101 Ranch

NORMAN, 1938


Second Printing



Generous to a fault, true to his friends,
never forgetful of a kind act, a real
cowman of the old school—a
gentleman unafraid.

WISH to acknowledge my sincere thanks to those who were a source of help in making possible this story of the 101 Ranch. They are: Colonel Zack T. Miller of the 101 Ranch, and President of the Cherokee Strip Cowpunchers Association; Louise England, daughter of Alma Miller England; W. A. Brooks, assistant manager of the 101 Ranch for a number of years; George W. Miller, son of Colonel Joe Miller; Corb Sarchet, newspaper correspondent, and author of a number of articles on the 101 Ranch; Dr. Edward Everett Dale, Professor of History, University of Oklahoma; Hugo Milde, trail driver, Vice-President, Cherokee Strip Cowpunchers Association, and longtime friend of the Millers; Charles W. Hannah, cowboy on the 101 Ranch during the early nineties; Oscar Brewster, Secretary, Cherokee Strip Cowpunchers Association, trail driver and cowboy on the 101 Ranch during the early eighties; Margaret Tierney, Secretary to Colonel George L. Miller; Louis McDonald, Ponca Indian and lease agent for the 101 Ranch; Charles Orr, trail driver, cowboy on the 101 Ranch during the seventies, and an employee of the Millers for a number of years, John Hiatt, cowboy on 101 Ranch during the late seventies; Frank Harper, President, Watchorn Oil Company; A. L. Eagleson, Western Artist; and Joseph A. Brandt, Editor, University Press, University of Oklahoma. These people have been exceedingly courteous and patient in many long interviews and have contributed valuable first-hand information. Without their help this story of the growth and development of the 101 Ranch would have been impossible.
Indebtedness is also gratefully acknowledged to three printed sources of information. First, the 101 Ranch Records. These records, stored for years in the ”White House” of the 101 Ranch and now located at the University of Oklahoma tell the story of the huge enterprises of the 101 Ranch in every detail. I wish to acknowledge with appreciation the courtesy of Colonel Zack T. Miller for the use of this material. Second, the Phillips Collection, University of Oklahoma; the general library, University of Oklahoma; and the Oklahoma State Historical Society. The collections of newspapers, books, and photographs in these institutions contribute much information on the 101 Ranch from its beginning to the present day. Third, the following newspapers have published a great variety of articles on the 101 Ranch from its early beginning to the present time; The Daily Oklahoman and the Oklahoma City Times, Ponca City Courier, Ponca City Democrat, Ponca City News, Tulsa World, The ulsa Tribune, Boston Post, New York Times, Kansas City Star, Bristow Record, Oklahoma News, Wichita Eagle, Denver Post, New York Sun, Guthrie Daily Leader, Hastings Tribune (Nebraska), Dallas News, Daily Picayune (New Orleans), Daily Chronicle (London), Daily Mirror , Daily Citizen (London), American Magazine, Chronicles of Oklahoma, Literary Digest, World’s Work, and Time. Without these sources of information the complete story of the 101 Ranch would have been impossible.
IUp the Trail With Texas Longhorns3
IIThe White House On the Plains 22
IIIThe 101 Empire42
IVThe 101 Yellow Backs54
VBlue Blood On the 10169
VITwo Blades For One86
VIIBlack Gold Spouts On the 101102
VIIIThe 101 Industries112
IXBig White Chief127
XThe Old West On the 101142
XIUnder the Big Top161
XIIThe 101 On the Auction Block189
XIIIThe 101 Branded Into American Life215
 Appendices 233
Up the trail with Texas longhorns frontispiece
Mrs. Mollie A. Miller facing   10
Colonel George W. Miller 10
Joe C. Miller, the farmer 16
Zack T. Miller, the cowman 16
George L. Miller, the financier 16
The family home
of Colonel Miller at Newtonia, Missouri
Dugout of the
first headquarters of the 101 Ranch, 1893
The Miller home at Winfield, Kansas 28
Corrals of the
first headquarters of the 101 Ranch, 1893
Second headquarters of the 101 Ranch, 1903 44
The White House of the present 101 Ranch 44
One of the horse barns of the present 101 Ranch 44
Large herds fattening on the 101 Ranch 60
Cattle round-up on the 101 Ranch 60
A herd of longhorns on the 101 Ranch 60
Herd of registered
Dutch Belted cattle on the 101 Ranch
Herd of registered hogs 74
Herd of spotted ponies 74
Harvesting the wheat crop on the 101 Ranch 92
White Wonder corn on the 101 Ranch 92
Harvesting apples on the 101 Ranch 92
The 101 Ranch meat packing plant 114
The 101 Ranch machine shop 114
The 101 Ranch store 114
The 101 Ranch tanning factory 114
The 101 Ranch creamery 114
The 101 Ranch cafe 114
White Eagle, chief of the Ponca Indian tribe 132
Indian marriage
ceremony of Colonel Joe C. Miller and bride
Scene of the last Sun Dance on the 101 Ranch 132
The 101 Ranch rodeo in action (bulldogging) 148
The 101 Ranch terrapin derby 174
101 Ranch cowboys 174
Colonel Joe Miller’s show horse,
Pedro, and his $10,000 diamond studded saddle
Herd of buffalo on the 101 Ranch 196
Funeral of
Colonel Joe Miller on the White House lawn
The Indians mourn
the loss of their friend, Joe Miller
Wagons and implements
lined up for auction at the 101 Ranch


HE buffalo and longhorn are gone from the prairie of Oklahoma. Modern cities rise where the tepee of the Indian once stood. The West of romance and adventure has passed from the American scene. The early day West has passed but it has not perished. Its spirit lived on in the great 101 Ranch, whose vast expanse of 110,000 acres was devoted to perpetuating the atmosphere of the days when courage and self-reliance were inborn in those who rode the plains.
George W. Miller, the founder of the 101 Ranch, came to Oklahoma when great herds of wild buffalo roamed at will on the great fertile plains. He lived to see these magnificent animals wiped out by the hands of white settlers who came flocking into the territory when the Cherokee lands were thrown open to the white settlers. Mr. Miller had already established his ranch at that time; as a cattleman, he operated on a large scale. He had lived through the days of the old West, and he saw them fast passing under the encroachments of modern civilization. But the old order still persisted on the 101 Ranch.
When Colonel Miller died in 1903, the ranch passed into the hands of his three sons, Joe, Zack, and George, who determined to make it a monument to their father’s love for the West of pioneer days. The longhorn cattle, so familiar in the early days, were fast passing out of existence, their place being taken by thoroughbred cattle, which type was favored by the meat packers. The Miller brothers saw to it that a herd of the rangy longhorn steers was carefully preserved on the ranch. And the old time cowboy with his picturesque costumes—all of these were as much a part of the new ranch as the old. The Miller brothers kept the ranch as the only spot in the country where the spirit of the old West lived on in its true atmosphere.
And the new 101 Ranch was not merely a show place. Huge herds of pure bred cattle grazed on its fertile plains where once the longhorns roamed, crops were diversified, oil wells spouted wealth, lights twinkled in a hundred cottages, and the 101 Ranch was noted as the greatest diversified farm in the world. The Miller brothers toiled early and late to bring to fruition this change from the old order of the cattleman to the new order of the diversified farmer. They saw the broad and rolling prairie scarred with farming tools, the cow camp of the plains crumble into decay and the modern home supplant it, the fractious longhorned steer exchanged for the scientifically bred and blue-ribboned type of cattle, the fodder shock replaced by the silo, and the blue stem plowed under that the harvest might be reaped to sustain life in the new order of things. And this transition from a cattle range to the greatest diversified farm in the world is the story of the growth and development of the 101 Ranch. It is the story of how the Miller brothers met, joined, and led in all these changes; how, after turning to the blooded breeds of cattle, they introduced pure bred hogs, horses, and poultry. New and better varieties of wheat, corn, potatoes, alfalfa, and forage crops were harvested. Fruit trees were imported, acclimated, grafted, and re-grafted with scientific methods applied every step of the way. Under the father the 101 Ranch was noted as a vast cattle range, but under the brothers it was famous as a diversified farm.
I have endeavored at all times in this account of the growth and development of the 101 Ranch to present only facts as revealed through careful researches from many sources of information. Fortunately, I have had the assistance of Alma Miller England, only daughter of the founder of the 101 Ranch, in appraising the truthfulness of the great mass of facts collected. Her intimate knowledge of the 101 Ranch from its beginning down to the present day has been a valuable source of help in this undertaking. Her son, George Miller England, has also rendered valuable assistance in this respect.
From my boyhood days, I have known the 101 Ranch on the Oklahoma plains, and during all this time I have continually read, studied, observed, and wondered about its vast enterprises. As in thousands of other boys, it kindled in me an everlasting interest in the romance and adventure of the West of the old days. To me, the 101 Ranch is a “thing of beauty and a joy forever.”

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