Obituary of Ernest L. White

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November 10, 1881 - December 15, 1956

Hampton Union, Thursday, December 20, 1956

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

The death of Ernest L. White, 68, of Mill road, North Hampton this week brings to a close the colorful career which included farming, engineering, building, writing and travelling.

Many citizens of this area attended funeral services Tuesday at the Hampton Methodist Church for Mr. White who passed away at his home Saturday after a long illness.

Rev. Norman Allers, pastor of the Methodist Church officiated with Mrs. Madeline Meredith as organist. Bearers were Abbott Drake of Rye, Norman Marston, Joshua Drake of North Hampton, Marshall S. Holman, William D. Holman, and Lester Blake, all of Hampton.

Burial was in the High Street cemetery with arrangements in charge of the Sturgis Funeral home. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Edna (Hussey) White; a son, John T. White of North Hampton; a daughter, Mrs. Alice (nee White) Dalton of Hampton and three grandchildren.

Mr. White was born in Somerville, Mass., November 10, 1888, the son of Augustus and Emma (Lambert) White and received his education in the Somerville schools. In his boyhood he spent many summer vacations in Chatham on the Cape, but his happiest recollections were of the many visits with his grandmother in Wiscassett, Maine. At heart an adventurer, many happy hours were spent rowing or sailing with his cousin in the bay, exploring the many islands that dot the coastline in that vicinity.

It was this same adventurous spirit perhaps, that prompted him one summer to take a bicycle trip with a pal from his home in Somerville through the White Mountains, and another summer while still in his teens, to drive a horse and wagon with this same pal, over the same route, as travelling photographers, earning their way by taking pictures of summer hotel guests gathered in groups on verandas, and selling them to those included there.

All his life Mr. White had had a keen interest in farming, and spent a summer when a boy working on a Vermont farm for his board and keep. Not waiting to finish high school he enrolled in the R.I. state college of Agriculture, working his way through and graduating at the end of two years. Completing the course at nineteen, he and a friend rented a rundown farm in Georgetown, Maine, intending to establish a boys' camp, and at the same time to raise poultry.

The boys' camp never materialized, and before the poultry farm had really got under way, opportunity for adventure again presented itself. This time in the form of an offer from a coffee grower to work on a coffee plantation in Mexico. So the two boys set sail from New York. The plantation was situated deep in the interior and employed Mexican labor, Mr. White's duties being those of overseer. Many and harrowing were his experiences during his two year stay there. All this time he kept a diary which, years later, he brought out and had typed up in manuscript form. Though never published in book form, it ran as a serial in Hampton Union more than a decade ago. These experiences also formed the basis of interesting and informative lectures which he presented before various groups, clubs and schools, with several mementos and souvenirs exhibited to illustrate these talks.

A severe case of some tropical fever put an end to this adventure and he was sent home.

It was while recuperating on his father's farm in Derry that he met, wooed and married Edna Elizabeth Hussey, of Boston, who was visiting relatives there. Their life together was a long and happy one, observing their 60th anniversary last year.

With the love of farming still in his blood he bought a farm in Hampton near the North Hampton line, and went to farming, at the same time working out as a painter, later a mason, and still later as engineer for the Hampton Water Company, a position he held for eighteen years. This farm he sold when his family were grown and gone away from home, and built a small home just over the line in North Hampton, which has been his home for the past ten years.

Mr. White was also a carpenter and has to his credit eight houses on Mill road, which he built in his off duty hours with the Water company, from the stone foundations to the shingled roofs.

He especially loved to work with stone, and leaves many monuments to his skill as a mason in the neighborhood, in the form of stone steps, porches, stonewalls and outdoor fireplaces.

Ernest White was a great reader, preferring true adventure stories or historical novels to the light love story. He also loved history, especially of New Hampshire; and having travelled over the greater part of the state and read widely of its old time customs and traditions, he might easily have been considered an authority on its history.

Among Mr. White's many accomplishments was the gift of writing. Through the years he composed many verses, and stories of his boyhood experiences, some of which found a place in local magazines, and for many years he wrote a column of philosophical bits of humor, appropriately enough, called "Everyday Companions", for Hampton Union.

When ill health forced his retirement from active duties, he gave more time to his writing. Many in the neighborhood will remember him as sitting in the sun, in the open door of his workshop, on any bright spring morning, pad and pencil in hand, philosophizing on life as he saw it.

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