--photos courtesy of Lola Darnell

Mary and James White

White Family Cemetery

Bald Knob, Arkansas

This forgotten cemetery, the final resting place of pioneers Mary and James White and descendents, is linked to an Arkansas governor, a county judge and several successful White County business people. It was listed for the first time by the White County Historical Society after member Leroy Blair visited it November 30, 2000. He prepared the following report:

"To reach this cemetery from Bald Knob, take Highway 367 south to Conway Road. Turn right on Conway, go about one-quarter mile to Willie Brown Road. Turn left on Willie Brown and go about one-quarter mile. There is a large house on the right. Just past this house is a gate painted red. The gate is about 100 feet from the road. The cemetery is located about one-quarter mile back in a clump of woods in an open field. It cannot be seen from the road. The property when I visited it was owned by L.B. Capps. The owner of the large house took me back to the cemetery.

"This cemetery is in very poor condition, needing cleaning and stones reset. I found the following graves, also six graves marked only with rocks and two depressions that are probably unmarked graves." Blair found eight stones but most were worn so badly, some of the inscriptions were illegible. The exception was a modern double stone for "Mother" and "Father" Richardson.

Sixteen months after Blair’s report was posted, the Historical Society received additional information on the cemetery and the White family from Lola Oholendt Darnell of Huntsville, TX. Her family records provided the names and other information that could not be read on most of the faded headstones. "My mother was Mayme (Mary Ann) White Oholendt Gring," she wrote. "She and my Aunt Rose White [Gribble] left information concerning the White family … and family charts were prepared in 1995. My mother died in 1991 and was the youngest of the family, being 94 years at time of death. Rose White Gribble wrote her information in 1954 and additional sources were added in 1965 by Willie May Collison of Bald Knob. I feel it must have been about these dates that my Mother and Aunt Rose visited the cemetery. They referred to the location as ‘the Family Graveyard’ about three miles north of Judsonia and on the Pearl Bennett farm… The Richardsons are great grandparents of JoAnn Cooper of Jonesboro, Arkansas, and we feel from dates that the modern double stones with Mother and Father were added at a later date."

Rose White Tribble’s family history also included information obtained from Eura White McLaughlin by her granddaughter Valerie Young Neff. The following was written by Mrs. Tribble in 1954 and provided to the Historical Society by Mrs. Darnell in March 2002:

Grandfather and Grandmother White, whose names were James "Jim" and Mary R. Mayes White, [were married September 11, 1840 in Dallas County, Alabama and] came to Arkansas from Perry County, Alabama, of which Selma was the county seat. They made the trip overland in a caravan of covered wagons drawn by oxen. They came with their large family, relatives and friends which included the Fords, Watsons and Hensons and their families. The Whites settled northeast of Judsonia in White County, Arkansas, where they purchased a section of land in 1871. Here Jim and Mary White lived until their death and were buried in the family graveyard near the home place… [According to Lola Darnell’s records, Mary R. Maise/Mayes White died April 15, 1875; Jim, who was born July 15, 1814, in Georgia, died August 3, 1887.]

Grandfather Jim White was a fairly prosperous farmer, owning considerable land and his cotton gin and at one time owned two slaves, one man and one woman. It is said that he was a kind and considerate master and never mistreated the slaves. The Whites of our family were farmers both in Alabama and Arkansas; that is the first and second generations.

Jim and Mary White’s family consisted of the following: Martha, Sullivan H. "Bud", Perry S., Nancy O. "Nannie", Napoleon, Hessiah Ciah, Susan, Samuel, Milton, Lucy, Jessie, James "Lock" and Mary Sue.

[1.] Martha J. White [September 28, 1841 – January 5, 1918] married a Mr. Henson of Alabama who later was a merchant in Judsonia. Their children: Ben, Della and Laura. One baby died while the family was en route to Arkansas, and was buried by the wayside. Here the caravan camped for some time. Martha was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Judsonia.

[2.] Sullivan H. "Bud" White [born May 22, 1843] and his wife Elizabeth "Bettie" were parents of six children: Calvin, Lizzie (Holmes) and two sons and a daughter who died in adolescent years – James M., Ruben P. and Mary Elizabeth. Bud was buried in White Cemetery.

[3.] Perry S. White [born December 17, 1844 in Alabama] died [October 15, 1863] while serving in the Civil War. He was almost 19 years old, a Confederate, and died in Preson County, Virginia.

[4.] Nancy O. "Nannie" White [April 30, 1846 – October 18, 1899] married a Mr. Richardson of Judsonia. Known children: Jim and Maggie. Nannie (Ona) is buried at White Family Cemetery.

[5.] Napoleon L. White [born August 12, 1848 in Alabama] – no information; name and birth date given by Willie May Collison of Bald Knob.

[6.] Hessiah Ciah "HezeCiah" or "H.C." White [October 7, 1851 – July 2, 1923] married Lula Cassie Guthrie [February 5, 1880]. To this union 10 children were born: Will Harville [November 20, 1880 – December 17, 1939], Foster Officer [July 5, 1882 – January 4, 1952], Maude Sullivan [January 8, 1884 – August 12, 1957], Kyle Hendricks [March 20, 1885 – September 2q4, 1949], Eura Belle Estelle [February 8, 1888=September 10, 1963], James Samuel [September 19, 1889 – August 1, 1961], Rose Lucy [August 24, 1891 – March 20, 1977], Willie Onie [born 1892], Francis Cleveland [February 7, 1893 – April 24, 1975] and Mayme "Mary Ann" [September 27, 1897 – December 5, 1991]. Will married Irene Ford (no children); Foster married Elvah L. Baker [December 24, 1903], parents of six children – Lillian Katherine, Willie Maude, Foster O. Jr., Lorraine Cassie, H.C. "Jake" and Opal Elvah; Maud Sullivan married Anna ? (no children); Kyle "Kie" married Ola ? (no children); Eura Belle married Walter McLaughlin [September 16, 1905], parents of 12 children – Murrel Franklin, Nellie May, Ova Bessie, William Hugh, Ben Deward, Harold Euine, Mayme Rose, Leland Earn, Orland Philbert, Oneta Clarene who died at birth, and Lora Cassie. James Samuel married Jennie V. Sisk [December 18, 1926], parents of three children – James "Jack" Marion, Rose Mary and Martha Jean. Rose Lucy married Gail Hamer Gribble (no children); Willie Onie died in infancy; Francis Cleveland "Dock" married Laura Lillian Sullivan [September 29, 1922], parents of one child – Shirley Frances. Mayme (Mary Ann) married Walter Ernest Oholendt April 18, 1916], parents of three children – Francis Ernest, Gene Frederick and Lola Irene. Hessiah Ciah and Lula Cassie are buried at Prince Cemetery, Bald Knob.

[7.] Susan C. White [died as a child in 1859, according to Willie May Collison, and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery. If this information is correct, it means the White family was living in White County several years before the purchase of their farmland in 1871].

[8.] Samuel T. "Sam" White [born November 24, 1854] – no children but adopted some and moved to Texas.

[9.] Milton G. White [was born January 4, 1857, according to Willie May Collison; no other information].

[10.] Lucy Helen White [September 11, 1858 – April 11, 1917] married Tom Watson of White County. Children: Murrel, Donna, Maggie, Willie, Claude, Lemuel, Wennie and Mamie. Murrel and Lem passed away as very young men. Murrel was studying for the ministry and engaged to a minister’s daughter at the time of his death. Donna married Jim Collison, businessman of Bald Knob; Maggie married Lee Roaseau of Bald Knob; Willie married Frank H. Ford; Claude married Beulah Burkner of Bradford, Arkansas; Wennie married Bill Porter and moved to California; Mamie married Jimmie James of White County; Lucy is buried at Shady Grove, Bald Knob.

[11.] Jessie D. White [January 28, 1861 – November 28, 1871] died at 10 years old.

[12.] James L. "Lock" White [born January 26, 1863] married Annie ?, parents of three children – Jim, Mary and Ola. Their home was in Texas.

[13.] Mary Sue White [April 15, 1866 – 1941] married George Key of Judsonia. Children: Laura, Edward, Nannie, Omalee and George Jr. Mary Sue is buried at Evergreen, Judsonia.

Foster Officer White, second son of Hessiah Ciah and Lula Cassie, was Probate Judge of White County from 1919 to 1934, County Judge from 1935 to 1938, and also the District Highway Engineer at Batesville. He was pastor of the Bald Knob Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in 1936 (the year it was built) and through the 1930s.

Jim Guy Tucker, grandson of F.O. White and son of Willie Maude White Tucker, was sworn in as 43rd Governor of Arkansas December 12, 1992. His political career included: Prosecuting Attorney for the 6th Judicial District, 1971-73; Arkansas Attorney General, 1973-77; U.S. House, 1977-79; Lieutenant Governor, 1991-92.

James White’s father was John White, born July 31, 1783, in Virginia, and his mother Catherine was born in 1790 in Georgia.

The following writeup is from "A Centennial History of Arkansas", edited by Dallas T. Herndon, Director of the Dept. of Archives & History, published by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago-Little Rock, 1922:



Judge Foster O. WHITE, now occupying the bench of the county court of White Co. and making his home at Searcy, was born in Bald Knob township, this county, July 5, 1882. He is the son of H.C. and Cassie (GUTHRIE) WHITE and a grandson of James WHITE, who was a native of Alabama and there owned and operated an extensive plantation, having some number of slaves. He lost everything, however, during the Civil War. He had two sons in the service, Bud and Perry, and the latter died of measles while he was held captive. Bud was wounded in the leg and body, and this rendered him a cripple for life. James WHITE bought 640 acres of land near Judsonia, White Co., Ark., which he had to clear, as it was then covered with timber. The place is now known as the Jim WHITE farm and is mostly devoted to the cultivation of strawberries. He died in 1887 at the age of 65 years. The maternal grandfather was Samuel GUTHRIE, who was born in White Co. and became a farmer and prominent stock raiser, devoting his entire time to that business. One of the great grandfathers of Judge WHITE was Samuel GUTHRIE, who was born in Georgia and became the first county judge of White Co., Ark., settling here among the pioneers. He held four sessions of court per year and received a salary of but $50/year. While he held court at Searcy, he made his home at Clearwater, and in addition to serving in public office he engaged extensively in farming, remaining in White Co. to the time of his death.

The father of Judge WHITE of this review was born in Alabama, Oct. 7, 1851, and removed from that state to White Co., Ark., in 1871, when a young man of 20 years. He followed farming and also engaged in construction work on the Iron Mountain Railroad from Newport to Texarkana, Ark., assisting in building all of the bridges. He, too, became actively interested in agricultural pursuits, purchasing land which he had to clear the timber from. In those days turkey, deer and wild game of other kinds were plentiful, and he has lived to witness many changes wrought by time and man as the work of development and transformation has been carried steadily forward. He has devoted his life to general farming and stock raising and he now lives with his son, Judge WHITE. His wife, who was born in White Co., died at the comparatively early age of 38 years. They were the parents of 10 children, 9 of whom are living: William H., of Little Rock, who is a train conductor on the Iron Mountain Railroad, having been in the service since 1900; Foster O., of this review; M.S., a bridge foreman on the Memphis division of the Iron Mountain Railroad; K.H., a locomotive engineer on the Missouri Pacific Road; Eurah, who is the wife of Walter McLAUGHLIN, a farmer of Bald Knob township; Samuel, a conductor on the Iron Mountain Railroad, serving on the Memphis division; Rose, a bookkeeper with the Arkansas Electric Appliance Co. of Little Rock; Dock, a brakeman on the Memphis division of th Iron Mountain Railroad; Mamie, the wife of Earn CHOLENDT, a brakeman on the Arkansas division of the Missouri Pacific; and one child who died in infancy. The mother was a member of the Baptist Church, while Mr. WHITE belongs to the Christian Church and in politics has always been a democrat.

His son, Judge WHITE, was educated in the public schools of his native county and remained on the home farm to the age of 18 years, when he, too, began railroading, entering upon an apprenticeship in the bridge and building department of the Iron Mountain Railroad. He served in this way for six years and was connected with railroading altogether for about 10 years. He then returned to Bald Knob township, where he began contracting on his own account, carrying on a general contracting business in White and adjoining counties. He was thus active until 1918, when he was elected county judge, taking the office in January, 1919. So creditable has been his record on the bench that he was reelected for a second term without opposition. His decisions are strictly fair and impartial and his course has been a highly creditable one.

Judge WHITE was married to Miss Elva L. BAKER, who was born in White Co., Ark., daughter of Joseph BAKER, who was one of the builders of the Iron Mountain Railroad, and afterward ran trains over that line until 1892. He then turned his attention to farming and is now living with Judge and Mrs. WHITE. This worthy couple have become the parents of six children: Lillian, Willie Maude, Foster O., Lorraine, H. C. and Opal, all at home. The parents are members of the reorganized church of the Latter-Day-Saints, in which Judge WHITE has served as elder and as president of the Bald Knob branch, also filling the office of branch elder. Fraternally he is connected with the Masonic Lodge, with the independent order of Oddfellows, with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and also with the RR Bridgemen, being one of the pioneers in the Brotherhood of RR Car Men. His has been an active and useful life and the sterling worth of his character has placed him high in the regard of his fellow townsmen.

If you have corrections or additional information on White Cemetery, contact the White County Historical Society, P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.

J.M.W. – head stone is in place but worn so badly it cannot be read – this grave was identified from family records as James M. White – June 5, 1868 – September 17, 1887 – son of Sullivan H. White

M.E.W. – head stone is in place but worn so badly it cannot be read

No name – born April 30, 1846 – died October 18, 18?? – according to family records, this faded stone is for Nancy Ona "Nannie" White – April 30, 1846 – October 18, 1899 – this is the original stone for "Mother" Richardson on the modern double stone

No name – died August 16, 1888 – no other date – family records indicate this faded stone is for Mary Elizabeth White – died August 16,1888 – daughter of Sullivan H. White

No name – died December 30, 1885 – no other date – this faded stone is the original marker for Thomas J. Richardson – 1837 – December 30, 1885 – who is "Father" Richardson on the modern double stone

Richardson, Father – 1837 – 1885 – on modern double stone with "Mother"

Richardson, Mother – 1846 – 1899 – on modern double stone with "Father"

White, Hellen C. – July 21, 1880 – August 21, 1881

White, R.P. – March 23, 1879 – died? – family records indicate this is Ruben P. White – March 29, 1870 – October 27, 1887 – son of Sullivan H. White – the family records show 1870 birth date but the stone reads 1879