Hon. John Robert White, Jr., who represented the Sixty-first California Assembly District in the Forty-third and Forty-fourth General Assemblies, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 15, 1870; a son of Capt. John Robert and Katie (Ashbridge) White. Capt. White was of Scotch ancestry and a native of Maryland, while Katie Ashbridge was of Quaker decent and was born in Philadelphia. The Ashbridge family in America, date back to 1683, the year following the arrival of William Penn.
Capt. John Robert White enlisted, at the outbreak of the Civil War, with the Eighteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, served four months and re-enlisted at once in Co., G., One Hundred Eighteenth Regiment, and went to the front as a first sergeant. At Shepardstown, all the company officers were killed, and, by special orders from Major General Fritz John Porter, Sergeant White was made a lieutenant. He served with his regiments at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and through many other engagements to Appomatox, and was advanced to the rank of captain.
Mustered out of the service at the close of the war, Captain White returned to Philadelphia. In due time he became one of the firm of Boyd, White & Co., of Philadelphia; manufacturers, jobbers and importers of carpets and rugs; for many years one of the largest concerns of its kind in the country. In 1895 Capt. White sold his interests in Philadelphia and came to California and purchased a walnut ranch at Burbank, which he managed for several years before retiring. In Philadelphia, Capt. White was a director of the Ninth National Bank, the Central Trust and Safe Deposit Company and the Industrial Safe Deposit Company; was a member of the Committee of Fifty, organized to promote measure for the benefit of the City; and was a well-known member of the Union League, United Service Club, Historical Society and other minor societies. Fraternally, Capt. White was a Mason. His death occurred March 15, 1915, in the eightieth year of his life. The demise of Mrs. White occurred in 1897.
The subject of this sketch supplemented his high school education with a three-year course at Wharton School of Finance and Economy at the University of Pennsylvania, which fitted him for public life. He became an employee of Boyd, White & Co.; first as one of the office force, then for one year sold goods on the floor, after which he was promoted to the position of buyer of carpets and oriental rugs, and served in that capacity until 1895. Then, he accompanied his parents to California and assisted in locating them on a ranch at Burbank. Returning to the East Mr. White was a traveling sales man for a New York City carpet and rug concern for two years; after which, he returned to California and followed ranching at Burbank for four years. He accepted a position as salesman for T. Bellington & Co., of Los Angeles, and served in that capacity until 1905. He then became buyer and manager of the carpet and rug department of the newly organized California Furniture Co., of Los Angeles, which position he still holds. In 1906 Mr. White became a stockholder in the company, and since 1919 has been on the board of directors.
Mr. White is an ardent Republican, and has been an active supporter of the party for many years. In 1909 he was appointed to fill an unexpired term as city trustee, re-elected in 1912, and chosen mayor. He resigned from this position in May of the same year because of pressing business activities. During Mr. White’s incumbency as trustee and under his administration as chairman of the board of trustees, a number of intricate problems were confronted and brought to a successful issue. One of these was the lowering to grade of the Pacific Electric railway’s track on Brand Boulevard. This was accomplished only after many conferences with the railroad officials and by the firm and persistent course adopted by the governing body of the city, acting generally through the chairman of the board and the city attorney. The successful venture of the city into municipal ownership in the distribution of light and power was accomplished during this era. In 1918, Mr. White was elected to the state legislature on the Republican ticket, and re-elected to the same office in 1920. During his first term he was chairman of the committee on mileage, and a member of the committees on ways and means, education, banking, oil industries, labor and capital. During the second term he was chairman of the committee on governmental efficiency and economy, and a member of the committees on re-apportionment, ways and means, attaches, civil services, labor and capital. He was opposed tot he King tax bill which was passed after a stormy battle had ensued, and which will go down in history as one of the hardest fought battles that ever took place in the State House.
Mr. White is president of the Association for the Betterment of Public Service of Southern California; an organization that seeks to place efficient and capable officers in public service. He is also treasurer of the Federal Discount Corporation of California. He belongs to the Flintridge Country Club; the Los Angeles Athletic Club; the Sons of the American Revolution; the military order, Loyal Legion of the United States; the fraternity, Delta Upsilon; the Glendale Chamber of Commerce; and represents the California Furniture Co. in the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. In Philadelphia he was a member of the Union League Club. Fraternally, he is a Master Mason. Since 1905 Mr. White has made semi-annual business trips to New York City for his company, and is recognized as an authority of national importance on goods in his line; especially on oriental rugs. He delivers lectures at the University of Southern California on the oriental rug subject and also contributes articles for publication to the trade magazines.
At Burbank, California, on August 31, 1901, Mr. White married Rosa A. Luttge, a native of Cook County, Illinois; daughter of Henry and Rosa (Wagner) Luttge. The Luttge family came to Southern California in 1893 and settled on a ranch at Burbank. Mrs. White is well known and prominent in club life in Glendale. She is past president secretary of the Glendale Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations, secretary of the Glendale chapter of the American Red Cross, director and past treasurer of the Tuesday Afternoon Club. She is a past president of the Columbus Avenue Parent-Teacher Association, of which whe was also parliamentarian for two years. Mr. and Mrs. White have four children: John Robert 3d., as student in Stanford University; Douglas Ashbridge, a junior in Glendale Union High School; Kenneth Ashbridge attends the intermediate school; and Gorden Ashbridge attends the grade school. The family home is on Lexington Drive at North Orange Street, and is one of Glendale’s attractive homes.
From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. P. 327 –329. Photos of John Robert White, Jr. and Rose L. White are on pages 325 and 326.