Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 93] Maria White a prominent physician and surgeon of New Castle, now engaged in the active practice of her profession, after many years spent as a medical missionary for the United Presbyterian Board of Missions in the Panjab, India, was born in Grove City, Mercer Co., Pa., April 11, 1858, and is a daughter of George W. and Susanna Kerr (Wallace) White. Our subject's grandfather, John White, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, and came to America the latter part of the last century, setling at first in Washington County, Pa., and later removing to Mercer County, near Grove City, where it is said his family was the second of white parentage to make their home. He was a farmer by occupation, and cleared and tilled the soil, where Grove City is now located; he was a large land-owner and considered to be a very prominent man of his day. He married Margaret McQuery, granddaughter of the Rev. Matthew Henderson, a pioneer minister in this part of the State, and a native of Scotland. The following children were born to them: John P.; Rachel; James; Jane; Samuel G.; George W.; Hiram C.; Elizabeth S.; and Henderson C. In their religious belief they were originally Seceders, but eventually united with the United Presbyterian Church. John White departed this life in 1854, and his wife preceded him about ten years.

George W. White was born Jan. 3, 1812, and was educated in the schools of Grove City, and upon the completion of his education learned the stone-cutter's trade, also the stone-mason's trade, and his services were in great demand from far and near, for he could be depended upon to do reliable and substantial work. In later life he also operated a farm in connection with his work as a stone-cutter and mason. In his early years he was a Whig in the expression of his political preferences; later on when that party gave way to the Republican party, he became a Republican, and lastly enlisted in the ranks of the Prohibition party. In 1839, he was joined in marriage with Susannah Wallace, daughter of Hugh and Ann (Kerr) Wallace, and eight children resulted from this happy union as follows: John Newton; Mary A.; Margaret A.; Susanna K., deceased; Eleanor J.; Sue; Narcissa; and Maria, the subject of this narration. John Newton married Mary J. Stevenson of Harlansburg, Pa., and has five children—Anna A.; J. Wilbur, deceased; George S.; Sarah N.; and Arthur C. Mary A., our subject's oldest sister, married Valentine Z. Ball of Hendersonville, Pa., and they reared the following family: Eleanor J.; George D.; Narcissa; Frank; Nora A.; Mary M.; J. Norman; Nettie; and Maria J. Eleanor J. married the Rev. James E. Roberts of Harlansburg, Pa., and bore him six children, namely: Anna Mary; Cordelia J.; Susanna B.; M. Edith; Maggie M.; and Mlabel B. Sue married Ezra Koonce, and their union was blessed with the birth of three children: Viola; Ivan C.; and Burt E. Narcissa, next youngest sister to our subject, married Marshall J. Kinney of Astoria, Oregon. Our subject's mother passed away Jan. 26, 1872, and her father July 24, 1882. They were United Presbyterians in their religious belief.

Dr. Maria White obtained her elementary education in the schools of Grove City, later attending the State Normal School at Edinboro, Pa., after which she taught school for a time, and then took a two years' course in the Grove City College. In 1881 she went to New York City as a missionary under the auspices of the United Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, and spent one year laboring among the poor of the tenement districts, being called home to Grove City in 1882, on the death of her father. Remaining at home one year, she read medicine during that time under the direction and tutelage of Dr. Van Emon, and in 1883 entered the Women's Medical College of Baltimore, Md., where she was connected as a student until her graduation in 1886, her vacations being spent in the hospitals of Baltimore. She also took a course in bacteriology at Johns Hopkins College. Dr. White then went to New York City to take post-graduate work, spending three months in a special course in the treatment of disorders of the eye and ear, diseases of children, of the nervous system, and in orthopedic surgery. After returning to Grove City, and taking leave of her friends, she sailed, under the United Presbyterian Board of Missions, from Philadelphia the fifteenth day of September, 1886, for India, being located at Sialkot in the Panjab, being the first lady surgeon sent out by that board. About one year after reaching that place she opened a hospital and dispensary in the city on a small scale. Later on she purchased land and erected a large hospital, where she remained as chief surgeon and physician eight years, also devoting a considerable portion of her time and strength to teaching many of the native girls the art of nursing. In connection with the hospital, she also established a dispensary twenty miles from Sialkot in the city of Pasrure. In 1894, Dr. White returned to America, recuperating a few months in Astoria, Oregon. Later on she came to New Castle where she has been very successfully engaged in the labors peculiar to her profession, and has a very large office practice. She is a devoted and enthusiastic worker in the interests of the W. C. T. U., and an ardent advocate of the aims and principles of the Prohibition party.

Dr. White contemplates returning to India soon to again enter into missionary work. The publishers of this Book of Biographies of Lawrence County are indeed proud of the opportunity of presenting with this short review of Dr. White's useful Christian life, her portrait, which appears on a preceding page. The great numbers of workers in the home missionary field, and her near and dear friends, will now have a suitable memento of her, when she is far distant in Eastern lands, allaying suffering and combating disease in the cause of The Great Healer.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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