May 4, 2005

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Click picture for description

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Andersonville prison compound

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Kalamont on Randolph Street in Douglas ~ now the home of Sally Erlandson

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William White ca 1900


William White was a 26-year-old tanner and currier working at the old Wallin Tannery, situated about where the fifth green is at Clearbrook Golf Club today,  when he enlisted August 14, 1862, as a corporal in Co. I, 5th Michigan Cavalry. He was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, but left home at nine years of age to work in a coal mine, coming to Saugatuck in 1855. He was taken prisoner at Richmond, Virginia, on March 1, 1864, and was a prisoner at Libby and Andersonville prisons before being exchanged and rejoining his company on December 28, 1864.

In the last push in April, 1865, White “won laurels for bravery” and was still on the firing line when the white flag went up at Appomattox. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of Co. L, on April 14, 1865. According to a 1907 history “with the exception of the year he was held as a prisoner, he took part in all the battles and skirmishes of his regiment and during his service was never ill or wounded and never missed a meal”. White was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on June 23, 1865.

After the war he took up farming near Peach Belt in Ganges Township but after their daughters were grown, he and his wife, the former Caroline Martin of New Richmond, traded the farm for a house in Douglas, known as Kalamont, that had been built about the time of the Civil War by Thomas Gray, a Douglas merchant. Over the piano in the parlor, he hung a large engraving of Andersonville Prison, in remembrance of the 11 months he had spent there.
By Kit Lane

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