GEORGE WALKER WHITE
This well-known citizen of Colusa, who has made his home here for thirty years or more, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., July 11, 1842, being a son of George C. and Emma (Leyden) White, natives respectively of Troy, N. Y., and Philadelphia. His maternal grandfather, Adam Leyden, a native of England, immigrated to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, where he became a successful and wealthy merchant, continuing to reside in that city until his death. All of the active life of George C. White was given to mercantile pursuits, with the exception of the period of the Civil war, when he served the Union as a member of the Seventy-second Pennsylvania Infantry, holding the rank of orderly sergeant. His death occurred in Pennsylvania and that of his wife in Chicago. Of their seven children, G. W., who was fourth in order of birth, alone survives. In early youth he was apprenticed to the painter’s trade, at which he served for three years.
When the first call came for men to enlist in defense of the Union, in 1861, G. W. White was among those who offered his services to his country. As a member of the Twentieth Pennsylvania Infantry he served until six days after the expiration of his term of service, which was for three months. Immediately after being honorably discharged he again enlisted for service, this time as sergeant of Company C, One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania Infantry, under Col. E. D. Baker. With his regiments he took part in various campaigns and engagements, and while fighting in the battle of Antietam he was sounded so seriously that further service was impossible. By reason of disability he was honorably discharge in February, 1863. Later, at the time of Lee’s raid in Pennsylvania, he enlisted as a private in Company G, Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, in response to the emergency call, and took part in the battle of Gettysburg and Shenandoah campaign. After being again honorably discharged in the fall of 1863, he went to the front at the battle of Chickamauga and, being unfit for military duty, was assigned to work in the quartermaster’s department, where he remained until the close of the war.
The fall of 1865 found Mr. White in Montana, where he was employed in the building of the territorial house under the governor, Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher. During 1868 he came to California and the following year married Miss Alice Benninger in Sacramento, after which he engaged in painting at Chico and in 1874 came to Colusa, where he has since engaged in contract painting, his work in this line extending all through the county. In addition to his work as painter, he practices before the interior department as pension attorney and also owns a small fruit ranch one-half mile from Colusa. His wife was born in Marysville and is a daughter of William Benninger, proprietor of the Summit house in Yuba county. They are the parents of seven children, viz.: H. S. and C. F., who assist their father in his painting contracts; M. B. a harnessmaker by trade; Reta B., Caroline J., Zella and Jodie.
For many years Mr. White has been an active member of the Republican county central committee. In 1900, under O. B. Lemon, he acted as census enumerator for his precinct. His fraternal relations include membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. For several terms he has been honored with the office of commander of the Gen. John F. Miller Post No. 110, G. A. R., which he represented at the Louisville and Washington national encampments, also aiding to secure the encampment for San Francisco. At this writing he acts as an aide on the Staff of General Black, national department commander, also General Shafter, department commander. During the encampment at San Francisco he and Dr. R. M. Green, of Chico, were leaders in the work of the Sacramento Valley Veterans’ Association, that rented the Lick house dining room and distributed California fruits freely to all visitors from the east. In this way the typical hospitality of the Californians was brought into evidence, while eastern people were also given an opportunity to enjoy the luscious fruits of the west. His wife is a member of the Ladies’ G. A. R., in the work of which she is deeply interested, and she is also actively connected with the Christian Church of Colusa.
Source: "History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the Sacramento Valley, Cal.," J. M. Guinn, Page 291. The Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago, 1906.
© 2017 Joyce Rugeroni.