At an intersection of Washington and Center Streets in Concord New Hampshire can be found NH Historical Marker #147. This sign was placed here first in 1984 with the following description: “One of the oldest municipal parks in New Hampshire, White Park was conveyed to the city by Armenia White in 1884, in memory of her husband Nathaniel. Mr. White, a founder of the American Express Company, was a prominent businessman, legislator, and philanthropist. Both Mr. and Mrs. White were active in the abolition, temperance, and women’s suffrage movements. The park was designed by landscape architect Charles Eliot, and retains the character of his original design.”
First off, it is called WHITE Park, not WHITE’S Park. I don’t care if you have lived across the street and always called it “Whites.” You know that old saying, “If so and so jumped off a cliff, would you too?” No. No, no, no and no.
One must wonder how many know the story behind this lovely park. According to the “History of Concord,” the deed for White Park was donated to the city in 1884 by Mrs. Armenia S. White, the land consisting of “certain premises on the northerly side of Washington and Centre streets for a public park.” On 27 December 1884 the gift was accepted by the City of Concord, and the said premises were “established as a public park, forever, to be known and called by the name of ‘White Park.'” A provision was made to choose 6 legal voters of the city with the mayor ex-officio to constitute a board of park commissioners. In the summer of 1889 work began to improve the park, with funds drawn upon a gift of $1,700, and another of $500 from her daughter Mrs. Charles H. Newhall, and two city appropriations of $1,000 each in 1887 and 1888. Charles Elliot of Boston, a landscaping expert assisting in the surveys, plans and excavation. An artificial pond was constructed, and Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy made a gift of swans. Additional strips of adjacent land was purchased by the city to extend the grounds.
The White Park in Concord today includes an expanse of green lawn, a pond and walking trails. During the winter, the pond is cleared for ice skating. Very close by is located the Franklin Pierce Law Center.
– On the Spot Docs – White Park (Youtube video)
**Brief Info about Nathaniel and Armenia (Aldrich) White**
Both Nathaniel White and his wife Armenia (Aldrich) White were fascinating people. According to the “Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire, Vol 4, Lewis Publishing Co., page 1627: at the age of fourteen he went to Lunenburg, Vermont where he worked for a merchant for about a year. Then he took a management position at the Columbian Hotel at Concord, then owned by General John Wilson of Lancaster. Arriving in Concord on 26 April 1826, he had “a solitary shilling in his pocket.” After five years he had saved $250. In 1832 he borrow money to start a business, a $1,000 interest in a stage line between Concord and Lowell. In 1838 he became partners with Capt. William Walker Jr. to begin an express business, making weekly trips to Boston MA. He himself was one of the stagecoach drivers.
In 1842 he was one of the original members of the express company organized to deliver good though New Hampshire and Canada. Nathaniel White bought out Mr. Walker’s interest, and was principal owner with R.P. Cheney. They sold their interests to the American Express Company in the spring of 1880. The business was conducted under the name of the United States & Canada Express Company.
In 1852 Nathaniel White was chosen by the Whig and Free-Soil parties to represent Concord in the state legislature. He was an Abolitionist and a member of the Anti-Slavery Society from its beginning. In 1875 He was a candidate for governor on the Prohibition ticket. In 1876 he was a delegate to the Cincinnati Republican convention when Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated for the presidency.
He and his wife, Armenia, donated White’s Opera House (okay, this time the apostrophe is there). It was built of brick from East Concord, cost $60,000, and was four stories tall. The building had entrances from both Park and North Main streets. The lovely building included ceiling frescoes and paintings of Nathaniel and Armenia White. It burned in 1920.
He owned a 400-acre estate in Concord, in the southwest part of the city which he farmed. He had a summer retreat on Lake Sunapee. He also had real estate in Concord and in Chicago IL, in hotel operations and various railway corporations including Manchester & Lawrence RR, the Mount Washington Railroad. He was trustee in several banks. He supported many social causes and institutions including the Reform School, Home for the Aged, the Orphans’ Home etc. All spoke well of him and his often credited his wife, Armenia, for his success.
–New Hampshire’s Leading Suffragist, Human Rights Proponent and Philanthropist: Armenia S. (Aldrich) White (1817-1916)
****FAMILY TREE OF NATHANIEL WHITE***
William White, the progenitor of this family was born in 1610 in Norfolk County England and was among the early Puritans who emigrated to America and in 1635 landed at Ipswich MA and settled at Newbury. His name is mentioned as one of the six grantees of land at Pawtucket by the two Indians, “Passaquo and Saggahew.” Nov 15, 1642 he was one of the 32 landholders in Haverhill MA. He was a selectman 29 Oct 1646, and one who shared in the second division of ploughland laid out in 1652, his share being seven acres. He died 28 Sep 1690, aged 80 years. His widow moved soon after to Ipswich MA, where she died in 1693. He left only one son.
Child of William & ?Susanna (?) White:
1. +John White, b. abt 1639; m. Hannah French
[Note THIS IS NOT THE ANCESTOR OF PEREGRINE WHITE]
John White, only son of William White, married at Salem, 25 Aug 1662, Hannah French. He d. 1 January 1668-69, aged 29 years, leaving one son, John.
Child of John & Hannah (French) White:
1. +John White, b. 8 March 1664
John White, only son of John and Hannah (French) White was b. 8 March 1664. He m. 24 Oct 1687 Lydia Gilman, dau of Hon. John Gilman of Exeter NH. She b. 12 Dec 1668 in Exeter, Rockingham Co NH; and had many sons and daughters “whose descendants were numerous.” A second account says “John and Lydia had sons, William, Samuel, +Nicholas, Timothy (graduate of Harvard College 1720), James and John, and daughters: Mary, Hannah, Elizabeth, Abigail, Lydia and Joanna.” John White died 20 Nov 1727.
Children of John & Lydia (Gilman) White:
1. John White, b. 11 Sep 1688
2. Mary White, b. 24 June 1690
3. Hannah White, b. 1691
4. Samuel White, b. 23 Dec 1695 Haverhill MA
5. +Nicholas White, b. 4 Dec 1698 Haverhill MA
6. Timothy White, b. 13 Nov 1700 Haverhill MA
7. Elizabeth White, b. 16 Nov 1702
8. James White, b. 16 Apr 1705
9. John White, b. 8 Sep 1707
10. Abigail White, b. 21 Oct 1709
11 Lydia White, b. 11 Sep 1711
Nicholas White, third son of John & Lydia (Gilman) White was born in Haverhill MA 4 Dec 1698, and d. 7 Oct 1782 at Plaistow NH. He married 1722 to Hannah Ayer. One history states they had five children. He married 2nd) Mary Culf, and had 10 children.
Children of Nicholas & Hanna (Ayer) White:
1. Mary White, b. Apr 1725
2. Hannah White, b. 8 Sep 1726
3. +Noah White, b. 15 Feb 1728
4. Abigail White, b. 28 March 1730
5. Ebenezer White, b. 2 Dec 1731 in Plaistow, Rockingham CO NH
Children of Nicholas & Mary (Culf/Calfe/Calef) White:
6. Joseph White, b 14 Dec 1734
7. Mary white, b. 14 Aug 1736
8. Lydia White, b. 2 July 1738
9. William White, b. 19 March 1740
10. John White, b 21 March 1742
11. Sarah White, b. 17 Aug 1744
12. Elizabeth White, b. 31 May 1746
13. Martha White, b. 9 Aug 1748
14. Samuel White, b. 6 Nov 1750 Plaistow NH
15. Abigail White, b. 14 May 1757 Plaistow NH
Noah White, third child of Nicholas & Hannah (Ayer) White, b. 15 Feb 1728 in Newbury VT, and settled at Coos Co. New Hampshire. He married 18 Sep 1751 to Sarah Sweet/Sweet, dau of John & Sarah (Sanders) Swett. She b. 16 Jan 1731 in Haverhill MA and d. in Newbury NH. By Sarah he had nine children.
Children of Noah & Sarah (Sweet) White:
1. +Nathaniel White, b. 10 Apr 1752
2. James White, b. 26 May 1754; m. Eunice Kingsbury
3. Abigail White, b. 18 Aug 1756
4. Nicholas White, b. 2 May 1759; m. Deborah Ford)
5. Sarah White, b. 5 Sep 1761
6. Anna White, b. 30 Oct 1764
7. John White, b. 1 Jan 1768
8. Hannah White, b. 30 Dec 1772
9. William White, b. 1 May 1777
Nathaniel White, the eldest child of Noah and Sarah (Sweet/Swett) White, was b. 10 Apr 1752. His first wife was Betty — who bore him three children. After her death he married Rebekah Foord/Ford, by whom he also had three children, the youngest of whom was Samuel. In 1790 he removed with his family to Lancaster NH where he spent the remainder of his life. He served in the revolutionary war and his wife Rebekah received a pension. He died 28 April 1809. He was public spirited and benevolent, and was held in high esteem as a man and a citizen.
Children of Nathaniel & Betty (?) White:
1. Betty White, b. 23 July 1777
2. Unice White, b. 25 Aug 1778
3. David White, b. 28 Nov 1779
Children of Nathaniel & Rebekah [or Deborah] (Foord/Ford) White:
4. Polly White, b. 15 June 1782
5. Abigail White, b. 21 May 1785
6. +Samuel White, b. 14 Sep 1787 at Bradford VT
Samuel White, youngest child of Nathaniel and Rebekah (Foord/Ford) White, was b. 14 Sep 1787 at Bradford VT and d. 4 June 1854 at Concord NH. When three years old he accompanied his parents in their removal to Lancaster NH, where he grew to manhood. 2 Apr 1810 he married Sarah Freeman, by whom he had nine children. In February 1848 he moved to Concord NH where he spent the remainder of his life. Samuel White died in Concord NH 4 June 1854. Sarah (Freeman) White died in Concord NH 30 December 1857.
Children of Samuel & Sarah (Freeman) White:
1. +Nathaniel White, b. 7 Feb 1811 in Lancaster NH
2. Selden F. White, b. 16 April 1812
3. Samuel L. White, b. 21 April 1814
4. Harriet L. White, b. 27 Sep 1815; m. Hon. John P. Chapin, who was a mayor of Chicago IL
5. James F. White, b. 16 Oct 1817
6. Charles White, b. 30 Sep 1821, died in infancy
7. William G. White, b. 15 apr 1823
8. Charles H. White, b. 10 March 1826
9. John E. White, b. 12 March 1828
Nathaniel White, son of Samuel & Sarah (Freeman) White, b. 7 Feb 1811 in Lancaster NH. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to a merchant of Lunenburg VT where he remained one year, when he became employed by Gen. John Wilson of Lancaster NH, who was the landlord of the Columbian Hotel in Concord NH. He therefore moved to Concord NH on 25 August 1826 “with one shilling in his pocket.” He remained in this employ for 5 years.
In 1832 he negotiated “the first and last business loan of his life,” purchased a part interest in a stage route between Concord and Hanover NH. In 1838 along with Capt. William Walker, he began the express business, making 3 trips a week to Boston MA, personally delivering the items entrusted to him. In 1842 when the Concord Railroad opened, he was one of the original partners in the express company delivering goods and items throughout New Hampshire and Canada when he partnered with William Walker and Nathaniel Cheney under the firm name of Cheney & Co.’s Express. Shortly thereafter Mr. Cheney established another line that eventually formed the United States and Canada Express Company which eventually became part of the American Express Company. In 1846 he purchased a farm in the southwestern section of the city of Concord, two miles from the state house, embracing over 400 acres. In 1852 he was chosen by the Whigs and Free-Soiler party to represent them in the NH State Legislature. He was an Abolitionist, and it is said that the attic in his home was part of the Underground Railroad. He was involved (as a board member) with the NH Asylum for the Insane, the State Reform School, the Orphans Home (Franklin NH) which he endowed, and the Home for the Aged (Concord). He owned a summer retreat on the border of Lake Sunapee. In addition to his express company, he purchased real estate in Chicago, in hotel properties in moutain districts, railroad corporations, banks, manufacturing establishments and shipping companies. He was a director or trustee of numerous organizations and companies including the Manchester & Lawrence, the Franconia & Profile House and the Mount Washington railroads, the National State Capital Bank, the Loan and Trust Savings Bank of Concord, and other private trusts. In 1875 Nathaniel White was a candidate for governor of the Prohibition Party in New Hampshire. In 1876 he was a member of the Cincinnati convention. He was a member of the Independent Order of Oddfellows. During the first four years of his marriage, the family boarded. For 8 years they lived on Warren Street in Concord. From 1848 to the death of Nathaniel White they lived on School Street. On 1 Nov 1836 he was married by the Rev. Robert Bartlett of Laconia NH to Armenia S. Aldrich, daughter of John Aldrich of Boscawen NH. She was b. 1 Nov 1817 in Mendon MA. [SEE her Family Tree in a separate post]. Nathaniel White died Saturday, October 2, 1880, stricken down suddenly.
1850 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Merrimack > Concord
Nathaniel White 39 M Express Man 8000 NH
Armenia S. White 32 F Mass
John A. White 12 M NH
Harriet S. White 5 F NH
Armenia E. White 3 F NH
Elisa H. White 1 F NH
Ellen Lyons 22 F Nova Scotia
Mary J. Croudle 23 F NH
Warren George 18 M Clerk NH
Joseph Stone 22 M Laborer NH
Children of Nathaniel & Armenia S. (Aldrich) White:
1. Col. John A. White, b. 31 March 1838, d. 26 Nov 1899. He m. 5 Oct 1869 Elizabeth Mary Corning. She d. May 1873 no ch; He m2) 31 Aug 1881 Ella H. Corning, a cousin of his first wife. Their only child was Arnold White of concord NH, b. 20 Oct 1883.
2. Hattie S. White (adopted), b. abt 1845 NH; m. Dr. D.P. Dearborn of Brattleboro VT
3. Armenia “Minnie” E. White, b. 22 March 1847; m. Horatio Hobbs, who d. 24 Apr 1889. He left two ch, Nathaniel White Hobbs, b. 1 Nov 1873, and Annie White Hobbs, b. 28 July 1875.
4. Elisa “Lizzie” H. White, m. 12 Oct 1881 C.H. Newhall of Lynn MA. She d. 12 Dec 1887.
5. Anna “Annie” Frances White, b. abt 1852; died young
6. Nathaniel White Jr., b. 8 June 1855, d. 4 Oct 1904. Resided Concord NH. He was a general manager of the farm and other properties left to him by his father, and was a director of of the Mt. Washington Railway Company. He m. 17 Nov 1881 Helen Eastman, dau of Charles S. and Charlotte (Bedlow) Eastman. They had two children: Nathaniel Aldrich, b. Nov 19, 1883 and Charlotte, b. July 21, 1889.
7. Benjamin Cheney White, b. 16 June 1861. He resided in Concord NH and was a director of the Star Capital Bank, the Concord & Montreal railroad, and manager of the White Opera House in Concord NH. He m. 12 Jan 1887 Mabel M. Chase of Concord NH, dau of James H. & Augusta S. (Lamprey) Chase. They had two children: James Chase, b. August 1890, d. 5 Oct 1895; and Rose Aldrich, b. June 5, 1895.
8. Seldon F. White, died young
1. Sketches of successful New Hampshire men, by H.W. Herrick, Manchester NH; J.B. Clarke, 1882, page 172-174 [likeness taken from this source]
2. History of Concord, New Hampshire : from the original grant in seventeen hundred and twenty-five to the opening of the twentieth century by John Pierpont; Concord, N.H.: Rumford Press, 1903, page 560 [History of White Park]
3. Genealogical and Family History of the State of NH, by Ezra Scollay Stearns, William Frederick Whitcher, Edward Everett Parker; Lewis Publishing, Chicago, 1908, page 1627-1628
4. The Granite Monthly, published 1881, H.H. Metcalf.