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WILLIAM A. WHITE (1844 to after 1900)

Last Updated 10 April 2019


Here you can see what I learned about William White, the foster father of our ancestor James White; about his pension application for his service in the Civil War; about his father Adolphus White who migrated from Pendleton District, South Carolina to Paulding County, Georgia, on the Polk County line; and about Adolphus White's believed first cousin, Yancey White, who -- having the opportunity, the motive, and the means -- is quite likely the biologial father of James White. Yancey White left the White home in Pendleton District, South Carolina, for Georgia, some decades after Adolphus, and settled in southern Floyd County, Georgia. Yancey White lived at Thomas' Mills in the Livingston District, which at the time included Foster's Mill District and the community of State Line. At State Line lived Burwell S. Harbour, his wife Josephine (Bale), and his servant Mary. Upon emancipation the latter took the name Mary Adams and gave her children born before emancipation, Josephine and James, the surname Adams. In 1880 he is named James White.

William White of the Paulding County Whites was the only one of that family to have been in proximity to Yancey White. Both Yancey and William White had unconventional marriages. Yancey had a string of affairs and serial marriages with young women, while William gives the appearance of a lifetime of bigamy.

This page tells the story as put together from the references you will see in other sections.


William White Specifics (.doc format) with White property tax digests

The Pension Application, handwritten. Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960, Whitfield County, Georgia. Application type: Indigent soldier. Application year 1896, 6 images. ( $)

The Pension Application, transcribed. (.rtf)

(Many dates are from his confederate pension application of 1895)

1844 Oct 15    Born in Paulding  County, Ga.

1861 May 1     Enlisted in the confederate army at Cedartown, Ga., Co D, 20th Ga. Reg.

1861 Aug 15   Discharged from Co. D, 20th Infantry at Manassas, Va. (Roster of confederate soldiers of Georgia v. 2, p. 796)

1861 Fall         He was “well and stout when he went into the army but in the latter part of 1861 he was taken with sciatic rheumatism and bronchitis.”

1862 Jun 1      Discharged from that company after about 12 months (conflict with roster).

1862 Fall         In fall of year joined Capt Houlands Co [Howard, Co. K], 60th Ga Reg. and discharged for disability in 1863. Total service was about 18 months, he says.

1862 Fall         White joined the 60th Infantry Regiment that had been formed in Troup County. There was a Capt. William H. Howard of Co. K, only captain beginning with an “H”.  The same list shows White, William to be a private in company K. ( William White stated he served a second time in “Capt. Houlands” company in the 60th Ga Reg.)  (Troup County GaGenWeb, posted by C.W. Barnum -

1863                Sometime in that year was discharged at Gordonsville, Va for disability caused by rheumatism and bronchitis.

1865 – 1895    Occupation was farming.

1866 July 14    Polk County marriage license issued by Stephen A. Borders, Ordinary.
1866 July 15    Wm. A. White married L. C. Brazile, Polk County, Georgia. Minister: Wm W. Simpson C.M.G.  "Georgia, County Marriages, 1785-1950," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 December 2014), 0419307 (005191034) > image 27 of 415; county courthouses, Georgia.

1870                He lived at State Line, Floyd Co. Ga with domestic servant Mary Adams, her daughter Josephine Adams and her son James Adams. He was a farm laborer living on the Burwell Harbour property.

1870 Alternate possibility: The William White in the cabin of Mary Adams gave his age as 38 (b. 1832). A William White of that age lived, in 1880, just across the line from that cabin, in Alabama Township 10, Range 11, in beat 1 or 5. If it was the older man, he lived there strictly as a laborer, and it does not change my conjecture that the Paulding County William A. White, a likely relative of Yancey White, was Mary's and James' rescuer who took them to Dalton. The most parsimonious scenario is that the 1870 man was our William White whose age was interpreted wrong. 

1874-76           He paid tax in Livingston District of Floyd County on personal property. No land.

1875                He married Sally and began to have children. (1900 census)

1882-3             Says youngest daughter was born.

1884 June       Next to youngest son George was born in Alabama. (1900 census)

1885 Dec 2      Son John William White born in Ga.

1890 Apr 12    Became totally disabled and unable to work 4 years before application dated Apr 1895.

1893              Wiliam paid 1893 taxes in Floyd County as certified by the Tax Collector Jno. Black 8 Apr 1895. William A. White returned [declared] for taxes in 1893 in Floyd County household & kitchen items, $20; Stock of all kinds, $60; total $80.

1893-94          William was unable to work but was support by one of his boys farming.

1894 Jan 1       Residence was Gordon County in 1894.

1894 Dec 15    Pension Act approved.

1895 Apr 8      Statement from Floyd County Tax Collector Jno. Black that William A. White returned [declared] for taxes in 1893 in Floyd County household & kitchen items, $20; Stock of all kinds, $60; total $80.

1895 Apr 12    Submitted application and swore to truth of it. He requests $100 for the year.

1895 Apr 12    Lives now at Phelps P.O., Whitfield County, Ga.

1895 Apr 12    Has lived in Ga. About 51 years (his whole life)

1895 Apr 12    He has no property but a little household goods worth less than $25. He had a cow in 1893 and 1894 that he had to sell to get corn.

1895 Apr 12    He is married. Wife living. He has 4 boys and 2 girls, all of age except one boy of 10 and 1 girl of 12 at home.

1895 Apr 15    James H. Whitfield of West Rome, Floyd County, Ga. gave a deposition that he is acquainted with William White. He served in the same Company as William White. (Co. D, 20th Ga.) and says White’s service was one year.

1895 Apr 18    Deposition in Whitfield County by Charles P. Gordon and J. C. Bivings, M.D.’s, say his exact condition is as follows: “Chron. Bronchitis with Sciatic Rheumatism, causing such disability as to render him unable to earn a support for himself by manual labor.”

1895 Apr 18    White gave power of attorney to Richard Johnson, Secretary of Executive Department of Atlanta Ga. for receiving and forwarding pension.

1897 Jan 6       William A. White filed a second Indigent Soldier Pension Application in Floyd County. He had nothing. I saw nothing new.

1900 June 1-21. W. A. White (b. Oct 1844) was in Fairview, Hollis District of Etowah County, Alabama with wife Sally (b. Aug 1856), and son George (b. June 1884). He rented a house. Oddly, Mrs. L. C. White, (b. Aug. 1842) widow, lived nearby on a farm she owned and had boarders.

1914 Jan 22     His son John William White died at Centre, Ala. He was 28 and single. Sarah E. White was the son's mother as stated on the death record and William A. White was the father. The son was buried at Tate's Chapel Cemetery. -"Alabama Deaths, 1908-1974," database, FamilySearch : 27 November 2014), William A. White in entry for Jno. William White, 22 Jan 1914; citing reference cn 565, Department of Health, Montgomery; FHL microfilm 1,894,106.


His parents, birth and childhood

The key find was William A. White's Confederate Civil War Pension Application of 1895. In it he names one of his wives, Sally or Sarah, other people and events, and his birthdate of Oct 15, 1844. He was not 38 as reported on the 1870 census, but 25.

His signature 1895

WILLIAM A. WHITE was born and raised in Paulding County, Georgia, Eutah District, the youngest son of Adolphus White and his wife  Emily Davis. See map of Paulding County Militia Districts courtesy

William White’s father Adolphus White (b. 1811) came from South Carolina to Carroll County, Georgia, where he married Emily Davis 9 Jan 1832. His brothers William (b. 1820) and Asa (b. 1832) also relocated to Georgia. They all made their home in Paulding County, Georgia. When Polk County was taken from Paulding in 1851 Adolphus and family farm fell in Polk County at Van Wert.  Others in the family fell into Utah District in Paulding.  Records of both counties must be searched. It is claimed that Martha White (b. 1828) is the sister of Adolphus.

Adolphus and Emily White were born in South Carolina. The ten children were born in Georgia.

For some years after the war ended William White lived in Livingstone District of Floyd County, the only relative to live near Yancey White.

Questions to be answered

Lucinda Brazile White said she had three children, two living as of June 1, 1900. Who were they?

In the Army

William A. White was born 15 October 1844, the youngest son of Adolphus and Emily White of Paulding County, Georgia.

William White enlisted in the Confederate army along with his brother Moses B. White about as soon as anyone could enlist – on May 15, 1761. It was Company D of the 20th Georgia Regiment. They enlisted at Cedartown in Polk County. William was aged 16 years 7 months. Moses, 27 (born about 1833), his wife Joana 23, and his daughter Mary L. 3, lived at Van Wert post office in 1860.

Much but not all of the chronology is taken from William White’s 18 April 1895 Indigent Pension Application from Whitfield County, Georgia. He says he was discharged from the 20th Regiment on 1 June 1862 for sciatic rheumatism and bronchitis but the Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia reads 15 Aug 1861. On 15 August he was age 16 and 10 months.

William again enlisted in the fall of 1862 in Troup County’s Company K of the 60th Georgia Regiment, Capt. William Howard’s company for a total service of 18 months. William says he was discharged from that regiment sometime in 1863 while in Gordonsville, Virginia, again for disability caused by rheumatism and bronchitis.

William says his occupation was farming from 1865 to 1895. His brother Moses returned from the war to Van Wert in Polk County where he lived in 1870 and worked as a railroad laborer.

The Role of William White in the Life of Mary Adams White and Two Other Women

(This section revised April 2019 and moved from the Yancey White page.)

Fathering James White, Scenario One: In light of the history of Yancey White, I am inclined to believe that William White decided to take the role of protecting Mary and James from his rapacious kinsman Yancey. William had gone back to Polk County, Georgia after his 1863 discharge, worked at farming, and married Lucinda Brazile in that county in July 1866. He knew of his kinsman's preying on  slave women, and on Mary in particular. William felt protective of Mary and young James who was of his own blood, having been fathered by his kinsman Yancey White, and signed on as a laborer with Harbour. In 1870 he lived in a former slave house with Mary and her children on the Harbour place. Something went wrong with his marriage to Lucinda,  freeing him to be Mary's protector and James's foster father.

Fathering James White, Scenario Two: William White joined the Confederate Army on May 1, 1861. He was age 16 years, 6 1/2 months.  During the last days of April Yancey White, long known as a womanizer and assaulter of slave women, took his young Paulding or Polk County kinsman out for a good time before he left for the army. The very young man got the woman Mary pregnant and James White was born around February 1, 1862. The consensus of reports is that James was born between July 1, 1862 and June 30, 1863. James White's birthday as written by his son Ausie White's wife was Oct. 5, 1865. Throwing away the inaccurate 1865, I synthesize a birthdate of October 5, 1862 for James White. That is 17 months after the speculative send-off affair with William White, which leaves him out of the running. Still we have to consider the possibility that young William White was the father.

I theorize that William, hearing of Whitfield County from his army friends, moved Mary and son James there before 1875 with himself as temporary protector. (William A. White maintained a rented house in Livingston District, Floyd County, paying taxes on personal possessions in 1874, 75, and 76, see below.) In Dalton he lived with Mary who appeared white, but did not -- could not -- marry her. He adopted James, Connor White said. The adoption tells us William's motives were to help. Perhaps it was Mary's plan to "pass," if not for herself, then for Jim. That plan succeeded with William White's adoption of Jim and lending him his name.  When Jim returned to Cherokee County, Alabama he was seen  thereafter as white. He passed successfully.

The oral tradition "William went outside for firewood one night and never came back" probably was the cold night in early spring 1875 when he tired of his situation in Dalton and crossed the Conasauga River into Murray County. Soon, on Thursday, April 8th, 1875, as A. J. White, he appeared with Sarah "Sally" Taylor at the courthouse in Chatsworth and took out a license to marry. William established a permanent marriage with Sally and they had a long marriage and a family. He left Mary White on her own in Dalton with son Jim.  Lucinda Brazile had been on her own -- it's hard to say where because I have not found her in the records.Perhaps she was institutionalized for several decades but that is a guess. Yet Lucinda allowed conjugal visits from someone because she stated in 1900 she had three children and caled herself Lucinda White. That's the best explanation I can come up with. Find a better one if you can.
Good luck in your searches. Travis Hardin.

His marriages

Lucinda C. C. Brazile. William A. White and L. C. Brazile received a marriage license in Polk County on 14 July 1866 and were married the next day by minister Wm W. Simpson, C.M.G.   L. C. was born August 1840 (as reported in 1860 and 1900) and was one month from age 26 at her marriage. William was age 21.

The Brazell family lived in Van Wert, district 1073, during the 1860 census (pdf):
Brazell, William, 47 M farmer, $300 personal estate, born SC
Brazell, Mary G, 46 F domestic, born SC
Brazell, Lucinda C. C.,20 F domestic, born Ala.
Brazell, William C., 16 M farmer, born Ala.
The race was not indicated but white was the default. The family owned no slaves.

Lucinda C. C. Brazell, a neighbor of the Whites, was without doubt the woman William White married in 1866.   William White b. 1844 (age 22) and L.C. Brazile born 1840 (age 26). William White's cousin, also named William White (Jr.) was only 6 years of age and besides still lived with his parents in 1880.

Lucinda C. White next appears 34 years after her marriage, a widowed head of household living as a neighbor to W. A. White and wife Sally in Hollis Precinct, Etowah County, Alabama in 1900. She was family no. 169; he was no. 130. Obviously she was not a widow of William White, who was alive, but it may have been the custom to say widowed due to the unacceptability of divorce, separation or abandonment.  Her birthdate was given as August 1840. Her occupation looks like farmer, but the census-taker McCluthery could not spell. In 1900 she owned her farm free of mortgage. She reported she had a total of three children, two living as of June 1, 1900. She reports she was born in South Carolina and so were her parents.

Mary Adams

In 1870 William White lived at State Line Georgia in the house with Mary Adams, beside the Burwell and Josephine Harbour family. There is no evidence they are married. He was possibly her protector, and was later the nominally adoptive father of James Adams. If the man in 1870 is the William who was the youngest son of Adolphus White, the age stated in 1870 below should be 26, and is in error in this one source.

1870 Census, Floyd County, Cave Spring, Ga. , subdivision 141, family #202. Page    . Enumerated 18 July 1870. 
Mary Adams, 32(1837-8), F W          Domestic servant, b. Alabama. Cannot write.
Josephine Adams, 13(1857), F W   Without occupation, b. Alabama. Cannot write.
James Adams, 8(1862), M W, b. Alabama
William White, 38(1832), M W   Farm laborer, b. Georgia. Male citizen over 21.

Sally Taylor White

1875 Marriage License in Murray County, Georgia (Chattsworth) adjacent to Whitfield.
A. J. White and Salley Taylor, issued 8th April 1875 by W. H. Ramey, Ordinary. Married 12 April by C. D. Gilbert, J.P.
Comment: William White married Sarah in 1875, according to a statement in the Etowah County, Alabama 1900 census. If he lived with Mary White as husband or as protector while she was in Whitfield County, then 1875 was the time he "went out for firewood and was never seen again," as told by Jim White.  He walked from Dalton to Chattsworth and, with a slightly disguised name, got a marriage license with Sally Taylor. She was the only woman he lived with long term, and the only wife he mentioned in his pension application. This is the only license I found anywhere around showing a marriage in 1875 between a White and a Sally somebody. William White had two or more residences in 1875: He was being taxed in Livingston District, Floyd County; he spend some time with Mary and his step son James in Dalton; and what about Lucinda Brazile whom he married in 1866 in Polk County?

 Tax Records
1874, 1875, 1876 William A. White paid taxes in Livingston District, Floyd County. He never had any real estate, only furnishings. Yancey White and Mrs. E. White were two other White consistently in that district.

Other Possibilities
To say the 1875 marriage of Sarah Taylor in Murry County, Georgia was to our man William using a false name, A.J. White, I have to show there is no real A.J. White or find that Sarah Taylor married an actual A.J. White.  The search has been negative. But here is a possibility that I've looked into and found a Sarah Wall, the wrong one: In the 1880 census for Cherokee County, Alabama  Pleasant  Gap, Beat 4, is a John White whose wife is named Sarah. She and her parents were born in Georgia, she in 1842 or 43. She had epilepsy. John White was 32, born 1852 in Alabama with both parents born in South Carolina. She died in Coffee County, Georgia where her dates are given by Georgia Deaths Index at as 23 Mar 1843 - 13 Oct 1923. Her husband by was John James White b. 1830. Her father was John P. Wall, thus that couple is not the one of interest.

Adolphus White, father of William White:
His children, siblings, and ancestors

His Spouse and Children

External source, not confirmed by the present author:
Adolphus D White - Facts
from "White Family Tree" by fburnam.

Milla Emily "Milly" Davis 1809–1850
Mary Mahala White Brown 1830–1880
Moses White 1832–
July Ann White 1833–1926
Nancy White 1835–
Julia White 1835–
Peter White 1835–1864
Martha White 1837–1930
Martha J White 1837–1930
Malinda White 1839–
Margaret White 1841–1886
John White 1842–
William White 1844–
Margaret White Locklear 1844–1900
John Charles White 1860–
Virgil White 1862–
William Bowen White 1865–
Lula M White 1867–
Robert White 1869–
Charles White 1873-

Parents and Siblings of Adolphus

External source, not confirmed by the present author:
from "White Family Tree" by fburnam
William H. White
birth:  May 1792, Wagener, Oconee, SC
death: 27 Mar 1860, Wagener, Oconee, SC
Alexander White Jr 1765–1852 (father)
Agnes Dewitt –1803 (mother)
Nancy B Bowie 1798–1884 (spouse)
Adolphus D White 1811–1870
Theodore Alexander White 1821–1891
JOHN M. WHITE 1825–1853
WILLIAM N. WHITE 1837–1871
William H. White facts by fburnam:
Age 0— Birth
May, 1792 • Wagener, Oconee, South Carolina, United States
Birth of Brother William Hamilton White (1792–1860)
Age 11 — Death of Mother Agnes Dewitt (–1803)
1803 • Wagener, Oconee, South Carolina, USA
Age 13 — Birth of Sister Catherine Dewitt White Sharp (1805–1884)
15 Jul 1805 • Pickens, Pickens, South Carolina, United States
Age 18 — Birth of Son Adolphus D White (1811–1870)
1811 • South Carolina
Age 28 — Birth of Son Theodore Alexander White (1821–1891)
2 April 1821 • Pickens County, South Carolina, USA
Age 30 — Birth of Son THOMAS R. WHITE (1823–)
ABT 1823 • South Carolina
Age 32 — Birth of Son JOHN M. WHITE (1825–1853)
10 Feb 1825
Age 34 — Birth of Son CHARLES H. WHITE (1827–)
ABT 1827 • South Carolina
Age 37 — Birth of SonWESLEY BOWIE WHITE (1829–1898)
16 Jun 1829 • South Carolina
Age 42 — Birth of Daughter SARAH JANE WHITE (1835–)
ABT 1835
Age 45 — Birth of SonWILLIAM N. WHITE (1837–1871)
5 Jun 1837 • South Carolina
Age 60 — Death of Father Alexander White Jr (1765–1852)
1852 • Wagener, Oconee, South Carolina, United States
Age 61 — Death of Son JOHN M. WHITE (1825–1853)
24 Oct 1853 • Pickens dist., SC
Age 67 — Death
27 March, 1860 • Wagener, Oconee, South Carolina, United States
Death of Brother William Hamilton White (1792–1860)
Walhalla, Oconee County, South Carolina

MIGRATION. William White’s father Adolphus White (b. 1811) came from South Carolina to Carroll County, Georgia, where he married Emily Davis 9 Jan 1832. His brothers William (b. 1820) and Asa (b. 1832) also relocated to Georgia. They all made their home in Paulding County, Georgia. When Polk County was taken from Paulding in 1851 Adolphus and family found themselves at Van Wert in Polk County. The others nearby fell into Utah District in Paulding.  Records of both counties must be searched. It is claimed that Martha White (b. 1828) is the sister of Adolphus.

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