Lyman Partridge “Pussy” White

Lyman Partridge “Pussy” White

Whiting, Addison County, Vermont, USA
Death 28 Aug 1902 (aged 92)
Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Plot Blk 8 Lot 24
Memorial ID 58319656 · View Source
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Arrived in Brainerd in 1870.

Brainerd City Mayor 1874-1875

Uncle of Mabel White Johnstone.

•See Morris C. Russell.
•See William A. Ferris.
•See George D. LaBar.
•See Edwin Y. Farrar.
•See Anna Steege Ferris Young.
•See Justus M. Gray.
•See Nicholas Heller.
•See Myrta Bixby Murray.
•See Capt. William Plinney Spalding.
•See Ethel Maud Small Farrar.
•See Louisa Wright Congdon.
•See Charles Douglas Johnson.

Lyman P. White married Phebe Keeler on February 6, 1834 in Whiting, Vermont.

1850 census for Whiting, Addison, VT family #49:
White, Lyman, 39, b. Vt.
White, Pheba, 44, b. Vt.
White, Lyman, 15, b. Vt.
White, Betsy, 14, b. Vt.
White, John, 13, b. Vt.
White, Almond, 11, b. Vt.
White, Josephine, 5, b. Vt.
+ 5 other unrelated adults

Phoebe seems to have died and Lyman is now with a woman from NY and her two children.

1860 census for Fun Du Lac ward 2, Fund Du Lac, WI family #341:
White, L. P., 49, b. Vt., RR Agent
White, H. A., 37, b. NY (no occ.)
White, L. P., Jr, 25, b. Vt.
White, Lizzie, 22, b. Vt.
White, John B., 20, b. Vt.
White, Almond A., 16, b. Vt.
White, Josephine O., 14, b. Vt.
White, Wm. H., 9, b. Vt.
Rupell, Hattie M., 13, b. NY
Rupell, Hannah H., 10, b. NY

Here is his future wife, Jennie Mary Knight, whom he marries about 1862.

1860 census for Rutland, Rutland, VT family #490:
Knights, John P., 53, b. Mass.
Knights, Eunice, 48, b. Vt.
Knights, Mary, 24, b. Vt.
Knights, Sarah, 18, b. Vt.
Knights, Marion, 12, b. Vt.
Knights, George, 15, b. Vt.
(Mary is Jennie M. Knight, future wife of Lyman.)

1870 census for Fort Scott Ward 2, Bourbon, Kansas family #300 (June):
White, Lyman P., 53[sic - 59], b. Vt., RR Contractor(?)
White, Jenny, 34, b. Vt.
Knight, Eunice, 63, b. Vt.
White, Jenny, 7, b. Vt.

                 IMPORTANT NOTICE.

      THE undersigned would hereby give notice to the people of Brainerd that he forbids them from strewing their offal and refuse matter of whatever kind, about over any part of the property of the Townsite Company, and also gives notice that persons having any refuse matter they wish to hand off, will be informed of the proper place of deposit by applying to him; i. e. in the ravine at the east end of Juniper Street, where the road has been graded and made convenient for unloading, etc.
                  L. P. WHITE,
            Agent, L. S. & P. S. Co.
(Brainerd Tribune, 31 May 1873, p. 1, c. 7)

      FINE BUILDING.—Mayor Lyman P. White has got his splendid residence completed now, and it is one of the very handsomest and best built structures in Brainerd. It is handsomely located as well, and will make Mr. White a comfortable home for life; all of which he deserves. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 August 1874, p. 1, c. 6)

1880 census for Brainerd family #363:
White, Lyman P., head, 69, b. Vt., Dealer in Real Estate
White, Jennie M., wife, 45, b. Vt.
White, Jennie M., dau., 15, b. Wisc.
Knight, George W., bro-in-law, 37, b. Vt.
Knight, Eunice H., mo-in-law, 72, b. Vt.
[Contributed by John Van Essen]

      Hon. Lyman P. White and family are enjoying a visit from his daughter, Miss Josephine and Miss Davis of Faribault. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 July 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

General Lyman P. White

      Appropriately denominated the "Father of Brainerd," by its inhabitants; while the Indians throughout this entire region call him the "Big White Father." He is a man of a powerful frame, six feet high, broad shoulders, corpulent, and of a remarkably fine physique. Born in Whiting, Vermont, in 1811, and one of a family of eleven children. His father was a revolutionary soldier, and participated in the battle of Bunker Hill. Soon after peace was declared he became one of the earliest settlers of Vermont, after who Whiting was named. General White's early advantages were only equal to the majority of New England's sons of that day; but his natural ability, quick perception and sound common sense placed him in the foremost ranks in business or political circles. He soon became a leader in his State. For several years he was a member of the State Legislature, and at various times declined important position offered him by the United States Government, choosing rather a business than a political life. He has been married twice; first to Phoebe Keeler, who had six children, now grown to manhood and womanhood; after her decease, to Jennie Knight, who came with him, the first white woman, to Brainerd. They have one daughter, Miss Jennie, who for two years was the only white child in the place, and until old enough to be sent east to boarding schools, was taught by her mother when a governess could not be obtained. General White came to Chicago in 1859, entering largely into business there, and in the year 1870 came to Brainerd as the general agent of the Lake Superior and Puget Sound Company, with Thomas Canfield as president, which position he still retains. He laid out the townsites of Brainerd and the other places on the Northern Pacific Railroad, and is more closely identified with this locality than any other man. He has always been a friend to the poor, and especially adapted to the building up of this growing country; full of sympathy, ready to aid with a liberal hand, and wise in counsel to those who are seeking homes in the Northwest. He lives in the confidence and esteem of communities extending for hundreds of miles westward.
      His beautiful and spacious residence in Brainerd was the first frame dwelling house in the place; the wing built at that time is now his office. The lumber was drawn by team, a distance of seventy miles, about one year and six months prior to the completion of the railroad to this point. Their first Christmas dinner in this house was an eventful one. Distinguished guests were present, consisting mostly of the eastern capitalists interested in the construction of the railroad. At great trouble and expense turkeys, chickens, oysters, and all delicacies that eastern markets afforded had been secured for the occasion. Mrs. White, the esteemed hostess, had spared no pains in preparing the menu in the most tempting manner. When ready, she left the dining room for a few moments, and returned escorting the guests, when to her amazement, found that during her absence, the Indians, who had skulked about the premises, had improved this favorable opportunity, and cleared the table of its contents. It can be better imagined than described, the feelings of all interested, as they were waiting while another dinner was prepared consisting of bacon, hominy, and wild rice. General White has been very successful in the management of the Indians, never armed and never suffering annoyances from them, save their petty thieving. During the time he was Mayor of Brainerd, he had an ordinance passed, that all Indians found within the city limits after dark should be locked up within a building prepared for that purpose, and the people were freed from the night prowlings and hideous whoops that would have otherwise disturbed their slumbers. General and Mrs. White have done much toward moulding the christian sentiment of the place, he being a leader in the Episcopal church, and she entering into the work with earnestness and almost single handed, until now a flourishing society and an imposing church edifice stands as a monument to their labors. Their house has ever been a home of hospitality, and from their larder has charity been generously dispensed. (History of the Upper Mississippi Valley, Winchell, Neill, Williams and Bryant, Minnesota Historical Company, Minneapolis: 1881; p. 654)

      Suit has been commenced by the city against L. P. White, as agent for the Puget Sound Land Co. to quit title to Gregory Park. This matter has been in controversy for some time, and it was deemed expedient to have the matter settled at once. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 June 1888, p. 4, c. 4)

      L. P. White's brick yard on Maple street is in full blast. It is expected that 500,000 brick will be turned out this season. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 May 1889, p. 4, c. 3)

      The 81st birthday of Hon. L. P. White, which occurred on Sunday last, was celebrated by a family re-union at his residence on Seventh street north. Those present were Mrs. H. H. Barber, of Minneapolis, Mr. and Mrs. A. A. White, Moorhead, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. White Fargo, Miss Josephine White, Hartford, Conn., and Mr. and Mrs. L. P. White, Jr., of this city. The entire family attended divine services at St. Paul's Episcopal church in the forenoon. Those present will long remember the occasion, and it is the wish of everybody in the city that the gentleman may live to see many more such happy occurrences. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 February 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

      Hon. L. P. White celebrated the 87th anniversary of his birthday at his residence on 7th street north, on Monday evening. The old settlers of Brainerd took advantage of the opportunity to give the gentleman a surprise, and the house was filled to overflowing by his friends. Mr. White has lived in Brainerd since the city was established, being the first white settler, and his numerous friends in this city and elsewhere hope he may live to see many more recurrences of the above occasion. A beautiful lamp and several other tokens of esteem were tendered Mr. White. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 February 1898, p. 8, c. 2)

         Passed His Ninetieth Milestone.

      Hon. L. P. White, of this city, passed the 90th milestone in his life yesterday, and his friends and neighbors assembled at his residence in the evening to congratulate him on his long and useful life. The meeting was a surprise to Mr. White, although each succeeding anniversary has been remembered by his friends. He was presented with a fine easy chair, a quantity of cigars and other presents, Rev. Roderick J. Mooney making the presentation speech. Mr. P. K. Johnson, himself an octogenarian, made an interesting speech, which was greatly enjoyed. Refreshments were served and a very pleasant evening was spent. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 February 1901, p. 1, c. 2)


BRAINERD, Minn., Aug. 29 -- Lyman P. White, the "Father of Brainerd," and known to the Indians of Northern Minnesota as the "Big White Father" died early to-day. He was born in Whiting, Vt., in 1811, and served several terms in the Legislature of that state. (New York Times, 30 August 1902) [Contributed by John Van Essen]

            DEATH CLAIMS A
                              NOTABLE CITIZEN

           Lyman P. White Dies Last Night
                 at the Advanced age of
                      Ninety-one Years.

               A WELL ROUNDED CAREER.

           Was First President of Common
               Council and Settled Here in
                           the Year 1870.

      Last night about ten minutes before 12 o'clock death entered the chambers where lay the mortal remains of Lyman P. White, and removed from the body all that was immortal, and with this end Brainerd loses one of its most notable and distinguished citizens, one of her first settlers and the moulder and generator of public enterprises in Crow Wing county.
      Mr. White came to this city in October, 1870, as agent for the Lake Superior & Puget Sound Co., which was then one of the subsidiary concerns of the Northern Pacific railroad company. He came here through his acquaintance in the east with officers of the company and continued in their service for about twenty years. He was eminently successful in business and was one of the most vigorous men that ever planted feet in the state of Minnesota. The lumber for the present house in which he lives was brought to Brainerd from Sauk Rapids by team, and he had lived in this one place since 1870.
      Lyman P. White was for years termed the "Father of Brainerd" by its inhabitants and many of the old timers remember him under such a cognomen. When he moved here the Indians dominated almost entirely and he was called by them the "Big White Father." He was a man in those days, though sixty years of age, of fine physique, about six feet tall with broad shoulders and a powerful frame. He never knew what a day's sickness was and never contracted a disease, not even up to the hour of his death. He was born in Whiting, Vt., January 31, 1811, and was one of a family of eleven children. Before moving to this city he had quite a notable career. His father participated in the battle of Bunker Hill and soon after peace was declared he became one of the first settlers of Whiting, named after him. L. P. White's early advantages were none better than the majority of New England sons at that time but his natural ability, quick perception and sound common sense, placed him in the foremost ranks in business and political circles of the state of Vermont. When just passed into majority he was elected sheriff of Addison county, and after that was a member of the Vermont state legislature for several terms. Time and again he declined good government positions preferring business rather than political distinction. He was also appointed judge advocate general of the state for a term or two, and from this position he took the title of general.
      Gen. White moved to Chicago in the spring of 1859. Previous to this time he held the position of purchasing agent for the Rutland & Burlington Ry. for twenty years. He resigned this position to go to Chicago to accept the position of general purchasing agent for the Chicago & Northwestern Ry.
      He stayed with the company for twenty years also before taking a position with the Lake Superior & Puget Sound Company. He remained with this company and its successors until about two or three years ago when he was incapacitated for work on account of old age. He worked almost up to the last laboring with the energy that was prominent feature of his life's course. He was sixty years of age when he came to Brainerd but was full of vigor and energy at the time and carried on an immense business here. The Lake Superior & Puget Sound Company owned the townsite of Brainerd along with the townsites of Moorhead, Perham, Detroit, Frazee, Aitkin and other towns and Gen. White acted in the capacity of agent for all these townsites. He sold all the lots in Brainerd in the first place and in those days the rush was terrific. Mr. White had to do with the platting of the city in September 1871. In the same year measures were taken for the erection of the first jail and court house [the 'court house' was located on the second floor of the jail and used as a dwelling place for early policemen] and the contract was awarded to Mr. White. During the latter part of the year a charter was obtained authorizing the organization of the City of Brainerd and on the 11th of January, 1873, the common council was organized with L. P. White as president. Mr. White also took active part in the organization of the First National Bank of this city. During the same season the independent school district of Brainerd was organized with L. P. White as its first clerk. Thus it can be seen that he had much to do with the early organization of the city government and the establishment of a city among the pines.
      Gen. White was also closely affiliated with the religious interests of the city and has been senior warden of St. Paul's Episcopal church in this city since the church was organized. The first religious service in Brainerd was attended by Mr. White, which was in 1870. The present Episcopal church was consecrated May 24, 1873, by Bishop Whipple, and L. P. White was one of its first officers.
      Some great tales are told of the history of Brainerd in the first days of its existence. After building the residence, which is on the corner of Juniper and Eighth streets, it is said that Mr. and Mrs. White had at their first Christmas dinner several prominent guests, consisting of eastern capitalists. These men drove overland from St. Cloud, there being no railroad at that time. At great trouble and expense, turkeys, chickens, oysters and all delicacies of the eastern market were brought in for the occasion, but before the guests sat down Indians had made their way into the house and skulled [sic] every morsel from the table. This is told simply to illustrate the primeval condition of things in Brainerd at that time. Mr. White was very successful in the management of the Indian, however. During the time he was mayor here he had an ordinance passed, that all Indians found within the city limits after dark should be locked up and it had a good effect.
      Up to the time that the old gentleman died, his mind was very clear and he took particular interest in the events of the day. Only yesterday afternoon he called his son A. A. White and asked him to read the most recent accounts of the strikes in the east in which he has taken considerable interest. He also inquired about his friends and conversed in a most rational manner.
      At the time of his death his two sons, W. H. White and A. A. White with their families had gathered about the bedside and also his loving wife. It was apparent late last night that the end was very near, yet there was no agony. He dozed and slumbered quietly and hardly a sound could be heard until he took his last breath and went into eternal sleep.
      There are three daughters and two sons besides a loving wife to mourn the loss. The children's names are: A. A. White, of St. Paul; W. H. White, of Fargo, Mrs. S. M. Stiles and Miss Josephine White, of Hartford, Conn., and Mrs H. H. Barber, of Minneapolis. They have the sympathy of the entire community in their affliction.
      Deceased was one of the best known men in a business way in the northwest and particularly so along the Northern Pacific line. He was always upright and honest in his dealings, patient and loving in his home, and faithful and conscientious in his religious work.
      The funeral will be held on Sunday afternoon but it has not been decided whether at the late home or at the church. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 August 1902, p. 3, c. 3)

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  • Maintained by: A. Nelson
  • Originally Created by: John Van Essen
  • Added: 7 Sep 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 58319656
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lyman Partridge “Pussy” White (31 Jan 1810–28 Aug 1902), Find a Grave Memorial no. 58319656, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by A. Nelson (contributor 47143984) .