1858 - Pliny White
Coventry History

WHITE, Pliny Holton, clergyman, born in Springfield, Connecticut, 6 October, 1822; died in Coventry, Vermont, 24 April, 1869. He adopted the profession of law, was admitted to the bar of Windham county, Vermont, in 1843, and practised there till 1853. He was editor of the Brattleborough, Vermont, " Eagle" in 1851-'2, and of the " Express" at Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1857-'8. In February, 1859, he was ordained pastor of the Congregational church at Coventry, Vermont He was a member of the Vermont legislature in 1862-'3, chaplain of the senate in 1864-'6, and at the time of his death president of the Vermont historical society. He contributed frequently to the newspapers, and is the author of a " History of Coventry" (Irasburg, Vermont, 1858).

Pliny White

Pliny Holton White (1822-1869) crammed a lot of activity into his short life. Laywyer, newspaper editor, Congregational minister, businessman, public servant, educator, and civic leader, White was a prolific writer, passionately concerned with the history of his native state and the towns where he lived and worked. In 1858 he settled in Coventry, in Orlens County. That year he published 'The Life and Services of Matthew Lyon; two years later he brought out a collection of 'Early Poets of Vermont'. At the end of his life he compiled the first bibliography of Vermont, which he published in periodical from in 1869. In an article for a St. Johnsbury newspaper, White called upon his fellow citizens to take an interest in local history and he set an example by writing a history of Congregationalist churches in Orleans County, planning to expand the work to include the entire state. White's devotion to local history and especially his suggestion that each town write its own history, struck a responsive chord in the imagination of Abby Maria Hemenway. (1)

"We cheerfully acknowledge indebtedness to the Rev. P. E. WHITE, of Coventry, present President of the Vermont State Historical Society, for the suggestion from which our work grew. We had the "Poets and Poetry of Vermont" well off hands, and were looking about for something of a Vermont character to do, when a newspaper from the eastern part of the State fell in our way in which there was an appeal to the St. Johnsbury citizens, urging them to take some measures toward the gathering up and preservation of their local history; and that appeal was from the pen of Mr. White, whose historical assistance is pledged to the Gazetteer for Orleans County. If we remember rightly, the plan alluded to recommended that the towns should undertake to make up for them- selves a book of their own history; and while this did not strike us then-nor ever has since-as feasible, yet the fact pointed out that our historic material is becoming-and will continue to become-daily more and more indistinct and irrecoverable; and that our past has been too rich and, in many points, or some, too unique and romantic to lose, impressed us, and that permanently; and while we concluded many of the towns, from the lateness of their settlement or poverty of incident, could not reasonably be expected to furnish more than a small readable chapter, and no town in the State, material, when well digested, for more than a small book, they might nevertheless be gathered-all the local histories-as the roughly and completely as they could be in each town now, and arranged in a series by counties into two or more large volumes, as might be required, which would be of permanent interest and utility." (2)

1. Freedom and Unity, A History Of Vermont, Michael Sherman, Gene Sessions, P.Jeffrey Potash, 2004, Vermont Historical Society, Barre, VT
2. Vermont Historical Gazeteer, Vol. 1, Abby Maria Hemenway, 1867, Burlington, V