The Sauerberg brothers were boys when they left Germany. It took them
ten years to get to Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, which was then known as Dill.
Mark and Bill Sauerberg were born in Holstein, Germany. Their family
was farm people. In 1891, Mark and Bill, age 15 and 17 years, came to
America on a boat, landing in the New York harbor near the Statue of
They stayed on the boat for several days until their legal papers were
in order. They went by train to Omaha, Nebraska, and worked for an English
company on a cattle ranch for awhile.
In 1897, they had saved a little money. They worked on the ranch for
six or seven years sav-ing this money before they headed south. They
started out and every time they moved, they headed south. They moved
from the ranch to Smith Center, Kansas, and began farming for themselves.
Here they farmed about two years. The last year they had 150 acres of
prime corn, 15 head of fat hogs, a herd of cattle and eight horses.
Everything was looking real good. Then one day, a hailstorm with seven
inches of rain and a cyclone came along and they had to make a decision,
two young boys, with no parents and no one to talk with. They were disgusted
with Kansas and decided to go down to Oklahoma Territory. They sold
the two hogs and took the four horses and a covered wagon and started
for a place somewhere in Oklahoma Territory. After a few days on the
road they camped at Anthony, Kansas. Many settlers there were anxious
to sell to the many travelers that were passing through.
The brothers could have bought a quarter section of land joining the
town site for $300 but they kept coming south. They located at Wakita
in 1899. Here they bought out a livery stable for $600. The charge for
a horse, buggy and driver was $3 a day. They had to send a driver with
them, to watch the horses, because horse thieves were thick. They would
steal the horses if they got a chance.
Anywhere a person wanted to go, they would hire out the horses. This
included horse thieves, a lot of outlaws and anyone that wanted their
services. Mark, who was the oldest of the brothers, would not drive
for the desperadoes and didn't want Bill to drive for them either. But,
they were young boys, and were in that business and needed the money.
Those outlaws paid them plenty of good money. They played them clean,
but it was dangerous. This was their business for which they paid good
One day a traveling salesman came in and wanted to be taken to Carmen,
Oklahoma, which was only a few miles. Bill took him, but on his way
home, it got dark and he got lost. The road was not very clear and it
was rough, there were no lights and no one liv-ed along there. There
was a stream and whatever they came to, they had to cross with no one
to help them.
There was that boy out there with that buggy, with those horses, starting
back home. He drove into a canyon on the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River.
There he was stopped by outlaws, asking where he was going and who he
was. He told them right quick who he was, where he was going and where
he had been. They told him to turn around and go back. One of the men
said 'We won't kill him, he is just a boy.' Now he wasn't a very big
boy at that, just about a 200 pounder and about six feet two inches.
The canyon was so narrow there was not room to turn around. So they
helped him unhook the horses and turn them around. They lifted the buggy
up, turned it around and guided him back to the trail that would take
him home to Wakita. Needless to say, Bill was scared. He knew not all
outlaws were bad, because they could have killed him and nobody would
have known. They could have taken his horses and buggy and everything.
He had driven into an outlaw's hideout by mistake. If he had not been
known as a 'shut mouth', they would have killed him right then.When
he got home, he told his brother Mark there was a llivery stable for
sale. In a few days, they had a buyer and sold out for $2,000.00
By this time, the Orient Railroad was building through the southwest
Oklahoma Territory. The Sauerberg brothers went to work for J. S. Shelton,
a contractor who was handling supplies for the railroad. The railroad
camp was west of Lugert, on the SW 1/4, Section 28, Township 5 N, Range
20 W. There were 150 men in this camp.
When these men started building the railroad through the southwestern
Territory, they didn't just build it. They also put up the grade, put
the ties down and put the rails through. A crew built the grade first,
another crew came behind and laid the ties, and te final crew put down
the rails. Bill carried the supplies to the crew that was building the
When the men weren't working, they spent time exploring the mountains,
due to the story of a Spanish Mine there. They found an opening to a
shaft that was high up on on a rock cliff. The opening was very small
and grew larger as it extended back. There was quite a draft coming
out, so that any light was blown out. There were no flashlights then.
They brought out many homemade mining tools, but they have been lost,
so a value can not be placed on them.
In 1901, Mark was sent to Chillicothe, Texas to get a load of tents
and supplies. This was a pretty good trip for a team and wagon. After
he got the tents and supplies, a "half breed " Indian came to him and
told that "white man steal horses and throw boy over cliff". Mark was
already scared and that didn't help him any. His boss gave him a map
and instructions, telling him where to deliver the tents and supplies
and that there would be someone there to meet him and help unload. Before
he got there, he was robbed of his food supplies. When got to where
he was to go, there was no one there.
The second day after he got there, Chief Lone Wolf by to see what was
going on. Mark was on his land and he wanted to see what he was doing.
Mark had been around Indians long enough, that he could make the Chief
understand that he was hungry and had no food. Chief Lone Wolf fed him
and they became good friends.
The third day, Captain Dewees arrived and they put up the tents and
established the first post office. It was called Dill and Captain Dewees
became the first postmaster.
The first business in town was a tent restaurant at the west end of
Main street operated by Mark Sauerberg, who had been on the townsite
earlier while he worked for the railroad. His partner was Hance Van
Rankin. Their first customers were the Kiowa Chief, Lone Wolf, his wife
Ake-Quoodle and small son Walter. Every day Lone Wolf would come in
and eat a pie. Mark never charged him, as he felt the Chief had saved
Like several of the businessmen of the times, These coins were used
in the Sauerberg Store in Lone Wolf.
In September, 1901, Bill Sauerberg, with six head of horses and a covered
wagon joined his brother Mark, establishing a dray business. The brothers
hauled lumber and supplies for the new town from the rail cars to the
three lumber yards. When Mark had left earlier to haul the tents back
to Lone Wolf, that was the first time the brothers had ever been separated.
Later the men married and raised families and had different businesses.
They spent the rest of their lives near Lone Wolf. Mark Sauerberg and
Emma Fritsch were married in 1905 in what was described as "the biggest
social event of the day." The wedding was followed by a dance in a restaurant,
with the Challacombe boys furnishing the music.
About this time Mark Sauerberg and Frank Lugert operated a liquor store
just southwest of the business district at Lugert
The water tower in Lone Wolf was put up between 1908 and 1909. The Sauerberg
brothers hauled the water tower from the flat bed freight car, when
it came in there in pieces. They haul-ed it and put it in place where
the water tower is today.
There was a bank in Lone Wolf that had a big pillar in the front that
is solid granite. It was made in Granite, Oklahoma, out of one of those
solid granite rocks, that they polished. The building still stands.
Mark and Bill thought well, that will be some easy money, we will just
go over there and haul that thing home. They took two head of horses
and their wagon. The next thing they had to do was repair the wagon.
The next thing was get another team because one couldn't pull it home.
It took four days to get it from Granite to Lone Wolf. The Granite pillar
weighed between 7,000 and 7,500 pounds and that is equal to 14-15 bales
of cotton, in 500 pound bales. Bill and Mark had been hauling about
5 bales of cotton at a time on those wagons.
Bill Sauerberg was pretty witty and he liked to talk to people. He was
a hard work-ing man too. Politicians would come visit, as they wanted
Mr. Sauerberg to help them get elected. He and his brother, Mark, still
had a lot of horses, like most everyone did then, and there was still
a lot of horse stealing going on. They had to get rid of the horse thieves.
So when the politicians came out there brag-ging about things, they
asked Mr. Sauerberg to tell them how they got rid of the horse thieves.
Sauerberg said, "Sure I will, we sent them to Washington and now they
are telling us what to do".
Lone Wolf has had some pretty good things. Back in the early days, there
was a Mr. Hornbeck that had a paper, he was always writing in this little
paper, trying to get people to come to this little town and put in businesses.
He was always telling what a nice town Lone Wolf was. At that time,
there were four gins, four elevators, a good school, good chur-ches
and he said, 'we have got a honeyland'. One man read this in the paper
and came to Lone Wolf. He said, "Well I like everything, I would like
to put in a business here but I didn't see any bees when I came in.
I'd like to see your honeyland."
When the railroad built through an area, they named the little towns.
At one time, Lone Wolf had three names; The mail came to Lone Wolf,
the railraod station was Dill and there was Dill Proper. The mail would
get mixed up with Dill City, in Washita County. The council met and
decided that they weren't going to have Dill, Dill Proper and Lone Wolf.
Mark Sauerberg suggested to name the town Lone Wolf after the great
Chief Lone Wolf. It was officially named Lone Wolf in 1912. At one time
the name Higginsville was suggested. Now the reason they wanted to name
it Higginsville is because every other person you met there was named
Higgins. So they thought it ought to be named Higginsville, but the
city residents voted it down.
The Bill Sauerberg Chicken Farm was established in 1923 with 50 chickens.
It grew to a business of over 1,000 White Leghorns and an annual production
of 1,500 chickens. There were three modern chicken houses sufficient
to house 1,000 chickens and equipment. New stock was imported every
year from A. & M. College, Ames Iowa.
Bill's chicken ranch produced chickens that took the main prizes in
every county poultry show in which they were exhibited. They sold hatching
eggs in season and eggs for the table. The first brooders were heated
Permission for this information on the Sauerberg brothers, early Lone
Wolf pioneers, was given by Brenda Pistole-Cress, great grand daughter
of Mark Sauerberg. Brenda's grandmother was his daughter Irene. This
information remains the property of Ms. Pistole-Cress
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