Mobeetie, Texas

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Mobeetie, Texas
Location of Mobeetie, Texas
Location of Mobeetie, Texas
Wheeler County Texas incorporated and unincorporated areas Mobeetie highlighted.svg
Coordinates: 35°32′1″N 100°26′21″W / 35.53361°N 100.43917°W / 35.53361; -100.43917Coordinates: 35°32′1″N 100°26′21″W / 35.53361°N 100.43917°W / 35.53361; -100.43917
Country United States
State Texas
County Wheeler
 • Total 0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)
 • Land 0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 2,641 ft (805 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 107
 • Density 175.3/sq mi (67.7/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 79061
Area code(s) 806
FIPS code 48-48852[1]
GNIS feature ID 1363014[2]

Mobeetie is a city in northwestern Wheeler County, Texas, United States, located on Sweetwater Creek and State Highway 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." Connected to the major cattle-drive town of Dodge City, Kansas by the Jones-Plummer Trail, it was a destination for stagecoach freight and buffalo skinners. As it grew, the town supported the development of cattle ranches within a hundred mile radius by supplying the staples.1 The first formal name for the town was "Sweetwater." It was located on the North Fork of the Red River. The development of nearby Fort Elliott, developed to protect the buffalo trade from Indian raiders, stimulated further growth of the town. 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." Because of the presence of Fort Elliott and Mobeetie's importance as a commercial center, Wheeler County became the first politically organized county in the Texas Panhandle, 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.

Fort Elliot, home of the Tenth Cavalry, display at Pioneer West Museum

In the 1880s, Temple Lea Houston, the youngest son of Sam Houston, was the district attorney of the 35th Judicial District of Texas, when then encompassed twenty-six counties in the Texas Panhandle. The district was based at the time in the courthouse at Mobeetie. Houston was also a member of the Texas State Senate from 1885 to 1889 and later moved to Oklahoma, where he worked for statehood. An NBC television series, Temple Houston, which aired from 1963 to 1964, is loosely based on his life, with Jeffrey Hunter in the starring role.[8]

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.


Mobeetie is located at 35°32′1″N 100°26′21″W / 35.53361°N 100.43917°W / 35.53361; -100.43917 (35.533551, -100.439228).[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²), all land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 107 people, 48 households, and 28 families residing in the city. The population density was 175.3 people per square mile (67.7/km²). There were 68 housing units at an average density of 111.4/sq mi (43.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.07% White and 0.93% Native American. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.54% of the population.

There were 48 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 37.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 23.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 101.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,625, and the median income for a family was $39,583. Males had a median income of $35,417 versus $23,125 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,059. There were no families and 2.9% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.


The City of Mobeetie is served by the Fort Elliott Consolidated Independent School District.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Mobeetie has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps.[10]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Bat Masterson and the Sweetwater Shootout" by Gary L. Roberts
  4. ^ "Charlie Siringo, Letter Writer" by Mark Dworkin
  5. ^ Clay Allison from the Handbook of Texas Online
  6. ^ Clay at Legends of America
  7. ^ "The Allison Clan - A Visit" by Sharon Cunningham
  8. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 106-109
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ Climate Summary for Mobeetie, Texas

1The Texas Panhandle Frontier; Rathjen, Frederick W; (1973); Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 0-89672-399-2.

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