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more he found that he had overwrought, and that a cessation of strain and a change of scene were necessary to rebuild his strength. At this time the national capital seethed with the spirit of speculative adventure. Often there had been interest in western land investments, but never before had excitement on the subject risen to the pitch which it reached on the eve of the panic of 1837-a crisis in large measure precipitated by the wild desire to acquire sudden wealth and the confident belief that this could be secured by the purchase, at highly inflated prices, of farms, or water powers, or mineral prospects, or town lots, in the region west of the Great Lakes, to which immigration was pouring from Ohio and Indiana and even from western New York and Pennsylvania, as well as from the older settled portions of the eastern states. In fact, there were Southerners not immune to the craze for western investments, as is attested to this day by the number of Virginian names to be found in abstracts of title showing the initial ownership of properties located in the early-settled parts of Wisconsin. Under the circumstances, it is not strange that Mr. White concluded to sell his newspaper and seek a change of environment in the western Eldorado.
May, 1836, found him in Milwaukee, which was at the apex of its initial boom. Not only the nascent metropolis of Wisconsin, but the whole region from Chicago to Green Bay, was at the moment a theater of operations for feverish gamblers on the possibilities of the future. No gamester, yet fully alive to opportunities for legitimate investment, the investigator from the East purchased property both at Milwaukee and at Racine. As indicating his judgment in making selections, it is perhaps worthy of remark that a piece of land which he bought from Solomon Juneau came to be regarded as the most valuable lot in the city of Milwaukee, and held that distinction for several years.
When Mr. White arrived, Wisconsin was still a part of Michigan, the new Territory of Wisconsin not coming into
existence until the fourth of July. The initial issue of Milwaukee's first newspaper, the Advertiser, appeared on July 14. Its publisher had come from Chicago at the invitation of Byron Kilbourn, the principal proprietor of the settlement on the west side of the river. Kilbourn was concentrating his energies on the disposal of lots in his townsite. To attract attention to what he was offering for sale, he had procured for distribution in New York the publication of a copper-plate map, which purported to represent Milwaukee, but which showed the platted portion all on the west side of the river, with nothing on the east side but a marshy wilderness. In Mr. White's judgment, the Advertiser was conducted in a manner no more likely to do justice to Juneau's interests, and those of other East Siders, than was this apocryphal "map." He talked with Mr. Juneau, who was not slow to appreciate the soundness of his conclusions. Mr. White was about to return to North Carolina for the purpose of disposing of his property there, preparatory to settling in Wisconsin in the spring. Before coming back, he planned to visit New York. It was agreed that he should purchase in that city an outfit for a newspaper to represent Milwaukee adequately, laying due stress upon the importance of the East Side. It was also agreed that while Mr. Juneau would advance the money essential to the enterprise, the editorial management of the newspaper was to be entrusted to Mr. White.
The latter bought the equipment and sent it forward in charge of John O'Rourke, whose name is remembered as that of the Sentinel's earliest editor, though the young man proved to be in the last stages of consumption and died not long after his arrival in Milwaukee. Mr. White returned, according to his agreement, and for a time took part in the conduct of the Sentinel; but he found other matters absorbing most of his attention, and in the fall of the year was summoned to New York to serve as disbursing officer in the navy. Later, as a purser, he was attached to the squadron
in the Pacific, and seems to have remained away from Wisconsin until 1844-the year in which he settled in Racine. In December, 1844, he purchased the Racine Advocate, of which he was owner and editor till March, 1846. While in Racine he became connected with James H. Rogers in the erection of the United States Hotel on the lot at the northeast corner of East Water and Huron streets, Milwaukee, which he had purchased from Mr. Juneau. The lot had a frontage of one hundred and twenty feet on East Water Street, and the hotel, built of brick, covered all the ground. It was three stories in height at first, another story being added later. Municipal waterworks were not in full operation in Milwaukee till 1873, but to supply running water to the patrons of this luxurious hostelry pipes bored from tamarack logs were laid underground from a spring on the north side of Michigan Street, between Milwaukee and Jefferson streets. The hotel was The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1854, but these pipes were found in a good state of preservation when dug up a quarter of a century afterward. Some of the wood was fashioned into souvenir canes for old settlers, who could recall the time when travelers reaching the city by steamboat landed on the pier near the end of Huron Street, and when the United States Hotel was "in its glory."
The earnestness with which Mr. White devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits is evidenced by the fact of his ownership at one time of three farms in Racine County, to one of which he gave his name, and on all of which he conducted experiments in advanced methods of husbandry, communicating to the public the results of these experiments which he deemed important. This he did in
1 As perhaps shedding light on the source of this part of the equipment of the United States Hotel, which was unusual at that time, it may be interesting to note that the account of Whitestown, New York, in Morse's American Gazetteer (edition of 1810), concludes as follows: "The compact part of this flourishing town lies on one beautiful street about a mile in length, ornamented with trees. The houses are generally furnished with water conducted by pipes laid underground from the neighboring hills."
newspaper articles and speeches, as well as in his report written at the request of the secretary of the State Agricultural Society and published toward the close of his residence in Wisconsin, in the society's first volume of Proceedings. His desire to confer practical benefits on the farming interest was manifested also by the ardor with which he entered into the study and discussion of the subject of good roads. There being in the prairie region of the state no stone with which to accomplish macadamization, and the expense of hauling heavy materials for long distances by team being prohibitory, he arrived at the conclusion that plank roads could be more readily adapted. to the needs of the people of Wisconsin at that time than could any others. With this view he studied the best plans for their construction, embodying all that was to be gathered on the subject in his report to the Territorial Council, afterward published in pamphlet form for general circulation. The arguments be forcibly presented made a strong impression not only in Wisconsin but in other states, and resulted in the construction of plank roads which in several conspicuous instances gave satisfaction in their day, and were accounted factors in the attainment of prosperity by the communities that built them. Later, conditions were greatly modified by the construction of railways, as well as by the rise in the value of lumber, which was a cheap commodity in many parts of the country when Mr. White began his campaign.
While in the Territorial Council, Mr. White procured the passage of the act under which Racine was incorporated as a village, and subsequently, as a member of the State Senate, he drew up and secured the enactment of its original charter as a city. His election to the Territorial Council occurred in 1846, and to the State Senate in 1848.
In 1849 began his career in the diplomatic service. The first Schleswig-Holstein War was casting a shadow over the
free cities of Hamburg, Lubec, and Altona. Mr. White was sent to the Hanseatic Republic of Hamburg as United States consul with diplomatic powers. Firmness of purpose, a knowledge of complex questions of international law, and not a little tact, were required to protect American citizens and commerce in those commercially free ports under the anomalous conditions of the time, while avoiding serious friction with the government of Prussia. In spite of its difficulties, he executed his mission with credit.
In 1852 he was chosen one of the presidential electors of the Democratic party in Wisconsin, his colleagues making him their presiding officer. In July, 1853, President Pierce appointed him chargé d'affaires to the Republic of Ecuador, and in 1855 he was raised to the grade of minister resident in that country, where he remained till 1858. The circumstance of the ministerial residence being at Quito suggested to Isaac Woodle the observation, often quoted, that President Pierce had conferred upon Philo White the highest office in his gift. Predecessors of General White at Quito had been negligent in the prosecution of claims of American citizens against the government of Ecuador, some of which had been in dispute for as long as thirty years. He looked into their respective merits and succeeded in pushing most of them to settlement, seeing to it before he left that all which deserved attention were docketed with proofs of their validity, and well on their way to ultimate adjustment. His release from the service came at his own request, after six years of useful labor. Upon his return to the United States he did not resume his residence in Wisconsin, but with his wife went back to the home of his youth, where he remained till the end of his prolonged life.
General White is recalled as a man of medium staturefive feet seven inches in height,—-square figure, and active habits. His speech was rapid but pleasantly intoned. His