Robert White (attorney general)

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Gen. Robert White
Colonel Robert White.jpg
Portrait of Robert White
Attorney General of West Virginia
In office
Preceded by Henry Mason Mathews
Succeeded by Cornelius C. Watts
Personal details
Born (1833-02-07)February 7, 1833
Romney, Virginia, U.S.
(now West Virginia)
Died December 12, 1915(1915-12-12) (aged 82)
Wheeling, West Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Ellen E. Vass
m. 1859
Residence Wheeling, West Virginia
Profession attorney

Robert White (February 7, 1833 – December 12, 1915) was a prominent 19th century American lawyer and politician in the U.S. state of West Virginia. White served as the Attorney General of West Virginia (1877–1881). During the American Civil War, he served as a Colonel under the command of Lieutenant general Stonewall Jackson. White was a member of the White political family of Virginia and West Virginia and was the son of Hampshire County Clerk of Court John Baker White (1794–1862) and grandson of Virginia judge Robert White (1759–1831).

White was born February 7, 1833, in Romney, Virginia (now West Virginia) to John Baker White and Frances A. Streit. He attended common schools in Virginia, worked six years in his father's county clerk's office, and studied law at Lexington, Virginia. He was admitted to the bar in 1844.

In 1859, White married Ellen E. Vass and bore six children of whom only one was alive at the time of White's death.

White joined the Virginia volunteer militia in 1860 and, upon the outset of the Civil War, was ordered to the service of Stonewall Jackson by the Virginia Governor. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the C.S.A. Army.

White became an associate in the practice John J. Jacob who later became Governor of West Virginia. White successfully lobbied the West Virginia Legislature for an act to establish the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind and served as one of the institution's directors for several years.

White was elected Attorney General of West Virginia as a Democrat in 1876. As Attorney General, he ardently pressed for the levying of taxes against railroad companies, a practice which had not been established in West Virginia. He argued for the tax before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court whom both affirmed White's tax. White also successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Kitzmiller v. Williams on behalf of former Confederate soldiers.

White was elected to the West Virginia Legislature (located at Wheeling) in 1884 and 1890. He was a noted ruling elder for the First Presbyterian Church of Wheeling. He died at his home in 1915.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Media related to Robert White (politician) at Wikimedia Commons

Legal offices
Preceded by
Henry Mason Mathews
Attorney General of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Cornelius C. Watts