Tyler Today August/September 2017 : Page 28

Smith County Whitehouse Live, Work and Play by Robert Marlin Six miles from Tyler, in the southeastern corner of Smith County, is the City of Whitehouse. It was an established settlement long before it was incorporated as a city in 1953. Early letters from travelers coming from the United States indicate that as early as the late 18th century, the vicinity was the location of an encampment of the Quapaw tribe. The Quapaw made their first treaty with the United States government in 1818, in which the tribe ceded all lands from beyond the Red River southward, which included the area now occupied by Whitehouse. Most historians believe the Quapaw emigrated from the Ohio River Valley during the late 17th century. The Quapaw were called Akansea or Akansa, meaning “land of the downriver people,” by the Illinois and other Alonguian-speaking peoples to the northeast. The State of Arkansas got its name from the Quapaw, as they were the predominate tribe living in the region when French explorers first visited the region. It was in 1836 that the area was visited by travelers on their way to help defend the Alamo. Many of those people came from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia, arriving too late—as news from San Antonio arrived while they were en route that the Alamo had fallen. Many of the would-be defenders turned back homeward, and impressed with the area, they settled on the land that would soon become known as Whitehouse. By 1845, the community of settlers had grown into a town. The town is said to have gotten its name from a whitewashed building that stood near the railroad tracks. The “White House” was located near the spot where the trains stopped to take on water. It was used by the town folk as a gathering place for civic meetings and was also used at various times as a schoolhouse, a church and a place where business meetings were conducted and where social gatherings took place. In a short time, the town itself was called Whitehouse, although the name was never official until it was incorporated as the City of Whitehouse in 1953. Charles Parker met his wife Kathy when they were both students at Angelo State University. They are both natives of West Texas. Charles is currently in his second term as Mayor of Whitehouse, a position he has held for two-and-a-half years. Prior to becoming mayor, he served six years on the city council, beginning in 2008. His initial service began with fulfilling a 1-year term back in 2002 serving the remainder

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