John White (Kentucky politician)

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John White
John White.jpg
15th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
May 31, 1841 – March 4, 1843
Preceded byRobert M. T. Hunter
Succeeded byJohn W. Jones
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky
In office
March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1845
Preceded byJames Love (9th)
Willis Green (6th)
Succeeded byRichard French (9th)
John Preston Martin (6th)
Constituency9th district (1835–43)
6th district (1843–45)
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1802-02-14)February 14, 1802
Middlesboro, Kentucky
DiedSeptember 22, 1845(1845-09-22) (aged 43)
Richmond, Kentucky
Resting placeFrankfort Cemetery
Political partyWhig

John D. White (February 14, 1802 – September 22, 1845) was a prominent U.S. politician during the 1840s.

White was a native of Kentucky and practiced law there. White was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1832. He served as the speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1841 to 1843, and was a member of the United States Congress from 1835 to 1845.

On April 23, 1844, White was involved in a physical confrontation on the House floor with Democratic Congressman George O. Rathbun of New York. White was delivering a speech in defense of Senator Henry Clay, the Whig nominee for President in that year's presidential election, and objected to a ruling from the Speaker denying him time to conclude his remarks. When Rathbun told White to be quiet, White confronted him and their disagreement lead to a fistfight between the two with dozens of their colleagues rushing to break up the fight. During the disturbance, an unknown visitor fired a pistol into the crowd, wounding a police officer. Both White and Rathbun subsequently apologized for their actions.[1]

White was appointed judge of the nineteenth judicial district of Kentucky and served in that capacity from February 8, 1845, until his death in Richmond, Kentucky on September 22, 1845.

White's 1st cousin, Addison White, was a congressman from Kentucky at the same time representing the 6th District. Their shared nephew, John D. White, would also go on to represent Kentucky's 9th district in the late 1870s while their niece Laura Rogers White was one of the first 8 women to graduate from University of Michigan in 1874. He was also a cousin removed of Hugh Lawson White, and Brigadier General James White.

John White died by suicide on September 22, 1845, after it was discovered he had plagiarized one of the last speeches he gave in office from Aaron Burr.[2] White is buried in the Frankfort Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky.


  1. ^ Long, Kim. "The Almanac of Political Corruption, Scandals & Dirty Politics, (2008). ISBN 0307481344.
  2. ^ "Resignations Forced by Scandal Aren't New". 28 May 1989.
Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
May 31, 1841 – March 4, 1843
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by