Much of the history of Rochester that we have access to today is due to the efforts of local historian Anna Elizabeth White (1927-2017). Anna co-authored a 300-year history of Rochester’s First Congregational Church and was a preservation partner for the Historical Collections of Rochester’s Joseph H. Plumb Memorial Library.
Local historian Anna Elizabeth White (1927-2017) was born in Rochester, MA on June 28, 1927, to two well-known local families. Her father Maxwell was a Gifford and her mother Grace May was a Hartley. Anna was a 1945 graduate of Wareham High School. Married to Ainsley Churbuck White for 45 years, the couple had three children – Andrew, Thomas and Melissa.
Though occasionally during her married life she lived away from Rochester, she was happiest in the town she loved. Over the years she gave time and energy to many community organizations. Anna was a member of the Rochester Historical Society, the Rochester Land Trust, the Rochester Grange, the Marion Visiting Nurses, the First Congregational Church, and the Salvation Army. Anna’s award-winning pies were the hit of the Rochester Grange Fair.
Anna worked for many years, until retirement, as the Administrative Assistant to the Town of Rochester’s Board of Selectmen. She gained a wealth of knowledge about Rochester and its people while working at Town Hall. This knowledge combined with her curiosity and love of both history and the town made her the go-to person for historical questions. Anna was the Church Historian for the First Congregational Church and along with Betty Beaulieu wrote a book on the first 300 years of the church, A History of the First Congregational Church of Rochester, Massachusetts 1703-2003.
In 2001, Anna was appointed to the preservation partnership of the Historical Collections at Rochester’s Joseph H. Plumb Memorial Library. The Historical Collections include material about the towns of Rochester, Marion, Mattapoisett and Wareham, genealogical resources, maps, photographs, and artifacts. The grant-funded preservation project included preserving fragile and unique items, improving storage of historic materials, and improving online and in-person access to those materials.
Much of the history of Rochester that we have access to today is due to Anna’s efforts. She passed away on October 27, 2017 at the age of 90.
Connie Eshbach, Rochester Historical Society
“Anna Elizabeth White.” Dignity Memorial, 2017, https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/fairhaven-ma/anna-white-7617347.
Local History with Don Cuddy. Interview with Anna White. ORCTV, 2013.
White, Anna, and Betty Beaulieu. A History of the First Congregational Church of Rochester, Massachusetts 1703-2003. 300th Anniversary Committee, 2007.