About White's

The Josiah White Story


170 years of new possibilities

Josiah White’s exists because of a mission set in motion in 1850 to help “the most deserted of children.”  The goal was to help children in need obtain a quality education, grow in their spiritual development, and gain valuable work experience.  

Josiah White’s has grown from its founding in 1850 to become one of Indiana’s oldest and largest nonprofit social services agencies serving children, teens and families, with offices around the state, including a residential campus in Wabash, Indiana.

Josiah White was an influential business man from Pennsylvania who was instrumental in developing the Anthracite Coal industry by improving waterway transportation along the Lehigh river.    To appreciate the impact he had, we should look at the story of Josiah White.

As a young man, Josiah entered the business world as an apprentice for a hardware store at the age of 14.  He quickly learned and understood the business and by the age of 21 had already went into business for himself and sold his hardware store with enough wealth to retire comfortably.  With this, he was at a crossroad.  As he states:

“Here was a choice between applies my means & my talents, in a way of singular use to My fellow being & not impair my Estate, & not as I thought involve me in pledge or trouble, & thus myself & others would be benefited, & especially & I believed I had discovered the true plan of Mak- ing Dams secure by the manner of laying the stone or mate- rial on it instead of against it.

on the other hand I could Rent out my money on inter- est, do nothing for others but pass down the hill of life with- out good or harm to others, & allso be free from care & trouble Here was the two Alternatives openly before my mind for some weeks before I made up my mind.

I finally concluded that I would be more likely to be happy in this world, & in the other also; if I took the course that would be usefull to others, in all my undertakings & not to eat my bread alone & in idleness.

In consequence of this Resolution I bought the Falls of S c buy 1 kill for its water power & gave $14,000 for it in the Spring of 1810. I had not been in possession of it 12 months, before I discovered I had jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.”

With this decision, he worked diligently through trial and hardship until as he was approaching age 65 and had amassed significant wealth through successfully revolutionized the canal and coal industries.  With his success, he desired to leave a lasting legacy of helping others.  In his will, he left funds to purchase what is now Josiah White’s property in Wabash Indiana to begin serving “the most deserted of children.”  

Today we carry on this legacy as we stay close to his hearts desire.

”then I should be in close communion with him, who has gone to prepare mansions for me, to dwell with him in, to the endless ages of all Eternity. Ah happy should I be to take the council of him who said, Seek & ye shall find, pray without ceasing & in every thing give God thanks & thus love all his creation through him that Loved me, & gave the sacrifice of his Body for me & for all”