Michigan Conference
United Methodist Archives


Search Website

Adrian College:

Detroit Conference United Methodist Archives Facebookemail

Albion College:

Detroit Conference United Methodist Archives Facebookemail

Henry S. White

Rev. Henry S. White

Henry Sumner White was born April 7. 1828, at North Hoosick, N.Y. He was the son of Newman Sumner White and Abigail Stark, a granddaughter of Capt. John Stark, who commanded a company of militia at the battle of Bennington. He followed the trade of his father, a blacksmith. He studied at the Concord School of Theology, now connected with the Boston University, graduating in 1851.

After preaching in Donaldsonville, South Manchester, East Hartford, Providence, Newport and New Bedford, building there the Elm Street church, he enlisted in the Fifth Rhode Island heavy artillery, serving two years. He was captured near Newbern, N.C., and was held in the southern prisons of Andersonville, Macon, Savannah and Charleston, S.C.

Upon his return he was transferred to the Detroit Conference, building the church at Ann Arbor. From there he was transferred to the Wisconsin conference and appointed to the Milwaukee charge and next was appointed presiding elder of the Fon-du-Lac district, which he served four years. In 1876 he returned to the Detroit conference, and was appointed to the following charges: Marquette, Alpena, Port Huron, where he rebuilt the church after it was wrecked by the cyclone of 1879; Vassar, Flint, where he built the Garland Street church; Romeo and Milford.

He retired from the ministry in 1893, removing to Romeo, where he has since resided. He was pastor oi seventeen churches in five states and was thirty-eight years in the active work.

He was prominent in Grand Army circles and was department chaplain for a number of years. He was a member of Gen. Alger’s staff at the national encampment.

He was married August 4. 1882, at Francistown, N.H., to Miss Nancy Holmes Houston Hutchinson. Seven children were born unto them, two girls and five boys. Two sons remain. Frank Newman, of Romeo, and William Stearns, of New York City. Also one grandson, Harry Hall White, of Cleveland, Ohio.

His theological library was given some time ago to the Sam Houston College (colored), Austin, Texas, and from his limited resources he gave $500 to the theological seminary at Bareilly, India.

Perhaps in all lives there is an especially prominent line of continuity of character. In Mr. Lincoln it was honesty. In Gen. Lee it was strength. In Gen. Grant it was determination. Other lines were strongly marked, but these were especially so. In Brother White this iine of continuity was determination. Two other supporting qualities were very evident, viz., faith and courage. He believed God and in that faith he found a courage that enabled him to face propositions, from which others of lesser faith would have shrunk. With this foundation, his determination carried efforts to a successful issue that would have meant defeat to one less resolute. This will be fully recognized by any one who was familiar with the situation that faced him in erection of the churches at Ann Arbor and Flint, but still more so, at Port Huron, where the new church had scarcely been completed when the cyclone of 1879 wrecked it, and it fell to Brother White to face the task of its rebuilding.

His going is not an occasion of grief, but rather of rejoicing. He had served his day and generation. His life was an eminently useful one. He is now free from his sufferings. He has gone to his coronation. Friends will weep, yet not for him, but for their own loneliness. We can almost hear him say to those who are left behind:

“Twilight and evening bell.
And after that the dark,
And may there be no sadness of farewell
When I embark.”

A very quiet funeral was held at the home of his son, Dr. F.N. White, at Romeo, on December 15, 1915, conducted by his pastor, Rev. W.M. Ward. Interment at Ann Arbor, where some four years ago Sister White was laid to rest.


- Detroit Annual Conference minutes of 1916, pp. 92-94