Nineteenth-Century American Sheetmusic

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Mary Louisa Walker White Volumes

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This information is taken from two typewritten pages that accompany the volumes of Mrs. White's sheet music. The origin of this information is not known.

The two-volume collection of sheet music belonged originally to Mary Louisa Walker White (1843-1911), daughter of the Reverend Hugh Andrew Crawford Walker. The earliest dated piece was published in 1840; the latest date is 1866. Some of the pieces are not dated. Since Mary Louisa was not born until 1843, it is possible that the earliest music was used by her mother Sarah Elizabeth Matilda Wightman Walker (1813-1889), the wife of the Reverend Hugh Andrew Crawford Walker.

Mary Louisa Walker was born on 16 April 1843 in Wilmington, North Carolina, while her father was Presiding Elder of the Wilmington District of the South Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church; at that time Wilmington was a part of the South Carolina Conference. Since her father was a Methodist minister, she and her parents were required to move often as most appointments lasted only a year or two at that time. She was a beautiful child and grew into a lovely, talented young woman. In 1860 she graduated from Spartanburg Female College (now Converse College) in Spartanburg, South Carolina. When her father transferred to the Kentucky Conference for a brief time, she took post graduate work in Mrs. Fevis' Science Hill School in Shelbyville, Kentucky, a well-known school at the time. There she continued her courses in French and other studies. Mary Louisa also was very musical. She played the organ at the Georgetown Methodist Church while her father was Presiding Elder of the Georgetown District. On 21 November, 1870, the church presented her with a lovely engraved silver goblet in appreciation.

The story has been handed down that, as a young woman, Mary Louisa was in love with a handsome young planter; at the close of the Confederate War, he returned home with both legs lost in battle. Because he felt he could not amply provide for a wife, the romance ended. And so it was that, at age thirty-six, Mary Louisa was living with her parents in Marion, South Carolina, where her father was Presiding Elder of the Marion District of the Methodist Church. Also living in Marion was the handsome Major James Benjamin White, who had been a widower since 1876 when his first wife Martha Josephine Prior had died. Mary Louisa Walker and Major James Benjamin White were married 2 January 1879 in the District parsonage in Marion, South Carolina.

Major White died 9 June 1906 in Marion, South Carolina. After the Major's death, Mary Louisa made her home with a son Hugh Walker White in Charleston. While she was visiting friends and relatives in Marion, she suffered a heart attack and died within an hour on 21 March 1911. Both she and Major White are buried in the Old Town Cemetery behind the Methodist Church in Marion, South Carolina; the Major lies between his two devoted wives.

Major James Benjamin White and his wife Mary Louisa Walker had four sons:

Paternal Ancestry of Mary Louisa Walker:

Mary Louisa Walker was a descendant of Hugh Walker and his wife Jane Carr, who lived in County Antrim, Ireland. Their son David Walker (b.1783) left Ireland with his wife Mary Crawford in 1820, bringing with them eight children; one of the children was Hugh Andrew Crawford Walker, who became the father of Mary Louisa Walker. The family settled in South Carolina, where David taught school. Both David Walker and his wife Mary Crawford are buried at Washington Street Methodist Church in Columbia, South Carolina.

Maternal Ancestry of Mary Louisa Walker:

Mary Louisa Walker's mother was Sarah Elizabeth Matilda Wightman, a daughter of William Wightman and his wife Matilda Sandys Williams. The Wightman family was a prominent Charleston family; an earlier William Wightman had come to South Carolina from England in 1770. The Wightmans were descended from the Wightmans of the Isle of Wight in England. William Wightman and his wife Matilda Sandys Williams were the parents of several other children, including Thomas Wightman, the artist, and William May Wightman, who became the first President of Wofford College and later a Bishop in the Methodist Church.

Major James Benjamin White was born 3 April 1828 on his father's plantation in Georgetown County, South Carolina. He was graduated from The Citadel in 1849 and became a teacher. During the War Between the States he was Superintendent of The Citadel and led the Cadets against Sherman in the battle of Tullifinny Creek. He was the son of John White of Georgetown and a descendant of Colonel John White (d.1760) of Prince Frederick's Parish (S.C.). After the war, Major White established a private academy in Marion, South Carolina. Major White's mother was Sarah Elizabeth Green, a descendant of the prominent Green family of Williamsburg County, South Carolina.

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