Tuesday, November 10, 2015

B. F. White's grandson a composer?

In the 1909 Fifth Edition Sacred Harp (No. 149b) and 1911 Fourth Edition with supplement, the composer of the tune Noah’s Dove is listed as “J. C. White”. This song also appears in 1884 in The New Sacred Harp (73b). There the composer’s name is given as “C. J. White”. If this order of the initials is correct – and the typesetting of The New Sacred Harp seems generally much better than The Sacred Harp, Fifth Edition typesetting – it very well could be Charles Jackson “Charley” White, a grandson of B. F. White. This C. J. White was the son of William Decatur White (the oldest son of B. F. and Thurza) and Lydia A. E. Crutchfield Street. He was born September 22, 1855 in Harris County, Georgia. In his Brief History of the Sacred Harp, J. S. James identifies C. J. White as a singing school teacher, though he doesn’t mention him as a composer. He writes, “Several years ago [Harry D. White] moved to the state of Alabama and taught several singing schools in connection with his brother, C. J. White.” In 1880 he was living at Lithonia in DeKalb County, with James L. White (listed as his brother but actually his uncle James Landrum White; Charley’s half-sister Elizabeth Street is also living with them). His whereabouts in 1900 are unknown. He married Mattie Low Scott (1868-1933) in 1903 in Muscogee County, Georgia. They were living at Wacoochee, Lee County, Alabama by 1910 (where Mary and her family had already lived). Charley White died in Lee County October 20, 1922. He and Mary are buried in the Mechanicsville Cemetery in Lee County, Alabama. One death record lists his occupations as “Farmer & Music.”
264b    Noah’s Dove

A Brief History of The Sacred Harp and Its Author, J. S. James, 1904 (my electronic copy is “unpaged”)
U. S. Federal Censuses, Harris County, Ga (1860, 1870) DeKalb County, Ga (1880) Lee County, Ala. (1910, 1920)
Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978 (
Alabama, Deaths and Burials Index, 1881-1974 (

1 comment:

R. L. Vaughn said...

Found in a newspaper article a Charlie White of Suwanee, Georgia was attending the North Georgia Music Convention in 1884. One of the song books they were using was New Sacred Harp. This was probably Charles Jackson White. (The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, Tuesday, August 5, 1884 - Page 2)