would have massacred them all. Captain Dray piloted them in safety to their destination, and after one winter spent there the father went to Olympia, which then consisted of two houses, and after exploring the country for three months located a claim and later went to the Cowlitz country, and at Boisport took a claim of three hundred acres, the mother living there at the present time, being seventy-eight years of age. Our subject was educated in the primitive schools there and in 1867 engaged himself as head sawyer in a lumber manufacturing establishment in Olympia, and in this capacity he continued until 1887, then removed to the Grande Ronde valley to put in the water works for the Chaplin & McConnell Company. Upon the completion of this enterprise he went into the implement business for Mitchell Lewis & Staver, continuing therein for eleven years. In 1891 Mr. White purchased fifteen acres where he now lives just northeast from Lagrande. The property had twelve hundred trees bearing besides much small fruit. He has improved the place and has an elegant home with good grounds and a first-class orchard.

Mr. White married Miss Rosina, daughter of Antone and Anna (Snyder) Kuhn, of Olympia, and two children have been born to bless this union: Lena, wife of F.L. Coykendall, conductor on the O.R.&N. and living in Lagrande: Alice B., wife of George Henry, living in Lagrande. In political matters Mr. White is associated with the Republicans and is active in this field, having been justice of the peace in Lagrande in 1896. Mr. White is affiliated with the A.O.U.W. and he and his wife belong to the D. of H. They are both spiritists and are much interested in manifestations. Mr. White is a member of the worthy pioneers that wended their way across the plains in 1852, the year of scarcity of provisions, flour costing as high as one dollar per pound. These worthy pioneers are now spending the time of the golden years of their life in the retirement of their comfortable and attractive home secure in the esteem and confidence of all.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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