Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 65, page(s) 561-562


In the death of EDWARD S. WHITE, at Norfolk, Va., whither he had gone for a short interval of rest, the Bar of Hartford County and of this State has lost a sterling man, as well as an able lawyer.

Early in December he was confined by a sharp illness, which left him in a weakened condition and from which he was unable to make satisfactory recovery. Over-persistent devotion to his work led him to delay too long the entire rest which was needed, so that a fatal disease had already fastened itself upon him before he reached Virginia. There it developed into typhoid pneumonia and on January 12th, 1895, took his life.

Mr. White, or Judge White as he was familiarly called, on account of his connection for six years with the bench of the Hartford City Police Court, was a farmer's boy, the son of Spencer A. White, a highly respected citizen of Granby, Mass., where the boy, Edward, was born, March 12th, 1848. After preparation in the public schools of his native town and at Wilbraham Academy, he entered Yale University, with the class of 1870, where he maintained a high rank of scholarship. He had charge of the chemical department of General Russell's school, in New Haven, for a year after graduation. For two years he read law at Hartford, in the office of Chamberlin and Hall, was admitted to practice in 1873, and became a member of the firm of Chamberlin, Hall and White. Mr. Hall died in 1877. Two years later the firm became Chamberlin, White & Mills, and so remained until Mr. White's death. He was twice married, his first wife being Miss Alice E. Smith, of Granby, Massachusetts. She died, leaving two daughters, Ruth and Mary, and a son, Henry, and subsequently he married Miss S. Adelaide Moody, of Belchertown, Mass., who died February 13th, 1890, leaving a daughter, Gertrude.

Judge White was in many respects a rare man, --domestic, unassuming and even retiring in his habits and tastes, he was, nevertheless, combative, persistent, and fearless as an adversary. His character was intense, his integrity unwavering. Vigorous in thought and action, often quick and severe in expression, he was yet eminently kind and considerate at heart, quickly forgetting and forgiving all the wounds of heated contests.

He was deeply interested in educational work, serving on the Committee of the Hartford Public High School, and for several terms on the Committee of the School District in which he lived. He was a member of the South Congregational Church in Hartford and "exemplified a high christian ideal in his daily life." He avoided politics and all fraternal organizations, preferring the quiet of his home and the duties and attractions of his own chosen profession.

He occupied a high position in the esteem of his brethren of the bar. He was well read, possessed of an excellent memory, and had well classified and at his command the underlying principles of legal learning. Quick to perceive essential distinctions, he displayed a natural tact in their practical application to the ever varying peculiarities of each day's life and business, and though not possessed of unusual oratorical abilities, his powers in court were great. His researches were exhaustive, his analysis and distinctions clear and clean, and his presentations simple, vigorous and effective. For many years he had been considered a conservative and especially sound business lawyer and adviser. He was by nature and training well adapted for the practical and responsible business position at the Overman Wheel Company, to which he was called in 1893, and to the litigation and finances of which corporation he gave the last two years of his life.

Never possessed of great physical strength, he fell into the common error of excessive work, to which ambition and devotion in a chosen profession often lead. There are no pursuits so exhausting as those which tax heavily the heart and brain, at the same time forbidding the physical activities which are so essential to continued vigor. His devotion to the work or duty at hand overshadowed all selfish and personal inconveniences. With a strong will he rebuked all suggestions of weakness and pain until injured nature required the penalty, and the full fruition of his developed powers, strong character and ripened experience were forever sacrificed.