White Deer Land Museum

T.D. Hobart Went To London In 1904

In February, 1903, after T.D. Hobart had been employed by the bondholders of the White Deer Lands, George Tyng introduced him through the columns of the local newspapers — probably those of Miami and Panhandle as Pampa had no newspaper at that time.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

“When you see his advertisement just steer homeseekers toward him, if you want to see this country settled up with good neighbors whose presence here will add value to your own property and business.”

“Mr. Hobart believes that it is better for the owners and better for the country to sell this land to farmers rather than in large tracts.”

At the time Hobart assumed his position as manager of the White Deer Lands, negotiations were already in progress for the sale of the Dixon Creek Pasture in Carson and Hutchinson counties to S.B. Burnett of Fort Worth. In the closing stages of the sale, Russell Benedict came from New York to Panhandle, Texas, to supervise the proceedings.

A rift developed between Benedict and Hobart because of their disagreement over the question of power of attorney and other matters concerning company policy. Hobart felt that he should be allowed to exercise his own judgment since he had been employed by the British owners and not by Benedict.

While returning on the train after closing the Burnett transactions, Benedict told Hobart that he needed a clerk. Hobart replied that he had an employee named Brown who could ably fill the position. When M.K. Brown met the train and was introduced as Andrew Kingsmill’s nephew, Benedict’s attitude changed.

The White Deer Lands were a challenge to Hobart who believed that they provided an excellent field in which to experiment with colonizational schemes that he had cherished for years. Titles to land had to be cleared; hundreds of miles of fence had to be built; section lines and corners had to be established; wells had to be drilled; windmills had to be erected; roads had to be marked out; farms had to be established and homes had to be built.

The White Deer Lands, equal in area to the state of Rhode Island, contained lands ranging from slopes and rough lands admirably adapted to stock raising, to the level prairie lands of the plains ideal for farming. The rich fertile soil ranged in texture from a dark chocolate loam on the uplands to a sandy soil in the Canadian River Valley. These lands were drained on the north by the tributaries of the Canadian, and on the south and east by the Red River and its tributaries. The climate was well suited for both farming and stock raising. Hobart saw an excellent opportunity for merging the two industries on the White Deer Lands.

However, things were more or less at a standstill in the spring of 1904. The panic of 1903 was clearly reflected by conditions in the Southwest. Cattle prices were low; few land sales were being made and immigration was at a low ebb. Hobart wrote that the winter of 1903-1904 was one of the dryest he had experienced in the Panhandle but prospects looked better with the coming of the spring rains.

He believed that these temporary conditions were only a prelude to better things. He had a large clientele in the Middle Western and Eastern states who kept him busy answering their inquiries about the purchase and sale of both land and cattle.

He collected scores of written testimonials from early settlers and ranchmen who had been experimenting with Panhandle soils as farming land. He formed a plan of advertising outside of the newspapers as soon as conditions were favorable.

Hobart realized that the British creditors understood nothing about conditions in Texas , and that they were interested only in transferring the White Deer Lands into cash in order to satisfy the first lien on the property. He knew that his task would require many delays, and that the holders of the lien would have to understand and approve of his program if he were to succeed. He decided to sail for London where he could explain his plan in detail to the English lien holders.

Before sailing for England , Hobart secured letters of introduction from United States Congressmen and other influential leaders. He contacted the American Ambassador and other high officials in London . He wrote to his kinsman and former employer, Major Ira H. Evans, for advice.

Major Evans was pleased that Hobart was going to make the trip, for he believed that it would clear up all possible misunderstandings between Hobart and his new employers. He advised Hobart , “Dress is very important with Englishmen and in London . You will need a Prince Albert suit and silk hat over there. Foster is strong socially and you will have to be ready to hold your own with him. You should take along full data, such as deeds and copies of Tyng’s letters, to support your statements.”

Hobart made all possible preparations for his journey and on June 8, 1904, accompanied by his young son Warren, he sailed on the Teutonic of the White Star Line for England . He was well received in London and his employers, lien holders, and bondholders, gave their hearty approval of his program for the disposition of the White Deer Lands.

Hobart ‘s intentions were twofold: (1) to enable his employers to realize a profit on their investments and (2) to develop the property in a manner to benefit the community. He felt that the gradual development of what was almost a desert into a permanent settlement of stockfarmers and ranchers would contribute to the stability of land prices and work to the advantage of both seller and buyer.

He wanted prospective customers who were interested in establishing homes and being willing to endure the hardships of life on a semi-arid plain.

Greatly concerned with the future of Pampa, Hobart was most interested in selling land only to settlers and not to speculators. Most of the land was sold in small plots of 160 to 640 acres, and it was stipulated in the contracts that improvements were to be made on the land. Hobart was a favorite with the early settlers and allowed them long terms to pay for the land.

The scanty population of Pampa increased in 1904 when Hobart moved his family from their ranch on the Washita River in Hemphill County . Their first home in Pampa was a small, white frame house at 318 West Foster — location of the Rex Theater and later the La Vista Theater. In 1913, the Hobart family moved to the house which is still standing at the corner of North Hobart and Alcock. Mrs. Fred A. Hobart resides in the house at 215 North Hobart .

(from The Life and Times of Timothy Dwight Hobart by L.F. Sheffy, pp. 177-180, and A Chronicle of Carson County, Vol. III, pp.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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