William Spotswood White (1800-1873) was a little known Presbyterian Pastor in Virginia, born in Hanover County, Virginia and through his long ministry he lived all over the commonwealth. White was born in Virginia, and would as a pastor feel it to be his duty to remain in Virginia. White provided in his autobiography, a glimpse into Virginia Presbyterianism and its warmest characters. Perhaps the characters that made the greatest impressions on him were the Rice brothers, Benjamin and John. Both of these brothers greatly encouraged William White and provided him some wonderful anecdotes! White would serve basically as a church planter, university chaplain and large congregation pastor. Dr. White in his autobiography leaves something for everyone to enjoy.
Here is one of the enjoyable anecdotes he records:
Dr. John H. Rice and his brother Rev. Benjamin Rice were two very different types of people.
When Dr. White was being examined by Presbytery in Church Government, Dr. John Rice said:
“Mr. White, tell us, in the fewest words possible, what is the chief use of ruling elders in our church?”
To which his brother replied, answering for Dr. White, “Tell him, to watch the Preachers”. The whole crowd laughed and Dr. John H. Rice apologized for asking such a poor question, White recorded.
This book is truly a lovely little read if you want a glimpse into Virginia Presbyterianism, by a Virginia pastor, that loved and labored only in Virginia.