Alfred Bernard White January 27, 1905 — April 13, 1923

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First Catholic High Baseball team


By MICHAEL MURPHY


Alfred Bernard White was the adopted son of Clay and Julia White, who co-owned White's Café at 431 Main Street in Natchez. A popular and athletic young man, Bernard was a favorite among classmates at Catholic High School. On April 13, 1923, the Catholic High baseball team ferried across the Mississippi river and defeated the Vidalia High School team in a game between the two rivals. On the return trip, Bernard bet a classmate $1.00 that he (Bernard) could jump off the front of the ferry and grab the back of the ferry.

Cries of "Man Overboard" went up as passengers saw him go down twice. Clay White, who was talking to Capt. S.B. McNeely at the time, threw a life preserver to the man in the river but he disappeared a third time, holding both hands up for help.

White, not realizing at first that he was attempting to save his own son, had to be restrained from jumping into the dangerous, swift currents below the ferry when he learned that it was his own son to whom he had thrown the life preserver.

Bernard's body was never recovered. Clay and Julia immediately offered a $100 reward for the recovery of their son's body should it wash up somewhere downstream. Clay White, who died in 1960, and Julia Spiers White, who died in 1964, are buried beside their Bernard's empty tomb.

The Whites had another unusual incident in their lives. In 1932 Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow came into their café and ordered club sandwiches. After Bonnie loudly complained about her sandwich, Clyde dropped $5 on the table, grabbing the sandwiches as they hurriedly left. They took the ferry to Vidalia.

Text taken from Legends of the Natchez City Cemetery — The Most Interesting Cemetery in the South – By Don Estes

Read the story in the The Daily Democrat (Natchez, Mississippi) April 14, 1923… Read more

Special thanks to Don Estes retired director Natchez City Cemetery


Photograph credit
Thomas H. and Joan W. Gandy Photograph Collection
LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Special thanks to Mimi Miller
The Historic Natchez Foundation


Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral