The land run started at high noon on April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres (8,100 km2). The Unassigned Lands were considered some of the best unoccupied public land in the United States.
Great Texas Land Rush
WHITE ROCK, TEXAS (Fannin County). White Rock (Whiterock) was between State highways 11 and 78 two miles off Farm Road 1553 and seven miles south of Bonham in Fannin County.
It was named for a local limestone that turns a brilliant white when exposed to sunlight. The wagon train of James Fowler Biggers, from Marshall County, Mississippi, reached the area in 1871. The plentiful timber provided log homes, and a large log building housed the first organized church there. It was a Primitive Baptist church, and James Biggers served as a lay pastor in the absence of the circuit preacher, while Kinchen Gray led the singing. This building also served for a time as the school, where local children attended classes in a six-month term. The school still had students enrolled in 1904. Attendance averaged forty to fifty pupils, and funding to pay the teacher, purchase school supplies, and provide a few books was met at the rate of $5.30 a pupil for the term. In 1879 the land with the church and school, and adjacent to the cemetery, was deeded to Fannin County by Thomas F. and Sarah Cobb Freeman to be held in trust for the use of the school and the cemetery.
The White Rock community was never heavily settled, though at one time it had the Freeman Gin, a blacksmith shop, and a general store, as well as the church, school, and cemetery. In 1948 the community included a school building, the cemetery, and a few scattered dwellings.
During the 1980s an open-air tabernacle served the cemetery; in 1982 it was the meeting place for the dedication of a Texas Historical Commission marker placed in the memory of James Fowler Biggers. By 1984 more than 400 graves had been identified in an inventory of the cemetery, which was still in use in the late 1980s. In 1990 only the cemetery and a mound of rocks marking the location of the Freeman Gin remained.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Fannin County Folks and Facts (Dallas: Taylor, 1977)