Francis White

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Francis White

Francis Shelley White (born March 13, 1847 in Prairie, Mississippi; died August 1, 1922 in Birmingham) was an attorney and United States Senator.

White was and raised in Noxubee County, Mississippi. After serving as a teenager in the Civil War he pursued the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1869 and practiced in West Point, Mississippi. He was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1875 and again in 1882-83. In 1886 he moved his law practice to Birmingham and partnered with James Weatherly, and later with Frank Dixon.

After Senator Joseph Johnston died of pneumonia in 1913, Governor Emmet O'Neal appointed Franklin Glass to serve the remainder of his term. The Senate Committee of Elections and Privileges objected to the appointment because the newly-ratified 17th Amendment supported an Alabama state law requiring a special election to fill a vacant Senate seat. White was nominated and won the special election. He was therefore the first Senator from Alabama to be directly elected by state voters.

White served in the Senate from May 11, 1914 to March 3, 1915 and did not seek renomination for a full 6-year term. Oscar Underwood succeeded him in the Senate.

White died in Birmingham in 1922 and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Octavia Anna Collins White, and three children: William, Frank and Marguerite.

Preceded by:
Joseph Johnston
U. S. Senator (Class 3)
1914 - 1915
Succeeded by:
Oscar Underwood

References

  • Watson, Elbert L. (1982) "Frank Shelley White", pp. 103-4 in Alabama United States Senators. Huntsville: Strode Publishers