Biography of Charles F. White

Charles F. White. Although a resident of North Topeka only since the early part of 1916, Charles F. White had demonstrated within the year that he is a man of force and ability, and a promising acquisition to the agricultural life of the community. His entire career had been passed in Kansas and from the time he started life on his own account he had devoted himself to farming, so that he had the necessary experience and the thorough knowledge needed in the acquiring of a full measure of success in this fertile farming locality.

Charles F, White was born at Council Grove, Morris County, Kansas, in 1877, and is a son of William and Harriet E. (Stevenson) White. His father was born near Lexington, Kentucky, in 1827, and at an early age was left an orphan and forced to make his own way in the world. He was but sixteen years of age when he went to Lexington, Missouri, and there secured a position as a clerk in a general store. For some years he followed merchandising in Missouri, but eventually Kansas called him and, in 1851, he arrived at Council Grove, being the second white man to locate at that place. The first was the noted Judge Huffaker, who had gone there some time previous to teach the Indians in the old mission, which still stands as a historic memento binding together the past and the present. After going to Council Grove, Mr. White turned his attention to farming, and subsequently lived on one place for a period of twenty-nine years. His life was one of hardships and vicissitudes, but he was a man of great fortitude and perseverance and so finally won his way to success. During the early days, drouths and grasshopper plagues were of almost yearly occurrence, and the Indians were dangerous at times, although not so greatly feared as the other two pests. Food was scarce on many occasions, and the barest necessities were to be secured, comforts and luxuries not to be thought of. Through it all Mr. White persevered bravely and his reward was a full measure of prosperity and the respect and regard of the people among whom his life was passed. At the time of the Civil war, Mr. White enlisted in the Home Guards, and it was his contention that the service during those troublous times in Kansas was more arduous for those who stayed at home than for the soldiers at the front. Prior to coming to Kansas, Mr. White had married at Savannah, Missouri, Miss Harriet E. Stevenson, a member of a Southern family who owned many slaves, and who lived first in Kentucky and later in Missouri. Like many others, Mr. Stevenson lost his fortune in the Civil war, and, as he was too old to recuperate, died practically penniless. He was an honorable and upright citizen, but was picked by fate as a victim of the struggle between the North and the South.

Charles F. White was given the schooling usual to his day and neighborhood, grew up on the home farm, and when a young man engaged in operations on his own account. He was married in 1900 to Miss Bertie Lee, who was a member of a family which came to Morris County, Kansas, at a very early day, being the first to take up claims at the head of Rock Creek. The Lees also experienced many hardships, and on one occasion twenty-four Indians surrounded the home when the father was away on a trip, and frightened the mother and children terribly. Their life on Rock Creek was most eventful and thrilling, and among their neighbors was Elias Sewall, whose three children met their death when the Sewall home was burned by Indians.

After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. White lived at Council Grove for twelve years, then moved to Emporia, where they made their home for four years. In 1916 they came to North Topeka and bought a farm known as the Reed Eighty, located two miles north of the city. They have prospered in their undertakings, and are now combining farming and dairying, with the result that they are rapidly becoming leaders among the substantial agriculturists of Shawnee County. Mr. and Mrs. White have raised two children: Frank and Gwendolyn, both of whom are attending school. Mr. White takes an interest. in the welfare of his community and its people and never refuses to give his support to worthy movements. He is not an office seeker or a public man, but is contented to devote his best time and energies to the furtherance of his agricultural projects and to the development of a comfortable home in his adopted locality.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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