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Beautiful tulips on Main Street Wellsville by,Mary Iantorno

Descendant of Samuel White Visits Whitesville

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From the Independence Historical Society, pictured are Hailey and John White

On Thursday, May 18th, John and Hailey White visited the Independence Historical Society (I.H.S.) building on Main Street in Whitesville.  John is the great great great grandson of Samuel S. White.  John and his wife traveled from their home in San Jose, California to Buffalo, New York to watch their son Mitchell play for the Buffalo Bisons at Sahlen Field.  Mitchell is a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and had been rehabbing a shoulder injury with the minor league organization in Buffalo.  He has since returned to Toronto to continue playing for the MLB team there.

While visiting their son in Buffalo, John and Hailey decided it was the perfect opportunity to travel two hours south to the small hamlet of Whitesville.  It was there that John’s ancestor Samuel arrived from Hopkinton, Rhode Island in 1819.  Samuel married Nancy Teater and settled on Lot #50, located on what is now Main Street and is presently the home of the Laurie Wahl family.  The man for whom the town is named arrived with just an axe and $2.50 in cash, which would be approximately $60.00 in today’s dollars. 

Members of the I.H.S. met with John and Hailey, providing them with additional information related to local history along with genealogical documents from the historical society’s collection.  In exchange, John shared family history from his lineage.  His father, Clifton George White, served as a Captain in the US Army during World War II, receiving the bronze star for valor in combat against the Japanese.  Clifton met his wife Jane while she was working as nurse in a military hospital.  They initially settled in North Dakota until shortly after John David White was born.  John has two older siblings, Wendy White Durkee and James Douglas White.  John’s sister and brother have done extensive genealogical research and have traced the White family’s arrival to the Mayflower.  With the encouragement of family members, John and Hailey prioritized their trip to visit Whitesville and we are glad they did.

The community of Whitesville has a long history of pride in Samuel White’s story and his decision to settle here.  We ended our visit with John and Hailey by visiting the cemetery where John’s ancestors are buried and then traveled to the west end of the village to take a photograph next to the sign commemorating Samuel S. White.  It was a day this group of historical society members enjoyed and will long remember.

Left to right:  Roger Easton, Donald Nelson, John White and Elton Harris

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