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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 853~




"The subject of this review is a well known and honored citizen of Fayette county in whom the spirit of a noble and earnest purpose has been the controlling motive of his life. Enterprising and actively identified with the best interests of the community, he has made his influence a power for good among his fellow men, and he stands today in the front rank with those who add honor and dignity to the public mind. Thomas M. White is a native of Virginia and the scion of an old and esteemed family of Loudoun county, where his birth occurred on the 21st day of October, 1839. Col. John Hamilton White, his father, who also was born and reared in the county of Loudoun, was in early life a merchant and quite an extensive shipper of grain and lumber. In 1854 he disposed of his interests in his native state and went to Ogle county, Illinois, where he purchased land, improved a farm and bore an active part in the development of the locality in which he settled. He was one of the early pioneers of the above county, but after a residence there of five years moved to Rockford, in the same state, and engaged in the grain and produce business, in connection with which he also dealt quite extensively in land. Colonel White married in Loudoun county, Virginia, Malinda George, who was born near his native place, and by her had the following children: Mary E., of Stillman Valley; Robert J. T., of St. Louis, Missouri; William V., a farmer of Fayette county, Iowa; John, of Stillman, and Thomas M., of this review, who was the third in order of birth. The mother of these children, a well born, intelligent and most excellent woman, departed this life on February 16, 1890. Colonel White was a Democrat and a politician of wide influence and from time to time was honored with public positions, having served two years in the Illinois Legislature, besides filling various minor offices. He was a large land owner, a successful business man and before leaving Virginia was colonel of the Home Militia of that state. He died in Ogle county, Illinois, on the 16th day of July, 1881. Thomas M. White received his early education in the schools of Loudoun county, Virginia, and Ogle county, Illinois, having been a youth of fifteen when his family moved to the latter state. He also pursued his studies for some time at Rockford and later attended an educational institution of a higher grade under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal church, at the town of Mt. Morris, Illinois. In 1865 he went to Buchanan county, Iowa, and rented a farm near Independence, but after a year purchased a farm in Scott township, Fayette county, which he cultivated for a period of two years. Disposing of his land at the expiration of that time, he returned to Illinois and settled at Stillman Valley, where he remained until 1869, when he went to Mexico, Missouri, near which place he purchased land and engaged in the pursuit of agriculture. After living in the latter place until 1894, he sold out and returning to Fayette which he greatly improved and on which he continued to reside until 1900, when he moved to Maynard, where four years previously he had engaged it the mercantile business. Since the year 1900 he has devoted his attention principally to the raising of fruits and vegetables on his small but beautiful little farm adjoining Maynard, his comfortable and attractive home being within the limits of the town. Mr. White served two years as mayor of Maynard and for six years was a member of the school board. He is a Republican in politics, stands high in the councils of his party in both local and general affairs and keeps well informed on the leading public questions of the day. A close observer of current events and a reader and thinker, he is widely informed on many subjects and his sound, practical intelligence and varied culture make him in no small degree a moulder of opinion among those with whom he is brought into contact.

On October 17, 1862, Mr. White was united in marriage with Sarah A. Hurd, of Ogle county, Illinois, daughter of Dr. Arnold E. Hurd, of Herkimer county, New York, a union blessed with five offspring, the oldest being Walter H., who was born September 28, 1863, and is by profession a civil engineer; he married Hattie Edsell and is the father of three children, Florence C., Persis and Edsell, and Mildred E. Mary Eva, the second of the subject’s family, was born October 21, 1867. She attended the public schools for her elementary education, later took a full course in the normal school at Kirksville, Missouri, and for some time was principal of the high school of Mason City, Iowa. She is now a student of the University of California, at Berkeley, from which institution she will soon be graduated. Hiram Eugene was born April 14, 1870, is engaged in the manufacture of awnings, mittens, gloves and various articles at Laughlin, Oklahoma, being one of the leading business men of that place. He married Mabel Snittinger and has two children, Thomas and Marion Burton. Lewis M., born January 31, 1874, is a druggist in Oklahoma and unmarried. Anna Persis, whose birth occurred on the 12th of January, 1877, is the wife of Chester Master, a druggist of Maynard, this county, Julia R., the youngest of the children, was born on September 8, 1880, and died November 26, 1883. The family are members of the Presbyterian church. Mr. White belongs to Blue Lodge No. 510, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Maynard, which he has served two terms as worshipful master, besides holding various other offices from time to time. He hold membership with the chapter of Royal Arch Masons at Fayette, and with Eastern Star Lodge No. 103. Dr. Arnold E. Hurd, father of Mrs. White, was born January 5, 1809, in Herkimer county, New York. He received his medical education in Albany, that state, and on the completion of his course, in 1836, went to Illinois where he began the practice of his profession. In 1844 he located at Stillman Valley, the scene of a noted battle between the United States troops and the hostile Indians under Chief Black Hawk, and subsequently served as superintendent of the Ogle county public schools. He was a member of the first grand jury of that county in 1839 and took an active interest in public affairs, having long been one of the leading men of that part of the state. Doctor Hurd’s first wife was Persis P. Brown, whom he married in the year 1840 and who died August 29, 1862. She bore him one daughter, Sarah A., who, as already indicated, became the wife of the subject of this sketch. Margaret V. VanDyke, whom the Doctor married on June 30, 1862 departed this life December 7, 1907, at the advanced age of ninety-three years, this union being without issue. In addition to Mrs. White, Doctor Hurd was also the father of six sons, namely: Prof. Henry E. Hurd, for many years connected with Upper Iowa University, and a teacher of high attainments and state reputation who died October 2, 1902; Horace G., the second, is a merchant at Stillman Valley, Illinois, as is also William S., both being will known and successful business men; Hiram H. Hurd is a farmer and merchant; D. B. Hurd lives in South Dakota, and Arnold E., the youngest of the family, is engaged in agriculture and stock-raising in Harlan township, Fayette county. Doctor Hurd was one of the original abolitionists of Illinois and took an active and influential part in the anti-slavery movement which caused so much excitement in that state. He was a man of strong personality, brave and fearless in expressing his opinions, and left the impress of his individuality upon the section of country in which he lived. When the Republican party was organized he became one of its earnest, unyielding supporters, and so continued until the day of his death. He also manifested an abiding interest in religious work and for number of years was a member of the American Bible and Missionary Societies. He served a long term of years as justice of the peace and is remembered as one of the leading men of his day in the community where he resided.


~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Georgianna Gray


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