Biography of William M. White
Oneida County, NY Biographies

William Mansfield White, son of Hon. Hugh White and Maria Mills Mansfield White, and a great grandson of Judge Hugh White, the founder of Whitestown, was born in Waterford, Saratoga county, New York, July 8, 1833. He was a worthy representative of the Whitestown pioneer, and bore with distinction the ennobling characteristics of his race. When twelve years of age, he was sent to Galway Academy, then under the charge of Professor Charles Durkee, a leading educator at that time. In the autumn of 1846 he entered the Military School of Professor Kinsley at West Point, where he spent three years. There the drill of body and mind was most thorough, and the morals of the school elevating and religious. Soon after leaving that institution he entered the sophomore class of Hamilton College, from which he was graduated in 1854.

His father owned Sweet Briar Farm in the town of Ossian, Livingston county, New York, and here Mr. White spent his vacations and resided during his early married life. Mr. White was married on January 22, 1863, to Anna Maria, daughter of the late William Constable Pierrepont, of Pierrepont Manor, New York, the ceremony being performed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop De Lancey. She died in Utica, on September 22, 1884. Mr. White came to Utica on the 1st of September, 1882, chiefly to give his large family the benefit of the excellent educational advantages to be had in this section, where his ancestors had figured prominently through a period from its earliest settlement, and near which a part of his boyhood had been spent at Hamilton College. It is a rather curious coincidence that Mr. White in coming to Utica, in September, 1882, with his five sons and five daughters, arrived ninety eight years after the original settlement of Whitestown by Hugh White, the pioneer, who arrived June 5, 1784, with his five sons. It was but a short time after Mr. White took up his resideuce in Utica that he was looked upon as one of her leading citizens, and as the most charitable man in Utica. His magnificent physique was a fitting covering for the noble and generous heart it contained. His nature was that of our highest idea of a nobleman, a man too ennobling to even allow a dishonest thought to enter his mind, and whose sympathy with those afflicted with earthly troubles was so great, that if an idea of their needing assistance reached him, he did not wait to be asked but went out of his way to give it without asking. People quickly came to know him as a broad minded, progressive, generous and noble man, vigorous and sound in body; he became identified with various local business interests, and became a guiding spirit in each and all. In January, 1889, he was elected without his knowledge a director in the Second National Bank, and on the death of its president, Edward S. Brayton, he was unanimously elected to the presidency, a position he held during the remainder of his life Under his management the present handsome block, which is one of the finest banking buildings in central New York, was built in 1893 and 1894, Mr. White being the leading member of the building committee. He was vice president and one of the organizers of the Utica Pipe Foundry; a director in the Utica & Mohawk Street Railroad Company; a director in the Jefferson County National Bank of Watertown; and from 1871 until his death a director in the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company, being one of the oldest officers of that corporation. After the death of his father in law, the late William C. Pierrepont, as one of the executors of the Pierrepont estate, he had the active charge and management of this large landed property in northern New York. He was an active member of the Oneida Historical Society, and for several years served as its first vice president. When the village of Whitestown celebrated its centennial anniversary, June 5, 1884, he was selected to preside, and aided in erecting a monument on the village green to commemorate the event.

In politics Mr. White was an ardent republican, casting his first vote for John C. Fremont for president, and for some time was a prominent political factor in the southern tier of counties during his residence at Sweet Briar Farm. He never desired public office, however, but frequently acted as a delegate to state and other conventions of his party.

He was preeminently the leading layman of the Protestant Episcopal church of central and western New York, and for thirty years served as delegate to diocesan conventions, and for fifteen years attended the general councils. He was warden of Trinity church, Canaseraga, and at Zion church, Pierrepont Manor, succeeded his father in law as warden there. On coming to Utica he was chosen vestryman of Grace church, and upon the death of Lucius C. Childs. became warden in his place. He was a member of the standing committee of the Central New York Diocese, and was appointed lay reader by Bishop Huntington. At one time he was a trustee of Hobart College. He was president of the New York State Agricultural Society; and ex officio trustee of Cornell University. He was a liberal supporter, and for several years president, of St. Luke's Home and Hospital, and in the spring of 1895 was appointed one of the managers of the Utica State Hospital. He was also a director of the Utica Female Seminary; president of the Utica Country Club; also a member and for three years one of the board of managers of the Fort Schuyler Club. In all of these positions he served with great credit and ability, and won the respect and confidence of every one with whom he came in contact.

He was the soul of honor, frank, generous, kind and courteous, hospitable and benevolent, and a friend and promoter of charities, hospitals, churches, educational and business enterprises. He was preeminently a model citizen, public spirited, enterprising and successful, and enjoyed a wide acquaintance and a host of warm friends. In his own home, however, he found his chief enjoyment, and it was his devotion to his family which was perhaps the strongest trait of Mr. White's character. His care of his children, his interest in their welfare, the indelible impress of his cheerful nature and his constant utterances imbuing them with the purest sense of manhood. He loved freedom and progress, and in all the affairs of life he attained a degree of success and perfection that is seldom equaled. He died on the 2d of January, 1896, survived by his eleven children, six being sons and five daughters. The oldest, Hugh, now the active manager of the Pierrepont landed estate in northern New York; William Pierrepont, a graduate of the Utica Free Academy and of the Columbia Law School; Anna Maria; H. Lawrence, a director of the Utica Drop Forge & Tool Company; Florilla Mansfield; Mary Pierrepont; Cornelia Butler; Isabel; De Lancey Pierrepont; Charles Carroll; and John Dolbeare.

Mr. White was of a commanding and perhaps austere appearance, being fully six feet in height, with very broad shoulders, and weighing two hundred and fifty pounds. His hair was brown and his eyes blue, and he always wore a smooth face.

White family members in Oneida County
White Family
White, Canvass
White, De Lancey P.
White, Fortune C.
White, Henry D.
White, Hugh
White, Hugh, Hon.
White, Moses T.
White, Philo
White, William M.
White, William P.
Young, William C.

History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912

Privacy Policy for OnlineBiographies


Oneida County, NY


New York

New York




For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium

Family Tree Maker 2012