White family history had Memorial Day tie

Stephen WhiteBenson Burial Grounds 
Photo by ranfred (#47156546)
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day 2005, a little bit of history regarding a remarkable Verona family is in order it begins with Thomas White who was born in England 406 years ago and landed at Plymouth, Mass. in 1625, only for years after the pilgrims arrived. Thomas left Plymouth to live in Mendon, Mass., where his son, Joseph was born in 1635. Joseph’s son John was born there in 1688. Later, John moved to Douglas, Mass., where his son, Ezekiel was born in 1707 and his grandson, Ezekiel, Jr. was born in 1730 Ezekiel, Jr. apparently decided to leave Douglas because his third child Stephen White was born Feb. 7, 1761 in a place called Fitzwilliam, N. H. Stephen served in the Revolutionary War and is buried in Benson Burial Grounds just west of Fitzwilliam. He had thirteen children and his son, Stephen Jr., who was born Dec. 4, 1796, served in the War of 1812. In the fall of 1849, he moved to the Verona area, where he died in 1870 and was buried.

Prior to Stephan’s arrival in Verona, his brother Briton, also known as Peter, arrived in 1841 and married a  local girl, Jessie Black. In 1842 his brothers, Addison and Solomon and their families arrived by covered wagons. The 1842 census for the area listed 14 males and eight females. What is now Verona was called Taylorville after the man who built a gristmill on the little creek that came to be known as Badger Mill Creek.

Stephen’s son, Warren fought in the Civil War with a Wisconsin unit, Company C, Second Cavalry. He never married and died on June 2, 1899. In the Verona Cemetery there is a tall, white monument to indicate where Stephan, his wife, Mary and son, Warren are buried. We can only wonder how many men fought in the Revolution, their sons in the War of 1812, and their grandsons in the Civil War. Regarding Stephan’s three daughters, Martha married Edward Donkle, Marietta married William Donkle and Sara married Richard Blackbourn who served in the Civil War.

Addison White married Sara Claflin and their daughter, Mary E. White married John F. Sharer. John and Mary Sharer had three children, Ernest, Rinaldo and Sarah. Rinaldo’s son, Alberton H. Sharer, married Edna E. Niebuhr, daughter of Emil Niebuhr and Augusta Maurer. The young couple settled on the family farm located on Cross County Road, northeast of Verona, and had three daughters, Lavonne married Ronald Bruni, Deanna married Robert Kahl and Lynn married Michael Faber.

A mere five years after the first settlers, two Scotsmen, John Stewart and James Young arrived in Verona, a log schoolhouse was built on the west side of the Sugar River. After deciding it was not located in the right place, a second school was built on the west of county land that became the location of the Dane County Poor Farm. When that site was abandoned, in 1848-49, Mary Etta White had to teach school in a room in her brother, Addison’s home. This led to a meeting on April 20, 1850 to organize a school district. Addison was elected head of the school board and they decided to build a schoolhouse for $160 on a site Addison donated several miles west of the little community called Verona Corners at that time. It was named the White School District and the White School existed there for many years. Monuments also exist where Addison and Solomon and their wives are buried near each other in the Verona Cemetery.

As we celebrate Memorial Day and pay tribute to the many individuals who have given so much while serving in the military, Verona has the distinction of being home to Stephan White Jr., a veteran of the War of 1812, whose father, Stephan served in the Revolutionary War and whose son, Warren, served in the Civil War.

Submitted by Edward J. Faber

Verona Press – May 26, 2005
(additional info. added by Georgia Zink)