101 Ranch

101 Ranch History


"This information was gathered from various sites throughout the Internet. The numbers behind the sentences correspond to the web page I got the information off of during my research. It is a conglomeration of information that has it's resources on the corresponding webpages. Please visit those web pages as the people there have done hard work in making history more available to all of us.

Paul Reeves

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By Al Ritter

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Col. Geo. W. Miller, the founder, was born February 22, 1841, in Lincoln County, Kentucky. Here he was reared in the traditions of the Old South on a typical southern plantation. On January 9, 1866, he married Miss Mary Anne Carson in Louisville, Kentucky. On March 12, 1868, their first son, Joseph Carson Miller, was born. Due to the results of the Civil War Col. Miller was finding it difficult to conduct the plantation on the same scale as his grandfather. Lured by talk of the new western country, especially California, Col. Miller sold his interest in the Kentucky plantation and started west in search of a location where he could realize his ambition in a mammoth livestock ranch.[8]

From St. Louis they struck out southwestward across the open country for California. "After leaving Missouri it was Colonel Miller's intention to follow the Arkansas-Indian Territory border and then take the southern route to the Pacific coast. However, as they progressed westward, he kept scanning the vast prairie lands with a speculative eye. Here at his very feet was opportunity for a great livestock ranch. This was a cattle country, without cattle.[8]

They stopped for the winter at Newtonia, Missouri, and remained there for a time. Col Miller was a born trader and soon began to trade various possessions for hogs. These he converted into hams and bacon. In the spring he set out with 20,000 pounds of bacon for Texas. This he exchanged for Texas steers, receiving a steer for every 50 pounds of bacon. With his small herd he returned to Kansas and established his first cattle ranch a few miles south of Baxter Springs, Kansas, near the present Miami, Oklahoma. This was known as the "LK" Ranch.[8] Colonel George Miller moved to Missouri after the Civil War to try to go into the cattle business with his wife (Molly Miller) and began using the brand '101' on his herds in 1881. It was at this time when he dissolved his partnership with Lee Kokernut and quit using the LK mark in his cattle. There are several stories on why he chose the brand '101' but the most repeated tale claims that it came from a saloon in San Antonio, Texas.[3] Becoming a merchant while raising hogs, he was one of the early pioneers buying and trading for Long Horn cattle in south Texas during the days following the end of the Civil War Between. These he drove northward through Indian Territory on the Chisholm Trail.[1]

He maintained his family home at Newtonia, Missouri, and on June 21, 1875, Alma, his only daughter was born, and Zachary Taylor, his second son, April 26, 1878. In the fall of 1880 he moved his family to Baxter Springs, Kansas, and here on September 9, 1881, George Lee, his youngest son, was born. The Ponca tribe was nearby and so George Miller became a friend with the tribe. For the first time in the memory of the tribe, when the chiefs and head men met in council that night, a white boy sat in the center and answered their questions in their own tongue. It was decided that the next day White Eagle would return with Joe to view this land, and that the Poncas would never forget this kindness. The Indians moved to their new home in 1879.[8]

As the railroad moved westward Colonel Miller moved with it. The old Cherokee Strip was a cattleman's paradise. "Indian-owned, in the very pathway of the Texas cattle trails, land could be leased for from two to five cents an acre per annum. There were no fences and the cattle could roam at will. Here Colonel Miller leased, in 1879, two large pastures, a total of 60,000 acres, of grazing land. These were known as the Deer Creek Ranch and the Salt Fork Ranch.[8]

In the spring of 1882 he moved his family to Winfield, Kansas.[8]


Part of this area's unique history began when Colonel George Washington Miller (a confederate veteran) [2] relocated his growing cattle operation from the Oklahoma/Kansas border country to the rich bottom land of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River about six miles southwest of current day Ponca City, OK in 1893.[1] It is thought that this was the Colonel Miller's third ranch effort in the area after the Cherokee Strip land run of 1893, for he first lived in Missouri and drove cattle from Texas to the railway heads in Kansas. He later leased land from the Quapaws in the northeastern part of Oklahoma and resided in Baxter Springs, Kansas. From that endeavor he moved his family to the present location of the 101 Ranch grounds in the spring of 1895 and began to put 2000 acres of virgin prairie under the plow and planted it in order to winter his Texas cattle.[1] He also cultivated a good relationship with the Ponca Tribe and suggested to them that they make their reservation in the Cherokee Outlet as their home.[3]


"The government had removed the Ponca Indians from their northern home in Nebraska with the intention of exchanging that land for new land in the immense holdings of the Cherokee Nation in the Cherokee Strip."[8]

While arrangements were being completed Chief White Eagle and his tribe were waiting disconsolately at Baxter Springs, home sick and with considerable sickness. Col. Miller and the Chief held many conferences over the plight of the tribe and out of these rose a mutual and lifelong respect.[8]

While inspecting land in the Cherokee Strip Col. Miller, Joe, and a number of cowboys found themselves near the proposed Ponca reservation. After inspection Miller was satisfied that if White Eagle could visit the country he would accept the offer of the government and make it their home. Since White Eagle intended to leave soon for Washington to refuse the grant, Miller knew it was necessary to get word to him. Joe, his son, was the messenger. He was a mere boy but fully qualified to care for himself and since he knew and could speak the Ponca language he could meet and talk with them in their own way. He arrived just in time for White Eagle was preparing to leave for Washington.[8]

Seeking to expand his cattle and agricultural interest following the opening of the Cherokee Strip by land run, he and his sons began buying additional property along with lease agreements with the Ponca Indian Tribe. The 101 Ranch expanded to some 75,000 acres of pasture and farm land. With hard work and good fortune, the Ranch grew to an estimated 110,000 acres.[1] The ranch consisted of a school, show grounds, general store and cafe, hotel, newspaper, magazine, blacksmith shop, leather shop, dairy, saddle shop, meat packing plant, oil refinery and even its own money. Homes for employees were available on the ranch along with guest houses and a "Dude Ranch". It was a city within itself consisting of a population of around 3,000 people at any given time.[4] Its boundaries were found in the four northern Oklahoma counties of Noble, Pawnee, Osage and Kay. The communities of Marland (originally Bliss), Red Rock and White Eagle were within the bounds of the farm and ranch operation.[1] The 101 Ranch became one of the largest diversified farms with cross breeding of animals and agricultural products. [4]

from the Ponca City Daily Courier, 27 April 1903

George W. Miller, manager of the 101 ranch near this city, died at his home on the ranch at 2:30 o'clock on Saturday, April 25, 1903, of pneumonia, aged 61 years and 20 days. Short funeral services were held at the house on Sunday at 9 o'clock a.m. conducted by Rev., Sims, Methodist missionary at the Ponca Agency, and the body was shipped to Crab Orchard, Kentucky, the home of the family for burial. Mr. Miller leaves a wife and four children, two sons and two daughters grown to manhood and womanhood. The officer of every immense corporation comes in for his share of the world's fame, but there are unknown captains of Industry in the west who are doing things in the world of work and finance that are equally as worthy as the trust magnates. The management of a 50,000 acre farm, the largest under fence in the United States, is a fact that becomes appalling in its immensity when one comes to consider all details.

Geo. W. Miller, a man over 60 years of age, had taken up the task of running the famous 101 ranch in northern Oklahoma. Indeed he has been operating it quite successfully the past four years, but under increased pressure.

Mr. Miller paid the Ponca and Otoe tribes of Indians $32,000 annual rental for his 50,000 acre farm; other expenses amount to $75,000 annually. Last year 13,000 acres were sown in wheat, 3,000 in corn and 3,000 in forage crops. The income of the ranch is from 100,000 to $500,000 annually. The profits from $40,000 to $50,000 annually. The income on steers is even more. Two hundred men find employment on this vast ranch, and $33,000 worth of tools and machinery are used in caring for the grain harvests. Four hundred head of mules are used in the fields and in herding steers.

Mr. Miller has mastered economics of farming to such a degree of perfection as is making the 101 ranch noted as the most profitable farming property in the west. He had a system of double planting corn field that gives double use of the land. By the time the corn had been harvested the cowpeas have grown high enough to make good pasturage. Also, after the cutting of wheat in June and July the fields are plowed and 79 sown in Kafir corn. This is ready for the pasture in October, but the field is first drilled in wheat and the cattle are allowed to tramp in the wheat and nibble off the blades of corn. During the winter, after the corn has been eaten away, the wheat grows up and is pastured     until spring. This system of getting two returns from a single field was an idea originated by Mr. Miller. It
was his most successful plan of making money out of farming.

from the Ponca City Democrat, 30 April 1903
Geo. Miller Dead .

George W. Miller, president of ranch "101, died at the ranch, in the Ponca reservation, Saturday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock. He was taken down with pneumonia on Sunday, April 19th, which resulted in his death last Saturday.

At the time of his death he was at the head of the largest farm in the world, there being about 36,000 acres in ranch 101." He was a man of great energy, and although comparatively a poor man nine years ago, he has through his enterprising work amassed a fortune. True he was assisted in his enterprise by his sons, but he was the head of the whole affair. Unfortunately, the Millers have, for several years,
had trouble with the Santa Fe railroad, and during the time Montgomery, a Santa Fe detective, was murdered, of which crime the Millers were charged with being accessories, but those who are familiar with them placed no credence in the charges.

A few hours previous to his death, Mr. Miller made a statement exonerating Coffelt from the charges of murder and said that he himself was innocent of any crime or knowledge of it. The Miller family have a host of friends in Ponca City who will deeply sympathize with them in their sad affliction.[7]

"Unfortunately Colonel Miller did not live to see his new home completed. He died of pneumonia at the old dugout headquarters on his ranch, Saturday, April 25, 1903, at the age of 61 years and 20 days." After short funeral services at the Ponca Agency his body was shipped to Crab Orchard, Kentucky, for burial. Chief White Eagle refused to go to the railroad station with the body saying: "I would not weep where men and women could see me. I must retire alone."[8]

Knowing he was going "he called his family to his bedside and made known his final wished in the management of his 50,000 acre ranch. He left no will, but decreed that the huge ranch should remain intact forever in the Miller family. To his wife, Mrs. Mollie A. Miller, he left $30,000 in life insurance."[8]

"At the time of his death, the 101 Ranch had grown to huge proportions Mr. Miller paid the Ponca and Otoe Indians $32,500 annual rental for his 50,000 acre ranch; other running expenses amounted to $75,000 annually. The year before his death, 13,000 acres were sown to wheat, 3,000 in corn, and 3,000 in forage crops. The income was from $400,000 to $500,000 annually. Two hundred men were employed on the ranch and $33,000 worth of tools and machinery were used in the fields and more than 200 ponies were used in herding cattle on the ranges."[8]


With Colonel G. W. Miller’s passing in 1903 from pneumonia, his three sons, Joe,   George and Zack continued expansive operation of the ranch.[1] His wife, Molly, had the ranch turned into a trust with Joe as chair and Zack and George as the only other members. The three split the responsibility, with Joe running the overall operations and farming, Zack controlling the livestock, and George handling the finances.[3] The oldest was Joe Miller, an expert in grains and plants. The middle son, Zack was a cowman. The third son, George was a financial wizard.[5] The 101 experimented with crops, creating improved strains of corn and walnut, apple, and pecan trees. Promoted as the "greatest diversified farm on earth," the ranch continued to prosper in the early twentieth century.[3] Experimental and highly successful agriculture applications were developed while the brothers built a herd of 25,000 longhorns. Led by Joe Miller, the brothers additionally developed large herds of Holstein, Shorthorn and Hereford dairy cattle along with Duroc-Jersey hogs. Their swine production along resulted in their ability to ship 10,000 hogs a year to market. Correctly earning the title of a ‘Fabulous Empire’, the ranch constructed its own packing plant, ice plants and cold-storage lockers. Other innovations for the time included a tannery, a cider mill, an alfalfa mill, an electric power plant, a dairy and the ranch’s own cannery along with its own telephone system and mail service.[1] In 1908, E.W. Marland, an oilman who was down on his luck, met the Miller Brothers and through them E.W. was able to drill on leased Indian lands.[5] In 1909 Ernest W. Marland spearheaded the search for oil on ranch land, forming the 101 Ranch Oil Company. The successful oil venture increased the Millers' profits by allowing the three Miller brothers built their own   refinery producing gasoline, kerosene and fuel oil.[3]

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Greater successful expansion was soon seen when the ranch entered the entertainment field in 1905, when the Millers invited the members of the National Editorial Association to Bliss, Oklahoma, and entertained them with a large exhibition, which they called "Oklahoma's Gala Day."[3] Gaining an endorsement from the National Editorial Association of St. Louis to hold its annual newspaper editors convention for 1905 in Guthrie, O.T. Colonel Joe Miller scheduled an entertainment gala for the influential visitors on the 101 Ranch. Drawing from the legends, lore and history of a quickly passing period of American’s Old West, the Miller brothers put on an eye popping extravaganza they promoted as a ‘Round-up’.[1] 

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In 1905, Joe started the 101 Ranch Wild WestShow, an expansion of the yearly rodeos that featured roping, riding, bulldogging, Indian dancers, trick roping, riding and shooting. The show traveled all over the world. The Millers also introduced a sport called the "terrapin derbies".[2] The affair's success led the Millers to take the enterprise on the road. It toured seasonally beginning in 1907. The show had a hiatus from 1916 to 1925, initiated by World War I, before it mobilized again and ran until 1931. In 1924 the production again performed in Bliss for the National Editors' Association.[3]


Souvenir programs offered during the event additionally billed the Oklahoma Gala as a Cowboy Reunion, Indian Celebration, Buffalo Chase and Historical Exhibition. Featuring at least 200 local cowboys, ranch hands and Indians, arrangements were made to have the imprisoned frontier warrior Geronimo brought to the ranch under military guard from Fort Sill, O.T. With assistance, the aging warrior killed a buffalo in the arena from a motorcar, signed autographs and sold souvenirs. Among other larger than life promotions, the Millers advertised in area newspapers they would offer a $1000 prize to anyone who would submit to being scalped by Geronimo.[1]

More than 65,000 people attended the long afternoon of events of June 11, 1905 and overflow crowds easily filled a huge grandstand built for the event. Performing ranch honed skills, cowboys and cowgirls paraded that huge grandstand on the south side of the Salt Fork River along with vividly costumed Ponca, Kaw, Otoe, Missouri, Tonkawa, Pawnee and Osage Indians, marching bands, soldiers and Geronimo. Along with Geronimo’s mock ‘buffalo hunt’ (where he would actually kill and skin a buffalo), trick riding, bucking horses and a performance by the bulldogging ‘Dusky Demon’ from Texas, Bill Pickett,the evening ended with an unannounced frontier style wagon train attack by Indian performers.[1]

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The remarkable performance gained national attention and brought the 101 Ranch into the venue of thrilling western entertainment. So successful was the show, Colonel Joe Miller and his brothers formed the 101 Ranch Wild West Show and began to tour the United States. They joined the ranks of such notables of that era which included Buffalo Bill’s Congress of Rough Riders, Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show and P.T. Barnum as well as a myriad of smaller circuses and western shows touring the U.S. The brothers took the show throughout the United States and worldwide, traveling to Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South America. In 1914 the cowboys and Indians performed for King George V and Queen Mary of England with an estimated 700,000 spectators.[3] In Mexico Bill Pickett aroused the ire of bullfighters and the crowd by trying to bulldog one of their famed prize bulls. [1]

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Prior to the 1930’s it wasn't unusual for visitors traveling to or through the 101 Ranch to see deer, caribou, alligators, apes, chimpanzees, anteaters, ostriches, peacocks, elephants and the well known soda pop swilling[1] Tony, the Millers captive black bear. He held court in front of the ranch store, the most famous animal on the ranch. William "Bill" McFadden presented Tony to the Millers after a Mississippi hunting trip.[5] All of which were part of what had become a fabulous western and entertainment empire. Agricultural efforts ranging from fruit trees to wheat crops were unusually successful for the time period and location, along with cattle and swine production. Always operating with a force projected as bigger than life, the Millers once posted signs around their huge watermelon field that declared any visitors passing through the ranch would be subject to a $5 fine if they didn't steal a 101 Ranch watermelon.[1]

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Such good humored declarations produced little notice compared to the Miller brothers 1914 purchase of an entire Mexican army which had fled destruction at the hands the rebel army of Pancho Villa by crossing into the United States at Presidio, Texas. The purchase included a vast number of wagons, livestock, weapons and ammunition. Much of which was sold back to the Mexican government or taken back to the 101 Ranch while producing a tidy profit of $20,000 in 1914 dollars.[1]

During the same period of time and into the 1920’s the 101 Ranch entered the new   field of movie making by forming the 101 Ranch Bison Film Company and made some of the nations early day western films.[1] Thomas Harper Ince (1882-1924), whose major claims to fame were the making of crude westerns and the development of the "factory-studio system" to mass produce films supervised the New York Motion Picture Company-owned subsidiary Bison Company, or Bison Life Motion Pictures. It became a studio/ranch that specialized in westerns when, in 1912, his Bison Company production studios purchased the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch and the Wild West Show to use their props and performers for his assembly-line, mass-produced films, and was renamed Bison 101 Company. The Bison Company studios, also became known as Inceville, after he bought about 20,000 acres of seacoast land in Santa Ynez Canyon and the surrounding hills.[6]

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Drawing from some of the more talented, handsome and charismatic hands found among ranch cowboys such as Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Buck Jones and Ken Maynard, hand cranked movie cameras began to film silent westerns not far from the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River on the ranch.[1] In a strange turn of fate, the success of movie making pioneered by the Miller brothers would later be credited as an important part of the demise of the touring Wild West Shows including the 101 Ranch Real Wild West Shows.

Following the unexpected deaths of brothers Joe (October 21, 1927 died of carbon monoxide poisoning) and George (February 2, 1929 in an automobile accident), surviving brother Zack was unable to cope with managing what had become a vast empire and changing economic times of the great depression,[1]but found himself and the ranch sinking deeper into legal problems. The problems eventually overtook him and the ranch. In 1937, he left for Texas where he died of cancer on January 3, 1952.[2]

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The 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show went on the road for the last time in 1931. By the spring of 1932, all assets of the ranch were gone.[1] A federal receivership and bankruptcy haunted the last surviving Miller brother, Colonel Zack Miller, Sr and what had once been a truly western empire, the 101 Ranch and its Real West Shows.[3] What the banks, depression, war and death had not taken from the ranch, deterioration, fire and the Salt Fork River has claimed. Little remains of the once fabulous empire, but the memory of it will live on forever.[5]

When one thinks about the 101 Ranch extravaganza today, it seems very strange, particularly considering the subject matter, to have a show depicting events in which the actors play themselves. For example, Buffalo Bill and Geronimo actually killing real buffalo (while Geronimo was on leave from a military prison), or participation in mock re-enactment of battles or massacres between former enemies using as actors the actual combatants who originally fought each other. The Calvary continued to win, perpetuating a myth, and the poor Indians continued to relive their humiliation, with no mention (I’ll bet) of the white man’s perfidious trickery with the treaty.[4]

One of the show stoppers was the Terrapin Derby. According to the 101 Ranch book (starting on page 148):

"Thus the second derby was run in 1925 with 1,679 entries; the third in 1926 with 2,373 entries, and down through the following years, always with increasing entries. Only land terrapins were permitted in the derby — the kind common throughout the Southwest.

"The many diversified resources of the 101 Ranch made it the natural show place of the Southwest. There was ranching with all its old-time picturesqueness. There were thousands of cattle and horses, the unblocked trails and the cattle pastures, the unchanged cowboys, the round-up camps, the rodeo, the corrals, the buffalo, and many tribes of Indians, living undisturbed in wigwams, lodges, or rough houses.

"'It was,’ says Corb Sarchet, ‘one continuous entertainment of guests, social, political, business leaders, writers, explorers, actors, the prominent men and women in every line.’ Presidents of giant railway systems mingled with the cowboys and donned their regalia, pleased at the chance. Admiral Byrd rode the      elephants; John Philip Sousa joined the Ponca Indian tribe; Mrs. Mary Roberts Rinehart came for atmosphere when she was ready to write her Lost Ecstasy; Walter Teagle sat on the floor with a bust of Geronimo, the Apache chief, in his arms to be enlightened on the price of crude oil; Will Irwin and his wife, Inez Haynes Irwin, came for a day and remained a week; William Jennings Bryan shook hands with Tony, the monkey; Sidney Smith drew Andy Gump on the White House walls; Teddy Roosevelt was delighted; Will Rogers sang cowboy songs all night long with Mrs. Pawnee Bill at the piano; Fred Bonfils came to see the terrapin derby; Jack Mulhall was on hand to star in the moving picture--Nancy Astor, John Ringling, Randoph Hearst, William S. Hart, Irvin Cobb, Rex Beach, Richard Bennett, General Bullard, Charles Curtis, William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill), William Allen White, Helen Gibson, Bacon Rind, Art Gobel, Will Hayes, General Savitsky, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., James E. Garman, Warren G. Harding, Roy Howard, Ezra Meeker, Colonel Zack Mulhall--what an array! Unceasingly they came--each found the same welcome, each was enchanted, each had seen a fairyland." [From Daily Oklahoman, December 16, 1934.][4]

Furthermore, their values were evidently shared by a lot of people. It is remarkable that although it was located in the middle of nowhere, they still had large attendances. They depended heavily on the railroads. The 101 Ranch was founded in the 1890's and ran strong into the mid-nineteen thirties. They put on the first "rodeo," which they preferred to call a "roundup," and originated the event called "bulldogging" in which a cowboy leaps from his horse onto the steer and then wrestles it to the ground and ties three feet together. The cowboy wins who accomplishes this in the shortest time. This is a standard event in today’s rodeos.[4]

The "Wild West Show" traveled to Europe and entertained an estimated 800,000 people in London alone, but when the British declared war in 1914, they confiscated their horses. The book itself is a fascinating portrait of entertainment on the American frontier. It was a true extravaganza, disproportionately larger than the larger-than-life daily toils of the wildcatter. Whether a creator or product of the twenties, it was a noteworthy part of the scene. It was a "circus" in many senses.[4]

The 101 Ranch was playing on the public’s romanticizing of the "wild west" as it might of been earlier, e.g., when Buffalo Bill and Geronimo were in their prime, that is, before the Indians surrendered and suffered through their "trail of tears." Outside the circus, in the real west of the 1920's, there was still a high risk environment. If not for the Calvary and Indians, then for the wildcatter. Frontiers always exist somewhere. Each decade has, within its numbers, people who survive and even thrive on the frontiers. People able to "live by their wits."[4]

The 101 Ranch was important to oilmen because it was where some of them first discovered oil. The "Watchorn Field" changed a lot of financial situations. It was what oil men refer to as a "company maker." It also became the principal source of assets for The Watchorn Foundation. In turn, this gave them the opportunity to repay their debt to the community where they were born. The discovery was correspondingly important to the Miller brothers who owned the 101 Ranch because it financed their zenith.[4]

"I could have made a deal yesterday with a man from St. Joseph, Mo., to have had a well drilled immediately on their’s but I prefer to give our people a square deal and the first opportunity on anything I am letting out down there and I realized after talking with your Mr. Porter that it would work an injustice on you to let one of these wild catters come in on that 10 acres, and force about three off-sets from you people."[4]

This is a telling reflection on the ethics of Mr. Miller. It shows how much one depends on friendships, particularlyin frontier environments where legal protections are few. He is recognizing that if he sold to the outside group that they would have forced Mr. Watchorn to drill immediately which would have put him at a severe disadvantage of "drill now or be drained."[4]

The 101 Ranch was a monument to a few moments in the history of our country.

Tom Mix - The future silent film star was a town marshal in Dewey just east of the Osage County border. The Wild West show of the 101 Ranch in Kay County just west of the Osage gave him the boost that sent him to Hollywood. Mix knew the Osage country well.[9]

Noble County - 101 Ranch - Vince Dillon, 
Official 101 Ranch Photographer

As a young man Vince Dillon and his father boarded the first train from Arkansas City, Kansas into the Cherokee Strip. They settled near Ponca City and Vince spent several years at the trading post at White Eagle where he learned the language of the Ponca Indians and became a friend and a white man in whom they trusted.[10]

Vince then spent several years with his father on an island in the Arkansas river living the nomadic life that is the nature lover's utopia. Their home was a tent and they gained a livelihood from the fertile soil that had settled in the river bed and from the large supply of fish.[10]

The Miller Brothers hired Vince to take a group of 138 Ponca Indians to Jamestown, Virginia. This remained as a high spot in his entire life and a large 10 gallon hat with the word Jamestown on the inner band was among his most prized possessions and which he wore to many functions that were held at the ranch in later years.[10]

Vince was a registered pharmacist and for five years he practiced pharmacy at Fort Smith, Arkansas. He then moved to Fairfax, Oklahoma to live with his father and to establish a reputation as a photographer. It was from his father that he acquired the art of the trade and, until his death in 1931, he served as the official photographer for the 101 Ranch.[10]

Bar L Ranch

The Bar L ranch was part of the 101. It was on the Salt Fork river about 10 mile east of Marland. The camp was provided by the generosity of the Miller Brothers for the use of any of the oilmen, E. W. Marland in particular.As it was an active part of the ranch, it was not isolated even in rugged country, being in touch by telephone with the operation of the main ranch. There were some permanent buildings but for entertaining by large groups tents from the traveling circus were brought in and set up to provide lodging, food, hunting and recreation and all the facilities of lavish living for the guests.[5]


  • Feb. 22, 1841 George Washington Miller was born in Crab Orchard, Kentucky.
  • Jan. 9, 1866 George W. Miller married Mary Anne (Molly) Carson in Louisville, Ky.
  • Oct. 18, 1866 Wilkes Booth Miller was born in Kentucky
  • March 12, 1868 Joseph Carson Miller was born in Crab Orchard, Ky.
  • April 20, 1870 John Fish Miller was born in Newtonia, Mo.
  • August 27, 1870 Wilkes Booth Miller died in Missouri, buried in Kentucky
  • 1870 George Miller and family left Kentucky
  • 1871 George Miller established a ranch near Miami, Ok.
  • March 29, 1872 John Fish Miller died in Newtonia, Mo., buried in Kentucky
  • June 21, 1875 Alma Miller was born in Newtonia, Mo.
  • 1878 George W. Miller became acquainted with the Ponca Indian Tribe
  • April 26, 1878 Zachary Taylor Miller was born in Baxter Springs, Ks.
  • 1880 The 101 Ranch Brand came into use.
  • Sept. 9, 1881 George Lee Miller was born in Winfield, Ks.
  • 1892 George W. Miller leased lands from the Ponca Indians along the Salt Fork River and established the 101 Ranch.
  • 1896 Joe Miller married Lizzie Trosper.
  • 1903 Publication of the 101 Ranch newspaper the “Bliss Breeze”. George W. Miller died April 25, 1903 from pneumonia at age 61 and was buried at Crab Orchard, Ky.
  • June 11,1905 The 101 hosted the National Editorial Association meeting.
  • 1905-1906 101 Ranch Wild West Show toured Mexico, Canada and the United States.
  • 1906 Zack Miller married Mabel Pettyjohn.
  • 1907 Zack and Mabel Miller's daughter Virginia Miller was born
  • 1908 George L. Miller married May Porter.
  • Jan. 14, 1909 The Ranch house burned and a new White House was constructed that year
  • 1910 Oil was discovered, the Molly Miller Well
  • 1910 The 101 Ranch Oil Co. was organized.
  • 1912 Zack and Mabel Miller divorced
  • 1912 George and May Miller's daughter Margaret Miller was born
  • 1914 The 101 Ranch show performed in England and all the stock and equipment was commandeer by the British Army.
  • 1916 Buffalo Bill toured with the 101 Ranch Show.
  • 1917 Joe and Lizzie Miller divorced
  • 1917 101 Show closed until after World War I.
  • 1917-1924 The 101 Ranch furnished stock for the U.S. government during World War 1.
  • July 31, 1918 Molly Miller died and was buried in the Ponca City I.O.O.F. Cemetery
  • 1918 General Store and Office building was built by WWI POW's
  • 1919 Zack Miller married Margurite Blevins.
  • 1920 Zack and Margurite Miller's son Zack Jr. was born
  • 1921 The Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Trust was formed.
  • 1922 Zack and Margurite Miller's son Blevins Miller was born
  • 1922 The 101 hosted the Oklahoma Press Association.
  • 1923 The 101 sponsored the Cherokee Strip Cowpunchers Association. The 101 Magazine was published.
  • 1924 A new 101 Ranch Show was started.
  • 1924 The 101 hosted the National Editorial Association meeting again.
  • 1925 The 101 Ranch Show toured the United States and Europe.
  • Aug. 21, 1926 Joe Miller married Mary Verlin. 
  • 1926 The 101 hosted the National Realtors meeting.
  • May, 1927 Joe and May Miller's son Will Brooks Miller was born
  • 1927 The 101 Ranch hosted the American Association of Petroleum Geologist.
  • Oct 21,1927 Joe Miller died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Buried in the Ponca City I.O.O.F. Cemetery.
  • April, 1928 101 Ranch Wild West Show went on the road.
  • Feb 2,1929 George Miller died in a car wreck. Buried in Ponca City I.O.O.F. Cemetery
  • 1929 The 101 Ranch drilled its 13th dry oil well 
  • 1930 Zack Miller took the 101 Ranch Show on the road again.
  • 1932 The government purchased about 8,000 acres of the 101 Ranch for a resettlement project.
  • 1932 The 101 Ranch equipment and livestock was sold off.
  • July 5, 1936 The 101 Ranch household furnishings were sold off.
  • 1939 The 101 Ranch show closed, completely broke after the New York World's Fair
  • 1940 A move was made to try to preserve the 101 Ranch Whitehouse
  • 1941 The 101 Ranch land was sold to the Federal Farm Security Administration and divided into 34 farms.
  • 1943 The Federal Farm Security Administration sold the remaining 101 Ranch buildings for $500 to a salvage company. The White House and most of the other buildings were razed.
  • 1946 Zack Miller purchased the 101 Ranch Store and continued to operate it
  • January 3,1952 Zack Miller died in Texas and was buried on “Cowboy Hill”.
  • 1959 and 1961 The Oklahoma State Legislature tried to appropriate funds to purchase and rebuild the 101 Ranch site, but died for lack of funds.
  • 1959 Zack Miller deeded Cowboy Hill to the Oklahoma Historical Society
  • 1972 The 101 Ranch Museum was established at the Ponca City Cultural Center (now Marland's Grand Home)
  • 1974 The 101 Ranch was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1975 The 101 Ranch was designated a National Historical Landmark.
  • Sept. 22, 1987 101 Ranch General Store burned to the ground.
  • 1996 Riprap project was done to keep the Salt Fork River from overtaking the 101 Ranch area lands.
  • Aug 17, 1996 The 101 Ranch Roadside Picnic Area was opened
© Lord Gazmuth 2012