White Deer Land Museum

T.D. Hobart Becomes Second Manager Of White Deer Lands

The second manager of White Deer Lands was Timothy Dwight Hobart who held that position from 1903 until 1924.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Born in Berlin , Washington County, Vermont , on October 6, 1855, Hobart came from a family of distinguished pioneers whose ancestry dates back to the seventeenth century when the British first began to colonize the New World .

Dwight, as he was known in his youth, was the son of David Hobart, a farmer who was a native of Vermont . His mother was Caroline Reed of Gardiner , Maine . Caroline, a teacher at Gardiner, was related to historian William Hickling Prescott and to John Greenleaf Whittier.

Dwight was greatly influenced by his grandfather, the Reverend James Hobart one of a long line of distinguished clergymen in the Hobart family. The boy was thoroughly imbued with a strict, religious way of life with an experienced understanding of thrift and hard work.

He developed a love for the great outdoors and was fond of hunting, fishing, trapping, skating, sleighing and coasting down the snow-capped Vermont hills during the long winter evenings. A friend said that he was “a boy who was always looking for better things, and he always insisted on fair play.”

Dwight attended Berlin public school, Montpelier Seminary and Barre Academy . His ambition to finish at Dartmouth College was thwarted by the ill health of his father, so he continued his education at home. He read every historical work he could find, excelled in math and had a natural inclination toward law in which became proficient.

Before he was twenty years old he began teaching and was elected superintendent of Berlin schools before he was twenty-one. He held this position for four years.

He began to think of going to the new country in the West where he could become independent and make a name for himself. He made improvements at the family homestead that would make operation of the farm as easy as possible for his family.

In 1881 Major Ira H. Evans, a cousin of Hobart, visited Berlin and offered the young man employment with the New York and Texas Land Company, Limited. Hobart accepted the offer and left Vermont October 31, 1882, for Palestine , Texas , which at that time was headquarters for the company. Hobart began his career in Texas with a debt of several hundred dollars, a family that relied on him for support and a salary of thirty dollars a month.

His first work in Texas was to act as town agent for the New York and Texas Land Company in disposing of a portion of the company’s lands lying alongside the International and Great Northern Railroad. In 1882 he accompanied a surveying expedition into the Laredo country and in 1883 he organized a party in San Antonio for the purpose of surveying lands in the Pecos River country. In March, 1885, he went on a second expedition into the Pecos River country where he spent six months.

In 1886 Hobart was sent to the Texas Panhandle to take charge of more than a million acres of land belonging to the New York and Texas Land Company. With him came Phil G. Omohundro, a tall handsome man to whom the girls at Mobeetie referred as “O my honey.” For the 200-mile stage coach journey from Harrold in Wilbarger County (north terminal point on the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad) to Mobeetie, Hobart paid $20.00 stage fare and $8.00 for his trunk.

Hobart established headquarters in the struggling frontier village of Mobeetie which was then in the heyday of its existence. He shared an office with lawyer Temple Houston , the youngest son of General Sam Houston. Hobart began immediately to locate, survey and lease the lands of his company.

Although he was noted for his even temper, he once became very angry on a surveying trip at Easter time. A green cook, who had been drinking, boiled a five gallon can of eggs so long and furiously that they turned blue.

In 1887 Hobart bought a place on the Washita River in Hemphill County from William W. Quillin, an Indian trader. Later he bought land near Hoover in Gray County .

After six years of hard but successful work in Texas , Hobart returned to Berlin , Vermont , to marry his childhood friend and sweetheart, Minnie Wood Warren. She had encouraged him to seek a new life in the West because she felt that his prospects in Vermont were not very good. Minnie was the youngest child of Judge A.K. Warren whose 235-acre farm adjoined the Hobart farm.

The wedding took place on September 20, 1888, in the Warren homestead, a large two-story frame structure which sat like a gem in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont.

The wedding tour included Albany , New York City, Buffalo , Niagara Falls , Chicago and Kansas City on the way to Texas . There was nothing unusual about the trip from Berlin to Kansas City , but the journey from Kansas City to Mobeetie was quite different.

From Kansas City the newlyweds traveled on a mixed train with only one or two passenger coaches and little or no comfort. Many of the passengers were rough looking men and “that girl from Vermont ” was often the only woman on board. Kansas was a bare, desolate looking state, and Indian Territory ( Oklahoma ) seemed like the jumping off place.

The train reached Miami at night and the Hobarts went to the Baldwin House, the only hotel in town. They ascended a stairway outside the hotel to a very bare looking room. The only furniture consisted of an upended wooden box holding a tin wash basin, a broken chair and a bed. Despite the poor accommodations, Minnie was happy and her “memories of comforts and luxuries of a good home two thousand miles away were never allowed to creep in and spoil things.”

For the last stage of the journey, seventeen miles from Miami to Mobeetie, Hobart had his own private conveyance, a buckboard and a team of “spanking grey horses.” The horses, Hunter and Silver Tail, were fast steppers with plenty of action. The wedding tour was concluded in a “most fearful, genuine dust storm.” The bride held on to her hat with both hands and Hobart felt strange misgivings as to how his wife would react to the Panhandle country.

She found the people at Mobeetie to be very pleasant and sociable, and she never felt lonely or homesick. The cowboys who gathered on the streets or in the saloons were always courteous and polite. They often came to Mobeetie for dances.

For several months the Hobarts lived at the Husselby House, the main hotel in Mobeetie. Once Minnie looked out the hotel window and noticed that women were walking in the middle of the street instead of along the “sidewalk.” She declared that she would never walk in the middle of the street, but she changed her mind a few nights later when she and her husband walked to a program at the school building. She felt something sticking and looked down to see a mass of grass burr several inches from the bottom of her floor-length dress.

Minnie often traveled with her husband on his business trips over a large part of the Panhandle. These were camping trips where there were no fences and often not a sign of road or trail. Minnie marveled at her husband’s ability to arrive at an intended spot where there was no sign of tree or habitation. Occasionally he would get down and poke in the weeds to uncover an iron pipe driven into the ground to mark a section corner.

On these trips the Hobarts were followed by a cook with camp and mess outfit and a saddle horse tied alongside his hack. Covered wagons and dugouts were new and interesting sights to Minnie. Vast herds of cattle still grazed and grew fat on the western ranges. Windmills, well drills and barbed wire were just being introduced on a large scale. Settlers were just beginning to come in on the recently constructed Southern Kansas Railroad.

At the time the Hobarts lived in Mobeetie, about the only visible evidence that the Panhandle was in the confines of civilization was Fort Elliott, a mile west of town, with its flags fluttering in the breeze. Minnie enjoyed trips to Fort Elliott where the encampment of Indian Scouts furnished a novel sight with their squaws, papooses and numerous dogs which were said to furnish a large part of their meat.

After the Hobarts left Husselby House, they lived in a rented house. Indian squaws would peer in the window at Minnie and might even come in and walk through the house—nobody locked doors then. Sometimes when Minnie walked past the stores, she would feel something pulling at her clothing and a squaw would be begging for the shawl which was a part of her trousseau.

The Hobarts lived in another rented house at Mobeetie before they moved to Canadian and then to their ranch at the head of the Washita River. Their M Bar Ranch was named for Minnie Hobart.

The children of T.D. and Minnie Hobart were Warren Reed, who lived only four days; Warren Dwight, who died of pneumonia at the age of 19; Frederick Abel, who operated the Hobart ranch properties until his death in 1972; Laura Prescott (Mrs. Clyde Fatheree), who died December 21, 1990; and Mary Reed (Mrs. Guy Hutchinson) of Arkansas City, Kansas.

Because of Hobart’s outstanding record with the New York and Texas Land Company, George Tyng, first manager of White Deer Lands, strongly recommended Hobart as his replacement. On March 12, 1902, he wrote to trustee Frederic Foster:

“Men are not made more trustworthy and conscientious than Hobart. Everyone who knows him, friend or enemy, would tell you the same. He has been selling land all over the Panhandle sixteen years or longer and knows the land and land buyers. The lands in his charge are nearly sold out. … He would be moderate as to wages and would be well worth what he would ask. There is your man.”

Andrew Kingsmill met with Hobart when he visited Pampa in the fall of 1902. As representative of the proprietors in England, Kingsmill agreed to Hobart’s employment. Accordingly Hobart tendered his resignation to the president of the New York and Texas Land Company on November 26, 1902, and on February 6, 1903, he began his employment as manager of White Deer Lands.

John Mead has given the White Deer Land Museum two large notebooks of information about the family of his great grandparents, Isaac Newton White and Elizabeth Dougherty White, pioneers in Roberts County. Three of the White children were longtime Pampa residents: Mrs. Dave Pope, Mrs. J.E. Corson and Mrs. P.C. Ledrick.

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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