Joseph G. White

Instead of my standard statement about my relationship to this Confederate soldier, I start with an explanation of the limits of my knowledge about my relationship to him:  My father is Herman Esker White, born in Grady County, Georgia, near Cairo in or near what had been the western part of Thomas County before 1906 when it was combined with the eastern part of Decatur County to form Grady County.  His father was Charley Henry White, who was born in Thomas County, Georgia, in 1880.  His father William A. White of Thomas County, Georgia, was born in 1850 or 1851.  According to family oral history, both William A. White and his wife Sarah Spears died before my grandfather Charley Henry White was 5 years old, grandpa was raised by older children of two previous marriages of his mother, Sarah Spear, and little oral history about the Whites came down to me... except a flat statement from my father to the effect that "We are not related to anyone else named White."  Now that could be literally true, but I have never believed it... mostly because it was devoid of any explanation as to why it was so.  I particularly began to disbelieve it when I finally got it figured out that my father was neglecting to consider even the son and grandson of his own older brother in that accounting.  I also factor in my perception that my father was the most passively asocial person that I have ever known, and that I believe my grandfather was cut from the same cloth... or perhaps it is more correct to say that he was the cloth that my father was cut from.   Since 1973 I also have known that the 1870 U.S. Census for Thomas County, Georgia, showed a William White in the household of Joseph White, who was of the exact age minus 10 years, that the 1880 U.S. Census for Thomas County, Georgia, showed for the husband of Sarah Spears, widow of James M. Carter and William S. Norton, and indisputably my great grandfather... William A. White.

Were my great grandfather and the son of Joseph G. White in fact one and the same person?  I have believed so since 1973, but lacked any corroborative evidence.  In October 1999, through a descendant of Joseph White, however, I obtained a copy of the Bible record of births of the children of Joseph G. White and Winnifred Elizabeth Barwick.  It shows that their son William A. White was born on 27 December 1850.  Births up to 1868 are recorded in the Bible record in a handwriting that is obviously of one person and from the regularity of that handwriting I believe that all of these births were recorded at one "sitting" some time after 1868 and before 1875, because the handwriting is very uniform through a birth in 1868, but for a birth in 1875 the writing appears to be that of another person... and from then on the record is probably more contemporary with each birth.   The one year discrepancy in age between the Bible record date of William A. White's birth and the age shown in both census records (censuses being taken well before December 27th every decade) could be explained by inaccuracy of census records... but because of their contemporaneous nature and consistency with each other and their discrepancy with the Bible record that appears to have probably been written some 20 years after the fact, I believe that it is the Bible record that is off by a year... the actual year of William A. White's birth thus being 1851.  Additional evidence giving credence to this interpretation is that the Bible record's 1850 birth date for William A. White is too close to the date of birth of the next oldest child to be biologically possible...

William A. White married Sarah Norton in Thomas County, Georgia, on 23 January 1873.  The Joseph G. White family apparently moved to the Florida Panhandle, near Chipley, before 1860, but returned to Thomas County for awhile or from time to time and was there for the 1870 census, though most of most of the family eventually stayed in Florida after 1870.  Joseph G. White lived until 1910, some 30 years into the life of my grandfather, Charley Henry White, but apparently either there was some deep rift in the family that kept them apart or neither knew that the other was living only about a hundred miles away... or both.

This is the best picture of my relationship to Joseph White that I can draw from documentation that I have been able to discover to date.  There may be some room for a confusion of identity for two people named William White, born at about the same time and living near the same place... given how common the names William and White are, but the correspondence of the middle initial "A."  narrows the chance of that considerably, and to the best that I can determine there is no knowledge among Joseph White's descendants, of any other fate of his son William A. White.  That is to say, at this time there is no known "contender" for a line of his descendants and he is not known to have died without progeny.  Further, I have undergone Y-DNA testing and on a 25 marker test I am off by one on one marker from a known direct descendant of Joseph G. White, who, if Joseph G. White is my 2-great grandfather, is my second cousin once removed.  It is my understanding that a deviation of that extent occurs at a rate of about 25% of the time, for second cousins once removed.  Alone that Y-DNA match only confirms that both of us fall somewhere within the same line of direct male descent over the past few centuries; however, I believe that... together with the limited documentary evidence...  it proves conclusively my descent from Joseph G. White and that he was my father's father's father's father.  Such is the state of Y-DNA testing at this time, I believe that I am the only person in Family Tree DNA's White Family DNA study who matches anyone else.

Joseph G. White, a son of Henry White from South Carolina, is believed to have been born in Georgia, possibly in Washington County, and is believed to have grown up in Thomas County, Georgia.  Another son of the same Henry White, Caleb White, also resided in Thomas County, Georgia, and raised a very large family there.

Joseph G. White was mustered into Company E of the 6th Florida Infantry Regiment at the Mount Vernon Arsenal1 near Chattahoochee, Florida, on 14 April 1862.  The muster roll which was written at that time stated that he then resided in Jackson County, Florida.  Other muster rolls indicate that he was enrolled on 28 March 1862, at Marianna, Florida.  Marianna is the county seat of Jackson County, Florida, and it is approximately 20 miles due east of Chipley, which is now and was then in the immediately adjacent county to the west, Washington County, Florida.  I am not certain why Marianna is named as the place at which he enrolled.  Sometimes a Confederate unit was organized at company level at one place and formally mustered in at regiment level in another.  Perhaps Company E was organized at Marianna?  Or perhaps for some reason Marianna was Joseph G. White's post office address...?  It is possible that in 1862 Joseph G. White lived in Jackson County, Florida, instead of Washington County, Florida.

 The records of the 6th Florida Infantry Regiment show that Joseph White was absent, sick at home in Jackson County (sic), Florida, during the period of 28 March to 30 April 1862.  He was wounded at an unknown place and date and was furloughed on 30 January 1864...  I believe that the purpose of that furlough was that he was sent home to convalesce leave after being wounded.  There is nothing in his Compiled Confederate Service Record about a wound; but Soldiers of Florida (published by the State of Florida about 1903) states that he was wounded in the left shoulder and hip, so presumably those wounds were the reason for the furlough.  The general time frame of the wounds was the Battle of Chattanooga.  The latest date given in his Compiled Confederate Service Record is on a receipt for clothing for the period of 1 April to 30 June 1864, by which it can be taken that he had returned to duty by 30 June 1864.  Soldiers of Florida shows that he surrendered on 26 April 1865, along with the remnant of Company E, 6th Florida Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  The 6th Florida Infantry Regiment was a part of Finley's (Florida) Brigade of the Army of Tennessee, served in its campaigns from Kentucky down through Tennessee and Georgia, and finally surrendered in North Carolina.

Joseph G. White married Winnifred ("Winnie") Elizabeth Barwick in 1848.  Winnie was a daughter of William Bluford Barwick, Jr. and Sarah Whittle, both from South Carolina.  The small town of Barwick in Thomas County, Georgia, was named after William Bluford Barwick, Jr., who in 1855 was murdered by one or more "spectators" at the public hanging of a slave in Thomas County, while trying to break up a fight.

Joseph G. White died near Chipley in Washington County, Florida, on 13 February 1910 and his remains were interred at the picturesque Hard Labor Creek Baptist Church in Washington County.

1 There was a Mount Vernon Arsenal nearby in southern Alabama, but from either 1828 or 1832 to 1834 the post office in the community near the arsenal at Chattahoochee was called Mount Vernon.  The congressional appropriation for construction of the arsenal was approved in 1832.  In 1834 construction of the arsenal was completed, Mount Vernon was incorporated as the town of Chattahoochee by Florida's Territorial Legislative Council, and the post office name was also changed to Chattahoochee.  However, the name Mount Vernon persisted for the area, as can be seen by looking at a map compiled by the Bureau of Topographical Engineers and dated 1846 (a year after Florida's statehood). That map shows the name "Mount Vernon" on the west side of the Apalachicola River just below where the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers flow together to form it, and  directly across on the east side of the river, the words "Chattahoochee U.S. Arsenal" [Womack, page 30].  In 1884 an additional post office named River Junction was opened in the southern part of what is now the town of Chattahoochee.  Although incorporated in 1834, the town of Chattahoochee had apparently never formed as a governmental entity.  In 1921 the town of River Junction was incorporated, and it was officially renamed Chattahoochee in 1941.  The River Junction post office continued to exist until 1951, at which time it was absorbed into the Chattahoochee post office.  The arsenal continued to be called the Mount Vernon Arsenal even after the town was renamed in 1834, although it was also commonly referred to as the arsenal at Chattahoochee.  In 1866, the federal government ceded the arsenal and about 1,800 acres of land associated with it, to the State of Florida, for use as the state penitentiary.  Since 1876 it has been used as a state mental hospital, first bearing the name Florida State Hospital for the Indigent Insane, later simplified to Florida State Hospital.  This information is from Miles Kennan Womack, Jr.'s book, Gadsden: A Florida County in Word and Picture, Quincy, Florida: Gadsden County Historical Commission, 1976; as well as from a variety of miscellaneous sources.

For many residents of the State of Florida, the name Chattahoochee is virtually synonymous with the mental hospital.  There was a native town of the Apalachicola people named Apalachicola in the vicinity before and during the early Spanish period of Florida history, as well as one later inhabited by Lower Creeks and called Chattahoochee.  The town many miles down the Apalachicola River on the coast at Apalachicola Bay that is now known as Apalachicola, was founded by an act of the Florida Territorial Legislature in 1821 (the Act spelled the name as Appalachicola as did the 1846 map referenced above), so references to Apalachicola in Florida history prior to that most likely refer to the area now known as Chattahoochee... and in some cases the name Apalachicola may have been used to refer to the area around the present town of Chattahoochee a considerable time after the new town of Apalachicola was established on the coast.

Richard White at Snodgrass Hill,
Chickamauga, Georgia circa 1993.

           Roster of the 6th Florida Infantry Regiment

           The 6th Florida Infantry at Snodgrass Hill in the Battle of Chickamauga

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This page was created by Richard White on 26 October 1999.
Changes to this page were last made by Richard White on  10 August 2007.