White, Ambrose B. (1811–1885)

By: Brian Hart

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 1, 1995

Ambrose B. White, Grayson County pioneer and founder of Whitesboro, was born in Ohio on October 24, 1811, and spent the early years of his life near Springfield, Ohio, and in the Illinois Territory. After taking part in the Blackhawk War in the Illinois and Wisconsin territories in 1832, he married Sarah Elizabeth Murdah, whom he had met during the war, on June 20, 1833. In the spring of 1848 White, his family, and several other families began a southward trek from Illinois to Texas. After some two months of travel they arrived in the area of extreme western Grayson County commonly known as "wolfpath," due to the presence of wolves in the heavily wooded area. In this unsettled place-supposedly only one house stood between this area and the county seat, Sherman, fifteen miles to the east-White established and helped to survey a settlement, which became White's Colony. The isolated location of the community, a fact which encouraged those who lived there to build homes relatively close to one another, ensured slow growth prior to the Civil War. When the Butterfield Overland Mail's route through Texas took its stage coaches very near White's Colony, White erected the Westview Inn as a stop on the route. For a time those living in the community apparently used the names White's Colony and Westview Inn interchangeably when referring to their place of residence. White cared for and supplied teams of horses used on the overland route and in this way brought a fairly regular supply of cash into this community. This fact eventually attracted settlers, although no more than fourteen families were reported to have lived at White's Colony by the beginning of the Civil War. During the war White volunteered for Confederate service, received a commission as a captain, and organized a company of men that fought with Bourland's Frontier Regiment along the Red River. After the war White watched his town grow; he died there on December 17, 1885.

Grayson County Frontier Village, History of Grayson County, Texas (2 vols., Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Hunter, 1979, 1981). Graham Landrum and Allen Smith, Grayson County (Fort Worth, 1960; 2d ed., Fort Worth: Historical Publishers, 1967). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Military
  • Confederate Military
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Brian Hart, “White, Ambrose B.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/white-ambrose-b.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: