Wheeler, TX had its real beginning in 1904 through the enterprise of two ranchers, Robert B. Rogers and J. E. Stanley, who surveyed the land, built their homes on the site, and began the movement to choose a centrally located county seat in preference to Mobeetie. Rogers became the first postmaster of Wheeler and also had the first telephone. A contested election in December of that year made Wheeler the county seat, and by 1908 the frame courthouse had been moved to the new location. At that time a bank and a drugstore were established, and the first school was opened in a building that had been moved from Bronco. This building also served for a time as the community church. A weekly newspaper, the Wheeler Sun, also began about this time; it later became the Wheeler Times.
While traveling through the great state of Texas, you can be taken back in history when a bit of the old west comes alive and you stop at Mobeetie, Texas. There you will learn about the history of how the settlement was first established and how the grounds were a buffalo hunter’s camp which was unofficially called “Hidetown.”
There are still many original artifacts and buildings still standing including an original jail cell that once housed many prisoners, a barber shop, a General Store, adoctor’s office, and post office. There you will also see the original flag pole that was purchased for $7.50 by prominent citizen, J. J. Long, and raised in front of his store where he was a banker and a merchant.
On display in the museum there are many exhibits depicting the 1800’s era, the Sheriff’s quarters, hanging gallows, an iron lung, saddles from the Calvary, and Red River War memorabilia, along with much more. In the visitor’s center, which houses the offices of the grounds, you will be able to see exhibits of all Wheeler Old West legend Bat Masterson is one of many faces that frequented Mobeetie.
The Old Mobeetie Music Festival features area Bluegrass performers every July.
The Mobeetie Jail grounds also offers complete camping including 120-RV hook-ups and dry camping areas year around. The last weekend in July offers the annual Old Mobeetie Music Festival where people come from all over the United States to relax and enjoy good ole’ blue grass music. Labor Day brings a close to summer with the Old Settler’s Reunion, picnic and parade. Also throughout the year you can enjoy art exhibits, quilt shows, and tours.
The Bob Baley's Barber Shop building is the original Ware Chevrolet from Wheeler. It was donated to the Mobeetie Jail Museum by the bank after Ware Chevrolet quickly outgrew it and they moved into another building.
Wheeler County is on the eastern edge of the Panhandle of Texas, along the Oklahoma border. Wheeler, the county seat, is three miles northwest of the center of the county and 100 miles east of Amarillo. The area was named for Royal T. Wheeler, the second chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Wheeler County occupies 914 square miles of rolling prairies and rough river breaks in the area east of the High Plains; elevations range from 2,000 to 2,800 feet above sea level. The North Fork of the Red River and Sweetwater Creek are the two major streams in the county. The average annual rainfall is 23.7 inches.
Courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association - Handbook of Texas | Click to Download Printable PDF
FORT ELLIOTT was the United States Army outpost in the eastern Texas Panhandle from 1875 to 1890. Though never involved in a major military engagement, it helped transform the Panhandle from Indian hunting territory into a settlement area. Troops from Fort Elliott patrolled the borders of Indian Territory to the east, policed cattle drives headed north to Kansas railroad depots, and in other ways protected and encouraged settlement of the region.