Parker County Today May 2017 - Page 53

Continued from page 34 Whitt Seminary Photo by Mel W Rhodes be used as a church. Post school and church days the facility served Whitt as a venue for family reunions, homecomings and other commu- nity functions. In 1976, the deed for the acreage, building and quaint old-time tabernacle passed to the Whitt Cemetery Association. (Just as an aside, my maternal grandpar- ents, Walkers, are interred in the Whitt Cemetery, as are my mother and father and other kith and kin. Old-time tabernacle revivals and running wild as only night and cous- ins could make me run are among my memories of Whitt.) 

Whitt began to shrivel up when the railroad routed its tracks else- where. In the opening years of the 1900s, the community began to see serious decline and the Great Depression finished off most of what was left. The 2000 census listed 38 people in Whitt. You might say Whitt counts for but a whit of the county’s present-day population. 

Writer’s note: When writing about history, one is conscious of the fact that readers, at least some of them, might actually think one knows what one is talking about. Anyone who has tried to corral historical facts knows “the devil is in the details” — it is not uncommon to encounter discrepancies between sources. These stories are not the stuff of textbooks, though some of the historical infor- mation related likely came from such books. Bottom line: though I once served on the Palo Pinto County Historical Commission, I’m no histo- rian. If you take issue with any date, name or fact, I’m sure you’re right. schools were vying for students that the Institute just could not compete. It surrendered its charter in 1893, becoming a simple public school. Some 150 souls called Whitt home in the mid-1880s, and the community had about 20 busi- nesses. The faithful worshiped in three churches and the Whitt Moon published all the news fit to print every week. Farmers brought their crops to one of two steam-powered gristmills for processing. In 1885, the census recorded 400 people in the small town. Five years later the popu- lation was 500. Also in 1881, Whitt Seminary, the community school, opened in a two-story rock building which is extant. According to the school’s state marker, elders of the Christian Church at Whitt bought the five acres and had the rock building constructed. And: “Seminary enroll- ment was between 175 and 200 students who came from local and surrounding communities and from as far away as the Oklahoma Territory. The Seminary educated elementary through high school students and included an academic department, a music department, and a commer- cial school. Music courses offered included piano, organ, guitar, violin, and voice. Other courses included bookkeeping, commercial law, writ- ing, spelling, typing, trigonometry, history, English literature, astronomy, chemistry, and Latin.” 

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