Colorado County Biographies


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Frederick Arnold Obenhaus

F. A. Obenhaus, 92, Hauled Cotton To El Paso With Oxen

Out at Osage there’s a nice old fellow who had lived ninety-two years of about as full a life as anyone could ask for.

His name is F. A. Obenhaus and Sunday his four generations of descendants paid tribute to him with an “open house” at the home of his granddaughter, Mrs. Geo. Goode, welcoming between 50 and 60 guests.
In speech manner and appearance he typifies a story book Southern colonel, and when he gets to tapping his cane and stroking his snow-white goatee and moustache, he can keep you sitting on the edge of your seat with tales of his early life.

His was bound to be an adventurous life – for he started it on August 16, 1849, the year of the gold rush. In those days just living was pretty much of an adventure. He was born four miles east of Columbus, on Skull Creek and has been a life-long resident of Colorado County. You might say he and Texas were playmates who grew up together, for Texas was only four years a state in the Union when Mr. Obenhaus was born.

A little too young for the army when the Civil War broke out, he turned his energy to farming and cattle raising. At sixteen years of age he began hauling cotton by ox cart from Alleyton to El Paso and was in San Antonio with a load of cotton when the war of the states ended.

Carrying eight bales of cotton on each of six or eight wagons, the trip down the Old Spanish Trail to El Paso and back usually took three months, that is if we didn’t get stuck too often in the sand. Twelve miles was considered a day’s journey, the distance varying with the number of streams to ford and other hazards.

Whenever the party made camp at night they arranged their wagons in a circle for protection They never had much trouble with Indians, Mr. Obenhaus said, but frequently passed groups of them. “Their main trouble was with the dadgummed Mexicans.”

“They’d steal our oxen and hide them out in the woods. Then they’d come to us and say, ‘Me find oxen – you give me five dollars,’ and that’s what we’d have to pay to get ‘em back.”

Once, he said, his bunch came upon a spot where some cowboys and a band of Indians had just had a fight. “The cowboys had cut off the old chief’s head and stuck it up on a mesquite bush.”

With such a background, it would seem that a quiet life of cattle raising and farming afterwards would become mighty dull, but not so for Mr. Obenhaus. His interest in the future is rather enhanced by his vast store of experience.
Jokingly asked if he attributed his longevity to “good whiskey and good tobacco” as some old-timers do, he replied, “No, sir!” I’ve never touched whiskey in my life.

And then a twinkle came into his eye. “But I’ve chewed tobacco for more than seventy years, and I’m still chewing it.”

Mr. Obenhaus hold some sort of record for keeping sound teeth. He has lost only two. The others are worn down to the gum, but are still in excellent condition otherwise.

On New Year’s Day, 1874, Mr. Obenhaus married Miss Ida Trott, who lived near Columbus. Four children were born to the couple, three of whom are living now, the fourth dying in infancy. The children are all residents of Colorado County; F. E. Obenhaus of Columbus, Willie Obenhaus of Oakland, and Mrs. C. F. Sanders of the Oak Grove community, with whom he has made his home since the death of his wife in 1916.

He has one brother living in Weimar, Mr. E. L. Obenhaus, who is 82 years old.

His living descendants include three children, sixteen grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and one great great grandchild, a two-year-old girl.
Asked if he expected to pass the century mark, Mr. Obenhaus expressed the ideal attitude toward old age: “I’m going to try to live as long as I can, but when my time is up, I’m satisfied. And I don’t want to be waited on as long as I can still get around by myself.”

And from the way those candles crowded that three-tiered birthday cake, he’s been getting around for quite some time.
Weimar Mercury, August 22, 1941
Transcribed by Judy Talkington

Obenhaus, Frederick Arnold; born: Aug 14, 1849; died: Nov 30, 1941; cem: Live Oak
Son of Arnold and Charlotte (Shriver) Obenhaus

Obenhaus, Lucy Ida; born: Aug 25, 1849; died: May 15, 1916; cem: Live Oak
Daughter of John B. and Julia (Plummer) Trott...married Frederick Arnold Obenhaus, Jan 1, 1874


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