A native of New York, William White (1820-1867) relocated to Athens around 1847. He operated White’s University Bookstore, just across Broad Street from the University of Georgia. With the outbreak of the Civil War, White cast his fate with his adopted state and served with Confederate forces. Following the war, he continued to operate his bookstore, even as he developed a national reputation for his writings on nature and horticulture. He died on July 14, 1867 at age 46.
The child of Anson and Anna Finch White, William White was born on November 28, 1820 in Clinton, New York. He attended Hamilton College in his hometown and married Rebecca Benedict on August 28, 1848. Over the next fifteen years, Rebecca gave birth to eight children, but only two survived past the age of five. White relocated to Athens, Georgia around 1848, where he opened White’s University Bookstore at the intersection of College Avenue and Broad Street. A very religious man, serving as an elder in the Athens Presbyterian Church. He served with Confederate forces during the war, but his wartime work as editor of Southern Cultivator indicates that he belonged to a reserve unit or suffered a disability that rendered him unfit for active service. After the war, he continued his labors for the Cultivator, while gaining a reputation as an expert on horticulture and the complexities of rural economies. His peers elected him as the first secretary of the Georgia Pomological Society. He authored the book Gardening for the South in 1857. He died on July 14, 1867 at the age of 46 while working on a second edition of his most important work. A colleague completed the editing process, and the edition was published posthumously in 1868. His widow stipulated in her will that her two surviving daughters use a portion of their inheritance to place a monument to commemorate their “sainted father.”