EM White History

chris pearson

Michigan Canoe Nut
Can anyone give me some details on the EM White company? I know the models made based on cateloges but what about Whites involvement? When it changed hands? How long was he involved in the company? Etc.. Other interesting facts. Does anyone have a good deck decal? Mine has had large holes drilled through it.

At Gilman Falls, E.M. White started producing canoes in 1888. In an interview in 1901 in the Old Town Enterprise, Mr. White told how he became interested in building canvas canoes. "I saw a man by the name of Evan Gerrish of Bangor riding in the Penobscot River in a canvas-covered canoe. I quickly saw the advantages of that kind over my birchbark, which more*over leaked. I examined the canvas canoe closely, and in a short time was able to produce one which was so good someone wanted to buy it." White started building canoes at his Gilman Falls family home by boiling ribs in his mother's washtub and using a horse on a treadmill for power. White's brother-in-law, E.L. Hinckley, became a working partner and provided the capital to open a large shop in nearby Old Town. Old Town Acquired E. M. White on Halloween 1984.
White sold the company sometime after WWII to long time employee Walter King and his brother-in-law Pat Farnsworth. Farnsworth sold his interest shortly there after to Herb Sargent another local businessman and he installed his brother- in-law John Gowen to oversee his interests in the company. Sometime in the around 1964 King Left White as it was floundering and when to work for Old Town. King was responsible for many innovative fiberglass designs that helped Old Town maintain their place on the modern canoeing world.

Robert P. Ross
Ross Bros.
PO Box 60277
Florence, MA 01062
Robert-- Do you know if there is a family-connection between the Kings that married into the Morris family and Walter King? (Dang, I really do need to sign up for Ancestry.com, but it's so expensive!)

Bert Morris's brother Charlie's daughter married a King, and Charlie's grandson's name was Charles King (nephew of Bert).

I'd love to see some sort of flow-chart of the inter-relationships among the Maine canoe builders... including the workers who went from one factory to another, taking their knowledge and passing it on... but also the marriages from one family into another. I recall reading somewhere of a marital-connection between Morris and Kennebec (like Bert's wife's sister to a Kennebec Company owner)... but now can't find where I might have seen that.

Love that Gerrish/White story. The early Whites are heart-thumpers.