North Carolina. Property Tax System Study Committe.

Spokane and the Spokane country : pictorial and biographical : deluxe supplement (Volume 1) online

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many have done but has extended his efforts into mam- directions,
finding ample reward in every line for his industry, perseverance and
determination. Nevertheless business represents but one phase of his
character and interests. Regarded as a citizen and in his social rela-
tions he belongs to that public-spirited, useful and helpful class of
men whose ambitions and desires are centered and directed in those
channels from which flow the greatest and most permanent good to
the greatest number. His civic pride has led to tangible efforts in
all movements for the city 's progress and he has also been a pioneer
in the development of irrigation interests, making personal sacrifice
and devoting much time and money to bringing water to the arid
lands, improving their productiveness and having, moreover, the satis-
faction of seeing such districts reclaimed, becoming second to none
in fertility in the world. Much of his work in behalf of Spokane has
been in the direction of the "city beautiful." He has been a cooper-
ant factor in the Municipal League and in kindred movements and
marches in the front rank of those men who have upheld the welfare
of the city and its people.

Mr. White is a native of Houlton, Maine, born February 17, 1869.
His father, George White, was a native of Xew Brunswick and died
in 188.5, after having throughout his business life followed the occu-
pation of farming. The well known "Guide to Plymouth" which
gives a full account of the Pilgrim fathers and their descendants
shows the name of White to be a corruption of the name Wise, which
was of Holland origin. The family was established on American
soil on Long Island and the great-great-grandfather of Aubrey L.
White was an itinerant preacher and a loyalist who served as chaplain
in King George's army. In recognition of his services to the crown
King George gave him a grant of sixty acres of land in the Keswick

78 gubrep TLtt W&fyitt

district of New Brunswick which he afterward exchanged for prop-
erty at Hodgdon, Maine, which his father owned. The Guide to
Plymouth gives an account of Perigrine White, together with men-
tion of the cradle in which he was rocked, for he was the first white
child born on the American continent. The founder of this branch
of the family was William White, who came from Plymouth as a
passenger of the Mayflower. In the maternal line Aubrey L. White
comes of English lineage. His mother, who bore the maiden name of
Jane Maria Beardsley, was born in New Brunswick and died in
1873. She was a daughter of Ralph Beardsley, who married a Miss
Curry from Scotland. The grandfather, John Beardsley, was the
fourth of the Johns of the family in direct line to become identified
with the Episcopal clergy. Captain John Beardsley, the great-
great-grandfather of Mrs. White, was in the English service with
the troops of King George in the Revolutionary war and his brother,
Levi Beardsley, was at one time lieutenant governor of the state of
New York.

Aubrey Lee White was one of a family of four daughters, all of
whom are now deceased, and six sons, of whom five are yet living.
His early education was acquired in the common schools of Houlton,
Maine, and later he attended the Richer Classical Institute which was
a preparatory school for Colby College. After leaving school he
went to Woodstock, New Brunswick, where for eighteen months he
was engaged in the furniture business but at the end of that time
severed his trade relations with the east and made his way direct to
Spokane, arriving in the fall of that year. Here he was first em-
ployed by Arend & Kennard in the market business on Sprague av-
enue where the book store of J. W. Graham now stands. He was
with that house for four years, covering the period of the great fire,
and when he left the establishment he resigned the position of man-
ager of the book department to engage on his own account in partner-
ship with Jay P. Graves in the mining business. Returning to the
east Mr. White opened an office in Montreal, Canada, and became in-
terested in the organization and development of the Old Ironside
and Granby properties. For six years he remained in the east repre-
senting the Spokane interests in the New York, Montreal and Phila-
delphia offices. During the latter years of his residence in New York
he was identified with Mr. Graves in interesting capital in the devel-
opment and financing of the Spokane Traction Company and with
Mr. Blackwell and Mr. Graves he also became interested in the Coeur

gubrep Utt 3SShite 79

d'Alene electric railway. Throughout the period of his residence in
the northwest he has always seemed to readily recognize the oppor-
tunities here to be secured and the possibilities for the upbuilding
of the country. His efforts have been an important factor in the
substantial growth of the northwest as well as in the promotion of
his individual success. He was associated with Mr. Graves in the
Spokane & Inland Company and finally in the reorganization of the
three companies named into the Inland system under the corporation
name of The Inland Empire Railway Company with J. P. Graves
as president, Mr. White as vice president, and Waldo G. Paine as
second vice president, with Clyde M. Graves as manager and director.
These officials resigned when the Great Northern system took over
the road in June, 1911, with Carl Gray as president. The Great
Northern about a year ago bought the controlling interest. Mr.
White has had the satisfaction of seeing the system which was in-
stituted with practically nothing develop into a railway line two hun-
dred and forty miles in length, proving the greatest source of devel-
opment in the district that it traverses.

In connection with Mr. Graves and others Mr. White owned a
large area of land and gave ninety acres of it to Spokane for a park
which is called Manito, and purchased the old Cook fine extending
up Riverside avenue to the park. This street railway constituted
the nucleus from which has resulted the organization of the Spokane
Traction Company, the business of which they have developed, ob-
taining a franchise and extending their lines until they now have
forty miles of street railway. Their activity in railway matters has
been the means of adding from twenty-five to thirty thousand popu-
lation to the city, so that these gentlemen deserve prominent mention
among those who are regarded as the builders and promoters of
Spokane. In all of his business operations Mr. White has never
waited until the need was a pressing one but has anticipated condi-
tions that would arise and has therefore been prepared to meet the
conditions ere the inconvenience and discomfort of a situation were
strongly felt.

It would be almost impossible to mention all of the business pro-
jects which have felt the stimulus and have profited by the coopera-
tion of Mr. White, for his activities have been of a most diverse char-
acter and of notable magnitude. After his return from the east he
became a director of the Spokane Valley Land Company which
owned Green Acres, East Green Acres and other valuable proper-

8 o gufarep Xce flggftitt

ties which they afterward sold to D. C. Corbin. They were very
desirous of inducing people to settle along the line of the Coeur
d'Alene railway and Mr. White took the matter in hand, bringing
it to a successful termination. Mr. White was a director of the Spo-
kane Canal Company which irrigated Otis Orchards and did all he
could to encourage the enterprise but sold his interest after having
it well established. It was he who first demonstrated that the valley
was capable of being irrigated and proved the productiveness of its
soil. His business connections further extended to the Traders Na-
tional Bank and the Granby Company which carries with it the Hid-
den Creek properties, and in both of these he is a director. He is
also largely interested in many other valuable mining properties both
proved and unproved and has extensive real-estate holdings in and
near Spokane.

Business affairs, however, represent but one phase of Mr. White's
activity, for he has never selfishly centered his interests upon his own
personal concerns. He has never been neglectful of the duties of
citizenship and has been a most active factor in utilizing the oppor-
tunities for the city's development, improvement and adornment.
His political support is given to the republican party and during all
the period in which he has been so busily engaged in the management
of large financial projects he has still found time to advance civic im-
provement. He became largely interested in city questions while a
member of the Municipal League of New York and when he came to
Spokane his knowledge of civic affairs was used in the inception of
the 150,000 Club. At a meeting of this club he suggested a "City
Beautiful Club" and of the new organization he was made president.
He has done much for the city in various ways, including the in-
ception and promotion of the playgrounds movement, making the
first subscription to the fund and becoming the first officer. Through
the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce a charter amendment
was passed by the city creating a non-partisan park board
and ten men were appointed, of which Mr. White was one. He was
then chosen president of the board and still fills the office. The
board is composed of ten of the most substantial citizens and busi-
ness men of Spokane, vitally interested in the city's welfare and at
the same time having the business ability to utilize practical and ef-
fective efforts in the attainment of desired ends. They have in-
creased the park area from one hundred and seventy acres to twelve
hundred acres and have had one million dollars park bonds voted.

gufareg Hee TOfnte si

By personal solicitation Mr. White has secured four hundred acres
for park purposes and the board has spent only one million dollars
doing all of the work in the parks. For five or six years Mr. White
was a director of the Chamber of Commerce and was a member of
its publicity committee, the work of which attracted many people
to Spokane and added materially to the population of the city. He
regarded Spokane as in its formative stage and believed that acreage
for park purposes should be secured at that time вАФ breathing places
for the people to be purchased while land was comparatively cheap
instead of waiting until the price was almost prohibitive. Upon
that belief he has always based his labors and the citizens of Spokane
will ever have reason to feel grateful to him for his efforts in this

While the veil of privacy should ever be drawn around one's home
relations with all their secret ties, it is well known that Mr. White's
home is a most attractive and happy one and that warm-hearted hos-
pitality is freely accorded to the many friends of the family. He was
married in Toronto, Canada, in 190.5, to Miss Ethelyn Binkley, a
daughter of Judge J. W. Binkley, now of Spokane, her mother
being a member of the Clarkson family of Toronto. Mrs. White
is of English descent and a B. A. of Cornell University. Mr. and
Mrs. White have become parents of three daughters, Mary Jane,
Elizabeth Binkley and Ethelyn Louise.

Mr. White is a believer in the Episcopal faith and his family at-
tend the services of that church. He recognized the fact that well
rounded character is based upon normal physical, mental and moral
growth. He is a believer in clean living and in athletics and he has
done much along those lines. He feels that every life needs its
periods of recreation, its study hours and its time for quiet, thought-
ful meditation. He has membership relations with the Spokane
Club, the Spokane Riding and Driving Club, the Spokane Country
Club and the Spokane Amateur Athletic Club. He also belongs to
the St. James Club and the Mount Royal Golf Club of Montreal,
the Union League Club of New York, the Santa Barbara Club of
California and the Coeur d'Alene Boat Club, He is a life member
of the Masonic fraternity, having taken the degrees of Royal Arch
Masonry, of the Knight Templar Commandery, of the Consistory
and of the Mystic Shrine. He is a past chancellor of the Knights
of Pythias, has passed through all of the chairs of the uniform rank
and is past captain in the division. He likewise holds membership


gufarep TLtt TOftite

with the Dramatic Order of the Knights of Khorassan. He has
heen a strong supporter of many organizations including the Amer-
ican Civic Association and the Municipal League, and was an officer
of the latter in New York. His activities have reached out to the
various vital interests of life and while in business he has won that
success which comes of aptitude for management, close application
and keen descrimination, he has also made his work of usefulness and
value to the world in many directions, especially in upholding the
standards of manhood and citizenship. In his life there have en-
tered the distinctive and unmistakable elements of greatness. He is
endowed with a rugged honesty of purpose, is a man of independent
thought and action, one whose integrity and honor are so absolute
as to compel the respect and confidence of his fellowmen, one whose
life has been filled with ceaseless toil and industry, while his motives
are of that ideal order that practically make his life a consecration
to duty and to the measure of his possibilities for accomplishing good.

0, #. Habtxtt

(EVER courting notoriety nor publicity but quietly

N' and persistently pursuing his way with well defined
r*j plans and strong purpose, O. G. Laberee has reached
wx a notable position among the most prominent min-
ing and railway men of the northwest. His record
needs no especial elaboration nor commendation; it
speaks for itself for his labors have been an element in the utilization
of the great natural resources of this section of the country and
therefore the source of the country's development and prosperity.
From each experience in life he has learned the lesson therein con-

Mr. Laberee belongs to that class of representative and ambitious
men who have crossed the border from Canada into the United
States where competition is greater but where advancement is more
quickly secured. He was born on a farm in Melbourne county in
the province of Quebec in 1864, his parents being Benjamin R. and
Mary Jane (Wakefield) Laberee, the former of French Huguenot
and Irish lineage and the latter of English descent. The first mem-
ber of the Laberee family in America left France at the time of the
persecution of the Huguenots and went to Ireland. He married a
daughter of that country and some years afterward with his wife and
two sons sailed in his own vessel, loaded with merchandise, for the
new world, landing at or near Boston. Soon afterward he secured
a homestead in Massachusetts but had not long been a resident of
New England when both he and his wife met death at the
hands of the Indians. One of the sons escaped but the other was
captured by the red men and taken to Quebec, where he was held
as a prisoner for about a year. He finally escaped in the winter
and traveled through one hundred miles of wilderness before reach-
ing a settlement. At length, however, he arrived in Eastern town-
ships, Compton county, in the province of Quebec, where members
of the Laberee family have since lived.

Thoroughness characterized O. G. Laberee in the acquirement of
an education and has been one of his salient characteristics in later
life. After leaving the high school he looked about him for a favor-



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Online LibraryNorth Carolina. Property Tax System Study CommitteSpokane and the Spokane country : pictorial and biographical : deluxe supplement (Volume 1) → online text (page 5 of 16)