DFH Volume 1 Issue 12
Until this article, we have focused our stories on the Dayton family and for no one older than Wilber and Jessie. However, Alexander White’s life and death is so intriguing that what I know of it must be told. I asked Chester, Wilber, Jr and Paul (three of five of Jessie’s children) what they knew about their grandfather White, and the answer was a resounding nada, zip, zero, nothing.
Don’t you find it curious that Alexander lived until 1906, when Jessie was 26 and knew her father well, yet she spoke nothing of his life or death to her children? In fact, Jessie had been married two years when her father died, and yet she spared her children from knowing about him. It seems that most mothers would want to let their children know about the grampa they never knew—-unless there was something to hide. It seems that there was something, and I’ll now tell you about that. While doing research for something else, my brother Steve stumbled onto an article about Alexander White. We began pouring over old newspapers and found the following two newspaper articles which were 10 years apart:
John Costello was an Irish immigrant who married my gramma Dayton’s aunt Martha. John and his brother-in-law, Alex, apparently had difficulty getting along. We found two occurrences of confrontations which were significant enough to be reported in local papers. There were undoubtedly other unfortunate confrontations between the two men not significant enough to be reported in the newspaper. Costello nearly died in one altercation, and my great-grampa, Jessie’s dad, appeared to be the aggressor. There was a great prejudice in America against the Irish in those days, and the establishment considered the Irish to be monkeys and apes. Today, it would be considered a hate crime. It could be that the altercations were a simple derogatory remark against Costello. Whatever the case, both men were incarcerated in the jail in Ballston Spa, after at least two of these fights. At the time of the first fight, Alexander White was 28 years old and John Costello was 42. The fact that Alexander White was the aggressor in these fights, and that he was incarcerated in the county jail suggests that the White family had something to conceal from future generations. If not for the press, he would have. Ironically, Alex’s wife, Anna Marie Flansburg, was the daughter of a minister in the first generation of Wesleyan Methodism, and a godly, Christian woman, a saint. More will be said about her minister- father in a future issue.
NOTE: I have concluded that Alexander White may have been an evil man. If you would like to weigh in with your own opinion of this scenario, I would love to publish it, and certainly respect your opinion. Next week I will publish the circumstances of Alexander’s death, which is equally fascinating.