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White, Leonard (Sec. Illinois Senate)

Born: 1780-1790-XX-XX

Flourished: Gallatin County, Illinois

Leonard White was an early pioneer in southeastern Illinois, arriving in the area when it was still part of the Indiana Territory. From 1809 to 1818, he was the federal government agent at the Wabash Saline (or U.S. Saline) in Randolph County, Illinois Territory. He also served as postmaster of the U.S. Saline from 1811 to 1812. Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards appointed White as a justice of the peace for Randolph County in February 1810. In 1810, he became captain of the 3rd Regiment of the Illinois militia, and in 1811, he became captain of the 4th Regiment. The governor appointed him as a justice of the peace for newly formed Gallatin County in September 1812. Five months later, he appointed White as judge of the court of common pleas of Gallatin County. During the War of 1812, he served in the Illinois militia as a regimental commander and paymaster. In December 1814, Governor Edwards appointed White as one of three judges of the county court of Gallatin County and reappointed him in February 1816. In 1817, President James Monroe commissioned White as a brigadier general in the militia of the Illinois Territory.

Between 1814 and 1819, White bought more than 1,600 acres of federal land in three different counties. White was one of the original proprietors of Carmi, Illinois. He operated a grist mill, saw mill, tan yard, and distillery in Carmi. He was connected with the salt industry in Gallatin County, setting aside timber lands adjacent to the salts works to be sold. In 1816, the Illinois General Assembly appointed White as a commissioner to receive subscriptions for the Bank of Illinois at Shawneetown. He represented Gallatin County at the Illinois state constitutional convention of 1818. In 1819, he was a commissioner tasked with locating the seat of justice for Franklin County. In 1827, the Illinois General Assembly appointed him to select such sections of the Gallatin County saline reserve that were suitable for water works. He represented White County in the Illinois Senate from 1820 to 1824, and was secretary of the Senate from 1834 to 1836. He served in a variety of county offices in Gallatin County: judge of probate, 1827-1846; recorder, 1827-1847; clerk of the county commissioners' court, at least 1837-1847; and clerk of the circuit court, 1828-1848. Some historians claim that White County, created in 1815 out of Gallatin County, was named for him; others give that honor to Isaac White, an Illinois militia officer who died at the Battle of Tippecanoe.

Richard V. Carpenter and J. W. Kitchell, "The Illinois Constitutional Convention of 1818," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 6 (October 1913), 341; Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1919-1920 (Springfield, Ill.: Illinois State Journal, 1919), 462, 524, 525, 528; History of White County Illinois (Chicago: Inter-State, 1883), 295, 296, 297, 545; George W. Smith, A History of Southern Illinois (Chicago: Lewis, 1912), 1:472; Edward Callary, Place Names of Illinois (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 59, 373; James Simeone, Democracy and Slavery in Frontier Illinois: The Bottomland Republic (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000), 241n16; Illinois Senate Journal. 1821. 2nd G. A., 1st sess., 19-21; Clarence Edwin Carter, comp., Territorial Papers of the United States, Volume XVI: The Territory of Illinois, 1809-1814, (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1948), 158, 211; Clarence Edwin Carter, comp., Territorial Papers of the United States, Volume XVII: The Territory of Illinois, 1814-1818 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1950), 512, 631, 634, 638, 645, 646, 650, 654; American State Papers: Public Lands, (Washington, DC: Duff Green, 1834), 3:242; American State Papers: Public Lands (Washington, DC: Gale and Seaton, 1859), 4:520; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 16 April 1841, 2:5; History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Counties (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887), 43, 44. New-York Municipal Gazette, 24 December 1844, 4:1-2; Secretary of State, “Register of County Officials, 1809-1869,” 180-81, Record Series 103.075, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL.