The Reverend Daniel White
The Life and Family of an Influential Scottish Immigrant
Submitted by Glenn H. McGugan
The Reverend Daniel White, (or Donald Whyte, as his marriage banns in the Parish of Rothsay,
Kirk of Rowe, has it), became quite an influential man after his immigration from Scotland to
the Scottish settlement along the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.
Daniel White was born c.1784, and is said to be from "Cowell, in the Lowlands of Scotland"
(probably Cowal, the three?pronged peninsula to the east, and across the Firth of Clyde from
Greenock, whose main town is Dunoon. As a young man, he heard the preachings of a certain
Reverend Daniel McArthur, who was preaching the Baptist message in that area of Scotland,
much against the wishes of the establishment. Young Daniel White was swayed by what he heard,
as were several Campbell youths of the area. One Campbell, a young lady by the name of Catherine,
joined the Baptists and soon married Daniel White.
Catherine was of the Campbells of Rosneath, her father said to be the man who built Rosneath
Castle (now demolished, where Eisenhour, Churchill, and Montgomery met in 1944 to concert
the plans for the invasion of France. Rosneath is due north of Greenock, across the Clyde,
on the shore of Gare Loch). Nothing is known of the first months, or year or so of Daniel
and Catherine's married life, except that he was preparing himself for the ministry. He felt
a strong calling to come to America and preach the Baptist message to the Highlanders already
established here, and Catherine resisted the move. It is said that Daniel had a dream one
night, and was disturbed, but Catherine could not waken him. She feared that he was dying,
and prayed that if the Lord would spare her husband, she would do anything. The next morning,
when Daniel awakened, he explained that he had dreamed that he was preaching to a Highland
congregation in America. Catherine took this as a sign, and finally consented to the move
to America. Her father converted her dowry to gold coin, which would later be used wisely,
as will be seen.
Daniel and Catherine White sailed from Greenock on August 28, 1807 and landed at Charleston
on October 7, 1807. From Charleston, they sailed up the coast to Wilmington, and then made
their way up the Cape Fear River. On the first Sunday of November, 1807, near Lumber Bridge
in Robeson County, N.C., Rev. Daniel White preached his first sermon to the Highlanders in
America, and the religious life of many Scottish families was soon to be changed for generations
Daniel and Catherine's first daughter was born in the Lumber Bridge area, but they were not
to remain in that area long. Daniel received a call to pastor the Welsh Neck Baptist Church
in Society Hill, South Carolina. He accepted, and was pastor of that church from 1808 until
1811. Daniel and Catherine's second daughter was born in South Carolina. There were some
Scottish members at this church, as a walk through the cemetery will attest, but evidently
not enough to satisfy Daniel, whose calling was to deliver the Baptist message to the Highlanders.
He resigned his pastorate at Welsh Neck, and moved his young family to Richmond County, N.C.,
near what has become the town of Wagram in present day Scotland County, N.C.
Here Daniel and Catherine invested her dowry gold, and bought approximately 2,000 acres of land,
all of which was said to be still owned by their descendants as late as 1950, if not to the
present date. The area is now known as "Riverton," and the rest of their children were born here.
In 1813, they met with a small group of local followers, and organized Spring Hill Baptist Church
(readers who were with us in October, 1989 for the bus tour of this area may remember the cemetery
across the road from the home of the poet John Charles McNeill. That was Spring Hill Cemetery,
and the area of the original church. John Charles McNeill and other descendants of Daniel White
are buried there).
As was the custom in Presbyterian churches during this time, Rev. White also preached tha same sermon
twice each Sunday. The morning service was conducted in English; the afternoon, or evening service
being in Gaelic. During the early days of Spring Hill, Rev. White was able to convert at least two
important heads of local families: Malcolm McMillan and Archibald Graham.
Daniel White was not content to be the pastor of a small neighborhood church. He travelled throughout
the Scottish settlement along the Cape Fear, preaching the Baptist message, and winning many converts.
"River" Daniel Blue, who lived on Little River in Moore County, wrote in 1817 to his brother Dugald
in New York, that "they hear Mr. White as he preaches in their settlement. They are very expert in
the scriptures as for that profession I never yet doubted but what it is true and genuine, as for my
part I found no faith in it yet." (See p. 32, Scottish Blue Family, by Douglas F. Kelly for the full
letter). In the fall of 1824, the Rev. White left home for one of his missionary trips among the
Highlanders. He went up through Fayetteville, and was working his way down the Cape Fear. He became
ill in Pender County, and was taken to the home of friends there. After several days, he died on
October 28, 1824 at the young age of 40 years. He was buried near the village of Atkinson, about 15
miles west of Burgaw, in Colvin Cemetery, a family cemetery. Catherine and Charles Livingston, her
son?in?law, after hearing of the death and burial, hitched a wagon and, stopping in Fayetteville to
purchase a proper tombstone, travelled to the cemetery to place the monument at his grave (that original
tombstone was much later moved from the neglected family cemetery and placed at Spring Hill, where it
could be properly maintained).
A young man by the name of John Monroe, who was a convert of Daniel White's and was already his assistant
at Spring Hill, assumed all of the local pastoral duties. He did an admirable job of continuing the work
begun by Rev. White, not only at Spring Hill, but also in helping to establish other Baptist Churches in
Catherine Campbell White did not remarry after the death of Daniel, but spent the rest of her life working
with the church and promoting education in the community she and Daniel had selected to settle in after
coming here. She died on Jan. 29, 1867, at the age of 81, and is buried at the Livingston/Smith family
cemetery near Wagram.
Not only did the lives of Daniel and Catherine Campbell White have an enormous impact on the religious
life of their chosen community; their strong educational values have had an effect not only on their
descendants, but children of their neighbors as well. The Riverton Community is well known for producing
not only the first Poet Laureate of North Carolina, but for also producing other writers, educators, and doctors.
The children of Daniel and Catherine Campbell White:
1 ? Mary ? b. 10?28?1807 m. Charles Livingston
2 ? Anna Belle ? b. 3?28?1809 m. Duncan McGugan
3 ? Jennette Euphemia ? b. c 1811 m. John Johnson
4 ? Rebecca ? b. c 1813 m. Rev. P. C. Connelly
5 ? John C. ? b. c 1816 (died Sep. 1818)
1 ? Mary White (b. 10?28?1807 - d. 10?28?1893) married Charles Livingston (b. 1787 - d. 9?21?1837)
Both are buried in the Livingston/Smith Cemetery in Scotland County, NC.
6 ? Catherine ? b. c 1827
7 ? Daniel White ? b. 5?27?1828 m. Mary ?
8 ? Sarah ? b. c 1830
9 ? Ann Eliza ? b. c 1832
10 ? Euphemia ? b. 8?24?1834 m. Duncan McNeill
11 ? Caroline ? b. c 1836
(Note ? Duncan and Euphemia were the parents of the poet, John Charles McNeill.
Duncan was the son of John McNeill and Catherine Johnson.
John was part of a family known as the "New McNeills," immigrating in 1819 from Northampton
parish,Argyll, Scotland. After Catherine died, John married her sister Mary (Polly).
Both were sisters of John Johnson who married Jennette Euphemia White ? see below).
2 ? Anna Belle White b. (3?28?1809 d. 2?13?1891) married Duncan McGugan (b. 5? ?1794 d. 1?15?1862)
They lived in present Hoke County, N.C., west of Lumber Bridge, and both are buried in the
Duncan McGugan Family Cemetery near there. Duncan was born at Barrahormid, North
Knapdale, Argyllshire, Scotland. His parents were John McGugan and Margaret McNeill,
and they immigrated in 1802. The children of Duncan and Ann were:
12 ? Daniel White ? b. 7? 1?1828 n.m.
13 ? Dr. John Monroe ? b. 1?12?1830 m. Mary Louise Powell
14 ? Catherine J. ? b. 12?29?1832 m. Duncan B. McGougan
15 ? Margaret Jane ? b. 1?25?1834 n.m.
16 ? Duncan Campbell ? b. 8? 8?1837 n.m.
17 ? Mary Ann ? b. 12?22?1839 n.m.
18 ? Rebecca Eliza ? b. 4?24?1842 m. Edward Currie
19 ? James Archibald ? b. 7? 4?1844 n.m.
20 ? Jennett Euphemia b. 8? 5?1846 m. Capt. John Douglas Malloy
21 ? Rev. Charles Patrick b. 1849 m. Lillie McDaniel Graham
(Note ? This writer is descended from Duncan McGugan's brother Archibald, whose 2nd wife was
a sister of the above Duncan B. McGougan. Both McGugan families lived near Lumber
Bridge and both families were converted to the Baptist faith.)
3 ? Jennette Euphemia White b. 1811 d. 4?22?1862 married John Johnson (b. 1804 d. 1882)
They lived near Wagram, and both are buried at Spring Hill Cemetery near there. John was born at
Barinlocan, Argyllshire, Scotland. His parents were McNeill Johnson and Christian Monroe.
The Johnson's immigrated in 1803. John's sisters married John McNeill (see above). John and Jennette's
22 ? Capt. Daniel White? b. 10?27?1833 n.m. (died in Civil War)
23 ? Neill Duncan ? b. 12?24?1835 n.m. (died in Civil War)
24 ? Rebecca Ann ? b. 7?25?1838 m. William McKenzie
25 ? John Monroe ? b. 8? 9?1840 m. Emma Crider Richardson
26 ? Catherine White ? b. 6? 8?1843 m. Thomas Mervelle Watson II
27 ? Robert Archibald ? b. 11?19?1845 m. Rosa Steele Ledbetter
28 ? Mary Amanda ? b. 4?14?1848 m. Archibald Alex. McMillan
29 ? Charles ? b. 3?24?1851 m. Archie Snead Dyson
4 ? Rebecca White (b. 10?29?1813 d. 6?27?1900) married Rev. Patrick/Peter C. Connelly (b. 1811 d. 8?21?1876)
Patrick (or Peter) was a Baptist minister. This family was in Montgomery County, N.C. in 1850,
but by 1860 were back in the Wagram area. They are both buried in the Connelly Family Cemetery
near Wagram. Their known children were:
30 ? Mary Amanda ? b. 9?25?1837 died young
31 ? Catherine ? b. c 1839
32 ? Daniel White ? b. 11?28?1841
33 ? William R. ? b. c 1843
34 ? A. Judson ? b. 4?21?1851 m. Rebecca McNatt
35 ? Jannette Euphemia ? b. 11? 9?1853
Sources: Documents and books in the Scotland County Library at Laurinburg, NC, as well as field
research by the author.
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