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ANN WHITNEY

Texas Schoolteacher of the Year 1867

Ann Whitney tombstone, Graves-Gentry cemetery , Hamilton Texas
Ann Whitney's grave
Photo courtesy Judy McBride

Miss Ann Whitney left Massachusetts to come to Texas and teach. She was employed at a private school on the Leona River – the first school in Hamilton County to convene after the Civil War.

School then was taught only in the summer months and the small unnamed schoolhouse was hardly more than a square of logs badly stacked. The loose openings in the walls helped ventilate the structure that hot July day in 1867.

Ann was warned that a group of horsemen were approaching the isolated school. Since she knew of a group that was due to pass the school that day she assumed the riders where townsmen or settlers she knew.

The group rode into view and started shooting arrows into the classroom. It was a costly mistake for Ann to have made. She barely had time to push several students to safety and was helping two more escape through a window when members of the group rushed inside and she was shot to death. Two children huddled beneath the loose floorboards of the schoolhouse and as she died – she selflessly arranged her skirts to better conceal them.

The Comanches were accompanied by a red-headed white man. This man asked two of the captured boys if they wanted to accompany the group. It was in this manner that John Kuykendall was made a captive. The other boy related the story after he had been released.

A 17 year-old girl named Amanda Howard – having witnessed the scene from horseback – rode dangerously close to the Comanches in order to cut back to the trail and warn settlers of the attacking Indians. Her cool-headedness saved many Hamilton Countians from the fate that befell poor Ann Whitney.

Miss Whitney was buried in the Graves-Gentry cemetery of Hamilton – and her grave was marked by a marker which reads: “In Memory of Ann Whitney - frontier school teacher - Born in Massachusetts about 1835. Killed by Comanche Indians July 9, 1867. Resting in hope of a glorious resurrection. Erected by the schoolchildren of Hamilton County.

Ann Whitney historical marker
Ann Whitney's Historical marker
Photo courtesy Judy McBride
Hamilton County’s Rootsweb site www.rootsweb.hamilton.com is maintained by former Hamilton County schoolteacher Elreeta Crain Weathers. Part of Mrs. Weather’s web site – including an oral history was used for information included in the Hamilton County Chronicles. - Editor
Ann Whitney Memorial Hamilton Texas
Ann Whitney Memorial on the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn in Hamilton
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson

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