Peter White, born in Edinburgh, was a merchant seaman when he was pressed into the Royal Navy in 1813 and sent to Canada. Following service on the Great Lakes under Commodore Sir James Yeo, he left the Navy and entered the lumber trade in the Ottawa Valley. In May, 1828, he first visited the wilderness site of Pembroke and, attracted by its timber potential, made his headquarters here. One of the area's principal lumber merchants, he also operated a general store and combined blacksmith shop and leatherworking establishment. A local magistrate for some forty years, White held various municipal offices in the community which grew up around his enterprises. He died in 1878.