William J. (Billy) White

Lewiston Morning Tribune
Sun., Nov. 22, 1953

W. J. White, Pioneer's Son, Succumbs At 74

William J. (Billy) White, 74, son of a Lewiston area pioneer family, died of a heart attack last night at 8:30 at his home on Webb Ridge.

Born Oct. 17, 1879, at White Ferry (now Wilma), Wash., he was the son of Daniel M. and Elizabeth White. Daniel White came to this area in 1862 and went to work on the Silcott ferry. He later set up his own ferry at the present site of Wilma, seven miles down the Snake River from Lewiston.

Mr. White attended schools at Lewiston and was graduated from Bishop Scott Academy at Portland in 1899. He married Mamie Palmer Dec. 16, 1901, at Lewiston. They took up a homestead on the Red Deer River in Canada and lived there for two years before returning to Lewiston.

Operates Ferry

From 1903 to 1905 Mr. White operated the Silcott ferry, located across the Clearwater River from the foot of 5th Street. They then moved to a homestead on Reed's Creek. He later worked for the State Bank of Orofino, serving as cashier and manager.

From 1913 to 1918 he was associated with his brother, Forrest White, in the White Dairy Co., which was located at the former ferry site at Lewiston. He later became associated with Chapin Lumber Co. at Weippe. He then moved to Klamath Falls, Ore., in the late 1920s, returning to Lewiston in the middle 1930s.

For the last five years, Mr. and Mrs. White have lived at their farm on Webb Ridge.

Part Of History

The naming of Mr. White's birthplace is a part of the area's history. A Union Pacific Railroad official coined the name "Wilma" from the names of William and Mary, after the marriage of Mary Jane White to William F. Kettenbach. Mrs. Kettenbach, W. J. White's older sister, and his brother, Forrest White, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mamie White, at the home and a son by a former marriage, Forrest William White, Yakima. His nieces are Mrs. S. C. Skillern and Mrs. E. V. Lorenz of Lewiston and Mrs. A. D. Eberhart of Willamette, Ill.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Brower-Wann Funeral Home, and will be set up on arrival of his son, Forrest.

Contributed by Natalie Huntley

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