Compton I. White, Sr.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Idaho's 1st district
January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1951
|Preceded by||Abe Goff|
|Succeeded by||John Travers Wood|
March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1947
|Preceded by||Burton French|
|Succeeded by||Abe Goff|
Compton Ignatius White
July 31, 1877
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US
|Died||March 31, 1956 (aged 78)|
Spokane, Washington, US
|Resting place||White Family Cemetery|
Clark Fork, Idaho, US
|Spouse(s)||Josephine Elizabeth Bunn White (1891–1951)|
(m. 1915–1951, her death)
|Children||Compton I. White, Jr.|
Enid Mary White McConnell
|Residence(s)||Clark Fork, US|
|Alma mater||Gonzaga College, 1897|
|Profession||Railroad, Agriculture, Mining|
Compton Ignatius White, Sr. (July 31, 1877 – March 31, 1956), was a U.S. representative for Northern Idaho. A Democrat, he represented Idaho's 1st congressional district and served a total of eight terms and chaired a committee.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Compton White moved during early childhood to Rankin County, Mississippi, and then in 1890 to Clark Fork, Idaho. As a young man, he delivered newspapers while attending public school. He attended Metropolitan Business College in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from Gonzaga College in Spokane, Washington, in 1897.
He worked on railroads in a number of capacities, as a trainman, conductor, and telegraph operator, until 1910. After this stretch, he worked in lumber, mining, and livestock raising; he was also a member of the Clark Fork Board of Trustees. In 1925, White received an unexpected windfall when a valuable mine of galena ore was found on his property. It was this unexpected find that gave his family a small fortune and allowed him to become a real player in Idaho politics. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1928, 1932, and 1936, during which period he rose to prominence as a politician.
White first sought election to Congress during the 1930 election; he gained the Democratic nomination, but was soundly defeated by longtime Republican incumbent Burton French of Moscow. Both were nominated again in 1932 and White unseated French as Franklin D. Roosevelt's landslide victory swept the nation.
Like many rural politicians during the Great Depression, White sought policies and legislation that enabled farmers in Idaho to stabilize their finances and enhance their agricultural output. White was also a supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, which helped thousands of families in Idaho from 1933 to 1939.
Due to a strong interest in reclamation projects in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest in general, White chaired the now-defunct Irrigation committee while in Congress, and also was a member of the Committee on Coins, Weights and Measures.
One of Congressman White's major accomplishments while in office was the acceptance and use of silver certificates by the Department of the Treasury. The American Silver Purchase Act of 1934 was a major win for White and the silver mining industry in Idaho, Montana, and Colorado, as the federal government had purchased silver at prices well above market value, which enabled mine operators to remain in business during the Great Depression. Congressman White was also instrumental in bringing large irrigation projects to Idaho, including the Bonneville Dam project in 1938 and the Grand Coulee Dam project in 1941.
Although he left Mississippi with his family at a relatively early age, White deeply internalized the racial views of his birthplace, railing against the Chinese during the debate over the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943, arguing that "There is no melting pot in America that can change their habits or change their mentality."
In the 1948 election, White defeated Goff and returned to the House but had lost his seniority. In 1950, he sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, but it went to D. Worth Clark of Pocatello. At age 75, White sought the party's nomination in 1952 to regain his House seat in the 1st District, but lost to Gracie Pfost of Nampa. He retired from public life and died in Spokane in 1956, where he had lived for three years, and was buried in the family cemetery in Clark Fork.
|1930||Compton White||18,657||35.1%||Burton French (inc.)||34,527||64.9%|
|1932||Compton White||42,784||54.9%||Burton French (inc.)||32,545||41.8%||A. Cornell||Liberty||2,614||3.4%|
|1934||Compton White (inc.)||42,323||62.0%||Burton French||25,969||38.0%|
|1936||Compton White (inc.)||58,941||70.3%||John Hackathorn||24,959||29.7%|
|1938||Compton White (inc.)||48,318||62.8%||Rex Hensen||28,640||37.2%|
|1940||Compton White (inc.)||62,107||62.0%||Edward Gaffney||37,999||38.0%|
|1942||Compton White (inc.)||30,105||54.1%||H. C. Baldridge||25,562||45.9%|
|1944||Compton White (inc.)||49,581||56.6%||Robert Brainard||37,998||43.4%|
|1946||Compton White (inc.)||36,509||49.4%||Abe Goff||37,326||50.6%|
|1948||Compton White||46,846||51.8%||Abe Goff (inc.)||41,404||45.7%||Thomas B. Wood||Progressive||2,176||2.4%||^|
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- "Josephine Elizabeth (Bunn) White (1891–1951)". Find A Grave. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
- "Mrs. Compton White dead of heart attack". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. October 23, 1951. p. 2.
- The American Catholic Who's Who. Walter Romig. 1946–1947. p. 456.
- "White/Bunn tree". Obliquity. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
- Doyle, Randall (2004). A political dynasty in North Idaho, 1933-1967. University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0761828427.
- Doyle, Randall (2004). A political dynasty in North Idaho, 1933-1967. University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0761828427.
- Schwantes, Carlos (1991). In Mountain Shadows: a History of Idaho. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
- Doyle, Randall (2004). A political dynasty in North Idaho, 1933-1967. University Press. p. 10. ISBN 0761828427.
- White, Richard (1991). A new history of the American West. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
- Doyle, Randall (2004). A political dynasty in North Idaho, 1933-1967. University Press. p. 11. ISBN 0761828427.
- 89 Cong. Rec. 8626 1943
- "Compton White reenters state political wars". Lewiston Morning Tribune. June 12, 1948. p. 12.
- "Nominating votes assure rematch in Idaho race". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. August 13, 1952. p. 1.
- Leeright, Bob (August 13, 1952). "Gracie Pfost and John Wood win nominations". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. p. 1.
- "Compton I. White, congressman for 16 years, dead at Spokane". Lewiston Morning Tribune. April 1, 1956. p. 1.
- "Compton I. White succumbs at 78". Spokesman-Review. April 1, 1956. p. 1.
- "Office of the Clerk: Election statistics". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
- United States Congress. "Compton I. White (id: W000361)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Political Graveyard – Compton I. White