Our Roots

While Wayne and Connie may have started the current Whitmore Farms operation, they are actually the 5th generation of Whitmore’s farming in Payne County. Charles Whitmore (1852-1916) emigrated from England in 1869 and initially settled in Kansas where he met his wife, Jane Rosmond (1847-1930), from Denmark. They initially lived just SW of Stillwater from 1890-1895. From 1895-1914 they moved between Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado before finally purchasing 80 acres west of Stillwater in 1914. Charles was a miller by trade, but also farmed and, for a while, raised hogs. The initial homestead purchased in 1914 was condemned by the US Government in the 1930’s to create Lake Carl Blackwell.

Charles and Jane’s son, James Charles (1874-1945), married Carrie Ellis (1872-1967) in 1896 and continued to live in Saline County, KS until they moved to the community of Marena just SW of Stillwater, OK in 1903. John Charles started one of the earliest, and most successful at the time, breeding programs of Duroc Jersey hogs. Oral history states that he sold Oklahoma A&M College (currently Oklahoma State University) their first Duroc Jersey hogs that started their breeding program.

James Charles and Carrie’s son, Lester (1907-2004), married Millie Thomas (1908-2003) in 1930 and they lived in Stillwater, OK their whole lives. Lester worked for the WPA on the Blackwell Dam in the 1940’s during the Great Depression. He then worked for 43 years in sanitation. First, he worked with a contractor for Stillwater and then for the sanitation department for the City of Stillwater itself. In addition to his town job, he continued to manage a small cow/calf operation.

Lester and Millie’s only son, Leo (1932-present), married Arleta Coffman (1937-2012) in 1954. Leo continued to run a small cow/calf operation alongside his father, Lester, even while stationed in Texas with the US Air Force. In 1956, Leo and Arleta returned to Stillwater to raise their 3 sons: James, Wayne, and Bryan. Leo worked as a carpenter/handyman at Oklahoma State University for over 30 years before retiring. Leo and Arleta always encourage Wayne as he explored commercial gardening, and even helped to run the Whitmore Farms booth at the Stillwater Farmers’ Market on Wednesday when Connie was teaching and Wayne was working at the OSU wheat breeding program. Leo Whitmore can still be seen today selling his watermelon and cantaloupe at the Stillwater Farmers’ Market every Saturday.