Donley County Seat,
Hwys 70 and 287
51 miles SE of Amarillo
Population: 2030 (2010)
courtesy Rhonda Aveni
in a Pecan Shell
Stockton P. Donley was a Texas Supreme Court Judge.
Clarendon has nearly as interesting a founding as Post,
Texas. While Post was founded on matters of health, so was Clarendon
- in a way. It was originally set up to be a town where cowboys could
"dry out". L. H. Carhart, a Methodist Minister, envisioned Clarendon
to be what he called a "sobriety settlement."
by Lou Ann Herda
"If you're like me, when you hear the name Texas
Panhandle, you probably think blue northers and the Palo
Duro Canyon. It gets cold, cold in the Panhandle
where there's hardly anything but barbed
wire fence to keep out the brisk Arctic wind in the winter.
Donley County is one of the squared counties located in the Panhandle.
Formerly the domain of Plains Apaches and later the Comanches and
Kiowas, this region was once overrun with buffalo
until White men settled in the latter 1870s. Many battles ensued between
the tribes and the Whites, including the decisive Red River War of
1874-75. Thereafter, the Indians were put on reservations in Indian
Territory, and the buffalo
were slaughtered. With the buffalo
gone, vast cattle ranches
could be established.
This is about when Methodist preacher Lewis Carhart established "Saints
Roost" up in those parts. Actually, Carhart called his no-liquor,
no-gambling Christian colony "Clarendon" after his wife, Clara. But
local rowdies gave it its nickname since they weren't allowed to be
rowdy there. Carhart's motto, "Christianity, Education, Temperance,
Civilization - Westward," set high expectations for the townspeople.
Nevertheless, a saloon and dance hall were going to be erected by
some outsiders at one point. This didn't set well with several local
cowboys, who offered to scalp them if they didn't leave. It took legendary
cattle driver Charles
Goodnight to persuade the business owners to pack up and leave.
He gave them ten hours to go, and, by golly, they were gone before
that. By the early 1880s, Clarendon
was one of only three towns in the Panhandle.
Saints Roost is now like Atlantis, under water (the Greenbelt Reservoir,
to be exact). Clarendon has been
the county seat since 1882.
Incidentally, the August 2, 1879, edition of the Clarendon News,
which claimed that there was to be "no whisky forever in Clarendon,"
made comment on the Sunday law. This so-called law extended between
the hours of midnight on Saturday until midnight on Sunday, during
which time no shopping or trading was allowed. It appears that a drought
had laid siege on the land and that "to many old guzzlers, it seem[ed]
an eternity between drinks." I guess they were guzzling lemonade since
whisky wasn't allowed."... more
Attractions / Landmarks
The 1894 courthouse restored to its former glory.
- Hwy 70 South of town. In former Hospital founded by Cornelia Adair.
The name Saint's Roost was bestowed upon Clarendon by cowboys who
were mildly chiding the founder's intentions.
Hotels Book Hotel Here
National Register of Historic Places
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
John Baptist Episcopal Church
Oldest church continuously in use in the Texas Panhandle
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
On 3rd & Parks Street
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, July 2009
Texas Historical Places
Gwen Edgett, June
It was erected by Mrs. C. Adair on the ranch to treat the hired
hands of the ranch. Till then there was no other hospital for treatment.
It stayed in operation till 1970's when the new county hospital
was built going out of town by the drive in. Till then it was the
county hospital for a extremely long time. Till the new hospital
was built unless you were born at home you were born in that hospital.
I was born in 1960. My mother was the Office Manager at that time.
Having adolescent asthma meant I spent a lot of time there.
organ in the Baptist Church
At one time it was the largest pipe organ in N. Texas. It had been
painted with native flowers and butterflies. It was a thing of beauty.
Why they decided to paint it over I don't know. There was a painting
Mary done by a local artist that they discovered kind of glowed
in the dark. It wasn't supernatural. It had to do with the combination
of items used in the crafting of it. It was moved down to the children's
area in the basement for a long time. The metal rings embedded in
the curb were for people to tie their horses to during meetings.
(There are fewer and fewer of these each year.)
and longest operating drug store was in Clarendon.
Not only the
first but last legal hanging was in Clarendon. The man was
innocent. They found out afterwards that another man had done it.
Side note: The youngest deputy involved in it never got over it.
He would sit in his rocking chair saying "He didn't do it" over
the only cowboy cemetery still in operation.
There is so much more to my hometown to be proud of.
1913 postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
County Chamber of Commerce
PO BOX 730 Clarendon, Texas 79226
Formed from Young and Bexar territories; Created August 21, 1876;
Organized March 22, 1882; Named in honor of Stockton P. Donley 1821-1871;
a Confederate officer elected to the Texas Supreme Bench in 1866;
Clarendon, the County Seat.
Dear Editor - I am doing some genealogical history and am wondering
if you have suggestions as to a local person with whom I might communicate.
I am researching a fellow named Rev. Richard Allen Hall who was
a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He was Presiding
Elder of the Clarendon District for four years in the 1893-1899
period. Supposedly he helped to found or did found Clarendon College
and was on the Board of Trustees. He married a woman named Alice
Texanna Neely from that area in 1881. If you have any suggestions
as to someone who might be familiar with area Methodist preachers
in that period or the founding of Clarendon, I would be very interested
in communicating with them. Thank you. - Kalmin Smith, May 28, 2006,
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact