Whittington (Garland County)
Whittington is a community in eastern Garland County located about three-quarters of a mile southwest of Fountain Lake (Garland County) and ten miles northeast of Hot Springs (Garland County) along Arkansas Highway 5. Whittington is not to be confused with Whittington Park located in Hot Springs.
Whittington is likely named for early settler Hiram Whittington, who moved to what would become Garland County in 1832. He obtained hundreds of acres of land in the 1830s in the area that would become Whittington, as well as other locations in Garland and Saline counties. Upon his death in 1890, Whittington was buried with other members of his family in the Whittington Cemetery located on Mill Creek Road. After the cemetery experienced vandalism in the late twentieth century, the Garland County Historical Society moved the headstones to Hollywood Cemetery in Hot Springs in 1992. A permanent marker was placed in former cemetery at that time.
The earliest settlers to the area include Brazilla Wright, who obtained 120 acres of land near Whittington in 1837 and an additional forty acres in 1839. Wright lived in the area with his wife and five children, according to the 1840 census. Fleming Huddleston obtained eighty acres in 1850. Huddleston appears in the 1850 census as living in the area with his wife and their son and daughter and was also listed as being deaf. William Garner received forty acres in 1855 with another eighty in 1859. John Garner also received forty acres in 1855. The two men lived with their families on the land and farmed. It does not appear that any of the families were slave owning. The last land patent issued in the area was received by Thomas Dodson for 160 acres in 1915.
The rocky soil of the area prevented large-scale farming, and most of the families in the area grew wheat and raised cattle. Small-scale farming took place, with produce either used by the residents or sold in Hot Springs. In addition to the farms, several businesses operated in the Whittington area. The Watson and later Ross families operated a water-powered mill on the South Fork of the Saline River to grind corn. Charcoal factories, stave mills, and shingle mills also operated in the area.
The Whittington area belonged to Hot Spring County until the formation of Garland County in 1873. A post office opened in Whittington in 1838, although some sources place the date as 1857. It continued to operate until 1930, when operations consolidated with Lonsdale (Garland County). The area was part of Union Township until the Garland County government underwent a reorganization in 1996. The community is now part of the Whittington Township, one of four townships in the county.
A school operated in the community for a number of years and appears on a list of rural districts in the county during the 1913–14 academic year. The school consolidated with Mount Valley, Howard, Evening Shade, and Number One in 1927 to create the Fountain Lake District. The community continues to be served by the Fountain Lake District in the twenty-first century. The Whittington Church organized in 1892 and became an active congregation within the Saline Baptist Association. The early school was housed in the church. It is unclear when the church ceased operations.
The Whittington Masonic Lodge Number 365 organized in 1878 and received its charter on January 16, 1879. The current building was dedicated on May 19, 1968. The lodge continues to be active in the twenty-first century.
The heavily timbered area contains a few homes and businesses in the early twenty-first century. It is closely associated with the Fountain Lake community and Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties).
For additional information:
Anthony, Isabel, ed. Garland County, Arkansas: Our History and Heritage. Garland County Historical Society, 2009.
Cline, Inez. “Union Township, Garland County, Arkansas.” The Record 12 (1971): 102-A.
Cunning, Charles. “The Whittington Project.” The Record 33 (1992): 127–132.
Whittington Masonic Lodge Number 365. http://www.masonic-lodges.com/hot-springs-ar-masonic-lodge.html (accessed October 20, 2020).
Henderson State University
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