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Alson A. White


Posted By: Allamakee co. Coordinator (email)
Date: 12/5/2006 at 07:15:20

Alson Alexander White.
There is no such word as "luck" in the lexicon of business men, for experience has taught them most convincingly that sucess is the result of persistent application, of intelligent methods that demand time for their development, and that the necessary qualifications are ambition, indefatigable energy, steadfastness of purpose and integrity. That Mr. White is to-day numbered among the most prominent representatives of commercial circles in Kansas City is due to his exercise of these qualities.

A native of Iowa, he was born in Allamakee county, on the 1st of July, 1852, and is a son of Cutler J. White, who emigrated from Vermont in 1849 to try his fortune in the west. He was reared amid the Green mountains of his native state, and obtained a thorough English education in Hamilton College, New York, after which he taught school in Newbern, North Carolina, for a time. While there he met and married Miss Anna Chesnut, a native of that state and a descendant of the Austins who founded the city of Austin, Texas. The paternal ancestors of our subject were distinguished for services in the Revolutionary war, and from early colonial days the family has been identified with the east.

Cutler J. White was one of its first representatives in the west. He went to Iowa, pre-empted 640 acres of land near Waukon, and became one of the prominent and influential citizens of that community. He was elected the first clerk of the district court of Allamakee county, and served for eight years in a most satisfactory manner. His popularity was demonstrated by the fact that although the county was republican and he a Douglas democrat, he was elected and re-elected to that position. Subsequently he engaged in mercantile business, which he successfully carried on until his death. He passed away in 1878, and his wife, who survived him several years, died in 1887. They had three children, who are yet living: Alson A., of this review; Mrs. Sarah E. Otis, of Lansing, Iowa; and Mary, wife of George Chaplin, of Rutland, Vermont.

In the county of his nativity Mr. White spent the days of his childhood and youth. His birthplace was an old log house which stood on his father's farm. Thus amid humble surroundings and the scenes of frontier life his boyhood was passed. When he was a child of four years his parents removed to the village, where he had the privilege of attending the public schools until sixteen years of age, when he laid aside his textbooks to enter upon life's battle. He has since been entirely dependent upon his own resources, and therefore deserves great credit for his success.

He was first employed in a grocery, where he remained until nineteen years of age, when he left Iowa and went to Hannibal, Missouri. For three months he worked in a grocery store, and then secured a position with John Ure & Company, wholesale lumber dealers, serving in the capacity of bookkeeper and shipping clerk. This was in 1871, and was his introduction to the lumber trade. Three years later the firm of John Ure & Company and that of Rowe & Toll was consolidated and formed a stock company under the state laws of Wisconsin, known as the Badger State Lumber Company. Their mills are located in Wisconsin, and the lumber was rafted down the Mississippi river and piled at Hannibal. The business steadily increased until it had assumed extensive proportions. Mr. White was given the responsible position of general bookkeeper and remained with that company until 1886, when a new company was formed under the laws of Missouri, known as the Badger Lumber Company. The headquarters of the new firm were established in Kansas City. The company now owns and operates a retail lumberyard in various places in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, the Indian Territory and Oklahoma. On its formation, Mr. White was made treasurer and has since filled the position, owning considerable stock in the concern. He has also for three years been vice-president of the Builders & Traders' Exchange.

In 1878 was celebrated the marriage of A.A. White and Miss Sarah Ann Robertson, a native of Ralls county, Missouri. Seven children have been born of this union, manely: Lucile Ure, Alson Alexander, Jr., James Edward, Mary Tralucia, Paul Palmore, Charles Joseph and French Robertson. Mr. White has established a home in Independence, Missouri, where he spends all of his leisure time.

-source: A Memorial and biographical record of Kansas City and Jackson County, Mo.
Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1896; pg. 253-254


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