History of Whitt
Whitt in the late 1800’s
The earliest history of the community dates back to the coming of the first white settlers who braved the rugged frontier with threats from the Indians. The first of these brave pioneers was W.P. Clower, who came with his family in the year 1855. He settled with his family a few miles west of the place known as the Clower homestead. W.P.’s son, W.T. Clover, born in 1846 lived with his wife on the homestead until the 1980s.
The next settler to locate in that vicinity was J.D. Hardin who settled close to the Clowers in 1872. His daughter and her husband J.A. Ingram lived on the Hardin place from 1872 into the mid 1900s. They were well advanced in years, but still farming. They lived to see the frontier lands around Whitt developed into valuable oil tracts. Their land gained them a profitable lease from the drilling of the Mask wel.
J.L. Powell moved from Wise County in 1875 to three miles northeast of Whitt, which was first patented by Lemiel L. Sistrunk. J.L. Powell’s son, J.R. purchased the property, known as Powell Ranch, and lived there with his family from 1887.
Mr. Matilda Patton, born in Green County, Missouri, near Springfield in 1854, came to the Whitt community with her husband in 1873. They settled on what became the Pettyjohn place, one mile north of Whitt.
Mrs. Patton related many stories of those times as she, too, lived to an advance age. She told of the first grave in Whitt Cemetery was the resting place of Mrs. James Durnall. The grave is marked by a wall of rock, topped with another rock. (It may not exist in that form today).
She also related “The first sermon ever preached in Whitt’s first box school house built near the present school house, was preached by a cowboy preacher only seventeen years old. His text was, ‘The Lord is My Shepherd.’ Oh, we all loved to go to church then and never missed a sermon.”
A man by the name of Hopkins became postmaster and the first post office was established in 1876. The town needed a name so Mr. Hopkins named it Whitt after a man by that name.
John Buster moved to Loving Valley from Arkansas in 1876. He moved into the Whitt community the following year, built his home and the first general merchandise business in Whitt. The business was organized under the name of Jno. Buster and Sons and remained intact until the death of G.N. Buster in 1927.
A man named A. Tulloh moved to Whitt in 1877 and established the “Half-Way House.” The old stage coach was a means of mail and passenger transportation back then. These stages had long routes and it was necessary to have “stage stands” where fresh horses were kept and relays were always ready for the coming stage. One of these stands was situated near the town of Salesville on the Weatherford-Graham road and another at Christian in Palo Pinto County. The Half-Way House was so named because Whitt was half way between Jacksboro and Weatherford. It was stated that the house was still standing in Whitt, but that was over thirty years ago. (If there is a photo of the house the PCHC would like to include it in this history). One of the first drivers on this line was Charles Manville.
Mr. Tulloh was later appointed Post Master and served for ten years in that capacity. His daughter married G.N. Buster and lived up until the 1980s in the community as an honored and prominent citizen.
G.W. Gustis moved to Whitt from Jack County and set up the first gin and flour mill in the community.
The Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1860 by Mr. Noah T. Byers. Services were held in the home of the Mr. Whitt for whom the town was named. (It would seem that someone would have remembered Mr. Whitt’s first name). The church in Whitt was the third oldest Baptist Church in Parker County. In 1901, the Baptists built a church and services were there until it was destroyed by
The Methodist conference located their district high school in Whitt with Professor Boles and wife as teachers. This school was called “Parker Institute” and for many years was under the management of Professor A. Bennett, a widely-known educator who had a great part in molding and shaping the lives of his pupils, many of whom became prominent and useful citizens.
The Christian denominational school, known as “The Christian College” was established about the same time as the “Parker Institute.” This old rock building is still standing in Whitt.
The first Whitt public school was a little log house that later gave way to a box school house. In 1923 the present six-room brick building with an auditorium was built. School was held in this building until Whitt consolidated with Perrin school district in 1976.
Photo of Whitt School in 1919.
Today, Whitt can only boast about what used to be and is now gone. Each year the annual Whitt Cemetery Association Homecoming is held under the Whitt Tabernacle. The Whitt Cemetery is located on the north side of Whitt on land donated for the cemetery by Mr. Oscar Grantham
Other early prominent settlers were George Vestal, Price, Fondren, Cranfield, Radford, Williams, Vaughan, Mathis, Blocker, Beavers and Sullivan.
The area around Whitt went on to have producing oil and gas wells, cattle in the pastures, well-kept houses, good farms, big farm machinery, fast cars, and paved roads. It all took the place of the Indians, wild game, buffalo and deer that roamed the land around Whitt when the first settlers came in 1855.