Fort Elliott, established June 5, 1875 to help keep Native Americans on their Indian territory reservations, was partially garrisoned by African American soldiers called "Buffalo Soldiers" by Native Americans. Various companies of the 9th and 10th cavalry and the 24th and 25th infantry were stationed at Fort Elliott in its 15-year existence. Typical post duties included patrolling the boundary between Texas and Indian territory, keeping order among settlers, protecting mail coaches, and building roads and telegraph lines. Commanding officers of the troops were white, but the black soldiers were included in every part of daily and social post life.
One black officer stationed at Fort Elliott was Henry O. Flipper, commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1877. Born of slave parents in 1856, he was the first black graduate of the United States Military Academy and the first black commissioned officer in the United States Army. Flipper embarked on a forty-year military and civilian career on the western border and frontier. In the fall of 1879, his regiment of the 10th cavalry was ordered to Fort Elliott. As Post Adjutant, Lt. Flipper served as the executive officer. All post business was transacted through him. Being educated as an engineer at West Point, one of his duties was to oversee building the telegraph line across the Canadian River to Fort Supply.
The black soldiers' role in clearing the Texas Panhandle of Indians, outlaws and rustlers may have been tedious sometimes, but was crucial to fulfill the goal of settling the west. Fort Elliott was abandoned in 1890 when Indians were no longer a threat and law and order was established by civilian courts. The original Fort Elliott flag pole now stands at the Mobeetie Jail Museum 1.5 miles east of this marker. Several soldiers who served here purchased land in the area to homestead and are buried in the Mobeetie cemetery.