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Our History

The Whigham Community Club was organized in 1947 by men who were products of the Great Depression and War. The first meetings were held on 179N at an old canning plant and later meetings at the Whigham School gym.  Most of our nation and small towns especially at this time were paralyzed by the war and devastating economy of the ’30s.  However, Whigham was fortunate to be in a farming section where enough food for families could be raised. The Federal Government created agencies of WPA, CCC, & NRA and it was this money that extended the paving of Highway 84. The group of hardworking men saw a need to organize and fellowship.  The organized club offered an opportunity to do this and to support their community through the creation of jobs and economic growth.    

The founding members of the Whigham Community Club brought spirit and motivation into the small town. Club member Clarence Mobley suggested the idea of a rattlesnake roundup. Luther Harden, Julius Newberry, Herman Taylor, and Julian Maxwell were among the great minds to brainstorm the idea of catching rattlesnakes due to the number of workers in the field and forest, and hunting dogs and hunters bitten by the serpents.  The first original roundup occurred on the west end of town at Luther Harden’s gas station in January 1960.  The excitement and success of capturing 140 snakes brought visitors from nearby to witness the unusual event.  The roundup moved to the corner lot of the post office for a year or two.  Within a few years, the interest among hunter and the community grew. Those attending were quite frankly amazed and mesmerized by the wonder of being so close to the venomous creatures.  The small beginnings grew in visitors and the Rattlesnake Roundup was moved to the Whigham High School grounds in 1965. By 1967 surrounding counties and states were interested in hunting, catching and bringing in snakes for the roundup. J. G. Laing won first prize in 1967 with 122 snakes caught out of the 415 grand totals. The snakes were bought by the Whigham Community Club and displayed in wire pens on the Whigham School Baseball field. The 57 club members in 1970 became part of the backbone of a loyal dedicated community for their schools, businesses, churches and slower paced family life.  The crowds grew as did the need for food and other entertainment. The Whigham School held beauty pageants and the queens presided at the festival. A Rattlesnake Roundup parade was organized with bands, floats, and prizes given for the most creative. The festival grew to include local music and talent groups and state beauty, queens.  A favorite mullet plate was available for purchase and usually sold out by 1:00 p.m.  The plates were cooked to perfection by club members. Ross Allen purchased the rattlesnakes for Silver Springs where the venom was extracted and the snakes were kept alive.  Silver Springs gave visitors an opportunity to understand the habits and habitats of reptiles and their place in nature. Thousands visited Florida’s Silver Springs Reptile Institute yearly.   The last year for holding the roundup at the Whigham School was 1997.  A record number of visitors in 1997 convinced the members that they had outgrown the location.