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Francis White (Virginia)

For other people named Francis White, see Francis White.
Francis White
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1813 – March 3, 1815
Preceded by John Baker
Succeeded by Magnus Tate
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Hampshire County
In office
Preceded by Elias Poston
Succeeded by Elias Poston
In office
Serving with Alexander King
Preceded by William Donaldson
John Higgins
Succeeded by George Sharfe
Frederick Sheetz
In office
Serving with William Armstrong, Jr.
Ephraim Dunn
Edward McCarty
Preceded by Edward McCarty
William Naylor
Succeeded by Christopher Heiskell
Alexander King
Member of the Virginia Senate from Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy, and Morgan Counties
In office
Succeeded by Elisha Boyd
Sheriff of Hampshire County
In office
December 9, 1823 – October 6, 1826
Preceded by E. M. McCarty
Succeeded by Isaac Kuykendall
Personal details
Born 1761
Hayfield, Frederick County, Virginia
Died October 6, 1826 (aged 64–65)
Cacapon River, Hampshire County, Virginia
Resting place White Family Graveyard, Hayfield, Virginia
Nationality American
Political party Federalist Party
Spouse(s) Margaret White
Relations John White (father)
Ann Patton White (mother)
Robert White (great-grandfather)
Alexander White (great uncle)
Robert White (1759–1831) (first cousin once removed)
Robert White (1833–1915) (second cousin once removed)
Occupation lawyer, politician
Religion Presbyterian

Francis White (1761 – October 6, 1826) was a distinguished early American lawyer and politician in the U.S. state of Virginia. White represented Virginia's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives during the 13th United States Congress and served as a member of both the Virginia State Senate and Virginia House of Delegates. He also served as sheriff of Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia). White was a member of the White political family of Virginia and West Virginia.

Early life and education

Francis White was born in 1761[1][2] at Hayfield near Winchester in Frederick County, Colony of Virginia.[1][3] White was a son of John White and his wife, Ann Patton White.[2] Through his great-grandfather, Dr. Robert White (1688–1752), White was of Scottish descent.[4][5] His great uncle was Alexander White (1738–1804), an inaugural member of the United States House of Representatives.[4][5]

White attended the common schools in Winchester.[1][3] Following his education, White engaged in agricultural pursuits[1][3] along the Cacapon and North rivers in Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia).[1] By 1813, White was operating both a gristmill and a sawmill on his Hampshire County property.[6][7]

Political career

Virginia House of Delegates

White was elected to represent Hampshire County in the Virginia House of Delegates for three terms: in 1794, from 1809–1813, and from 1818 to 1823.[1][3][8] In his 1794 term, White served alongside Isaac Parsons,[9] from 1809–1813, he served alongside Alexander King,[10][11][12][13] and from 1818–1823, White served alongside William Armstrong, Jr., Ephraim Dunn, and Edward McCarty.[8][14][15][16]

During the 1809 election for Hampshire County's two seats in the Virginia House of Delegates, White ran against fellow Federalist Alexander King, and Democratic-Republicans William Donaldson and Jonathan Pugh.[17] King received the most votes at 312 and White came in second with 288 votes, thus qualifying him for a seat.[17]

White was either elected or appointed to serve as a justice of Hampshire County in 1795 along with Alexander King, William Vause, John Jack, Virgil McCrackin, and John Snyder.[18]

United States House of Representatives

White was elected unopposed as a Federalist representing Virginia's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives during the 13th United States Congress (March 4, 1813 – March 3, 1815).[1][3][19] White served on the United States House Committee on the District of Columbia.[20] According to GovTrack, from May 1813 to March 1815, White missed 56 of 352 roll call votes (15.9%).[21] White resided at the Law's Ten Buildings boarding house of Mrs. Lane on New Jersey Avenue in Washington, D.C. during the May 24 – August 2, 1813 session[22] and the December 6, 1813 – April 18, 1814 session.[23]

Virginia State Senate

Following his term in the United States House of Representative, White continued the operation of his farms on the Cacapon and North rivers.[1] In 1823, he was elected as a member of the Virginia State Senate, a seat he held until 1824.[1][3][24] White's seat represented Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy, and Morgan counties in the Virginia State Senate.[24][25]

While serving in the Virginia State Senate, White was appointed sheriff of Hampshire County on December 9, 1823 by Virginia Governor James Pleasants.[1][3][19][26] On Thursday, January 1, 1824, White communicated his appointment to and acceptance of the position of Hampshire County sheriff to the Virginia State Senate to receive an opinion as to whether he could retain his senate seat while serving as sheriff.[27] White's request was referred to the senate's Committee of Privileges and Elections for "consideration and a report of their opinion thereupon to the House."[27] The following day on Friday, January 2, 1824, the Committee of Privileges and Elections delivered their opinion that White had vacated his senate seat upon his acceptance of the position of Hampshire County sheriff, and the sheriffs of the senate district's four counties were directed to hold a special election to "supply the vacancy occasioned."[25] On Tuesday, February 3, 1824, the Virginia State Senate certified the election of Elisha Boyd to fill White's senate seat.[24][28]

Later life and death

White continued to serve as Hampshire County's sheriff until his death.[19][29] White died on October 6, 1826[2][3][19][29] at his residence on the Cacapon River in Hampshire County.[2][3] He was interred at the White Family Graveyard at Hayfield in Frederick County, Virginia.[29]

Personal life and family

White married his first cousin, Margaret White.[29] White and his wife Margaret had children, and left descendants in Hampshire County.[29]

Land ownership

White amassed extensive landholdings in Hampshire County. In 1797, White purchased 233 acres (0.94 km2) along the North River in Hampshire County from Henry and Rachael Pierce of Cecil County, Maryland.[30] White purchased an additional 20 acres (0.081 km2) along the North River in 1800.[31]



External links

  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • GovTrack
  • The Washington Post
  • Find a Grave

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