in a Pecan Shell|
Whiteflat was originally a Matador Ranch line camp. Either Bill Tilson or
Mrs. H. H. Campbell named the town in 1899 for the abundant white needlegrass.The
town was established between the geographic features of Willow Creek and Tom Ball
By 1910 Whiteflat had a school and the population reportedly
reached several hundred.
The high school dates from the 1920s when the
town also had a cotton gin and post office.
According to the Handbook
of Texas, "early families included the Tilsons, Bloodworths, Wilkinsons, Morrisses,
The population was a mere 50 in the late 1940s - the
period of increased mobility and school consolidations. The proximity of Matador
was the biggest contributor to Whiteflat's decline. In 1980 the population was
down to only 20 and the Texas highway map of 2000 shows an estimated population
of three people.
The post office and all businesses have long been closed.
parsonage for the Methodist Church|
Photo courtesy Jon M. Hager, 9-04
old Whiteflat school. "It's now overgrown and horses are kept on the land
behind the school building." - Jon M. Hager, 9-04 photo |
Close up view of Whiteflat
Photo courtesy Jon M. Hager, 9-04
Whiteflat Historical Marker (On Hwy 70)|
Photo courtesy Barclay
area of Motley County was first called "White Flat" due to the tall white needlegrass
which covered the flat prairie land. A post office, named Whiteflat, was established
for the rural settlement in 1890 at the request of W.R. Tilson.
height, the community boasted four grocery stores, three service stations, three
garages, two cafes, a hardware store, two gins, and three churches. A school,
first housed in a one-room schoolhouse built by volunteers, opened in 1890. It
was replaced by a four-room school in 1908, and in 1922 a new two-story brick
structure was erected. It also served as a community gathering place.
Dependent on an economy based on agriculture and small family farms, the community
began to decline as a result of the depression and dust bowl years of the 1930s.
The Whiteflat school closed in 1946, when it was consolidated with Matador
schools. The local churches disbanded in the 1960s; the post office closed in
1966 following the death of the last postmaster, Ida Morris; and the last remaining
retail business, a grocery store and service station closed in 1968.
Motley County Postal map showing Whiteflat. |
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
I happened across Whiteflat while driving back from a hiking
trip with my son Erich (Labor Day weekend). Whiteflat is in the panhandle (Motley
County) on highway 70 between Turkey
current local population can't be more than a handful as I saw only one home that
looked as if it might be occupied (though we did not explore the area very long).
I've provided copies of three of the photos I took during our visit.
- Jon M. Hager Grand Prairie, Texas, September 12, 2004
Texas Forum White
My grandfather, William W. Pierce, rented a farm near White Flat sometime between
1918 and 1925. He and his older sons, my uncles, raised cotton until a barn fire
destroyed the harvest they were storing there, waiting for better prices. They
later moved to Floydada, where my mother met my father in 1929. My aunt, Mae (Pierce)
Griggs, who died in January of 2005 at the age of 97, told me three things about
[those] time[s] at White Flat:
1. The school hired some local boys to drive
to the surrounding farms in a covered wagon to bring the children to school.
2. The school did not have a storm shelter. Instead there was a large ditch next
to the building. If a tornado was sighted the students and teachers would lie
down in the ditch.
3. Airplanes were extremely rare in this region at the
time. One day one flew over the school. The teachers allowed all the students
to run outside to see it. - Thomas Maddux, September 23, 2006
I grew up in Whiteflat and the white building was the parsonage for the Methodist
Church which I attended in the 1950 until it closed in the 1960.
old school building was used in the 50's and 60's to hold elections and I can
remember attending a Halloween haunted house there put on by the Home Demonstration
The Baptist Church was behind the school building. If you go west
on the dirt road, you will come to the Whitflat Cemetery. - S. Alexander, June
Perhaps this building was a business or government building
before mid 1930, but I really believe it was the parsonage for the Methodist Church.
I have been inside the house and cannot imagine it serving any purpose other than
a residence. - Earle Price, May 22, 2005
Your Hotel Here & Save