Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wop Plants A Tree

On Dec. 11, 1901, the Adair County News wrote that William Oliver Perry McWhorter, who lived at Cartwright, Kentucky, attended the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition. On his way home, he visited the tomb of George Washington at Mount Vernon, Virginia, and while he was there, picked up a walnut that had fallen from a tree, which cast its shadow over the tomb. A story in the Dec. 11, 1901 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal said that, when he arrived back home in Clinton County, Wop (as he was known) planted the nut, which grew into a fifty foot high tree.

No doubt it was a popular attraction for folks near and far, and I am guessing that Wop probably told the story of how the tree came to be hundreds of times. What a grand thing for the community of Cartwright, Kentucky, and if you are wondering, when I first published this story on March 13, 2018, a family member said that all of the trees around Wop's home were cut for a new road. It could be that this tree he planted was one of those trees.

In 2021, when a certain house and property at Cartwright was being sold, historian David Cross wrote that Wop had lived there for several years. Known by some as the “Doctor Cartwright house," he said, it was located on Cartwright Loop, just up and across the road from Stony Point Baptist Church and just down the hill from Cartwright Cemetery. Could this be where Wop planted the tree? David said Wop was the second postmaster at Cartwright. The first one was John W. Long. Wop also operated a general store there,

William Oliver Perry McWhorter was born in 1834 to John Foster and Elizabeth Beckett McWhorter. He was married to Emeline Ragsdil McWhorter (1863–1947). Wop died in 1919. He and his wife and three daughters, Minnie, Cora and Flora, are buried at Cartwright Cemetery.

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