James White, a prominent lawyer and planter of Hawkins County, was born in Rogersville, June 12, 1828, being the son of Rev. George and Sarah (Snodgrass) White. They were of Scotch and Welsh descent. The father was born in Botetourt County, Va., in 1781, and died in Hawkins County, January 1, 1849, and the mother was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., being four years younger than the father and died in Hawkins County in April, 1867. The father was a tanner by trade. He was among the first settlers of Rogersville, and established the first tannery in the county – at Rogersville, He afterward entered the Methodist ministry, and was a local preacher in that church for over thirty years. The mother was the daughter of Col. William Snodgrass, who distinguished himself at the battle of King’s Mountain. Our subject is one of a large family of children. He secured a good education in his youth at Rogersville, and began life as a tanner and farmer. In 1853 he was elected as a Whig to represent Hawkins County in the House of Representatives. In 1868 he was appointed special agent of the postoffice department of Tennessee, and in the latter part of the same year he was appointed United States consul to the post of Matamar, Mexico. He resigned on account of change of administration, and returned to Tennessee in 1869. In the same year he was again elected to the House of Representatives to represent Hawkins County, and in 1872 he was elected to the State Senate from what was then the First Senatorial, but now the Second, District, and was composed of the Counties of Sullivan, Hawkins, Hancock, Hamblen and Claiborne. He was twice (1876 and 1886) nominated for Congress and, though his party was defeated, he beat its ticket several hundred votes, the Republican party having the majority. In October, 1852 , he married Miss Margaret McClure, of Hawkins County. This union resulted in seven children, five sons and two daughters. He is not a member of any church, but is a Methodist in faith. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian Church. In 1865 our subject secured a license to practice law, and since that date his name has been on the list of Tennessee attorneys.
Transcribed by Betty Mize from Goodspeed’s History of Tennessee, 1886.