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James A. White moved to Bartow County around 1837 as a young child and settled with his family in the Pine Log-Rydal area. By 1860 he was married and living in Chattooga County, GA, working as a blacksmith.

When the Civil War began he moved the family back to Bartow and joined the Confederate army. He was captured at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in July 1864, and spent almost a year in Camp Douglas as a prisoner of war.

White returned home following the war and eventually gave land for a school, church, and Masonic Lodge to be built nearby. As a result, the town of White, Georgia, was named in his honor.