Israel Charles White

Morgantown Post
November 25, 1927

Dr. I. C. White, State Geologist, Dies Suddenly

Passes Away After Slight Operation

Telegrams Received From Baltimore Yesterday Giving Assurance of Seeming Recovery Followed Early This Morning By Others Telling That Death Had Come at Midnight - Was Internationally Known Geologist and Influential Business Man.

Dr. I. C. White, of Morgantown, state geologist and well-known scientific man, died suddenly in a Baltimore hospital at midnight last night. Word of his death reached this city this morning in special telegrams. The death of Dr. White was not expected, inasmuch as telegrams received yesterday brought the seeming assurance that a slight operation performed with the use of a local anaestetic November 22 had been successful. Mrs. White was with him at the time of his death.

The news of his death spread rapidly among his numerous friends and associates this morning, and it is not overstating it to say that the entire city today mourns the passing of one who has been long regarded as Morgantown's "foremost citizen."

Telegram Received

The telegram to Lewis Williams, Dr. White's secretary, announcing the death was received this morning. Along with it was a telegram sent late yesterday by Mrs. White but not delivered until today, stating that her husband had had a good day. On Wednesday, he had sent a telegram to the Kiwanis Club saying he was getting along niceely [sic] and would be with them again shortly.

Charles White, son of Dr. White, left New York this morning for Baltimore. He and Mrs. White will arrive at Fairmont tomorrow morning at 9:43 with the body. The journey home will be completed by automobile. Funeral arrangements have not been completed, but it is probable that the services will be held on Sunday.

Native of Monongalia

Dr. White was born in Battelle district, this county, November 1, 1848. He was the son of Michael White and Mary Anne Russell. His boyhood was spent on the farm and in attending the subscription schools which antedated the public school system of West Virginia. After his graduation from the University, he was married to Emma Shay, a school teacher of this city. Both taught school during the first two years of their married life. One daughter, Emma, was born to them. Her death occurred a few years ago. Mrs. White died November 24, 1874. In December, 1878, he was married to Mary Moorehead of New Castle, Pa., who preceded him to the grave a few years ago.

Of this union, four children are living - Mrs. Claude W. Maxwell of Elkins; Mrs. H. P. Brightwell of Charleston; Charles White, purchasing agent for the New York Central Lines in New York and Mrs. Gertrude Wise, of, this city. There are several grandchildren in whom Dr. White took great pride. One older brother, Senator H. S. White, special representative of the state road commission, survives. The present Mrs. White who survives her husband, with two children by a former marriage, was Mrs. Julia Posten Wildman, of this city.

A Leading Scientist

Dr. White's life was one of great industry and great achievement. He entered the University as a student in 1867, the year the Institution was established and was graduated in 1872. Until today, he was the University's oldest living graduate. In 1874 he received his master's degree, took post-graduate courses in geology at Columbia in 1875-76, and in 1880 received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Arkansas.

Geology was the science to which he devoted life-long study, and upon which he built his business career and fortune. His first practical experience was as assistant geologist on the second survey of Pennsylvania from 1876 to 1893. He was professor of geology in the University from 1877 to 1872, assistant geologist on the U. S. Geological Survey from 1884 to 1888 and in 1904-06, chief geologist of the coal survey of Brazil, his report being published in both English and Portugese.

For thirty years, Dr. White was state geologist of West Virginia serving from 1897 to the time of his death, all of the time except the first two years without salary. During that time, he directed and supervised the making of topographic maps of the entire state of West Virginia, and the publication of exhaustive reports covering the mineral deposits of the state. West Virginia is one of the few states of the Union wherein such complete reports have been made.

Makes Discovery.

In 1882, Dr. White discovered the structural and anticlinal theory of the accumulation of oil and gas deposits, and this was probably his most outstanding achievement as a scientist. It had a bearing on the whole oil and gas industry of the world which can not be estimated, and created a great demand for his services in outlining and defining the regions of such deposits. He wrote extensively of his discoveries and theories included in the long list are eight volumes of Pennsylvania reports, U.S. Bulletin 65 on "The Stratigraphy of the Appalachian Coal Field", five volumes of West Virginia reports, including "Petroleum and Natural Gas" "Coal", and "Levels and Coal Analyses". At the first conference of Governor's held at the White House his address, "The Waste of Our Fuel Resources" was one of the outstanding features of the meeting.

Had Many Honors.

His scientific studies and interests in mineral wealth development, as well as in public improvement of all kinds, brought him almost innum[e]rable honors, nation-wide in their scope president of the American Association of State Geologist, vice-President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, president of the West Virginia Board of Trade, treasurer of the Geological Society of America and membership and official position in many other national organizations. He was a delegate tot he international Geological Conference St. Petersburg in 1891 and in Paris in 1900.

In his wide field of activity he was interested in the successful development of gas and oil fields, in coal and other minerals, in banking, in manufacturing. His name and capital were associated with scores of Morgantown's best and most substantial industrial enterprises. He was president and director of the Farmers and Merchants Bank, director of the Bank of the Monongahela Valley, president of the Morgantown Brick company for thirty-seven years, and an active stockholder in many other industries.

Few communities have been blessed with the long residence of a citizen so public-spirited and so able to carry out his impulses and plans as Dr. White. He never refused a opportunity to engage actively and give generously for any public welfare movement. His gifts to Morgantown and to the state have been of large proportions, not only in money and properties but in service. Many of them are unknown even to his intimates. Others would make a large catalouge [sic]. He had a large part in the development of Morgantown, was a constant and powerful friend of the University. At the time of his death he was treasure of the U. Stadium Corporation, and his name and influence as well as his gifts leant a large measure to the success of that organization.

After news of Dr. White's death reached this city early today it was revealed that the aged philanthropist had had a premonition of his death.

On Saturday afternoon, shortly before he left here to enter the Baltimore hospital, he met Mrs. Stanley R. Cox and her small son, Stanley, Jr., and her youthful daughter Elizabeth High st. The children were favorites with him and had formerly lived just opposite to Dr. White's home on Willey street.

After telling Mrs. Cox, a distant relative, that his physicians had ordered a immediate operation, Dr. White kissed the children good-bye and with tears showing in his old blue eyes remarked "I don't think I'll see you all again.["]

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