ability and bravery. He bestowed on his son every advantage of education. Judge White's early education was conducted by Rev. Samuel Carrick, Judge Roane, and Dr. Robert Patterson of Philadelphia. In 1795, he studied law in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the office of James Hopkins. After completing his studies, he returned home to Tennessee; where he soon acquired fame and fortune in the practice of his profession, and at the early age of twenty-eight, he was elected Judge of the Superior Court, among such compeers as Andrew jackson, Jenkins Whiteside and George W. Campbell--by no means an empty honor; but in 1807, he resigned this position. Two years afterwards, when the Supreme Court was established he was unanimously chosen one of the Justices thereof, where he presided for six years with great satisfaction to the country and honor to himself. At this time Tennessee severely suffered from the hostile devastations of the Creek Indians. At this dark and perilous period, when the heroic Jackson was in the midst of a wild territory, surrounded by savages, his scanty force disaffected and mutinous, Judge White left the Bench, and with only one companion, sought, and after great peril and exposure, found the veteran, Jackson to whom he volunteered his services, which were gladly accepted.
In 1820 he was appointed by President Monroe, (with Governor Tazewell of Virginia and Governor King of Maine as colleagues,) a Commissioner, under the Convention with Spain, which position he held for four years. In 1825 when General Jackson resigned his seat as Senator in Congress, Judge White was unanimously elected his successor. He was re-elected in 1827, and in 1832, when he was chosen President of the Senate. In 1836 he was a candidate for President.
*The vote was as follows: VanBuren, 170; Harrison, 73; White, 26 (Georgia and Tennessee); Webster, 14; Mangum, 11.
He resigned his seat in the Senate in 1839, having received instructions from the Legislature of Tennessee to vote for measures that his judgment did not approve. He returned to his home at Knoxville, and in the next year, (1840, April, 10th,) full of years, honored and esteemed for his virtues, universally loved and respected, he died.
William Sharpe, (born 1742, died 1818,) resided and died in this county. He was the oldest son of Thomas Sharpe, and was born in Cecil County, Maryland. At an early age, he removed to Mecklenburg County, where he married a daughter of David Reese, one of the decided patriots of that day, and a member of the Convention of May 20th, 1775.
Mr. Sharpe was a Lawyer by profession. I copy from the records of Lincoln County: "At January Term, 1785, William Sharpe, Esq., produced in open Court his license to practice as Attorney-at-Law, and was admitted to the Bar accordingly." He removed to Iredell County, then Rowan County, and was zealous and active in the cause of the people. The records of the Committee of Safety for Rowan County prove his patriotism and courage. He was a member of the Provincial Congress which met at New Berne, April, 1775, and at Hillsboro in August following, also at Halifax in 1776; he was aid to General Rutherford the same year in his Campaign against the Indians, and the next year with Waighstill Avery, Robert Lanier and Joseph Winston, he was appointed by Governor Caswell to treat with them.
He was appointed a member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia in 1779, and served till 1782.
He died in July, 1818, leaving a widow and twelve children. His eldest daughter married W. W. Erwin, of Burke, who was Clerk of the Superior Court of that County for many years, and the Agent of the State Bank. She was the mother of fifteen children. The second, Ruth, married Andrew Caldwell of Iredell, who was
Index - Contents