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Cherokee County Biographies

Thomas Jefferson White

Thomas Jefferson White, one of the leading farmers of Grand Meadow Township, was born in La Fayette County, Wisconsin, October 1, 1843 and is a son of Joseph and Mary (Hodges) White.  Joseph White was born about the year 1812 and settled in Wisconsin in 1834 or 1835; his capital at that time consisted of an old gun, but at the end of seven years he owned a farm.  He was married in 1838 and died February 6, 1875.  His family consists of eight children: Andrew J., Thomas Jefferson, George W., Mary, Franklin P., James B., Martha, wife of Jesse E. Mills and Stephen B.  Our subject was reared to the occupation of a farmer, and for several years prior to his father's death had charge of the home farm, which consisted of 700 acres.  He had built a grist-mill at Calamine, in which his brother Andrew had a half interest; he operated this mill for three years, and then traded his interest for 520 acres of land in Grand Meadow Township; his brother traded for land in Buena Vista County.  This was in 1875, and in 1876 Mr. White came to Cherokee County and began the improvement of his land.  He now owns all of section 11, and has it all under cultivation; he keeps two men and devotes his time largely to stock-raising; he keeps 100 head of cattle, feeding a car-load annually; he also feeds from 125 to 150 head of hogs of the best grades.  Mr. White has placed the best improvements on his farm, and has been successful in all his operations since coming to the county.  Mr. White was married in La Fayette County, Wisconsin, to Miss Julia M. Olmstead, a daughter of Nathan and Magdalene (Tenich) Olmstead. Mrs. White was born May 26, 1847 and died June 1, 1888, leaving four children: Nathan, Magdalene, Charles Thomas and Bessie, who was only eight days old; one child, Rosa, died at the age of four months.  Mr. White's sister, Mary, wife of John C. Cosgrove, has been his housekeeper for a number of years as his wife was an invalid for a long time previous to her death.  Mrs. Cosgrove has three children: John C., Mary Edith and Maggie.

Source: Biographical History of Cherokee County, IA, W. W. Dunbar & Co Publishers, 1889

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