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.
|U. S. Senator (Class 3)
1914 - 1915
- Watson, Elbert L. (1982) "Frank Shelley White", pp. 103-4 in Alabama United States Senators. Huntsville: Strode Publishers