To Index


Compiled by Travis Hardin (his great-grandson), Huntsville, Alabama. Updated 17 May 2017

James White, 1862-1934
His Childhood

James "Jim" White was born late 1861 or early 1862, according to census records, although Lovia White recorded his birthday as 5 Oct 1865. His death notice in Tulare County, California suggests 1863. James was born to Mary Adams, a domestic servant, who lived north of Cave Spring, Ga. near Burwell and Josephine Harbour, whose significance is made known in the ancestors text. In the 1870 census James' household is listed: Mary Adams, 32, white female; Josephine Adams, age 13, white female; James Adams, age 8, white male; and William White, farm laborer, age 37, white male.

William White was a farm worker staying in the house of Jim's mother. Every record but the 1870 one puts William White's birth at 15 October 1844, making him age 25 rather than 37.

In the 1880 census of east Dalton, Whitfield County, Ga., Mary White, age 43, female, WIDOWED, white; and her son James White, 17, a tanning yard worker, were the only occupants of the house. This tells us several things: (1) William White during the 70s had married (however loosely defined) Mary Adams and adopted James White. (2) It seems likely that Josephine Adams did not go to Dalton, but married in Floyd County, Ga. (3) William White left the household between 1870 and 1880. (4) William White knew of Dalton (maybe from an Army friend) and gave Mary a new start there. Mary had no history in Dalton. And (5) James White's biological father is a man other than William White.

Present-day J.W. White of Adairsville, Georgia -- James White's grandson -- has been Y-DNA tested and matches other Whites of North Carolina that I mention in another part of this Website. The genotype tests as R1b1, European. The genotype is common in Scotland. Contact J.W. or me for future updates. There is no need for any other male-line descendant of James White to repeat the test, as the Y-DNA will be the same (except for the occasional single nucliotide mutation) if they are blood descendants.

Josephine Adams Higgins, 1856-1945

It's not at all certain Josephine Adams, sister of James White, is the Josephine who married G. W. Higgins, but I have analyzed the census records of the period and of all the Josephines, she seems most likely because of the Higgins family location just north of Cave Spring and the birth date. There is no proof that Higgens is the right family. It is presented as one possibility. To narrow the possibilities, trace all the Josephines in the area in the 1870s.

The Higgenses lived in Marshall and DeKalb counties, Alabama, and these graves are in the Crossville Cemetery, Crossville, DeKalb County, Alabama:

Higgins, G. W.; b. 1854, d. 1919, Masonic emb.

Higgins, Josephine; b. 9 Aug 1855, d. 15 Sep 1945.

James White's Location, 1889-1930

Figure: Family Record of Jim and Marinda White by Lovia White
Jim White's family record by Lovia White

James White married Miranda Vassie Martin (daughter of Abram Burrus Martin of Terrapin Creek, township 11, Cherokee County, Ala.) on 2 Aug 1889 in Rome, Georgia. Floyd County Marriages, D 500. He was age 26 or 27 and Miranda was 28. The oldest child, Vassie, was born 2 January 1893 in Georgia. The next child Melvin was born in Alabama on 8 December 1894. Thereafter, Jim White continued to live in Cherokee County, Alabama. There was no surviving 1890 census to inform us.

The Martins, James White's inlaws

The Abram Burrus Martin family (James' inlaws), as reported by the 1870 US census, lived in Cherokee County, Georgia at Cherokee Mills post office, Fairplay community, in the 1028th militia district.
 Printed page 274:
computed birthday
(1835/4)Martin, Burriss        35, male, white, farm labor. Personal estate $250. Born Georgia. Eligible to vote.
(1836/35)Martin, Vina        34, female, white, keeps house. Born Georgia.
(1858/37)Martin, Malissa    12, female, white. At home, can’t read or write.
(1860/59)Martin, Marinda    10, female, white. At home, can’t read or write.
(1864/65)Martin, John         6, male, white. At home.
(1867/66)Martin, Chesley     3, male, white, at home.
(Nov.1870)Martin, Memory W.     7/12, male, white, at home, born November.
All the children were born in Georgia. Elsewhere we have Charlsie as a female.

The Texas death certificate of  a son, John Burris Martin, has a lot of information: The informant Rube Martin said John's father Burris Martin and his mother Vinnie Brown were born in North Carolina.

In 1880 Burrus Martin and family lived in Cherokee County, Alabama, Township 11 (Terrapin Creek runs through it).  Census p. 386d.

Larry Dixon says that James White stayed with Burrus Martin when the latter lived on Terrapin Creek. James White married Miranda on 2 Aug 1889 in Floyd County, Ga. James' stay was probably around the marriage date.

From June 1880 when James White was 17 and a tanner and living in his mother's house at Dalton, Georgia until his marriage in August 1889 in Floyd County to Miranda Martin of Cherokee County, Alabama, I have no information. Did he meet the Martins after he returned to Cherokee County? It appears so because the Martins lived in Alabama in 1880 while James was still in Georgia. It is conceivable that James met them when they lived in Cherokee County, Georgia when he was still a child. I am left with the mystery of what happened to James' mother Mary White during the decade of the 80s, and when and where she died.

In 1894 Burrus Martin was granted a 160-acre homestead near Croft Ferry Road on Ballplay Creek, about 10 miles west of the Terrapin Creek home. By that time James and Miranda White had probably established a home.

In 1900 Jim and Miranda White lived in Centre town with children Melvin, Vassie, Ausie, and Jessie. Jim White was a farm laborer. The couple could read and write and so could Melvin, age 10. In 1910 they are, strangely, in Lewis #21 precinct, which was in northwest Cherokee County, on Sand Mountain joining the Little River, and includes the crossroads towns of Jamestown, Blanch, and Taft. Jim White was a farmer and 5 of the 6 children (all except Ernest) were farm laborers.

Jim White and family about Christmas 1910
Jim White family about 1910

Photo: Jim White and family about Christmas 1910 (judging only by appearance of the children in the photograph): Left to right, second from left: Alma, 9 4/12 years; Ausie, 13 9/12; Jessie (with pigtails), 12.0; Melvin, 17.0; mother Miranda Martin White, 49, a preacher, father Jim White, 48, and Ernest, the baby holding mother's hand, 4 2/12. The woman at left seems too tall for that family, but she must be the oldest daughter Vassie White. Vassie turned 18 on 2 January 1911. In adulthood I observed that she was tall. The mouth and nose do not look unlike her at middle age.

James White had joined a Baptist church in 1878 (according to his obituary), and his grandson J.W. White says he liked to sing in church settings and he liked to travel to singings at other churches.

In 1915 Jim and Miranda White lived near Pine Grove Church and sent at least Alma and Ernest to school at Pine Grove school. The two children are pictured in a 1915 photo labeled “Piney School Group 1915” given to me by J.W. White and published in the “Looking Back” section of the Cherokee County Herald, Wednesday, May 11, 1988. Please see Connor White photo album on this disk for a copy.

In 1920 the Jim White family lived in Ballplay, beat 5, Etowah County on Croft Ferry Road. That is on the Coosa River west of the community of Hokes Bluff. Ausie White had married Lovia Lane and the young couple lived in the same house. Jessie married Ben Jones in 1916 and by 1920 they were in Tulare County, California. In 1923 Marinda White visited Jessie in California and moved there permanently in 1929, according to her Lindsay Gazette obituary. At his death in 1934 Jim White was said to have been in the county for six years.

A photograph shows Jessie posing with brother Melvin, suggesting she visited Etowah and Cherokee Counties around 1928. I am uncertain whether it was 1923 or 1929 that youngest son Ernest White, Alma and Graham Little, and Ausie and Lovia White with their child Theoria left with Jessie for the long trip California. Theoria said she was very young and a man asked to buy her. That argues for 1923 as the migration date for those following Jessie. Ausie White and family decided to turn back and return to Alabama when they reached Oklahoma or Texas. In 1930 Jim White, Miranda, and youngest son Ernest were residents of Tulare Township, Tulare County, California. Within four years the elders would be dead, but the younger generation made homes and lived their lives in California.

The death of Jim and Miranda White

white marinda tulare daily advance register Mon May 16.1932.p1 (WinCE)white marinda tulare daily advance register Tue May 17 1932.p1 (WinCE) white jim tulare daily advance register feb12.1934.p3 (WinCE)white jim tulare daily advance register feb 14.1934.p1


miranda white obit lindsay gazette 20 May 1932
Miranda White death notice
Lindsay Gazette
Friday, 20 May 1932

Miranda White died May 15, 1932. Her 380 Sweet Briar Avenue address is where Jessie lived with Sam Jones in 1930. (See Jessie White below.)
An obituary is from Tulare (California) Daily Advance-Register Monday May 16, 1932, p. 1:

Lindsay Woman Dies In Tulare
Mrs. Merindra White, 71, of 380 Sweet Briar Avenue in Lindsay, died at the Tulare county hospital Sunday afternoon following an illness of several weeks.
Mrs. White is a native of Georgia and had lived in this county for the past three years.
Surviving relatives include the husband James W. White, and six children.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock from the Rice Funeral Home with burial in the Tulare cemetery.

miranda white card of thanks lindsay gazette 20 May 1932
Family's Card of Thanks
Lindsay Gazette
20 May 1932

J. W. White died 12 Feb, 1934. The 358 Sweet Briar Avenue address is adjacent to the 356 1/2 address where Ben Jones lived with Della Jones in 1930.

J. W. White, 70, of 358 North Sweetbriar Avenue, Lindsay, died Monday morning (Feb.12, 1934) at a Tulare hospital after being ill for five weeks.
Mr. White, a native of Alabama, had lived in California six years. He had belonged to the Baptist church for 56 years. He leaves six children, Mrs. Alma Little, Ernest White of Lindsay, Jessie Jones of Porterville, Vassey Winkles of Cedartown, Alabama, Melvin White of Cave Springs, Georgia, and Ausie White of Centre, Alabama.

In Tipton Pixley Cemetery, Tulare, California, two burials are on record but no other information is available. No headstones. It is possible these are the graves of James White and his wife Miranda.
WHITE JAMES B.4-R.13-G.664
WHITE JAMES B.4-R.13-G.666
(, accessed 6 Dec 2004.)



His older three children -- Vassie, Melvin, and William Ausie White -- lived their lives in Alabama and Georgia. The others migrated to Tulare County, California, including Jim and Miranda White themselves.

Vassie White, 1893-1956

Vassie White was the firstborn, on 2 January 1893. She was the first to leave home, a pawn in the custom told to me by my mother Theoria: Some teenage kids would be "farmed out," or put into the homes of neighbors to work for their food and perhaps a little money. Whatever the reason, Vassie found herself taking care of a sick elderly man. Further, according to my mother Theoria White, Vassie married the much-older man "for propriety's sake," because she lived with him. They were married 15 April 1917 in Centre. She was 24, he was 68. He was E. Lidge Winkles or Elijah L. Winkles who moved from Carrollton, Georgia to Spring Creek precinct in Cherokee County between 1880 and 1900. His former wife was Nancy Lambert of Carrollton, Ga. who died 21 Apr 1915 in Cherokee County. One of Mr. Winkles' four children, James, married the granddaughter of Malissa Martin. Their daughter born 1918 they named Urmal Winkles, who was my mother's age and was well known to her. They were second cousins, and through Vassie's marriage step-first-cousins once removed.

Jim White moved his family from the Piney area of Cherokee County to the Coosa River bend in Etowah County that contains Croft Ferry Road sometime between 1915 and 1920. Mr. Winkles continued to live in Cherokee County, and that is where Vassie White began to stay by his side, between April 1915 and April 1917. Finding themselves victims of the great depression, the destitute couple moved into the Cherokee County Alms House, where they lived at the time of the 1930 census. Mr. Winkles died 6 Oct 1931 in Cherokee County, possibly in the alms house. James White's 1934 obituary states Vassie lived in Cedartown, Polk County, Georgia.

Also beset by money problems, Vassie's parents and their two youngest children left for California about 1928, leaving Vassie with only two siblings near. William Ausie White in 1930 was married with two children and lived on a farm at Centre precinct 6, which could easily have been at Piney, while Melvin White, also with two children, lived at Cave Spring, Georgia, to be his home the rest of his life.

As a boy in the 50's I remember Aunt Vassie, when she visited Ausie's house, as a loud-talking, gregarious, and a tall and slender person with dark hair and eyes. She had prominent if not bulging eyes. Aunt Vassie, as my mother taught me to call her, liked to greet her great-nephews with wet snuffy kisses. That was unpleasant to me as a boy, but she was no doubt a sweet, kind woman, and as I have recently learned, a person who knew sacrifice and poverty most of her life. In the 1950s her husband was Henry Mannis, a man only four years her senior, whom she married sometime after 1940. I remember that he had lost an eye and was of average height and build. Vassie White never had children to my knowledge. Here is Vassie White Mannis's death certificate. She died in 1956 in Etowah County, at which time I remember she lived within sight of my grandfather Ausie White on a country road off the Gadsden-Piedmont highway called Tomcat Road, a hilly road. Route 4, Piedmont was her address. She was buried at Young's Chapel on the Gadsden-Piedmont highway. Her niece Pauline Dixon and Pauline's husband Leon were later buried there also. Mr. Mannis survived her by 11 years.

Melvin White, 1894-1981

Melvin White and sister Jessie Jones about 1928, taken somewhere in Etowah or Cherokee County, Alabama, if not at Melvin's Cave Spring, Georgia farm.
Melvin White and sister Jessie about 1928

Photo: Melvin White and sister Jessie Jones about 1928, taken somewhere in Etowah or Cherokee County, Alabama, if not at Melvin's Cave Spring, Georgia farm.

On 5 June 1917 Melvin registered for the draft, stating he was 21 and his address was Leesburg in Precinct 9 of Cherokee County. He was described as tall and slender with gray eyes and light hair. He was a farmer and unmarried. He may have lived near, but not with, his parents. In 1918 Private Melvin White shipped out to Europe on the Mauritania, his son Connor tells me. Until the intervention of the First World War, Cunard's RMS Mauritania and her sister ship Lusitania provided a regular express passenger service between Britain and the United States. In war service, in October-November 1916 it made two voyages from Liverpool to Halifax carrying Canadian troops bound for France. In March 1918 it was again used as a troop ship carrying over 30,000 American troops before the Armistice in November. After the end of the war the ship was used in returning American and Canadian troops. ( See the Connor White photo album for a picture Melvin brought home of the Maui, the ship that might have brought him back in 1919. Melvin White was a medic. He survived the notorious Spanish flu while in France or Germany. In 1920 Melvin White, 24, was a boarder in the home of farmer John Grace, 30, on North Pond Road at Centre town, Cherokee County, Ala. Melvin White was a farm laborer and was single.

Melvin exemplifies a hard-of-hearing problem that runs in the family. He needed to wear a hearing aid and sometimes did. Connor says his father did not require a hearing aid until he was in his 40's. Ruth Williams says she is hard of hearing, as was Fred, Alma's son. Melvin married Bertha Ellis in 1921 in Floyd County, Ga. and lived and died in Floyd County. He had three children, Rae, John Connor, and Marselle. For decades Connor and wife Dorothy Middleton have lived on a well-kept farm within a quarter mile of the ancestral stone house. He is childless. As of 2011 Rae, widowed, has an apartment in Cedartown, Ga. and Marselle, widowed and remarried, operates a hearing-aid business in Mableton, Georgia.

Marcell recalls, in addition to the story below, that as kids they hardly traveled, going to Rome or going to see Uncle Ausie no more than two or three times a year.

Melvin gathered the rocks, all of them, to cover his house on the hill at Cave Spring located near state route 100 and US highway 431. The house originally had wood siding. Melvin started the stone work when Marcel was a girl. Connor was small and of no age to help much. Melvin did it all himself. He mixed all his mortar with a hoe in a wooden box. -- Told by Marcel White to Travis Hardin on 18 Sep 2010 at the White reunion at Cave Spring.

Memoirs of Melvin Andrew White

As remembered by his children. Written by Marcel White Lindstrom September 2009

Melvin Andrew White was born to James William White and Miranda Vassie (Martin) White, on Dec. 8, 1894 in Cherokee County, Ala., the 2nd of 6 children.

He served in World War I as a private in France as a Medic, but I only remember vaguely about the stories of his time in the army.

He later married a sweet, wonderful and caring lady, on Nov. 27,1921, Bertha Ellis from Cave Springs, (Floyd County) Ga.

They lived in Moshat, Ala. and later moving on the Nelson Road, near Cave Spring, Ga. They had three children, Rae, Conner and Marcell.

Melvin made his living as a share-cropper, raising corn and cotton before he received a check from the army which if I remember correctly was $800. He used this money to buy a 64 acre farm a mile from Cave Spring, on the top of Rocky Ridge, which was rightly named because of all the rocks. Then Melvin made good use of many of the rocks. I remember he and Conner hauling many, many wagon loads of rocks to make the old wood frame house into what Melvin described as a storm proof rock house with extra thick concrete and rock outer walls with large concrete porches and terraces. He also bought the adjoining 80 acres and in later years and was able to buy a tractor and did not have to labor any more behind the mules that pulled the plows.

Melvin was always a very honest and hard working person and although we never had any riches we never went hungry or without the things we needed. We always had a car and a radio which not a lot people in those days could not afford. Melvin always found ways to make a little money. He and Conner cut wood off the farm and sold many loads over the years for fire wood and stove wood. We always had a lot of watermelons, cantaloupes and vegetables to sell in the summer and cotton in the fall. 1 remember also Bertha making blocks of butter to sell to the Georgia School For The Deaf. Melvin had very little schooling but was pretty much self educated. When he wasn't out working, you would usually find him reading the paper and especially the Readers Digest from which he gained much of his information. He would sit for hours with a pencil and paper figuring with numbers.

Melvin was not a firm believer in whipping his children but he didn't need to, because when he spoke we knew to listen. He was a very opinionated man but believed in treating others right as long as they were what he called decent. He didn't mind telling anyone off, if he didn't like the way they lived. He always had a lot of friends and hung out a lot around Casey's Store with a bunch of his old cronies swapping yarns. Everyone had to yell in a loud voice for him to hear because he was quite deaf. He bought one of the first body-worn hearing aids that came out in the early 40's but it was a very poor improvement to hearing in those days.

He tried his luck at running a service station for a while and then later became the Cave Spring paper man for the Rome News Tribune which he did for many years. At age 86, Melvin spent a good part of the day on April 20, 1981 moving large stumps on the back of the farm. He told Conner he had experienced severe chest pains afterwards, on the way back home on the tractor. He died the next night on April the 21,1981, in his sleep with a massive heart attack.

William Ausie White, 1897-1966

Ausie White with sister Alma Little about 1928, companion photo of the Melvin and Jessie White photo above
Ausie White and sister Alma about 1928

Photo: Ausie White with sister Alma Little about 1928, companion photo of the Melvin and Jessie White photo above.

William Ausie White, 3 years younger than Melvin, also went into the army around the end of the war. He was a private when discharged. He was born in Cherokee County and married in Ball Play, Etowah County, to a local girl, Lovia Lane. In the 1920's he packed up and took his family halfway to California, then changed his mind and returned. He chose his native Cherokee County in which to start all over again. Before he went to the VA hospital in Tuscaloosa, where he died, he was living in Centre, Cherokee County, Alabama. Before that he lived near the Gadsden-Piedmont highway on Tomcat Road in Etowah County for several decades. His mailing address there was Route 4, Piedmont, Ala. He was a farmer in his younger days and into middle age. I once saw him clear land and pull up stumps with a mule when he was middle-aged. When he no longer farmed, he worked for a nearby military depot in Anniston. Ausie white is remembered, especially by his two older children and their offspring and spouses, for his inner turmoil -- branded "the White temper" -- that resulted in much family stress that rippled, with little attenuation in some cases, through subsequent generations. In another paper private to the Ausie White family I will pass on my collection of anecdotes. Ausie White's grandson Larry Dixon has published some stories appearing on this DVD that involve Ausie White.

Ausie White is remembered differently outside his immediate family. His nephew John Connor White has characterized Ausie as a good-hearted person who would give money to his nephews and other children. A family friend of my parents, Alvin Dobbs, used to hang around the general store with Ausie and other men and he enjoyed hearing Ausie tell one joke after another. That is a talent my mother Theoria never mentioned, and may never have experienced.

1930 US Census, Cherokee County, Ala. Centre precinct 6, April 25, 1930. Stamped p. 78.
White, W. Ausie, head 33 M 22 AL AL AL Rented a farm. No to military service.
White, Lovia, housewife 27 M 17 AL AL AL (A few people had radios, but none
White, Theoria, dau. 9 in school AL AL AL on this page did.)
White, Pauline, dau. 3 11/12 AL AL AL
Neighbors were Waldo and Roxie Bishop, 25 and 22. And J. S. and Annie Bishop, 28, 28.

In 1920 Ausie was newly married and lived with his wife in his father's house on Croft Ferry Road, Etowah County (Near the Cherokee County line). In 1930, as shown above, Ausie White and family lived at Centre precinct 6. A more exact location might be on the Piney to Cedar Bluff Road near where it intersects Al. highway 9, the Centre to Cedar Bluff road. J. T. Bishop, son of Waldo and Roxie, told me his family lived near that intersection near the Hardins (my father's family) and the Whites lived within walking distance. My father and mother in the late 30's would visit each other at a bridge between the White and Hardin houses. It is possible that Ausie White lived at that location from the mid-1920's. He was there on the Piney Road in 1940. The location is within the Centre precinct 6, as is a large swath beginning at the Coosa River at Cedar Bluff and extending south past Centre. By 1950 Ausie White was at the farm on Tomcat Road, on a Piedmont, Alabama mail delivery route.

Ausie had four children spaced rather far apart -- Theoria, Pauline, Annie Ruth, and James William, who insists that he has no real name, only the initials "J.W." Theoria married Gordon Hardin, son of neighbor and farmer George Frank Hardin, and had two children. Pauline married Leon Dixon, a soldier from Gadsden, and had 5 children. Ruth married David Williams, an ambitious and good farmer of Pope, southern Cherokee County, and had 5 girls. J.W. married Letha Nesmith of Gadsden and had two children. J. W. served in the U.S. Air Force. All of Ausie's children with the exception of J. W. lived a great deal of their lives in Cherokee or Etowah County, Alabama.

After their boys finished high school in Cedar Bluff, Theoria and Gordon spend 10 or 15 years in Troy and Decatur Alabama working as house parents for the Alabama Baptist Children's Home before retiring to a small house "Cherokee Manor" near Weiss Lake in Cherokee County. Later they moved to Oakdale, Tennessee to be near son Jerry Hardin and family, who wanted them to be near family in their old age. Gordon died 16 August 1996. Theoria died 1 Apr 2001. They are buried at Crab Orchard Baptist Church, Oakdale, Tennessee.

Pauline White married Leon Dixon of Gadsden and had 5 children. She died in Etowah County and is buried at Young's Chapel. Ruth married David Williams and had 5 girls. One of them, Sondra, died in Gadsden at age 26. Ruth has lived all of her adult life at her very large farm at the crossroads of Pope, near Mountain Springs Church in Cherokee County. J.W. married Letha Nesmith and had two boys, Keith and Mark. J. W. has lived in Rome and Adairsville. He is divorced and remarried to Juanita Byars.

J. W. White's Very Short Autobiography
as told to Travis Hardin 23 October 2011

I was raised on a sharecropper farm. I always wanted to have more than one pair of brogans and two pair of overalls and 2 shirts. So I went to work at 14 at a local grocery store while still going to school. I wanted more education so when I joined the Air Force I went to military electronics school. Over my life I've gone to vocational schools and Junior College. I've worked at everything from garbage hauler, janitor, to electronics technician, and all types of retail business. I even managed a department store for W. T. Grant. I worked up to 72 hours a week on that job. Lot of times I'd work two jobs. I also worked in sales and then management for Walmart. That was the best place I ever worked. My favorite jobs were dealing with people. I had a good life. It was a life lived in four different states and 23 different cities. I ran through life. I never stopped at work or at home. I was a person who was busy all the time.

I was married twice and I had 2 children by my first wife Letha Nesmith. When I was divorced I took my boys to raise from age 11. One came at 11, one at 13. Keith joined the Air Force and left at 19.

I was in the Army National Guard then I joined the U.S. Air Force.  I made Airman First Class and also got "pro" pay. I felt rich enough to have another baby. That was Mark. He was about 8 when we divorced. Mark came to live with me at age 11. Keith came 3 months later when he finished that year of school. At that time I was very busy.

Life didn't slow down for me until I was 70 years old. Thinking back, I realize the best things in life are the love of God and love of my family and friends. I've always had things. I've driven everything from Corvairs to Corvettes. When I took the grand kids for rides they would tell me, "Drive faster." They liked it. Nice houses are great but the best thing in life is love.

I've prayed so many times for you to be with your grand kid. My grand kids put out a love that made me realized that the feeling of love between God, my family and my friends is the most wonderful thing in life I can have. I'm religious, but I'm non-denominational. I don't believe in denominations. I've been to all churches -- Church of God, Church of Christ, Methodist, Catholic, Assembly of God, Bread of Life. I've been to ones where you sing with no music. I worked maintaining a local church for a while. It was Bethel Baptist Church. They asked me to be treasurer. I took it for awhile but I wanted it to be short-term.

My politics are, I vote for the person. I was raised to be unprejudiced against anybody. After all, our great-grandmother came from a foreign country as a slave. In the military we'd eat together, black and white. We'd take weekend trips (I remember flying one weekend in a fellow's plane), black and white.

When I was at GE I blended black and white together, and the different nationalities, because I liked them. In service I'd blend Hispanic, etc. I roomed with a black guy from Birmingham (during the racial troubles)and a Hispanic guy from Texas. His name was Pedro Gonzales. Really. We'd lend each other money and I never lost a penny. I had an extra stripe on the other two so I had a little money to lend.

Jessie White, 1899-1976

Miss Jessie White married Benjamin Jones on 13 December 1916 in Centre, Alabama (Cherokee County marriage book F, p. 362). She was 17, he was 22. The young couple possibly lived in Tennessee a year or two, then around 1919 they migrated to California. (The obituary of Jessie Atkins puts the date of arrival at 1914. That could be true, but in 1916 she married in Alabama. In 1920 they Joneses lived in Lindsay, Tulare County, California in a house packed full of Jones relatives.

When I began to research Jessie White Jones in 2011 I believed all the Whites migrated to California together. No -- Jessie and Ben Jones were in Tulare County, California in 1919 or 1920. According to photos, Jessie visited home in 1923 or 1928 possibly to persuade more of her family to move to Tulare County, California.

Jessie White narrative

The large Jones family was brought up near Centre by their mother and their grandparents William and Doscar Miller. Their mother Ensley T. Miller Jones was widowed around 1898 by the death of Benjamin's father, whose name is unknown to me. In 1900 the entire brood of Joneses was living under the Miller roof: Lilly (b. Sep 1890), Benjamin T. (b. May 1893), Hattie B. (b. Sep 1895), Lola C. (b. Dec 1896), and the youngest, Sam J. (b. Nov 1898). In addition, Ensley's brother Carl C. Miller (b. Oct 1884) was under the same roof.

I have not looked into the life of oldest daughter Lilly Jones. But the next three senior Jones children married, and in 1918 or 1919 they all went to California where they were found sharing the bedlam of one big (happy?) house at 552 Elmwood Avenue in Lindsay, California. If Hattie Jones had not been widowed, having married a Hudson and lost him in a few short years, there would have been three couples sharing the house, plus their mother Ensley, plus brother Sam who was still single. Lola Jones married Harry Edwards, a Kansan, who was listed as head of household; Benjamin Jones married Jessie White.

Also in the Lindsay, California house were two Edwards daughters Wilma, 2, and Helen, 3 months; Eugene, Christine, and Mildred Hudson (6, 3 1/2, and 1 1/2); and Ben and Jessie's firstborn, Eunice, nearly two years old. Thirteen in all. Hudsons and Millers from Alabama and Georgia lived nearby. Whole families from Alabama may have migrated.

The 552 Elmwood location was just a block north of the old town of Lindsay, where the original laid-out slanted streets turn north-south. Country folk were now town folk.

Map of Tulare CountyTulare County in the San Joaquin Valley was then as well as today among the highest producers of fruit, cattle, and other agricultural products of any county in the United States. The size of Tulare County is slightly larger than the state of Connecticut. At that time fruit growers housed fruit pickers in Spartan labor camps. (See Bulletin, California Department of Agriculture, Vol. 7, “ Proceedings of the 50th State Fruit Growers Convention, Sacramento, Nov. 21 – 23, 1917” pages 99-100,

The 1920 census shows people from all over the U.S. living in the burg of Lindsay. In 1930, many people born in Mexico lived there – some as neighbors of the Joneses, some probably in the notorious camps. Sweetbriar Avenue is beside the midtown railroad tracks. The depot was designed in 1889 to be the middle of the town of Lindsay.

Why did Alabama families go? Without studying the history of ordinary Alabama people, I might guess that despite the roaring 20's there was great poverty in Alabama. A job as a fruit-picker was a better opportunity than staying put. I don't think our Alabama Joneses ever lived in labor camps. They possibly picked fruit, as did Graham Little. We know that Ben and Sam Jones and Harry Edwards were truck drivers as early as 1920, perhaps hauling produce or cattle. And we know that Jessie's young brother Ernest White became a truck driver and eventually owner of White's Dump Truck Service.

Aunt Ruth White Williams remembers that “Aunt Jessie was married lots of times.” And Joan Dixon quoting older family members characterized her with a smile as “the family libertine.” Keeping these points in mind one wonders about her situation in 1930, where we see at the time of the 1930 census she and her four children are shown to be living with Ben's younger brother Sam at 380 Sweetbriar Ave. in Lindsay, while at 356 1/2 Sweetbriar 29-year-old Ben was paired with 18-year-old Della Jones from Colorado. The latter two were lodgers in the home of Clyde Watson. Della's marital status was left blank. Benjamin, Sam, and Jessie were shown as married. It's hard today, 80 years later, to know what their living arrangements meant, if anything. At the time of her father's death in February 1934, Jessie lived in Porterville, according to his obituary.

The 1920's was a time of hope and of breaking free. Women demanded their emancipation. Was 18-year old Jessie one of those who felt emancipated by a new life in a new world, away from the old world if not away from her parents? Possibly. Women got the vote in California in 1911 and nationwide in 1920. We know from Tulare County records that Jessie exercised her right to vote. She was a consistent Democrat. The 1920's were a time of new beginnings for Jessie White. A memorable personal story is there if we can find some descendent or someone to tell it. As for Ruth Williams' claim, I have found only two husbands. In 1944 Jessie White lived at the same address with William E. Atkins. Jessie died Jessie Jones Atkins, the only Atkin noted at the Home of Peace cemetery in Porterville. She married William E. "Red" Atkins about 1941 but I don't know when her marriage to him ended. Mr. Atkins was married to another woman at his death. 

Jessie White documentation

Jessie's children from census records and California birth records:
Eunice Jones, b. March 1918 in Tennessee or Alabama.
Emmitt Cecil Jones, b. 2 June 1921 in Tulare County, California.
Anna, known to the state as Annie Laurie Jones, was born 4 February 1925 in Tulare County.
James Melvin Jones, b. 23 February 1926 in Tulare County, California. He appears to be named after his grandfather Jim and his uncle Melvin.

BEN JONES RITES HELD YESTEREDAY (Porterville Evening Recorder, Apr 11, 1936)
Tulare, April 11 – (VNS) – At the funeral services held from the Rice Funeral Home here yesterday afternoon for Ben Jones, 42, the Rev. Shaw of Lindsay officiated, and the pallbearers were Carl Daniels, Joe Stealge, B. C. Grimm, M. F. Weisenberger, W. L. Eible and H. F. Jones. Mrs. Bessie Tabb sang. Burial followed in the Tulare cemetery.
     Mr. Jones, who lived on the Springville road east of Porterville, passed away Thursday. He leaves his widow Jessie, and four children, Cecil, Eunice, Melvin, and Anna.

Tulare County, California voter registrations have been put on They tell us more about Jessie White and her family. See the addresses given to determine who lives at the same address.

General election 1928. Orange precinct:

Atkin, Frank E., farmer. RFD 3, Box 318, Porterville, REP.
Atkin, William E., laborer. RFD 3, Box 230, Porterville, REP.

General election of Nov. 8, 1932. Visalia No. 7 precinct (image 276of 1007):

Jones, Mrs. Lola. 404 Goshen Ave., DEM.
Jones, Homer L., 404 Goshen Ave. DEM.
Note - Lola Jones b. 1898, older sister of Ben Jones, married Harry Edwards and was in the
crowded house in 1920. I can't identify the above Joneses.

General election Nov 6, 1934, Orange precinct.

Atkin, William E., laborer. Rt. 3 Box 230, Porterville. DEM.
Atkin, Lester P., Rancher. Rt. 3 Box 230, Porterville. DEM.

General election of Nov 3, 1936, Globe precinct:

Jones, Jessie – housewife. Star Rt. 2, Porterville – DEM.
Jones, Mrs. T. E. - housewife. Star Rt. 2, Porterville – DEM.
(Unknown; a wild guess is that she is
Ensley T. Jones, widow, mother of the Lindsay Jones
clan, age 60, using her husband's initials or her own was reversed.)

General Election Nov 8, 1938, Farmersville West Precinct (image 111 of 880)
(Farmersville is 10 miles NE of Tulare.)

Jones, Sam H., laborer. Gen. Del., Farmersville, DEM.
Jones, Mrs. Lola A., housewife. Gen. Del., Farmersville, DEM. (Unknown Lola Jones again.)

General election, Nov. 8, 1938. Tulare County, Orange Precinct:

Atkin, William E., Laborer. Star Rt. 2, Box 1130, Porterville. DEM.(Lester P. and
Grover C. Atkin are in the neighborhood. No Jessie Atkin is listed in 1938.)

Tulare County, Angiola precinct, Nov. 8, 1938.
Jones, Sam P., ranch labor, Angiola, DEM.

General election Nov. 5, 1940. Porterville No. 2 precinct.(frame 678 of 880)

Jones, Cord. - WPA worker. 322 North G. - REP. (unknown)
Jones, Mrs. Jessie – At home. 321 North F. - DEM.
Jones, Miss Lola A. - At home. 216 North F. - DEM.
Jones, Wilson W. - None. Gen. Del. - DEM. (unknown)
Woodville precinct (unrelated to Jessie's husband William Ernest Atkin) Atkins, William Robert, farmer. Route 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.
Atkins, Artie J., foreman. Route 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.
Atkins, Marion L. foreman Route 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.
Atkins, Tone A. foreman Route 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.
General election of Nov 3, 1942:
Atkin, Mrs. Jessie – housewife. Star Rt. 2, Box 23, Porterville – DEM.
Atkin, William E. - laborer. Star Rt. 2, Box 1130, Porterville – DEM.
Atkin, Lester P. - ranch laborer. Star Rt. 2, Box 96, Porterville – DEM.
Woodville Precinct.
Atkins, William Robert, farmer. Route 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.
Atkins, Artie J., foreman. Route 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.
Atkins, Marion L. foreman Route 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.
Atkins, Tone A. foreman Route 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.
General election of Nov 7, 1944:
Atkin, Mrs. Jessie – housewife. P.O. Box 704, Porterville – DEM.
Atkin, William E. - laborer. P.O. Box 704, Porterville – DEM.
Woodville Precinct.
Atkins, Tone Audrey, store clerk. Rt. 3 Box 178X, Tulare. DEM.
Atkins, William Robert, Rt. 1 Box 58, Tipton. DEM.

Not related: The Dinuba precinct Jones couple who were in the registered
voter lists 1912-1924 were Charles B, b. 1882, a carpenter; and Mrs.
Jessie K. Jones, a piano teacher who was a Prohibitionist around 1916 and a Republican later.)

Kings County, Hanford date 192?. Image 405 of 592.(Kings County is 25 miles NW of Tulare.
Unknown if this is the right Jessie.)
136. Jones, Mrs. Jessie A. - housewife. Hanford Rt. C, Box 130. DEM.
137. Jones, Lewis W. - rancher. Hanford Rt. C, Box 130. REP.

Died Dec 13, 1976. FUNERAL NOTICE (Porterville Evening Recorder, Dec. 14, 1976)
ATKINS In Visalia, Dec 13, 1976, JESSIE ATKINS, 76, native of Center Ala., and resident of Porterville 62 years Mother of Cecil and Melvin Jones, Eunice Stuttmiller [STADTMILLER] and Anna Wheeler, sister of Ernest and Melvin White and Alma Little; grandmother of four. Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15 at the Home of Peace Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Loyd chapel. [The Home of Peace cemetery is on East Olive St. Porterville CA.]

ATKINS Jessie Jones (female) b 8 Jan 1900 d 13 Dec 1976 C-118-6 Visalia CA bur 15 Dec 1976 ( and

Jessie Jones Atkins is the only Atkin noted in the Home of Peace cemetery. Her probable last marriage was to William Ernest "Red" Atkin.

Sam Jones, 58, died Jan 16-20 1958 [Tulare Advance Register]. Tulare County cemetery index.

Emmett C. Jones. Muster Roll of the crew USS San Marcon (LSD25)quarter ending 30 Jun 1945. Service number 844 73 30. Rank MoMM3c, V6On board 26 Jun 1945. (Unknown if this is the son of Jessie Jones)

Appears NOT to be related:
Ernest Melvin Jones who died in Woodlake, Tulare County 2 Aug 2003, seems a promising name,
but he appears NOT to be related. He was born 3 Nov 1935 in Thomas, Custer, Oklahoma.
His father French Kenneth Jones was b. Carroll County, Arkansas and died 19 NOV 1986 in
Woodlake, Tulare, California.
Sources: Jones, Ernest Melvin. age 67, Aug 7, 2003
Tulare County cemetery index [Visalia Times Delta].
A tree at owned by user tbeeper shows this ancestry:

Jones, Ernest Melvin, b. 3 Nov 1935 - Thomas, Custer County, Oklahoma
Died 2 Aug 2003 - Woodlake, Tulare, California
Father: Jones, French Kenneth b. 25 MAR 1915 - Berryville, Carroll, Arkansas, USA
Died 19 NOV 1986 - Woodlake, Tulare, California, United States. Mother: Unknown.
Social Security Death Index: Ernest M. Jones, SSN: 545-52-1592
Last Residence: 93286 Woodlake, Tulare, California, United States of America
Born: 3 Nov 1935 Died: 2 Aug 2003 State (Year) SSN issued: California (1955) -------
U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 about Ernest M Jones
Name: Ernest M Jones
Birth Date: 3 Nov 1935
Address: 380 Lemona St, Woodlake, CA, 93286-1316
[PO Box 643, Woodlake, CA, 93286-0643 (1986)] [PO 643, Woodlake, CA, 93286 (1986)]

Death notices for Sam Jones, brother-in-law of Jessie Jones

   Sam Jones, 58, 528 1/2 So. O street, died last night at his residence.
   No survivors have been located as yet. He lived alone.
   Service arrangements are pending at the Goble chapel.
-Tulare Advance Register, Thursday, Jan. 16, 1958, page 7.
   Funeral services for Sam Jones, 58, 528 1/2 So. O street, have been set for the Goble chapel at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
   Jones died at his home Wednesday night.
   The Rev. A. N. Carter of the Second Baptist church, Fowler, formerly of Tulare, will officiate, assisted by Braxton Berkley lodge of Elks.
   Burial will be in Tulare cemetery.
-Tulare Advance Register, Monday, Jan. 20, 1958, page 8.

Alma White, 1901-1993

(Also see the 2013 interview with Barbara Little in the "Pictures and More" section.)

Alma married Graham Stevans Little, a neighbor in Etowah county, about 1921. The couple's oldest two children, Emily and Fred, were born in Etowah County. Fred was born Sep. 29, 1925. About 1928 the family emigrated to California with her parents Jim and Miranda White, and her youngest brother Ernest White. The two children born in California were Barbara and Claire. By 1930 Alma's family was in Strathmore, Tulare County, California, and continued there through 1940. James, Miranda, and Ernest also settled in Tulare County.

Around the outbreak of hostilities in World War II Graham Little found employment with a subcontractor at the huge San-Francisco-Bay-area Kaiser shipyard and moved to nearby Vallejo, California. Graham Little registered for the "old man's" draft in 1942. His registration card reads: Solano County, CA. Graham Stevans Little, age 48. Address Collins Napa Rd, Vallejo, Solano, Cal. P.O. General Delivery, Vallejo. Wife Mrs. Alma Little, Collins Napa Rd, Vallejo. Employer: Kiser Co. Mare Island, Gen. Delivery, Vallejo, Cal. Born Jan 14, 1894 Charlotte, NC. Graham wrote that he worked at the Kaiser Mare Island Shipyard building ships for the Navy. It was one of several Henry J. Kaiser shipyards in the San Francisco area, including Richmond, San Francisco, Oakland, and Alameda. Kaiser was among the first companies to offer health care and other benefits. Alma and Graham later lived in Oakland and Hayward. Graham died 8 March 1967 in Hayward, Alemeda County, California. Alma died 12 Nov 1993 in Vallejo, Solano County, Calif.

Graham Little draft registration, World War II "old man's draft."
Graham Little draft registration
Fred Little obituary 1994
Here is the obituary of Alma White's son, Fred Hasty Little. It was published in the September 13, 1994 Medford (Oregon) Mail-Tribune. Fred Little was a veteran of WW II, a US Army Tec 5. He enlisted 23 Dec 1943 at San Francisco. He was living in Sonoma County at enlistment. When he died he was buried at the Eagle Point National Cemetery, 2763 Riley Road, Eagle Point, Oregon. Buried at: Section 21 Site 1720.


Ernest White, 1906-1982

Youngest son Ernest White was single and lived with his parents after they migrated to California about 1928. Ernest made his living in over-the-road trucking after starting by hauling trash, say Rae White, Connor White, and Theoria White. His wife's name was Hester Mina Grimm, whom he met in California. She was a South Dakotan. Ernest has two children named Orville and Marilyn, recalled Rae and Connor. This is confirmed in Earnest's obituary.

Son Orville Ernest White was born 9 March 1942 in Solano County, which is about 225 miles from Porterville, Tulare County. It is interesting that in 1942 Ernest's sister Alma Little lived in Vallejo, Solano County. Were Ernest and family visiting the Littles, or did Ernest live and work there? Tulare County Voter Registrations show Ernest and Hester registered for the General election of Nov. 3, 1942 at the Lindsay #4 precinct.
White, Ernest J., Laborer. 584 No. Sweet Briar, Dem.
White, Hester M., Housewife. 584 No. Sweet Briar, Rep.
General election of Nov. 6, 1934, Plano East precinct: White, Mrs. Hester, Star Route 1, Porterville, Ca.-DEM.
Marilyn Kaye White was born 19 Jul 1947 in Tulare County. She and Orville both have a mother with the surname Grimm, according to the California birth index 1905-1995 seen at
Ernest visited relatives back in Alabama about 1945 when Marcell, she says, was 13. However the baby Larry Dixon and the newborn Marilyn White in the photographs taken at the time place the date as August or September 1947. Connor visited the family in California in 1956. Hester M. White divorced Ernest J. White on 25 October, 1978 in county no. 54, Tulare County. (California Divorce Index, 1966-1984, Ernest died 8 June 1982 in Tulare, California and is buried at Hillcrest Cemetery, Porterville, CA. Here is the obituary of Ernest White. It appeared in the Porterville (California) Evening Recorder on 8 June 1982.

It has been difficult accounting for the descendants of the California Whites. Within the last month, however, I have spoken about 10 minutes with O. James White whom we knew as Orville Ernest White, son of Ernest White. O.J. White is in Fresno, California and has lived there most of his adult life. I have included some information about his family in the photo section of this DVD. I have found a grandson of Emily Little and we have corresponded via note in His name is Marc Lucca and he lives is Oregon. I have copied his partial tree into the main database on this DVD. I have not identified the descendants of Jessie White. It is probably doable with enough time.

The Whites in 1940  1940 Census Sheets

Vassie Winkles, age 46 and widowed, was a housekeeper in Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia, living with the W. and Minnie Gilbreath family and their two daughters at 201 Ridge Street. The census taker wrote she lived in the same house in 1935. Highest grade completed was 1. Remember she and Mr. Winkles lived in the Cherokee County alms house in 1930 and possibly at the time of Mr. Winkles death, 6 Oct 1931. What took her to Dalton I don't know, nor have I researched where and when she married Mr. Mannis.

Melvin White, head, age 44, owned his farm, occupation: Owner of Farm. Highest grade completed 5.
Bertha White, wife, age 44, highest grade completed 9.
Ray White, daughter, 16, highest grade completed H2.
Connor White, son, 13, highest grade completed 4.
Marcel White, daughter, 8, highest grade completed 1.
They lived on the Centre highway at Cave Spring (Mil. 829), Floyd County, Georgia. That would be the stone house I remember. In 1935 they lived in rural Floyd County.

Ausie W. White, head, 43, rented his farm. Highest grade completed 4.
Lovia White, wife, 37, Highest grade completed 7.
Pauline White, daughter, 13, Highest grade completed 4.
Annie Ruth White, daughter, 3.
J.W. White, son, 2.
They lived in precinct 6, Centre, Cherokee County, Alabama, on the Piney road near where it "Y's" into the Centre-Cedar Bluff highway at Cedar Bluff. They lived "same place" (not same house) in 1935.
Beside them were their oldest daughter Theoria Hardin and her husband Gordon Hardin.
Gordon Hardin, 22, highest grade completed 7. In 1935 lived in rural Cherokee County.
Theoria Hardin, 19, highest grade completed H2. In 1935 lived "same place."

Jesse Jones, 317 North F Street, Porterville, Tulare, California, age 41, widowed, highest grade completed 8. Lived in 1935: Rural Tulare county.
Anna, daughter, 15, hightst grade completed 7. Born Calif.
Melvin, son, 14, hightst grade completed 6. Born Calif.
Note, in the voter registration of Nov 1940 she registered as Jessie Jones. In the voter registration of Nov 1942 she registered as Mrs. Jessie Atkin.

Alma Little, wife. Highest grade completed: 5
G. S. Little, head. Highest grade completed: 7
Strathmore, Tulare, California. Gutherie St (No Numbers). Lived in 1935: Rural Tulare, California.
Emily, 16, highest grade completed H1.
Fred, 14, highest grade completed 7.
Barbara, 10, highest grade completed 4.
Clara Bell, 2

Ernest J. White, age 33, b. Ala., highest grade completed G8. In 1935 lived at same place. Construction Break Maker.
Hester M. White, age 24, b. N.D., highest grade completed H2. In 1935 she lived Mitchell, S.D. Olive Grader. 524 1/2 N. Sweet Brier Ave., Lindsay, Cal.

Please send corrections and additions to: Travis Hardin, 1000 Airport Rd SW, Apt 12, Huntsville, AL 35802
Phone 256-683-8038. E-mail:;;