Mobeetie, Texas

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Mobeetie is a city in northwestern Wheeler County, Texas, United States, just across the Sweetwater Creek from Texas Route 152. The population was 107 at the 2000 census.



A trading post for hunters and trappers for nearby Fort Elliot (aka "Cantonment Sweetwater"), the settlement was first a buffalo hunter's camp unofficially called "Hidetown." The first formal name for the town was "Sweetwater." On January 24, 1876, occurred the "Sweetwater Shootout," Anthony Cook (aka Corporal "Sergeant" Melvin A. King; of the then 4th Cavalry-Company H, stationed at Fort Elliot), shot and killed Mollie Brennan (a dance hall girl and former prostitute). Sgt. King then wounded Bat Masterson, who in return killed him (King may have shot Masterson first and then killed Brennan, accounts vary)[3][4]. Texas cattleman Charles Goodnight said about the town: "I think it was the hardest place I ever saw on the frontier except Cheyenne, Wyoming."

When the town applied for a post office in 1879, the name "Sweetwater" was already in use. The town took the new name of "mobeetie," believed to be a Native American word for "sweetwater."

In 1879 Mobeetie became the first county seat for Wheeler County. From 1880 to 1883, the notorious Robert Clay Allison ranched with his two brothers, John William and Jeremiah Monroe, twelve miles northeast of town, at the junction of the Washita River and Gageby Creek. One day, Allison rode through Mobeetie drunk and naked.[5][6] Allison married America Medora "Dora" McCulloch in Mobeetie on February 15, 1881.[7] By 1881, Mobeetie was the judicial center of the Thirty-fifth District, made up of fifteen counties.

At its peak in 1890, the town had over 400 people, but Mobeetie's boom days ended when Fort Elliot closed that same year. Further decline came with the tornado of May 1, 1898, and then the loss of the county seat, in 1907, to Wheeler. In 1929 the town had to move two miles when the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway built their tracks that far away. The town steadily grew again until the start of World War II brought a peak of about five hundred.

The Pioneer West Museum in Shamrock, Texas, includes a Fort Elliot exhibit.


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