Abraham Finsterwald

To J. M. Boswell
Mobeetie, Texas
July 7, 1945

In the fall of 1887, I came to Fort Elliott as a member of the cavalry in the regular army.

The government was transferring two companies of Negro soldiers who had been sent to the north. While at Fort Rieley, I was sent with about ten other regulars into the eastern part of Indian territory in 1886 to drive out "boomers" who were hiding in the thickets waiting for the date of opening of the territory for settlement. We scoured all the thickets, packed up all squatters and sent them back to Missouri and Arkansas; however, I doubt if they all went back to the states.

On another assignment before we came to Texas we moved some Kiowas to Fort Reno. Hundreds of Indians had gathered around Fort Reno in protest to their treatment by the Indian agency at Arlington that was two or three miles from Fort Reno. This agency had been cheating them. The congregating of these tribes served by this agency was a friendly gesture to get their rights restored. General Phil Sheridan was sent by Washington to study their complaints. When the General arrived the assemblage was broken up, we moved or rather followed our bunch to Kiowa Kansas which was the end of the road.

We then proceeded to Fort Elliott and in May 1888, I was released, having completed my enlistment period. Lieutenant Colonel Compton was in charge of the fort then.

I never took part in the social life of Mobeetie as a soldier or civilian. Did not have the money to throw away. Knew Judge Willis, fine man, served on his jury just once.

Mobeetie had the finest lawyers in the country. Two outstanding legal lights at this time were Temple Houston and Grigsby.

When I was released I filed on a quarter section of land east of Mobeetie that was the limit that could be filed on then. Plemons, a legislator, was instrumental in getting this law changed in about 1897. The new law provided that each person could file on one section of classified grazing land. The commissioner’s court of Mobeetie classified all unsold land in Wheeler County as grazing land. Many new settlers came into this area as a result of the new law.

I worked as a carpenter some. I served as commissioner from 1896 to 1902. We had a wooden courthouse. The first rock courthouse had been condemned because a large crack in its wall. While as commissioner we filled up wells over the community. Most of the people had gone before ninety-six. These wells had been left open when they moved off. Some had gone to Oklahoma, which had been partially opened up. Others had moved to Canadian, Miami, and Clarendon these were on the railroad.

The organ was moved from the Methodist Church here to the Methodist Church at Miami. The churches were all blown away during the cyclone in 1898.

Capt. Arrington was sheriff at Mobeetie for a time. He was not afraid of anybody.

Mark Huselby and another fellow contracted the building of the jail. Mark lost money on it. Mark was tax collector, took school census.

I started from scratch with a few cows. Traded at J. J. Long’s general merchandise store until he went broke. He gave out too much credit. Traded at Dickenson’s store also.

During the early decade of the 1900, I had enough cattle to join the Panhandle Stockman’s Association. I am still a member. I also became a director in the First State Bank of Mobeetie.