The Story of John H. & John Q. White - January 2016

John Q. White Sr. was born in Franklin County, Indiana, July 16, 1847. His parents were John H. and Sarah (Potts) White, the former of Preble county, Ohio. Sarah was the daughter of William Potts, of Virginia. John H. was left an orphan at an early age. He later left Franklin County and made his way to Shelbyville. He learned the trade of tanning and learned to farm. In 1853 he came to Hancock County and settled in Center Township, where he bought eighty acres of land, about five acres of which were cleared.

John H. courageously went to work to create a home for himself. He built a log cabin out of the logs he cleared from his land and he cultivated the ground so that he could plant food to eat.

As time went on he added more acreage until he owned two hundred and eighty acres, much of which he cleared and cultivated by hand.

John H. and Sarah had nine children. John Q and William P. were twins. William became a farmer and went on to marry Jemima A. Wilson. Mary J. would marry John Duncan and lived in Buck Creek Township. Shadrack married Maria Low and would also become a farmer in Brandywine Township. Henry was the only child to pass at a young age. Francis became a coal dealer in Indianapolis. James would also become a farmer in Brandywine Township. Stephen would become a local merchant in Greenfield. Berry was the youngest son and later moved to St. Louis.

All of the children were educated in a common school and all but three would be teachers at some point in their lives.

On top of the physically hard labor he also found time to teach school, following this occupation during the winters for thirty-six years. He became township trustee and also represented his county in the lower house of the legislature during the sessions of 1865 and 1867 as a member of the Democrat party.

He was a member of the United Brethren Church of Greenfield. John H. passed away on August 29, 1901. Sarah passed away February 2, 1884.


Headstone for John H. White in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery



Headstone of Sarah White also buried in

Mt. Lebanon cemetery

John Q. remained at the parental home until he was twenty-seven. During that time he continued in his father's footsteps on being a farmer and a teacher. John began teaching when he was twenty-one.

He married his first wife, Sarah Jane Service, at this time. Sarah was the widow of David Service and the daughter of Holbert Wilson. They had three children, Laurinda, who lived in Greenfield and would marry Oswyn Wood. Sylvia May married James E. Moore and they had one child and Clarence W, who died in early childhood.

He later would expand his farm into Brandywine Township. In all he would total two hundred and twenty acres in both Center and Brandywine Townships. He also would raise cattle and Poland China hogs.

Sarah passed away on May 12, 1881.

John's second wife was Mary Judd who was from Brown Township. Mary was also a widow to George Judd. Mary was born in New Jersey and she and her parents originally settled in Brown Township. They would have one child Thomas Claude who was born in October 1884 and lived in Greenfield.



John Q. White

John would follow his father's footsteps in politics as well. Also a member of the Democrat Party he became involved in party activities. He was named Justice of the Peace for one term in 1874 and in 1894 he was elected to the state legislature, serving during the session of 1895.

He served on a greater number of committees than any former member from Hancock County, including those on sinking fund, reformatory institutions, medicine, health and vital statistics and accounts, enrolled bills, state library and on various other joint committees.

During his time in the legislature he would visit various reformatory institutions and took careful observation of their management.

John Q. was a fraternal Mason and he belonged to the Greenfield Lodge No. 101. He was a member of the Mt. Lebanon Methodist Church.

Unfortunately, that where the trail ends with John Q. No records showed when he passed away or where he is buried. No records of where Mary is buried could be found either. This is a good example of why we must continue to talk about family history so that the story simply just doesn't end. Most stories I research I look forward to adding something that we didn't previously know but with one shows how all of us can be historians and help document the life's of those around us.

I enjoyed this story because I think it's another great example of how people came to Hancock County and what their life was like. I think it shows that yet again people have always been hard working and cared about their communities to get involved and make it a great place to live.

Greg Roland

More Greenfield History

City Phone Directory

Mayor's Office - 317-477-4300
Clerk Treasurer - 317-477-4310
Utility Billing - 317-477-4330
Planning (Permits) - 317-477-4320
Street Department - 317-477-4380
Power and Light - 317-477-4370
Wastewater Department - 317-477-4360
Park Cemetery - 317-477-4387
Pothole Hotline - 317-325-1680
Parks and Recreation - 317-477-4340
Water Department - 317-477-4350
Animal Management - 317-477-4367