Clarendon is a city in Donley County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,974 at the 2000 census. The county seat of Donley County, Clarendon is located on United States Highway 287 in the Texas Panhandle some sixty miles east of Amarillo. It was established in 1878 by Methodist clergyman L.H. Carhart as a "sobriety settlement" in contrast to typical boom towns of that era. It acquired the sobriquet "Saints Roost" from local cowboys: hence the unusual name of the Clarendon museum, the Saints' Roost Museum.
For a community of such small population, Clarendon has been the home of numerous notable persons.
- Aviation historian Randy Acord (1919-2008), a Clarendon native, founded the Alaska Air Pioneer Museum in Fairbanks, where he had been stationed as a test pilot in 1943. Acord won the Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease Award for his contributions to Russian-North American relations during World War II.
- JA Ranch matriarch Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie Adair maintained a house in Clarendon and was a benefactor of many Donley County charities. The Saints' Roost Museum in Clarendon is the restoration of her former Adair Hospital. She was active too in the Episcopal Church in Clarendon. She also maintained residences in England, having become a naturalized British subject, and in Ireland, where she lived part of the year at her late husband's Glenveagh Castle. She is buried in Ireland.
- Harold Dow Bugbee, artist of ranching on the Texas South Plains and the Panhandle, maintained his family near Clarendon. He was also the art curator of the Panhandle-Plains Museum for many years prior to his death in 1963. Bugbee's second wife, Olive Vandruff Bugbee, an artist in her own right, lived at the Harold Dow Bugbee Ranch from the time of her brief marriage to Bugbee in 1961 until her death in 2003. The couple left the ranch estate to the Panhandle Plains Museum.
- The historian Harley True Burton, a former president of Clarendon College, served as the town mayor from 1955–1963. Burton wrote The History of the JA Ranch, co-owned by John George Adair of Ireland and Charles Goodnight, who spent his later years in Clarendon.
- Renowned buffalo hunter Frank Collinson (1855-1943) lived primarily in Childress, but is buried in Clarendon.
- Clarendon is the hometown of former Oklahoma Sooners standout running back Kenny King. He also played for the Oakland Raiders. King set a Super Bowl record for the longest touchdown reception with an 80-yarder in the Raiders 27-10 Super Bowl XV victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. That record stood until January 26, 1997.
- Clarence Hailey Long, the inspiration for the original Marlboro Man tobacco advertising campaign, lived his later years in Clarendon. A former employee of the JA Ranch, he joined the First Baptist Church in Clarendon in 1953, after the tragic death of his father in a bronco accident.
- Odell McBrayer (1930–2008), a Fort Worth attorney, grew up in Clarendon. He was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor in 1974, having lost his primary to Jim Granberry, former mayor of Lubbock. McBrayer was affiliated with the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International.
- Blues musician William Daniel McFalls, better known as Blues Boy Willie, lived in Clarendon during the middle 1960s, when he studied guitar and upright bass at Clarendon College.
- Montgomery Harrison Wadsworth Ritchie (1910–1999), grandson of Cornelia Adair, managed the JA from 1935 until his retirement in 1993 and hence maintained a Clarendon address.
- Republican U.S. Representative William Mac Thornberry, who represents the Texas Panhandle in a district which stretches from Amarillo east to Wichita Falls, was born in Clarendon in 1958.
Clarendon is located at (34.936415, -100.891182).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.8 km²), of which, 2.9 square miles (7.5 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (3.32%) is water.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 1,974 people, 768 households, and 489 families residing in the city. The population density
was 679.0 people per square mile (261.9/km²). There were 929 housing units at an average density of 319.5/sq mi (123.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.49% White
, 7.19% African American
, 0.76% Native American
, 0.15% Asian
, 2.99% from other races
, and 1.42% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 6.23% of the population.
There were 768 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 13.9% from 18 to 24, 21.7% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,824, and the median income for a family was $37,083. Males had a median income of $25,486 versus $18,882 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,436. About 11.2% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.0% of those under age 18 and 19.9% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Clarendon is served by the Clarendon Consolidated Independent School District
Clarendon is home to Clarendon College (established 1898) the oldest center of higher education in the Texas Panhandle. It was originally affiliated with the Methodist Church. The college is located on Highway 287 in north Clarendon.
The Saints' Roost Museum houses artifacts of the early years of Clarendon and features exhibits on Goodnight, Bugbee, the Red River War, and the Fort Worth and Denver Railway depot.
The local newspaper is the Clarendon Enterprise.