In 1875, a trading post and buffalo hunter camp sprang up near Fort Elliott, one of Texas’ last frontier forts. The settlement grew into Mobeetie, one of the Panhandle’s earliest towns and the original Wheeler County seat. Mobeetie’s colorful history is retold through artifacts and photographs at the Old Mobeetie Jail Museum.
A restored 1886 jail and three other historic structures house exhibits on the Red River War’s Battle of Sweetwater Creek. The battle sent Kiowa Chief Lone Wolf and warriors retreating but also diverted military attention from nearby Indian families. The Red River War ended in June 1875, and the Army established a new fort on Sweetwater Creek to protect buffalo hunters, settlers, and cattle drovers coming to Texas. Fort Elliott was served by African American troops called Buffalo Soldiers, including West Point’s first black graduate, Henry O. Flipper. The fort’s original parade grounds flagpole stands out front of the museum, while a half mile away, a granite historical marker pinpoints the original site of Fort Elliott. Exhibits chronicle the lives of the Indians, buffalo hunters, soldiers, and settlers who struggled for control of the plains. A new visitor center, housed in a 1923 school, chronicles the Red River War through displays and paintings by Texas artist Kenneth Wyatt.