Biography of William T. White

Among the well-known men and progressive citizens of Merced County is William T. White, president of the White-Crowell Company, Inc., of Livingston. He was born in Paris, Ky., on May 27, 1868, and was orphaned by the death of his father that same year, while his mother passed away ten years later, in California. William T. White grew up from infancy in the Golden State and received his education in the schools of Merced and San Jose. When he was twelve years old he entered the employ of Miller and Lux, Henry Miller treating him as a son, giving him every advantage possible with the corporation, and this close friendship lasted until the death of Mr. Miller. Promotion followed promotion and soon young White was placed in charge as manager of the Miller and Lux store and other interests at Los Banos. Mr. White’s entire life, with the exception of seven years, has been spent in Merced County. Two years he was in the hotel business in Jamestown, two years in the merchandise business in Coulterville, and three years were spent in Old Mexico as a foreman in railroad construction.

In 1901 Mr. White returned to California and again entered the employ of Miller and Lux, where he remained until 1909, the period making him one of their trusted employees for twenty years. The last mentioned year he came to Livingston and purchased the interest of the late R. W. Hammatt in the general merchandise store, the firm becoming White and Crowell; this partnership was continued until 1919, when the business was incorporated under the firm name of White-Crowell Company, Inc. The officers of the corporation are William T. White, president; J. J. Boyle, vice-president; and L. E. White, secretary-treasurer. Mr. Boyle is in charge of the dry goods department, C. R. Davis is the head of the hardware department. Their grocery department was discontinued on January 1, 1923 and the business now includes dry goods, hardware and clothing, with a complete stock in each department.

On November 4, 1891, William T. White was united in marriage with Miss Sadie M. Crowell, a sister of F. E. Crowell, a former partner with Mr. White, and daughter of the late G. F. and Sarah (Warfield) Crowell. Mr. and Mrs. White have two children, Lester Eugene, mentioned on another page in this volume, and Ethel M., whose first husband was W. C. Close; her second marriage united her with N. C. Matthews, cashier of the First Bank of Livingston. Mr. White has been active in all movements for the advancement of his section of Merced County, was one of the organizers of the First Bank of Livingston, is an extensive rancher, landowner and vine-yardist, having a twenty-acre alfalfa ranch, a half interest in a fine forty-acre vineyard, and a half interest in a seventy-acre vineyard and alfalfa ranch near Livingston. During the World War he was at the head of the Red Cross and all bond drives in his section and helped put Livingston “over the top” each time. He served two years as the president of the Livingston Merchants Association, which he helped organize. He is the present president of the Boosters’ Club, and was active in getting Livingston incorporated as a city of the sixth class in 1922. A friend of education, he serves as vice-president of the Merced Union High School, and was seven years a member of the board of trustees. He was the moving spirit in securing the Union High School for Livingston, the high school building being completed in October, 1924 at a cost of $150,000. Mr. White was appointed a member of the advisory committee to the board of supervisors on county highways, being appointed by the supervisors, and through their untiring efforts the many miles of concrete highways have been constructed in the county. In 1913 he completed one of the finest homes in Livingston, where the family reside. There has been no issue put forth for the advancement of Merced County that he has not done his share, giving of his time and means to keep Merced County and its diversified interests on the map. Fraternally, he is a member of the Elks and Knights of Pythias in Merced, and the Odd Fellows and Woodmen of the World in Los Banos, having been a member of the last two over thirty years.

Source: Outcalt, John. A history of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1925.

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