Clarendon, on U. S. Highway 287 in central Donley County, is the county seat and chief commercial and shipping center of the county. Rev. Lewis Henry Carhart, a Methodist minister, promoted the colonization of the town through a partnership with his brother-in-law, Alfred Sully, of New York. The promoters bought railroad land scrip entitling them to 343 sections of land, most of which was in Donley County. In 1878 the Clarendon Land Investment and Agency Company, an English firm, began backing Carhart. The original site of Clarendon was on a flat at the junction of Carroll Creek and the Salt Fork of the Red River. There, on October 1, 1878, Carhart and his brother-in-law, W. A. Allen, established a Christian Colony. Although tradition maintains that Clarendon was named in honor of Carhart's wife, Clara, it has also been argued that the name was borrowed from Clarendon, England, to compliment the British backers. The townsite was platted, and construction from such available materials as rock, adobe,, and pickets began immediately.


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