The Whites, of which family our subject is a worthy representative, came to the Lone Star state from Tennessee and this branch of the family was founded in the Trans-Mississippi country of the west by William J. White in 1860. The latter is the father of Milton J. White and he emigrated from Maury county, his native state, in the vigor of early manhood and established himself as a pedagogue in Collin county, Texas. He brought his young wife with him from the east and it was in that county, October 11, 1864, that the subject of this personal sketch was born.
Milton J. White is, in point of service, the oldest and the pioneer druggist of Bellevue. In Collin and Jack counties he came to man’s estate and until his embarkation in the mercantile business in Bellevue his environment was purely rural. The country school had done its best for him toward an education and the first two-thirds of his minority was passed in Collin county. In 1878 his parents removed to Jack county and there, upon coming into the full flush of his majority, he adopted a rural life. He owned a horse when he was married and he borrowed the remainder of the team with which to make his crop. He and his young wife had the tenacious and persevering qualities necessary to ultimate success and the farm that they began life on is still their property.
In 1893 Mr. White was induced by Dr. Charles H. Whiting to engaged in the drug business in Bellevue, then a mere hamlet but with good prospects and much promise. Without experience in drugs and expecting to learn the business from Dr. Whiting, Mr. White put in a stock of about three hundred dollars and entered the career of a merchant. Matters went well with him for some six months, when Dr. Whiting suddenly died and he was left “to paddle his canoe” alone. His growth as a merchant has kept pace with the growth and development of his town and, since March 1, 1894, the demands of the trade have so increased as to cause him to carry a much larger stock.
William J. White passed his middle and latter life as a farmer, and in 1894 located at Bellevue, and retired. His birth occurred in Tennessee in 1833, and his father was Sam White and his mother Sarah C. Ragan. His educational advantages were such as to qualify him for teaching and he engaged in it as a stepping-stone in life. He enlisted in the military service of the Confederacy, but was sent back to Collin county to continue his work in the school-room. He left Collin county April 10, 1878, and located near Post Oak, in Jack county, where he farmed till he came to Bellevue. He was married on September 15, 1856, in Mississippi, to Miss Mollie, a daughter of J. O. and Elizabeth (Blackwell) Kerr, who had a family of ten children. Mrs. Mollie White was born in Mississippi in 1837, and is the mother of: Ella, wife of H. M. Glass, of Hartley, Texas; Milton J.; Anna, widow of L. J. Walker, of Bellevue, ex-county clerk and assessor of Clay county; Samuel B., of Bellevue; William J., of Jack county; Joseph E., of the same county, and Mamie E., who died unmarried. Mr. White is a Democrat in politics and is a member of the Methodist church.
August 9, 1885, in Jack county, Milton J. White married Lillie, a daughter of Richard B. and Rachel (Cooksey) Walker, the wedding occurred at the Walker home and the ceremony being performed by Rev. John Dunn. Mr. Walker was born in Illinois and his wife in Texas. He died in July, 1899, and she passed away twenty years before. Their children were: James, of Greer county, Oklahoma; Richard, of Idaho; Mrs. White, born August 31, 1866; Jesse, of San Francisco; Florida, and Rosa, who died before marriage.
Mr. and Mrs. White’s children are: Clara L., born July 1, 1886; Zuma, born December 5, 1888, and Ruth, born September 27, 1898.
“Mit” White, as everybody knows him, has made his efforts and his influence felt in Bellevue. He has experienced no meteoric flights to wealth nor sudden transformation from an industrious farmer to a progressive and successful merchant, but he has gone about his affairs as one having a work to perform, setting a commendable example and wielding an influence, unconsciously, for the good report of his town.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 158-159.