FERN WHITAKER HENDERSON

[Henderson]

On a beautiful spring day in 1901, a lovely baby girl was born in Comanche, Oklahoma. Her name was Fern. Fern was one of 6 children (3 boys and 3 girls) born to the farming couple of Charles and Nannie Whitaker.

The Whitaker family farmed in Comanche until Fern was about 8 years old, then moved to Tucumcari, N.M. Farming in the area did not work out for the family due to the lack of rain. The family gathered their belongings and moved to Whiteflat, TX.

Fern enjoyed a somewhat typical farm life in Whiteflat. School was only a 3 mile jaunt from their farm. There she took primary lessons and learned the 3 R’s. At age 16, she decided to leave school and help the family full-time on the farm.

There were always opportunities to have fun in the small farming community. As a youngster, she enjoyed many community singing conventions and dinners-on-the-ground. These conventions were held once or twice a month. “They sang all day...there were ice cream parties and we played Drop the Handkerchief” Henderson recalls with delight.

There were also dark periods in her life; the 1918 Flu Epidemic and the Dust Bowl. “Everyone had the flu...We lost 6 people in White Flat” says Henderson. When speaking of the Dust Bowl, she says “I saw a lot of sand in the Dust Bowl...It was so dark when the dust storms came through.”

Church life was very important to the community of Whiteflat and that was where Fern met Floyd Henderson. They grew up together in the community and Floyd would take Fern to Baptist church in a horse and buggy. The young couple dated for 11 months then Floyd popped the question. Fern says “he went off to the service in North Carolina and we got married when he came back.” The happy couple married in 1920 and moved to Flomont, TX. Soon the couple became a family with the addition of a precious baby girl, Dorothy.

A short time later, the Henderson’s began their life as a farmers and ranchers in the Barton community. After 7 years of marriage, the couple became the proud parents of a precious baby girl named Dorothy.

Fern was a devoted housewife and mother, but there were many other activities that kept her involved in her community. She was very social and loved the card game of 42. In fact she was a member of three different 42 card playing clubs. The rest of her leisure time was spent crocheting, embroidering and tatting. It goes without saying that she was very involved in church activities. She was a member of her choir and the BYPU organization in her Baptist church.

In 1955, Floyd and Fern moved to Matador where they retired from their life of farming and ranching their 2200 acre spread. Later in the 1960's, Floyd passed away. The Henderson’s had been married for 43 years.

Looking back on her life, Fern says that her most precious moments have been with her family. One of her most memorable times was when they went boating and camping with their grandchildren at Buffalo Lake. Fern says “we spent the night and cooked out over the campfire.”

One thing is very true, Fern loves her family and they love her. She cherishes the many visits from her loving family of 1 daughter, 2 granddaughters and 3 great grandchildren. Her wall is covered with their photos and she beams with pride when speaking of their accomplishments. She is also the heart of her nursing home. At present, Fern enjoys playing bingo, visiting with residents and enriching the lives of the staff at her nursing home.


[Henderson at 101]

Fern celebrating her 101st birthday

[Henderson at 101]

Fern and a friend enjoying her 101st birthday party

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