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Keith Wood White, a retired farmer now residing in Grangeville, is a native of the far-off state of Connecticut, his birth having occurred in the town of Ashford, Windham County, on the 15th of May 1838. His ancestors came from old England and settled in New England at an early epoch in the history of this country, and there the family remained for several generations. Keith W. White, the father of our subject, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and married Catharine Farnum, a native of Connecticut. They became the parents of two children, and the father provided for their support by working as foreman in a cotton mill. He died in the thirty-eighth year of his age, and his wife passed away in her forty-eighth year. She was a member of the Congregational church.
The subject of this review is now the only survivor of the family. When six years of age he accompanied his parents on their removal to Ohio and was reared upon the home farm near Cleveland. He obtained his education in the public schools, and at the age of fourteen years began to earn his own livelihood, since which time he has been dependent upon his own resources. He removed to Ottawa, Illinois, and thence, in 1856, went to Nebraska, and in 1859 was among the first to cross the plains to Pike’s Peak at the time of the gold discoveries there. His party arrived at their destination on the 28th of November, and Mr. White engaged in mining there, meeting with fair success. He afterward went to Montana, thence to British Columbia, then returned to Walla Walla, and in 1862 arrived in Elk City, Idaho, so that he is now numbered among the pioneer settlers of the state. He engaged in placer mining there until 1873, in connection with five others, all of whom have now passed away. He dug the ditch in the Moose creek diggings, and his efforts at mining were crowned with gratifying success. In 1873 he came to Camas prairie, took up a government claim and engaged in stock raising. He has four hundred acres of rich land on this beautiful prairie, and has transformed it into a fine farm, planting large orchards and making many other excellent improvements on the place. For a number of years he personally superintended the operation of his farm, but is now living a retired life in Grangeville, enjoying a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves.
In 1886 Mr. White was elected sheriff of Idaho County, and during his incumbency made his home in Mount Idaho, the county seat. He was also county assessor and also served for one term as deputy sheriff, during which time it was his unpleasant duty to aid in the execution of Walleck, who had been sentenced to death for the murder of a man at Warrens. He has always taken a deep and active interest in the upbuilding and improvement of his county and state, has given his support to all measures for the public good, and was especially zealous in maintaining order at a time when a lawless element infested this then new region.
He is one of the valued representatives of the Masonic fraternity in his county, having been raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in Mount Idaho Lodge, No. 9, in 1873. He at once became an earnest and intelligent worker in the order, has filled nearly all the offices in the lodge, for two terms served as its master and for a quarter of a century has exemplified in his life the beneficial and uplifting principles of the craft. Masonry upholds all that is honorable, pure and good in life, and thus a good Mason is a good citizen.