The greatest political event in Hill County history was the 1955 appreciation dinner in Whitney, honoring Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson, Senate Majority Leader at the time. The senator, who was recovering from a heart attack in Johnson City at the time, agreed to attend the event only if a substantial number of people were in attendance.
Dr. Silas Grant, local physician, and R. T. "Rabbit" Swilling headed the host committee, and enlisted the aid of half of the citizens of Whitney. The fundraiser was held at the Whitney School Fieldhouse, and attracted 1,700 people who paid $10 a plate to meet national, state, and county political figures.
LBJ’s mother and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, joined him at the head table, along with other political figures. The senator was presented with two gifts – a fishing rod, and a calf.
The gathering attracted statewide attention, surprising most observers that the crowd exceeded the entire population of Whitney at the time. Local residents said they had never seen so many black Cadillacs and Lincolns at one time. LBJ later went on to become the 36th President of the United States in 1963.
Besides the big dinner in Whitney, LBJ made another appearance in Hill County on June 23, 1948, when he arrived by helicopter to speak in Hillsboro.