White, William Allen, journalist, author and one of the best known men in Kansas, was born at Emporia, Kan., Feb. 10, 1868, the son of Dr. Allen and Mary (Hatton) White. He is directly descended from Peregrine White, who came over in the Mayflower. His maternal ancestors were natives of Dublin, Ireland, and his maternal grandmother, Fear Perry, was a relative of Commodore Perry. In 1869 Dr. White removed to Eldorado, Kan., where William passed his boyhood. This locality is the "Willow Creek" of his early stories, and also the "Boyville" where White was "Piggy Pennington." He graduated from the high school in 1884 and the next year started to work as "devil" on the Butler county Democrat. In 1886 he began his real newspaper career as reporter and city circulator for the Eldorado Republican. Next he learned to set type, run a job press and write items for a country newspaper. In the fall he went to Lawrence to attend the state university but returned to work on the paper at the close of the school year. During 1887 and 1888 he attended the university and in the summer of 1888 worked on the Lawrence Journal as a reporter. In 1890 he left college without completing his course and again went to work on the Eldorado Republican. From Eldorado he went to Kansas City as correspondent and editorial writer on the Journal and subsequently on its rival, the Star. In 1895 he borrowed money and bought the Emporia Gazette in order to have a paper that he could run to suit himself. The paper was on the down grade when he purchased it, but within three years he had paid for it and expended $1,000 on improvements. Mr. White runs the Gazette as a Republican journal in an independent fashion, but it is worth noting that no rival has ever been able to secure a foothold in Emporia since White "came into his own," though there have been numerous attempts to do so. During the campaign of 1896 he wrote an article called "What's the Matter with Kansas," the press took it up all over the country and chairman Hanna made the statement that this editorial "was more widely circulated by the Republican National Committee than any other document sent out by it." Mr. White is regarded as an asset by both the Republicans and Democrats; he is a mixture of simplicity and shrewdness, but no one can prophesy what he will do or say next, while behind his eccentricities there is a real, honest, warm-hearted man. He possesses to a marked degree the "human touch," which is so noticeable in his works. One of his first books was a collection of stories entitled "The Real Issue," which was a decided success. His articles on public men, published in McClure's Magazine, created a stir in political circles. In 1899 a study of boy life appeared by him under the title "Court of Boyville." Since then he has published "In Our Town" and "A Certain Rich Man" which have made him famous. Mr. White is a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1893 he married Sallie Lindsay of Kansas City, Kan., and they have one child, William Lindsay. It has been said of Mr. White that he can criticise with no suggestion of hositility, and praise with no hint of favoritism, and this is one of his greatest holds upon the people.Pages 908-909 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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