The White Surname

The White surname probably refers to the light complexion of early Whites.

James Taylor White and Elizabeth Powe White of Virginia

The first White in my line was James Taylor White who was born in 1710 and lived in Virginia. He married Elizabeth Powe. They had the following children:

  1. James, born 1736 (see below).
  2. William, married Sophia Davenport. Their daughter Nancy married David Harman. Their descendant David Harman was at the Alamo but was sent to ask General Sam Houston for reinforcements. Houston refused to let him return, and he thus missed the final battle at the Alamo.
  3. Reuben, maried Millie Allen.
  4. John, married Sarah Gamble/Gambrill.

James White of Natchez, Mississippi

James White who was born in 1736 and died in 1784 at Natchez, Mississippi. He married Jerusha [Davenport?]. James and Jerusha had the following children:

  1. Reuben, born about 1765 and died before 1828.
  2. Elizabeth, who married John Holloway, who was killed by Indians near Natchez in 1781. It appears that James and Jerusha White also moved to Louisiana.
  3. James (often called James, Jr.), who married Mary "Polly" Paul in Rapides Parish. Among their children was Joseph, who lived most of his life in Catahoula Parish.

Reuben White of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

James and Jerusha's son Reuben married Elizabeth _____. It appears that Reuben lived at Natchez until as late as 1795 (birth of Martin D. White) and then moved to Louisiana. He and his family are listed in the Rapides Post census of 1799. He had a claim for 558 acres on the Red River and 677 acres on the south side of Catahoula Lake. In 1820 he is listed in Catahoula Parish. It appears that about the same time sons of James' sister Elizabeth moved to the same areas along with James Taylor White where they engaged in the cattle business.This James Taylor White was probably Reuben's son.

James and Jerusha's children were:

  1. Nancy Matilda White, who was born in 1791 and married William Earle.
  2. Martin D. White (see below)
  3. James Taylor White who was born in 1798 and married Nancy _____.
  4. Benjamin L. White who was born in 1814. After a first marriage to an unknown woman, he married Harriett James. Benjamin served as sheriff of Trinity Co., Texas.

Rueben probably died in Louisiana about 1822-23 since Elizabeth accompanied her sons Martin and Benjamin to Texas in those years.

Martin D. White, Texas Patriot

Martin D. White was born April 17, 1795 in Louisiana. The "D" is believed to stand for Davenport, a family with which the Whites were associated through the generations.He first married Isabella Brownlee. Second he married Sarah (Sally) Dollarhide who was born July 22, 1789, probably in Pulaski Co., Kentucky.

The children of Martin and Sarah Dollarhide White are as follows:

  1. Syrena, born 1814 (see below).
  2. Elizabeth, born about 1817, who married William Williams.
  3. James B. White, born 1831.

Martin D. White moved to Sabine County, Texas in 1822 along with his mother Elizabeth. Brother Benjamin White joined him in 1823. Their mother Elizabeth also moved to Texas about the same time. In 1835 Martin received a grant of 1 league (4,428.4 acres) of land in Sabine County from the Mexican government. Martin and Sarah White, William and Elizabeth White Williams (daughter) and Umprhies and Sarena White Chappel (daughter), Elizabeth White (mother) and James White (brother) were all listed in the 1835 census for Sabine, Texas. As was required by Mexican law, the religion of all was listed as "Catholic".

He joined the Texas army of General Sam Houston from Sabine County and in 1836 served in Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment of Texas Volunteers the decisive Battle of San Jacinto at which Texas won its independence from Mexico. For his service he received a bounty land grant. It should be pointed out that Martin White is not listed on the roster of participants at San Jacinto, and the foregoing information comes from McDaniel.

Martin White was deeply involved in public affairs in East Texas. He served on the Board of Land Commissioners at Milam, Texas, and then as Justice of the Peace in Nacogdoches and Angelina Counties (Angelina was formed from Nacogdoches County in 1846). He was at Marion in Angelina County in 1848. By 1850 he had moved to Alabama Creek in Houston (later Trinity) County. The Whites were in the 1850 census for Houston County (Trinity County was formed from Houston County in 1850). Alabama Creek is a major tributary of the Neches River in northeast Trinity County and was named for the Alabama Indians whose village was located on the creek when early settlers arrived. In Trinity County he also served as Justice of the Peace. His brother Benjamin L. White served as sheriff of Trinity County.

Martin D. White died March 11, 1851 at Alabama Creek.

Syrena White Forsythe

Martin and Sally's daughter Syrena was born in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana in 1814 and died in 1865. She married first Umphrey Chappell and had a child born in 1834. Her second husband was Thomas Harman W. Forsythe, an early Texas minister, who also lived at Alabama Creek.

My White Line

  1. M. Lee Murrah
  2. Earvin Elroy Murrah m. Ina Gertrude Johnson
  3. Hester Ann Laura Forsythe m. Samuel Virgil Murrah
  4. William David Forsythe m. Sarah Alice Darenda Landrum
  5. William Earl Forsythe m. Rachel Richardson
  6. Syrena White m. Thomas Harman W. Forsythe
  7. Martin D. White m. Sarah Dollarhide
  8. Reuben White m. Elizabeth _____
  9. James White m. Jerusha [Davenport?]
  10. James Taylor White m. Elizabeth Powe

Published Genealogies and Other Sources

Other White Internet Resources


  1. White, Gifford, "James Taylor White of Virginia"
  2. "Abstract of Land Titles of Texas," Shaw and Blalock (Galveston, 1878)
  3. McDaniel, Robert Cecil, "Citizens-Soldiers of Sabine County, Texas"
  4. Author Unknown, "History of Carlton Family and Carlton Property, Trinity County, Texas, 1850-1985," unpublished paper obtained from George Simmons, Porter, TX.
  5. 1850 U. S. Census, Houston County, Texas.

Updates and Corrections

The above information is based on the best sources currently available to the author and is subject to correction. If you have information that is different or additional to that shown above, I would like to receive it. Please contact me by e-mail and mention this web page in your message.

MLM: 23 Jan 1999