(NOTE - These brothers originated the Cross-Bell Brand. This brand, and ranch, were figured in the “Mullendore Murder Case” which happened in the near past.” RKW)
Another note by RKW follows:
The book “The Mullendore Murder case” by Jonathan Kwitny states that one of the Berry brothers was George Berry. He was farming near Stillwater when he brought his sister Jennie to the farm to be his housekeeper. George was later elected Lieutenant Governor and served for eighteen years. Jennie married Erd C. Mullendore in 1897.
[Notes by MAW. I only found five of the Berry Brothers: Thomas Embry Berry, Andrew A. Berry, Isaac K. (“King”) Berry, Robert Berry, and George Berry. There were supposed to be six brothers. I also found one sister: Susie Berry. There was a news item which inferred there was more than one sister.]
Janel Hutchinson brought me a hard cover book that she had purchased from Les Warehime and which he had personally autographed.
BOOK: HISTORY OF RANCHING THE OSAGE.
Published by: W. W. Publishing, 1520 E. 19th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74120
Printed By: Multiprint, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Copyright 2000 Less Warehime.
On Pages 116, 117, and 118 of Chapter 11, he had the following information.
The Mullendore ranching interests were begun by Erd C. Mullendore, Sr. He was born March 20, 1871 in Johnson County, Indiana the son of John and Mary E. Mullendore. When he was eleven he and his family moved to Howard County, Kansas. In September of 1893 he and his brother Dave made the Cherokee Strip run, he staking a claim in Kay County. On August 20, 1897 he married Sarah Berry, they living near Ripley before settling on the old homestead of Reverend Price near Cleveland in 1901. They became the parents of Billie, Robert, Bessie, Mildred, Eugene, and Patience. Shortly after arriving in Cleveland Erd bought stock in the Triangle Bank he was named it’s president when it was nationalized as the Cleveland National Bank. This banking interest spread to banks in Hominy, Pawnee and Cushing. In 1904 he acquired interests in the oil development south of Cleveland. His oil activities eventually extended into Texas, Illinois and other sections of Oklahoma. Because one of the major investments made by his bank was in the area’s cattle business Erd’s personal interest moved in this direction.
[Followed by Footnote 10. Cleveland American - January 20, 1938]
During World War I, his oil and banking interests provided sufficient security as Erd Mullendore launched into large-scale ranching investments. He built his ranch holdings especially in the post World War I depression by purchasing ranches belonging to cattlemen who were forced out of business for one reason or another. One of the operators he bought out was Bill Hale, “King of the Osage,” who was convicted of murdering Osages in order to obtain their property. Another ranching odyssey he made in the 1920s was helping his son Gene get a start in ranching.
On December 21, 1926 Gene married Kathleen Boren daughter of Buck and Blanche Brown Boren. Buck Boren started ranching in Indian Territory and established a permanent ranch in the northeast corner of Osage County after statehood. Included in the Buck Boren Ranch was the head rights of his wife and daughter. The panic which would reach Wall Street in 1929, was experienced much earlier in the Osage, including Buck Boren, who in 1927 faced a foreclosure sale of his ranch. When the gavel fell the new owner was Gene Mullendore his son-in-law. In order to buy the ranch Gene persuaded Erd, to advance him two million dollars on his inheritance. With land from her father and the brand of his grand father William E. Berry, Gene and Kathleen started their Cross Bell Ranch. Erd having gotten Gene started in ranching now turned his full attention to the affairs of his ranching.
In 1929, Erd Mullendore established the Mullendore Trust which eventually owned as much as 80,000 acres, most of it located near Fairfax. After Erd’s death in 1938, A. C. Adams his son-in-law, Mildred’s husband, was left in charge of the Mullendore Trust. Also placed under A. C. Adams and his brother-in-law Ralph Johnson’s supervision were Erd and Sarah Jane’s ranches. After Ralph’s death in 1944 Bessie Johnson his wife replaced him as co-supervisor with A. C. Adams of the Mullendore ranches. In 1951 Gene bought from the trust it’s 4,000 acre Little Chief Ranch. After the death of Erd’s wife Sarah Jane in 1952 the ranch supervisors decided to sell some of the ranches land.
Offered for sale were approximately 25,000 acres, most located near Fairfax. C. Clark Bledsoe prominent Tulsa rancher and pipeline contractor bought 4,000 acres. At the time he was operating a 22,000 acre Osage County ranch in the Prue and Wildhorse area. W. M. Thompson, Tulsa rancher and owner of the Thompson Building in downtown Tulsa who operated a large ranch in New Mexico bought 5,000 acres. Roy Parkhill Tulsa, owner of the Parkhill Trucking Company bought 2,500 acres. Eloa, Texas ranching partners Earnest and Hence Barrows and D. D. and Olan G. Lee bought 6,000 acres. The largest purchase was made by Bessie Johnson, Erd and Sarah’s daughter who bought 7,500 acres.
[Followed by Footnote 11. Tulsa World - January 12, 1952.]
Bessie operated the ranch until her death in 1976 but the Mullendore ranching story in the Osage would, after 1952, largely be written by Gene and his son E. C. III.
E. C. was born October 26, 1937. At twenty two he quit Oklahoma University to take over running of the Cross Bell. Also quitting the University of Oklahoma, she coming home to marry E. C., was Linda Vance they marrying December 3, 1959. E. C. operated the ranch until September 26, 1970 when he was killed, the victim of a still unsolved murder. His death pushed the ranch into bankruptcy.
[Followed by Footnote 12. Tulsa Tribune - September 28, 1970.]
On October 17, 1972 the court approved a bankruptcy plan which called for the sale of the Sedan, Little Chief and Bird Creek Ranches. It was hoped the sale of these ranches would satisfy creditors and allow for the main Cross Bell Ranch at Hulah to remain in the hands of the Mullendores.
The auction of the three ranches was held January 13, 1973 at Pawhuska with more than 500 in attendance. The successful bidder was the Lebsack Cattle Company headed by Donald Lebsack, who bought all three ranches for a total of $3,460,000.
[Followed by Footnote 13. Tulsa Tribune - January 16, 1973.]
These ranches would in 1975 be sold to Oklahoma Land and Cattle Company. In late 1973 just before his death in December Gene signed a lease turning over the operation of the Hulah Ranch to the L-B Land & Cattle Company. Under terms of the lease L-B Land & Cattle Company could acquire a one fourth interest in the ranch after twenty years.
[Followed by Footnote 14. Tulsa World - June 1, 1973.]
NOTE: Type the above as printed by author except for footnote notations.
I have questions.
No. 1: RKW states from book he read that Jennie Berry married Erd C. Mullendore in 1897. According to RKW Jennie had been housekeeper to George Berry, later elected Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma.
Warehime: On August 20, 1897, Erd C. Mullendore, Sr., married Sarah Berry.
Discrepancy noted: Jennie or Sarah.
No. 2: Confusion over Warehime entry—
“With land from her father and the brand of his grand father William E. Berry, Gene and Kathleen started their Cross Bell Ranch.”
Kathleen’s father was Buck Boren. No problem there.
However, this paragraph insinuates that Gene Mullendore was using the brand of his grandfather, William E. Berry.
In studying the Berry Brothers file, William E. Berry was never mentioned in the old newspapers other than a statement that there was another brother [who was never named]. The Berry Brothers brand was started by Thomas Embry Berry, Andrew A. Berry, and Isaac K. (“King”) Berry. Two younger brothers [Robert and George] joined in with the other Berry brothers at a later date.
Perhaps William E. Berry is the name of the missing brother. But the author states that Gene Mullendore was using the brand of his grandfather, William E. Berry.
Berry Brothers came from Pulaski County, Illinois, and started a grocery store in Arkansas City in February 1877. [I now wonder if the paper goofed and should have stated Pulaski County, Kentucky.]
Thomas E. Berry was the oldest brother and always appeared to be the one in charge. He was first identified in April 1877 about the time he married Helen Wright. In November 1877 Thomas E. Berry went to Southern Kentucky [where Pulaski County is located] in November 1877 and returned with his mother and two younger brothers.
In January 1878 Berry Brothers were identified: Thomas E. Berry, Andrew A. Berry, and Isaac K. (“King”) Berry.
The grocery firm of Berry Brothers dissolved in February 1878 at which time Thomas E. Berry became sole proprietor.
Thomas E. Berry was appointed as trader at Pawnee Agency in April 1878.
He was assisted by two of his brothers: Andrew A. Berry and “King” Berry.
In May 1881 mention is made of Berry Brothers holding stock in Indian Territory.
At no time was mention ever made that the father of the three Berry Brothers lived in Kansas or Indian Territory. It appears that he had died years before and that the mother of the Berry Brothers lived in Arkansas City after she and younger children were moved from Kentucky.
CONCLUSION: I do not trust the article by Les Warehime relative to Berry and Mullendore connections.
Comment: The author did not research some items in a good fashion. For instance, he had the following in Chapter 3: “The Poncas leased 50,000 acres, the portion of their reservation south [south and west] of the Salt Fork River, to Joseph H. Shelburne a trader on the Ponca reservation, for a term of five years at $1,700 per year.”
He failed to get the proper name: Joseph H. Sherburne.
Comment: He could not spell Nez Perces correctly as well as Houghton. He said: “The Nez Pereces leased 60,000 acres to R. A. Houghten for $2,000 per year rental.”
C. M. Scott got lease for Houghton: 75,000 acres for 10 years @ $2,000 per year.
Comment: The author did not give initials when he referred to Scott and emphasized the firm of “Scott and Topliff” in Chapter 3. Here is what he had to say in this regard.
“In the spring of 1880 Outlet ranchers met at Caldwell, Kansas and formed an informal organization, its purpose was to protect and promote their presence in the Outlet. The ranchers main goal was to prevent a government challenge to their use of Indian land which could easily happen. To prevent this the association members agreed to arbitrate all differences. Two years after the association was formed there still was no objection of their use of the Cherokees Outlet. In late 1882 a Department of Interior probe was started to help settle a fencing dispute in the Outlet. The probe could have easily escalated into an investigation of the cattlemen’s occupation of the Outlet which they could ill afford.
[Followed by Footnote 3. Senate Ex. Doc, 54, 48th Congress, 1st Session Vol. IV, PP129, Letter of Price to Secretary of Interior, Dec. 28, 1882.]
Note: Scott & Topliff’s hog operation was in Bolton Township, Cowley County.
The dispute started shortly after the firm of Scott and Topliff paid their grazing tax and been issued a graziers license on a range in the Outlet. Two Cherokee citizens appeared with agents of the Pennsylvania Oil Company and started fencing 200,000 acres, including the range of Scott and Topliff. The Pennsylvania Oil Company refused to arbitrate. Unaware and unconcerned of the dangers of such a refusal they continued their fence building. Being unable to get the matter arbitrated Scott and Topliff turned to the Department of the Interior. Because cattlemen in the Outlet had little or no protection of the law, preventing government involvement in such a dispute was very important. The government in settling the disagreement never addressed the use of Indian land by the parties but did clarify their right to build fences. John Q. Tufts at the Union Agency, was ordered on January 16, 1883 to make an investigation of fences in the Outlet. On March 1, he reported he had found nearly one thousand miles of fence and that it should be allowed to remain and more be sanctioned.
[Followed by Footnote 4. Senate Ex. Doc. 54, 48 the Congress, 1st Session Vol. IV, PP 148-149, Tufts’ Report to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 1, 1883.]
He did however recommend before additional fencing was done that permission for its construction, be granted by the Cherokees. He cautioned all fencing was subject to immediate removal by order of the Interior Department.
With Agent Tufts report in hand the secretary of the interior issued his decision concerning fencing. He said cattlemen would be permitted to retain existing fences but only after making satisfactory arrangements with the Cherokees. While the fencing question had been settled for now, still the right of the cattlemen to be in the outlet remained unanswered.
In March 1883, a meeting was held at Caldwell, Kansas which was attended by virtually all cattlemen who grazed cattle in the outlet. They agreed their informal organization formed in 1880 needed streamlining and modernizing. This was needed so it would be better equipped to deal with the government should their presence in the Outlet ever be questioned.
The associations first step to achieve this was appointment of a committee to draft a new set of bylaws and constitution. The committee completed its work and issued a report allowing for the creation of a new organization. An association was formed and incorporated under the laws of Kansas as the “Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association”.
[Footnote 5 followed. Sente (am sure he meant to say Senate) Rep. 1278, 49th Congress 1st Session Vol. VIII, PP 683.]
The new constitution and bylaws were brief. It did not provide for officers such as President, Secretary or Treasurer. However directors, E. M. Hewins, J. W. Hamilton, A. J. Day, S. Tuttle, M. H. Bennett, Ben S. Miller, A. Drumm, E. W. Payne and Charles H. Eldred met and chose Ben S. Miller President, John A. Blair Secretary and M. H. Bennett Treasurer. It also created a Board of Arbitration consisting of S. M. Colson, William Corzine and D. R. Streeter.
[Footnote 6 followed. Senate Ex. Doc. 54, 48th Congress 1st Session Vol. IV, PP 155.]
As the cattlemen met in Caldwell Chief Bushyhead was meeting Secretary Teller in Washington outlining the Cherokees position on grazing cattle in their Outlet.
Chief Bushyhead agreed upon his return to Tahlequah to call a special session of the Cherokee Council to review cattle grazing on their outlet. As other tribes were involved in much the same debate, results of the Cherokees discussions and councils actions would be felt through out Indian Territory. It was becoming imperative not only to the tribes but cattlemen as well that government clarify its policy regarding grazing cattle on Indian land.
At this point I quit. It is apparent to me that the author “mushed” his way through some mighty important actions and in a sense, said next to nothing. Believe he thought all the nice little maps, sketches, names of ranchers, etc., is all that he needed to produce a book knowing that few, if any of its readers, would even begin to understand what he was saying.
I was shocked to see that he used as his first item under Newspapers: Arkansas City Tribune: February 6, 1936.
I was further shocked to see that he used as his last item under Newspapers: Winfield Daily Courier (Winfield, Kansas): March 31, 1922.
The only other two newspapers he mentioned in Kansas:
Cedar Vale Commercial: April 5, 1904, March 12, 1909, April 9, 1920.
Cedar Vale Messenger: June 25, 1953.