George W. Miller and Descendants.
November 4, 2000...
Note to file:
I have incorporated two different Miller files into this one. In addition, I received a xerox of the June 15, 1910, issue of COURIER from Jerry Wallace, which had a photograph of the Miller Bros. House on the 101 Ranch, with the following caption:
New Home of the Miller Bros. on the 101 Ranch,
built of concrete with tile roof and complete
throughout with heating and lighting system.
Prominent among the scenes in the 101 Ranch moving pictures will appear the superb mansion, the home of the Millers. It is of stone, tile, and concrete, and wholly fire proof, one of the finest residences in the west. Anything pertaining to the Miller Bros. is of interest to Winfield people, they having grown up here from boyhood, counting their friends by the hundreds.
GEORGE WASHINGTON MILLER.
George Washington Miller was the founder of the 101 Ranch near Ponca City, Oklahoma.
George W. Miller was born in Crab Orchard, Kentucky, in 1841. His parents were G. W. Miller and Elmina Fish Miller. His father died when he was three and he was raised by his grandfather, John Fish.
We know of one brother, Walter T. Miller, who was born in 1837 and who died in 1917 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Winfield. He had lived in Tisdale township in 1911/12. He had been a patient in the hospital for five years. The family never mentioned him in either of the books they wrote; however, they attended the funeral as well as paying for it. It is possible that he is the Uncle Doc Miller referred to in Zack Miller’s book “Fabulous Empire” wherein it describes that he worked as a cook on the 101 Ranch.
I have no reference to G. W. Miller’s service in the Civil War but there is evidence of his selling horses and mules to the Army. The book “Bill Pickett” by Col. B. C. Hanes refers to G. W. Miller being a confederate veteran. His grandfather’s plantation, which he inherited before the Civil War, was operated by slaves and after the war it could not be run profitably.
George W. Miller married Mary Ann (Molly) Carson in 1866. A son, Joseph Carson Miller, was born March 12, 1868, in Crab Orchard. In 1870 they sold their interest in the plantation in order to move to California.
In the fall of 1870 they decided to winter in Newtonia, Missouri. While there G. W. Miller started buying hogs for slaughter, and making bacon and smoked hams. He also started a store in this town of 200. He heard that he could trade 100 pounds of bacon in Texas for a marketable steer. On February 16, 1871, he left his wife in charge of the store as he loaded 10 wagons with 20,000 pounds of slab bacon and ham and started on the trail to Texas. He found in San Saba County, Texas, he could get one steer for 50 pounds of bacon. He acquired 400 steers and drove them over the eastern trail to arrive at the south border of Kansas near Baxter Springs after Easter Sunday. He obtained permission from the Quapaw Indians to graze his cattle on their reservation near Miami, Oklahoma. This was his first cattle ranch and it was so successful that he gave up all thought of going to California.
He built a comfortable house for his family in Newtonia, and his only daughter, Alma, was born there in 1875, and his second son, Zachary Taylor in 1878. On his first trip to Texas he discovered Texans cared little for any form of paper money and that he could buy steers that were priced at $6.00 in paper money for $3.00 in gold. They could be sold at the railhead in Baxter Springs for $20.00 to $30.00 per head.
The Traveler of May 15, 1878 reported “G. W. MILLER has on the trail 1,900 beef cattle, driven from Gonzales County, Texas. He will locate for the season at Baxter Springs, Kansas.
In the fall of 1880 Col. Miller moved his family to Baxter Springs to be nearer the ranch at Miami, Oklahoma. They stayed but a short time and in 1881 they moved to Winfield.
The Traveler of June 29, 1881 mentions strayed cattle bearing the brand “101".
The Courier of November 24, 1881 recorded the following; “MR. GEO. W. MILLER has bought the Lindsay property in this city and located here as a permanent home. He is one of the leading cattle kings of this country and has now about 5,000 head of cattle on the range in the Territory. He has selected Winfield as his headquarters, because it has good society, churches, and schools, and a wide awake people, making it the most desirable place for his family, consisting of a wife and four children.”
December 22, 1881 - Courant - Mr. G. W. Miller, the gentleman who recently purchased the Lindsey place, on Manning street opposite Judge McDonald’s, has built a neat addition to the house, and will at once erect a barn, put down walks, and add other improvements that, when completed, will make it a very desirable property. Mr. Miller has large cattle interests in the Territory, and is handling hogs on the market in this city, is a gentleman of means, and, together with his family, makes one of the many valuable acquisitions recently made to Winfield’s business and society circles.
Col. Miller had located a new ranch site on the Salt Fork river near Bliss (now called Marland), Oklahoma, in the Cherokee Strip. The Cherokee Strip was 58 miles wide and 160 miles long. The Millers bought Texas cattle in late winter and drove them to the strip where they could graze till fall and then be sold. Col. G. W. Miller called it the 101 Ranch. The family lived in at 602 Manning until 1888 when they bought and occupied 508 West Ninth Avenue (called the Hiatt House in 1992).
Col. J. C. McMullen had purchased the land from E. C. Manning in 1877. He began construction in 1879 of this two story brick building and moved into it in 1880. The house was lighted throughout with gas, having jets in every room, from garret to cellar. It was heated with hot air and the system of warm and cold water pipes were unequaled. Col. McMullen was a banker associated with the Winfield Citizens bank, which consolidated in 1879 with Fuller’s Bank. It later became the Winfield National Bank.
Mrs. Miller remained in Baxter Springs until after the birth of the last son, George Lee, June 21, 1881. In the early 1880s Col. Miller bought 93 acres from the Hunnewell Town Company. Miller shipped green horses into Hunnewell and kept a breaking crew there all year long. He used the rest of the land for cattle pens and feed storage.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 16, 1882.
Another Murder in the Territory.
A young man named James Hart was shot near G. W. Miller’s cow camp, south of Hunnewell, Thursday morning of last week. We were unable to learn the name of the man who shot him, but from the statements made to us, it would seem to have been a cold-blooded assassination. Hart and the assassin were on the range together, and, it appears, had some words, when the latter pulled out his pistol and shot Hart through the arm. He then rode off, leaving Hart lying on the prairie. Hart was found in the afternoon completely saturated in his blood and died in a short time after being discovered. So far nothing has been heard of the murderer, and we do not learn that any attempt has been made to capture him.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 16, 1882.
George Miller returned from his cattle ranch Saturday and gives us an account of a killing at one of his camps last Thursday. Two of the boys had gone out to drive up a bunch of cattle and got into an altercation over who should drive them in. One of them pulled out his revolver and shot the other dead. The boy killed was a beardless fellow, unarmed, and only been in George’s employ ten days.
Winfield Courier, November 23, 1882.
George Miller came up from his ranche Monday. He has his little pasture of one hundred thousand acres enclosed with a three wire fence, and is ready for winter.
In the fall of 1882, Winfield had its first agricultural fair. They needed an attraction and called upon Col. Miller, who provided a wild west show.
[Note by RKW: There is nothing in the Winfield Courier to verify this.]
None of the Miller children attended public school in Winfield, but were educated in private schools.
[Note by RKW: Alma Miller stated that her father was Southern in his attitude and would not allow his children to attend non-segregated schools.]
The son, George Miller, attended St. John’s College in Winfield in 1896.
Caldwell Journal, May 17, 1883.
The paper described cattle brands.
G. W. Miller. [Wm. Vanhook in charge.]
[Cattle show “NO” and “K”]
All cattle branded 101 on left horn. Range on Salt Fork, Indian Territory. P. O. Winfield, or Hunnewell, Kansas.
Horse brand [K] One lot of cattle branded has left shoulder [K] on left loin...looks like the “K” was used on both horses and cattle.
Winfield Courier, June 19, 1884. Master Joe Miller, son of Geo. W. Miller, our stock dealer, has returned from school at Richmond, Kentucky, and taken charge of his father’s business in this city, Cliff Wood having retired. Joe. shows more manliness and business than many boys very much.
March 14, 1891. C.M. Scott’s diary reported that G. W. Miller had leased one half of the Ponca Indian reservation (65,000 acres) at between 8 and 10 cents per acre per year. A. A. Newman, of Arkansas City, leased the other half.
On January 14, 1893, the following advertisement appeared in the Winfield Courier. “Stolen out of my feed lot at West 9th Avenue Bridge, sometime during January, 8 head of fat hogs, most all black except one white stag, weighing about 175 pounds. No Marks. I will pay $100 for thief and $50 for hogs or $25 for private information to their recovery.” Signed G. W. Miller. (Note - at this time there were two G. W. Miller’s in Winfield. One of them ran a meat market and the other was the cattleman. We do not known who ran the ad.)
On December 6, 1897, in Territorial court at Perry, Oklahoma, George Miller was convicted of stealing cattle. He was fined $300 and sentenced to serve six months in the federal penitentiary. The newspaper article stated his son Joseph, formerly a banker in Blackwell, Oklahoma, was in the penitentiary for passing counterfeit money.
[RKW made note to himself: “Check Perry, Oklahoma, newspapers and court records. Also check Blackwell newspapers.]
The Miller family had troubles with the Santa Fe Railroad where George Montgomery was employed as a private police officer. The trouble started with George Montgomery charging the youngest brother, Zack Miller, with stealing two boxes of cigars. He was found guilty in the court at Perry, Oklahoma.
In the sheriff’s office after the trial, Montgomery had a fist fight with Joe Miller, another son. Montgomery won the fight. This brought the trouble to a head and from thence forward it was war between Montgomery and the Miller family.
Some time later he and George C. Miller were on the same train. The old man attacked him with a knife. Montgomery clubbed him, on the head, with his six-shooter. This served to anger the Miller family more than ever and it is reported that they made threats upon Montgomery’s life. They made frequent threats to “hang his hide on a fence at Bliss.”
Saturday, October 5, 1901, George C. Montgomery was murdered. The newspaper still exists and says, “Winfield went on record Saturday evening with another cold-blooded murder and this one is the most horrible that has ever been committed in this county. A man who was able to take good care of himself in every case where coolness, daring and bravery were necessary, was shot down without the slightest time in which to defend himself or a word of warning to show him the danger.” Of course, the usual number of stories, in such circumstances, were circulated. The first thought that entered the minds of everyone when they heard of the killing was that the Miller gang of the 101 Ranch did it. It grew out of the trouble that Montgomery has had with members of the gang for the past three months.
October 12th, Will Johnson was arrested and charged with Murder.
January 2, 1902, O. W. Coffelt was arrested in Del Rio, Texas, for the murder of Montgomery.
May 19, 1902, George W. Miller was arrested for the murder of Montgomery.
June 25, 1902, Bert Colby was arrested at Enid, Oklahoma, and charged with the murder of Montgomery.
The story of the Montgomery murder trial (trials) is told in another story.
George Miller, Sr. died April 25, 1903, at the ranch after contracting pneumonia. The family had plans to build a home at the ranch, which they concluded after Mr. Miller’s death. The daughter Alma married William H. England, a former Winfield attorney, at the ranch house on October 31, 1903.
[Note by RKW: Alma Miller England co-authored a book entitled 101 Ranch in 1936, which is still being sold. In her book she mentions an employee of the 101 ranch named Hiatt. Research indicates that this is not Jesse W. Hiatt, who purchased the Miller home in Winfield.]
The family had completed the move from Winfield to Bliss, Oklahoma, by Christmas Eve of 1903. The house in Winfield was then sold to the Hiatt family and it still remains in the hands of a family descendant.
Mrs. Molly Miller died July 31, 1918, at Bliss, Okla.
Joe C. Miller died March 12, 1927, at Bliss, Okla.
George L. Miller died Feb. 1, 1929, at Ponca City, Okla.
Zack T. Miller died January 3, 1952, in Waco, Texas.
Fred C. Clarke of rural Winfield was appointed the general operating receiver of the 101 Ranch on September 16, 1931. He held the auction of the ranch equipment on March 24, 1932, and was dismissed as receiver on March 25, 1933.
Col. Zack Miller held a final auction of the contents of the White House on July 5, 1936.
[Note: Story compiled by Richard Kay Wortman, now deceased.]
Miller Burying Ground.
The Miller family did buy cemetery lots in the Graham-Union Cemetery. On March 13, 1900, Joe C. Miller bought block 2, lot 29. Joe Miller’s infant daughter died March 27, 1897, and is buried there with a headstone. On May 11, 1900, George W. Miller bought block 2, lot 36, and there is no record of any burials there. These lots are side by side. G. W. Miller died in 1903, while the family was still living in Winfield, but the body was sent to Crab Orchard, Kentucky, for burial. There are no other burials recorded by headstone or in the Winfield city records.
To visit these lots, approach the cemetery from the south, enter at the second entrance, go to the second crossroad west of the street, turn north and the Miller properties are the second and third lots north on the east side of the road way.
There are references to the Miller burying ground in Winfield.
One is in the book “Fabulous Empire” by Gipson, page 3. “So Zack had to stay around home and play with the neighbor kids, longing for the day when he could ride with old Milton Van Hook, the 101 cowhand who could spin a kid exciting, long-winded range yarns by the hour.”
“That hope was never fulfilled, though. Old Milton died before Zack ever got big enough to ride with him. (Note- Zack was born in 1878.) Typhoid got the old cowhand in an upstairs room of the Hale Hotel in Hunnewell.”
“ -----. They just carried him on outside and loaded him into a rig and set off for Winfield with him.”
Notes from Arkansas City historian, Lois Hinsey. “Milton Van Hook lived here (Hunnewell) ---. He is thought to be buried in a Miller plot, following his death in 1880's, in Winfield, Ks.”
Note from Richard Wortman 1/21/1994. I visited Graham Union Cemetery 1/9/94. Enter at south entrance, drive west but do not enter circle drive. About 35 feet south of road is a plot with a curb around it. The legal description is block L, lot 6. It is large enough for 10 burials. The Winfield city records show it was bought by (first name unknown) Van Hook in 1881. The first burial recorded in the Winfield city records was Milton Vanhook, who died 9/18/1881 and had no headstone.
Inside the curb surrounding the plot is a granite shaft with the name Vanhook on it. It reads “Wm. H. Vanhook, died 9/18/1884, age 28. The base is limestone with a carving of a longhorn steer and a coiled rope. There is no visible sign of a saddle. The base also says Dawson-Winfield. (After checking Dawson Monument Co., I find that they have no record of the creation of this stone or who paid for it.) The top of the shaft has had something on top which has been broken off, or weathered off. One source (Sally Wilcox) stated that it used to be a longhorn steer’s head but was broken off by vandals and destroyed.
The Courier obituary of 9/25/1884 states “William H. Vanhook, a young man for fourteen years in the employ of Geo. W. Miller, our cattle man, and the last four years manager on Mr. Miller’s Territory ranch, died last week at Hunnewell. He was taken a few days before, while in the Territory, with Typho-malarial fever. Mrs. Miller and Dr. Emerson left here as soon as apprized, but before they reached him the grim destroyer had done his work. The body was brought to Winfield and buried Friday from the Christian church, Rev. H. D. Gans officiating. The attentions of Mr. and Mrs. Miller could not have been exceeded had the young man been an own son.”
At the back of the lot is a granite stone which states “Father. December 12, 1932. The Courier obituary, published 12/13/1932 states; “George K. Vanhook of Ponca City, father of Mrs. Claude Brown of Winfield, died at the 101 ranch in Oklahoma at 5:25 p.m. Monday. He was born in Crabapple (Crab Orchard), Ky., in 1850 and was 82 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by three children, Mrs. Claude Brown, Glenn W. Vanhook, and Claud E. Vanhook.”
Note from the book “The 101 Ranch” published in 1937 by Alma Miller England, page 8. “Rainwater and the late George Vanhook (who had died 5 years before the book was written) of the 101 Ranch accompanied Colonel Miller many Times. Vanhook had come with Miller to Newtonia from Crab Orchard, Kentucky, the Miller ancestral home.”
At the front of the lot is a double marble stone that reads; M. Claude Brown, 3/7/1882, 11/6/1958; Georgia Brown, 3/12/1887, 5/16/1970.
From this we find that Milton Vanhook and his two boys, George K. (born in 1850) and William H. (born in 1856) came from Crab Orchard, Ky., to Newtonia, Mo., with Geo W. Miller in 1870. They also moved with Miller to Winfield, Hunnewell, and on to the 101 Ranch.
From the book “Fabulous Empire” by Gipson and Zack Miller. Page 104. “Jimmie Moore had sung for the last time ---. When Zack got back, they’d already buried the little Irishman in the 101 burial lot at Winfield where today a big granite shaft, with carvings of empty saddles and coiled ropes, marks the graves of many a good 101 cowhand.” (Note - This was in late 1893 or early 1894 according to Zack Miller’s memory.)
Notes from Lois Hinsey about Jimmie Moore. “When he died a few years later (after 1893) he was buried in the plot in Winfield.”
Note from Richard Wortman. It is strange, to me, that there is no mention of Milton Vanhook’s wife, or George Vanhook’s wife. I have no indication to show that William Vanhook was ever married.
Winfield Courier, August 10, 1882.
George Miller returned from his cattle ranch Saturday and gives us an account of a killing at one of his camps last Thursday. Two of the boys had gone out to drive up a bunch of cattle and got into an altercation over who should drive them in. One of them pulled out his revolver and shot the other dead. The boy killed was a beardless fellow, unarmed, and had only been in George’s employ ten days.
Winfield Courier, August 16, 1883.
Geo. W. Miller has shipped eighty car loads of fat cattle this week. They were all from his pastures in the Territory, and he has purchased thirty-five hundred head of through cattle to take the places of those shipped. George swaps dollars at the rate of about a hundred thousand a week now-a-days.
Winfield Courier, December 6, 1883. From The Traveler. Geo. W. Miller, of Winfield, recently rounded up and branded 5,400 head of cattle at his ranch on Salt Fork south of Hunnewell. He has changed his old brand of LK to 101 on hip and horn.
BOOKLET KAY HAD ENTITLED
MILLER FAMILY OF WINFIELD, KANSAS,
101 RANCH - PONCA CITY, OKLAHOMA.
Inside Cover was a poem:
He sought new lands and with his good wife by his side,
He made his home a joy forever, a thing of pride!
He planted seeds in soil he labored to prepare;
Believing all success would come to him who planted with a prayer!
I’ve seen him walk through fields of wheat gathering heads.
He set out trees for fruit and shade, erected sheds
To house the implements and store the crops so dearly earned.
He loved to walk in furrows where the sod was newly turned.
He shared his knowledge; freely gave from his rich store to those in need.
Encouraged those who faltered; reaped success beyond his dreams!
A Pioneer, indeed!
From the “Last Run.”
Kay County, Oklahoma, 1893.
The Courier Printing Company,
Ponca City, Oklahoma.
Ponca City DAR
[FIRST PAGE OF BOOKLET: FADED PHOTOS...XEROXED COPY.]
UNDERNEATH ARE CAPTIONS:
Upper: LARGE HERDS FATTEN AT THE 101 RANCH.
Center: ROUND-UP SCENE IN EARLY DAYS.
Lower: A GROUP OF LONGHORNS.
(From “The 101 Ranch,” by Ellsworth Collings and Alma Miller England.
Copyright, 1937, The University of Oklahoma Press.)
NOTE: THE PAGES WERE ALL XEROXED AND MADE INTO BOOKLET.
The Great Ranches
THE MILLERS AND THE 101 RANCH
By George Miller England
CORONADO came first to the Cherokee Strip country. And Washington Irving saw it on his journey through the west. Except for them, “Miller” is the name earliest connected with the history of the Strip.
Colonel George W. Miller started with his family for California, in 1870. He sold his interest in his Grandfather Fish’s Kentucky plantation, and started by wagon for the far west. Stopping for the winter in Newtonia, Missouri, Colonel Miller decided to employ his capital and enterprise in driving cattle through from Texas to the railroad at Baxter Springs, Kansas. When he found this business quite profitable, and found that the country through which he drove the cattle was so well suited to grazing, Colonel Miller decided to remain permanently in this country and eventually established a modern plantation on a grand scale—a cattle barony.
Colonel Miller first set up his cattle depot on the Quapaw Indian reservation, near what is now Miami, Oklahoma. And, in 1880, he moved his family to Baxter Springs, Kansas, a few miles north across the line. His youngest son, George L. Miller, was born in Baxter Springs. His eldest son, Joseph C. Miller, had been born in Kentucky. His only daughter, and his second son, Zack T. Miller, were born while the family lived in Newtonia, Missouri.
During the time the headquarters were at Miami, the government moved the Ponca Indian tribe into that territory from Nebraska. The Poncas were unhappy in their new location. With the aid and influence of the Millers, the Poncas succeeded in persuading the government to move them to a new reservation at the eastern edge of the old Cherokee Outlet.
At this time, Colonel Miller was using the brand ‘K’, the initials of a business associate, Lee Kokernut. In 1880, he bought out Kokernut and assumed the brand 101, which, in the next fifty years, became one of the most famous and romantic of all business symbols, and the name of one of Oklahoma’s greatest commercial enterprises.
In this same year, the Miller family moved to Winfield, Kansas, where a large home was purchased, as the permanent residence for the family.
When the railroad went through from Kansas to Texas, the business of driving cattle up the old trails was gone. But Colonel Miller was determined to remain and realize his dream of a great western “plantation.”
[Next page shows the following at top: 262 THE LAST RUN]
During the fall and winter of 1892, the cattle and the headquarters were moved down the Salt Fork into the Ponca Indian reservation. The Ponca Indians, not forgetting the services of friendship the Millers had rendered in securing for them their new home, offered the Millers their entire reservation for grazing cattle, as long as they wanted it. When this lease was approved at Washington, the ranch headquarters was established in a dugout in a bluff on the south bank of the Salt Fork, and the great 101 Ranch was established.
The family home was maintained in Winfield, Kansas, for Mrs. Miller and their daughter, and for a city home for the Colonel and his sons. It was not possible to build permanent headquarters on the Salt Fork until the Poncas were allowed to sell their land. And so it was not until 1903 that title was taken to the land where the permanent headquarters was located, and a home erected there. But Colonel George W. Miller did not live to see the fulfillment of his dream. He died in April, 1903, at the ranch.
Alma Miller was married at the ranch in October, 1903, to William H. England, and they set up their residence in Kansas City, Missouri, where he practiced law until 1912. In that year, the Englands moved to Ponca City, where he could more easily handle the legal affairs of the ranch and at the same time carry on his general legal practice. Mr. England, a genial, open hearted man, was exceedingly well beloved in the community, and took an active part in church and civic affairs, being for many years city councilman. His untimely death in 1923 was a hard blow to the community, as well as to his family and to the ranch.
After their father’s death, the Miller brothers operated the ranch as a partnership and, under their vigorous guidance, and the inspiration of their mother, who now lived in the “White House” mansion on the ranch, the enterprise grew ever bigger and bigger.
As the Poncas were allowed by the government to sell their lands, the profits from the ranch were turned back into buying land—always more land. But far more than this had been held since 1892 under preferential leases from the Indians. This leased land extended through the reservations of the Ponca, Otoe, Pawnee, and Osage Indians, in Kay, Noble, Osage, and Pawnee Counties.
In 1905, the 101 Ranch presented an exhibition round-up for the National Editorial Association, then holding its national convention in Tulsa. The entire town of Ponca City turned out to help feed and entertain the 65,000 visitors, who came in thirty special trains to the Ranch. The show was such a success and received such nation-wide publicity that the Miller brothers, at the invitation of President Theodore Roosevelt, took their exhibition to the Jamestown Exposition, Norfolk, Virginia, in 1907, where the former success was repeated. It was decided then to organize a regular traveling show, which enjoyed a great success, playing all over the United States, from 1908 to 1914. In 1914, the show was taken to Europe and, after showing in Berlin and Paris, was playing to enthusiastic crowds in London when the World War broke out. The show was quickly closed, the horses sold to the
British government for war purposes, and the equipment disposed of. The 101 Ranch Wild West Show was over, for the time being.
From the time of their father’s death, the Miller brothers gradually worked out a remarkable system of division of management. Each naturally fell into supervision of that part of the ranch affairs which he most loved. Colonel Joe loved to make things grow. From dawn until dark he was in the fields and orchards. He liked to dress in corduroys and scorned formal social life, although he was a great humanitarian and delighted to help the unfortunate.
Colonel Zack was the horse and cattle man among the brothers. He, more than the others, never adjusted himself to the modernization and diversification of the ranch. His interests were always primarily the buying and selling, the raising of horses, mules, and cattle.
George L. Miller (he, too, was named a colonel by the Governor of Oklahoma) was the modern businessman of the three. A cultured man in the truest sense of the word, affable, an easy mixer and a great friend, a bon vivant and a man who loved his social contacts with the great, he was yet one who was interested in the welfare of the least of the tenants and employees of the ranch. He was a man of tremendous physical energy and vitality and a business man of great force and acumen. He organized the offices and the departments of the ranch on the large scale which the huge and varied enterprises demanded. He bargained with the bankers and the oil men, and was seldom bested by any of them. It was he who recognized, with E. W. Marland, the great oil potentialities of northern Oklahoma. He and Marland organized the 101 Ranch Oil Company to drill the first oil well, just north of the White House on the ranch. This company later became the Marland Refining Company, then the Marland Oil Company, and now has been absorbed by the Continental Oil Company.
Yet in all this division of management and interest, the Miller brothers always cooperated and worked together. Each was left supreme in his field, yet they counseled and advised together on all the operations of the Ranch. And so the ranch continued to expand, until the ranch itself was utilizing or processing its own agricultural, livestock, dairy, poultry, fruit, and oil products. There was on the ranch a packing plant, a tannery, a leather, harness, saddle factory, a fruit cannery, creamery, oil refinery, cider mill, machine shop, blacksmith shop, ice plant, filling station, and a power plant. Even motion pictures were produced by the 101 Ranch.
In 1922, the Watchorn Oil Field was discovered, on the land of the 101 Ranch in the Otoe country. In 1923, the oil income of the Ranch was over $1,300,000. The 101 Ranch was now out of debt. For years, the Miller brothers had not only put back their profits in acquiring more land, but had constantly borrowed to buy land. Now the period of land expansion was over. The surrounding country was well settled and land could no longer be purchased at bargain prices.
The 101 Ranch had always been operated as a partnership. All resources were at the command of each of the brothers. It mattered little to them in whom rested legal title to the land. The brother-in-law and legal adviser to the Miller brothers, William H. England, of Ponca City, foresaw the complications which might arise upon the death of any of the partners, and he drew up a corporate form of organization, of the type known to lawyers as the “Massachusetts common-law trust,” under which the ranch might continue to operate as a unit, long after all three brothers were gone. This was known as “Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Trust.” Under this arrangement, all the land was deeded to trustees, who were, at the beginning, W. A. Brooks and J. E. Carson. Legal ownership then rested in the trustees and their successors, which gave the ranch permanent, perpetual existence. The ranch continued to operate as before, however, managed by the Miller brothers as partners.
Since 1914, the Miller brothers, particularly Colonel Joe, had dreamed of getting back into the show business. When the money came in from oil, it was their opportunity to realize this dream. They planned a show which would surpass in grandeur and magnificence, if not in size, any circus or show on the road. In 1925 the new 101 Ranch Great Far East and Real Wild West Show took to the road in thirty new steel cars, including a magnificent private car for the family. This was one enterprise of the ranch in which all three of the Miller brothers were interested and took part in the management. In the grand entry which opened each performance, they rode in together on splendidly caparisoned horses. And at least one of the three always traveled with the show on the road, if the others were needed at home on the ranch.
In the years immediately after statehood, it was once said of Oklahoma that its three outstanding cities were Oklahoma City, which had the Capitol; Guthrie, which had cement sidewalks; and Ponca City, which had the 101 Ranch. In later years, Ponca City became one of the most modern small cities in the west. For its cultural and intellectual activities, one eastern writer referred to it as “the Athens of the west.” In oil circles, it became renowned as the home of the Marland (Continental) Oil Company and as the center of many oil fields. In Indian affairs, Ponca City was noted for its central location among five reservations, and the home of many of the wealthy Indians. To the tourist, it was the location of the Pioneer Woman statue. In politics, it was the home of Governor E. W. Marland. For all these things, Ponca City was widely known. But during all these years, Ponca City was best known to millions, all over the country, as the city near which was located the 101 Ranch.
In 1927 began a series of personal and financial tragedies which came to the ranch. On October 21, 1927, Colonel Joseph C. Miller was killed by carbon monoxide gas in the garage of his new home north of the ranch, which he had shortly before built for his wife and their infant son. A severe drouth and crop failure one year, a serious flood another year, the decline of oil royalties, all put a heavy strain on the ranch finances. In February, 1929, George L. Miller was killed when his Lincoln roadster overturned on an icy curve near Ponca City.
In the confusion of the ranch affairs which followed the death of its presiding genius, George L. Miller, the panic of 1929 was too much for the complicated, now unwieldy operations of the ranch. New loans were made, unprofitable operations and departments were curtailed or discontinued. But prices of farm products, oil, livestock, fell to new lows, while taxes and overhead continued.
Finally, in 1931, a receiver was appointed by the court and liquidation began. Colonel Zack made many desperate efforts to save the great ranch, to no avail. All efforts to refinance failed, since no one seemed to believe so huge and diversified an enterprise could be profitable under conditions as they then existed. Eventually, after prolonged and often bitter litigation, the foreclosed land has found its way into the hands of a government agency, which has broken up the huge pastures and fields, and placed needy families on small tracts, as part of the federal rehabilitation program. The headquarters buildings and the White House are used by a government youth vocational education project.
101 SHOW DAY
By May Barrett Panton, 1915.
Some come a’ horse-back,
Some come on wheels,
Some come in automobiles
And some bring their meals.
Look at all the belles, and look at all the beaus,
Everybody sitting’ ’round in their Sunday clothes.
Ki! Yi! Billy Boy, and Ki! Yi! Buckskin,
Susie, and Sammy, and Jeremiah’s cousin
Packed in tight, and ridin’ in the sun,
Jig-a-ty jog to the Hundred and one.
’Long comes Eagle-Eye—
Great Big Injun,
’Long comes little squaw
’Long comes Chinaman—Ling Lang Lio,
’Long comes a millionaire from Ohio.
Talk about the ice cream
And Circus lemonade.
Talk about the big mob
All watchin’ the parade.
Talk about the horse show and dressin’ to the limit—
When the Miller’s give a show Paris isn’t in it.
EARLY DAYS AT THE 101 RANCH AND PONCA CITY
By Lizzie T. Miller
BEFORE my marriage to the oldest of the Miller brothers, I lived at Bethany, Louisiana. It was in December, 1894, that I was married and went to Winfield, Kansas, the home of my “in-laws.”
It was not until October, 1899, that I moved to the 101 Ranch.
Money from the sale of watermelons that summer helped to pay for the five room frame house into which I moved. It was a story and a half. The downstairs was plastered. It was located on the north side of the Salt Fork River. My daughter, Alice, was fifteen months old at that time. The home was simply furnished but was much more comfortable than most of my neighbors, some of whom were living in dugouts and covered wagons under the trees back of my home. Tommy Grimes, who became a cowboy on the ranch and later went to California and got into the moving pictures, was one of the youngsters who lived in a covered wagon. Another neighbor, besides the ones I have just mentioned, was Mr. W. H. Vanselous who had a ranch adjoining the 101 Ranch. He was indeed a neighbor in its truest sense. The most interesting neighbors were the Ponca Indians, many of whom had outlandish names, such as, “Susie Makes Noise,” “Johnny Bull,” “No Ear,” “Buffalo Head,” “Sits on the Hill,” etc.
White Eagle was chief of the Ponca tribe at that time. Often he and his “head men” would meet Joe Miller and his father in the living room of my home and through an Indian interpreter discuss leasing of other land to the Millers and other business. It took all day as these conferences were long and tedious. These called for beef, bread, and coffee luncheons.
I always had help who cooked, washed, and ironed. As it was lonely in the country, a cook was not satisfied long at a time. When one would leave the four men of the family went across the river where meals were served in a dugout to the ranch hands. A new cook brought back the men and an influx of company again.
The spring of the year was a busy time for me, as I had a flock of chickens. I also raised a large number of turkeys. The ranch was an ideal place to raise them, with so much room for them to roam and with plenty of corn and grasshoppers to fatten them. I sold turkeys to the Indian schools at White Eagle Agency the years I succeeded in raising more than I needed for my own use.
We had to manage to exist through the hot summer without ice or bathtub. However, in 1906, cottages were built just back of our place, under the trees and on the north bank of the Salt Fork River. Young men from the east, who aspired to play cowboy, occupied these.
The meals were served in a big dining room and for these boarders so ice was brought out from Ponca City. All of the Millers took their meals in the dining hall. It was a nice change for everyone.
Mother Miller sold her home in Winfield, Kansas, a few years previous to this time, and was now living in what was called the “White House” of the ranch. Father Miller had passed away. The ranch buildings were now on the north side of the river. Electric lights and water works were in the “White House,” and the summer camp was serviced with electricity. I had electric lights in my home also. It was surely a relief not to have to bother with the coal oil lamps any more.
When the ranch became widely advertised, people would drive out on the Sundays and look around. The cowboys would sometimes do rope spinning and bronco riding for their entertainment. Will Rogers used to be a cowboy out at the ranch.
Although very busy George L. Miller would take time to have a stag party occasionally. Sometimes the ladies would come also. I did not have much social life until I moved to Ponca City to send the two oldest children, Alice and George, to school. Joseph, the youngest child, was only two years old at the time we moved to Ponca City in 1907.
It fell to my lot to find a house to rent in Ponca City, which turned out to be a very trying ordeal. Several hot days I drove a slow horse hitched to a buggy to town in search of one. It was so near the opening of school that it seemed there was none available. One day I was starting back home feeling discouraged when I saw Mr. J. W. Lynch, who was an old friend of the Miller family, and who lived on South Fourth Street. He was sitting on his front porch as I drove by. I stopped and asked him if he could please find me a house. He said he certainly would if he had to make someone move out. The next trip to town in two days, he secured the house by dealing with the wife of the owner. Mr. Lynch said, “She wore the pants in that family.” He paid her six months in advance, for which he was reimbursed, of course.
That same summer the Millers had a Wild West Show both at a Jamestown Exposition and Brighton Beach, New York. Mother Miller and the three children and I visited both places. New York gave me the thrill of my life.
Oklahoma became a state in 1907, and at a the same time prohibition became a law. Prohibition was a great help to the ranch. Business had been disrupted when pay day came, hands would get drunk and have fights and it would take two or three days before they could resume work again.
The children and I would drive out to the White House often for week ends. We had a canopy top surrey and a flea-bitten grey horse which we had bought from Dr. Fred Sparks, a resident of Ponca. In bad weather the roads would be so muddy it would take us two hours to drive the ten miles. We met many interesting people out at the ranch, such as: Admiral Byrd, Irvin S. Cobb, and Mary Roberts Rinehart, and her husband, Dr. Rinehart. Mrs. Rinehart was looking for material for a book but complained Oklahoma was too civilized, therefore, she was disappointed.
We all went places together in Mother Miller’s seven passenger car during our stay in Colorado Springs.
The first oil well on the ranch was on the “Calls Him” allotment in September, 1909. This was not only the first well drilled in Kay County, but also the first drilled west of the Osage reservation. This was drilled under the most adverse conditions and came in unexpectedly. It was located about two miles northwest of the “White House.”
It is well known by man about the “National Editorial Association,” which met at Guthrie, June 7th, 8th, and 9th, 1905. It was entertained June 11th at the 101 Ranch. It was called a buffalo hunt although only one buffalo was killed. The crowd that day was estimated at 65,000. It was a day never to be forgotten. a lady living in Ponca City remembers about a man being killed by hanging on the side of one train as it was switching around that day.
There were terrapin derbies several years later, which drew large crowds also. My two sons worked hard in making preparations to put them on. It meant much work for all.
The arena, which was located just across the road from the “White House,” is where most of the wild west performances took place for many summers. Mr. Zack Mulhall and daughter, Lucille, were there on every occasion and were striking figures riding horseback around the arena.
The Indians added atmosphere and a great deal of color at such times. It might have been drab and colorless had it not been for them. They never ceased to be interesting with their war paint and feathers.
The opening of the Cherokee Strip was the last run for free homes and marked the end of American pioneering. It marked a period of transition—the end of Old Oklahoma—and the beginning of the new. Let us hope and trust that present and coming generations of Oklahomans will not only enjoy, but that they will also protect, their rich heritage.
THE “BIG V” RANCH
By Alice M. Allen
THE development of the Big V Ranch is one of the romantic and colorful stories of the Cherokee Strip. The story of its owner, William H. Vanselous, famous mule dealer and stockman, is as fascinating and inspiring as any modern so-called “Western thriller.”
Old-timers around Ponca City recall that the distinction of buying an entire herd of wild, unbroken mules, most driven in off the Texas range, is the feat that started William H. Vanselous to fame as the best-known mule dealer in America. As a result of this fame, he became not only the best known mule dealer, but the best known judge. From 1905 to 1912 he actually handled more mules than any other farmer in the United States. His brand “V” on each jaw became the most popular and best known in the country.
William H. (Bill) Vanselous’ parental background was thrifty, pioneering Dutch, noted for integrity and honesty. Neighbors characterize the founder of the Big V Ranch as “always paying his notes when they became due,” notwithstanding the fact that he was an extensive borrower. The Big V is a living attest to Vanselous patrimony, for a man to succeed had to be not only thrifty and honest, but persevering and hard-working as well, to survive the many hardships of pioneering in Oklahoma during territorial days.
William H. Vanselous descended from a long line of pioneers. His maternal great-grandfather McIntoffer trekked west from the woody hills of Pennsylvania to Michigan with his wife and farming implements loaded in a sturdy Conestoga drawn by oxen. They made camp at a the confluence of three sparkling rivers and his great-grandmother, in true pioneer spirit, prophesied “Some day this beautiful place will be the home of many happy people.” A surprise Indian attack left them determined and undaunted. Today a fine monument has been erected on this original camp site—a boulder of enduring granite, marked in bronze, honors these ancestors of Bill Vanselous who founded the city of Three Rivers, Michigan; and is symbolic of the sturdy thriftiness of his forefathers. His grandmother, born in Three
[THIS ARTICLE QUIT AT A THIS POINT. THIS MARKS THE END OF BOOKLET.]
NOTE: W. H. VANSELOUS WAS A NEIGHBOR OF THE MILLER FAMILY.
On one of the pages there were three pictures and notations penned in above.
1. JOE C. MILLER, the Farmer.
Joseph C. Miller, born Kentucky.
Died October 21, 1927, near Ponca City of carbon monoxide.
Married Lizzie T_____ December 1894.
Alice, born July 1898.
George. born circa 1901.
Joseph, born 1905.
2. ZACK T. MILLER, the Cowman.
Zack Miller, born Newtonia, Missouri.
Alive in 1931.
3. GEORGE L. MILLER, the Financier
George L. Miller, born Baxter Springs, Kansas.
Died in car wreck near Ponca City February 1929.
Underneath photographs of Miller Brothers...caption:
(From “The 101 Ranch,” by Ellsworth Collings and Alma Miller England.
Copyright, 1937, The University of Oklahoma Press.)
[There were more pictures of cattle, round-ups, etc. on one page. On another page: Early Day 101 Ranch Headquarters, the “White House,” and one of the barns.]
All pictures showed the same caption as given above.
NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS THAT KAY HAD.
Kay had in file a news item re Geo. W. Miller, 101, dated December 6, 1897.
Kay failed to show what newspaper this came from.
George Miller, the well known cattleman who lives at a Winfield, is in trouble. Mr. Miller has cattle grazing on Indian reservations and consequently employs several cowboys. Some time ago a couple of these boys killed a steer that belonged to someone else. Cattlemen claimed the steer was stolen and then killed with Miller’s knowledge and consent. Miller was arrested and convicted at Perry. He was arrested under the territorial statutes at first and under its provisions a conviction meant the penitentiary. Miller’s lawyers succeeded in getting a trial in the United States court under a provision that made the offense a misdemeanor. George Miller is the father of Joe Miller, who was convicted sometime ago and is now in the penitentiary for passing counterfeit money. The Perry Enterprise, in reporting the case, says: “The case of the territory against Geo. W. Miller, Ben Dickerson, and James Arnold, charged with cattle stealing, which occupied the court Friday and Saturday, was closed Saturday evening by the jury finding the defendants guilty. The prosecuting witness in the case was Frank Witherspoon, of Red Rock. On account of wealth and prominence of the parties to the suit, it attracted more than ordinary attention. G. W. Miller is a wealthy cattleman of Winfield, Kansas, and well known in the west among cattle dealers. The court sentenced G. W. Miller this morning to pay a fine of $300 and to serve six months in the federal jail at Guthrie. Ben Dickerson and James Arnold were sentenced to forty days each in the federal jail. The case was appealed to the supreme court. Mr. Miller’s defense in the matter is that it had always been rulable among cattlemen to butcher for their own use any unbranded cattle found on the range or “mavericks,” as they are known in cattle parlance. He told his boys to kill a beef and Arnold and Dickerson went out and killed what turned out to be one of Frank Witherspoon’s cows; but they claim they did not know it at the time. The case was hotly contested by able attorneys. Joe Lafferty and J. B. Diggs defended, while Roy Hoffman prosecuted.”
[This item was in Winfield Courier, Tuesday, December 7, 1897.]
GEO. MILLER CONVICTED.
Charged with Stealing Cattle at Perry and the Jury Says He is Guilty.
A special to the Kansas City World says:
Perry, Ok., Dec. 6. The jury in the case of the United States against Geo. Miller, of Winfield, Kan., who has been on trial here for a week, brought in a verdict of guilty, and Miller will be sent to the penitentiary. Miller is a wealthy cattleman, and his son, Joseph, who was formerly a banker of Blackwell, is in the penitentiary for counterfeiting.
Miller has numerous ranches in the Indian Territory. Witherspoon & Son of Red Rock prosecuted Miller. He will make a motion for a new trial.
Mr. Miller was charged with stealing cattle and his friends, who are in a position to know, say it is the old story of little dog Tray; they are firm in the belief of his innocence, but censure him for keeping doubtful characters around him.
[Again...do not know which paper this came from. appears to be an Oklahoma paper.]
MONDAY’S DAILY. MARCH 26, 1903.
WANTS A NEW BRICK.
George Miller Asks Jake for New Register.
Ever since G. C. Montgomery, the Santa Fe detective, was killed, George W. Miller of the 101 ranch, has had a habit of writing his name and some sentence on a brick in the wall of the Santa Fe depot in Arkansas City. One of these bricks was removed and introduced in court and another just slipped into its place in the wall without being mortared. Miller covered both edges of this brick with inscriptions and it was removed, another taking its place. This was kept up until Miller had fallen into the habit of writing on the brick every time he passed through the city. He calls it his register. Last night he was a passenger on No. 405 and got off the train, presumably to register, but found that a clean brick had not been provided for him. He saw Jake Harbach, the janitor, and told him he would set up the cigars if he would provide the new brick. Jake agreed and the cigar was forthcoming.
[Kay did not give newspaper or date item was published...appears to be Ponca paper.]
Paper had to be printed after April 25, 1903, date G. W. Miller death reported.
DEATH OF GEO. W. MILLER.
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 old home of the family, for burial. Mr. Miller leaves a wife and four children, two sons and two daughters grown to manhood and womanhood. [WRONG!]
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 $32,500 annual rental for his 50,000 acre farm; other running 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 $400,000 to $500,000 annually. The profits on wheat are 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 economies 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 a corn field that gives double use of the land. By the time the corn had been harvested, the cow peas have grown high enough to make good pasturage. Also, after the cutting of wheat in June and July the fields are plowed and 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.
[This item came from Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Monday, April 30, 1903.]
GEORGE MILLER DEAD.
President of 101 Ranch Passed Away Saturday Afternoon.
George W. Miller, president of the 101 Ranch company, died at the ranch east of Bliss, Ok., Saturday afternoon at a 3 o’clock. Mr. Miller was taken ill last Sunday with a cold, which settled upon his lungs and developed into a case of pneumonia. The company of which Mr. Miller was president probably is the largest farming and ranching organization in Oklahoma and has under its control about 80,000 acres of Indian lands leased from the Ponca, Otoe, and Kaw Indians.
The company interests are divided between farming and stock raising and about one half of the land is under cultivation. It is planted in corn, wheat, oats, and watermelons.
The president of the company came here about thirty years ago and engaged in farming. He amassed a fortune estimated at about three hundred thousand dollars. His three sons are the other members of the company. The ranch is noted for the progressiveness of its farming and the methods used. The success has been due largely to the supervision of Mr. Miller. He employed from fifty to a hundred men on the ranch. His wheat crops have been the talk of the whole territory and the subject of many magazine articles. Mr. Miller was 66 years old and a well preserved man. His personality was a strong one and his likes and dislikes of persons caused him more than one trouble. He was generous and the big watermelon patch on the ranch was surrounded with signs warning passersby that a fine of $5 was imposed upon anyone passing the place without helping himself to a melon.
Mr. Miller was under bond at a the time of his death for alleged connection with the murder of George C. Montgomery, the Santa Fe detective. He was to have been tried at the June term of court. Before the murder he had trouble with Montgomery and was suspected of having been mixed in the crime. O. W. Coffelt, who has been tried three times on the charge, was employed on the ranch. Miller bore the Santa Fe railway company a grudge and he was not slow to tell of his hatred.
Miller maintained a fine residence in Winfield, where he spent his time when not actively employed on the ranch. His wife, three sons, and a daughter survive him. The body was taken to Crab Orchard, Ky., for burial. Kentucky was Mr. Miller’s native state and he made frequent trips to and from the state.
Yesterday the remains of Geo. W. Miller were taken through this city en route to Kentucky for burial.
[Paper not given. Appears to be Arkansas City Traveler. Date: June 11, 1903.]
Recently Arrested in Oklahoma. Implicated in the Montgomery Murder.
A dispatch from Guthrie says the fact is likely to develop that the arrest of Bert Colby by Deputy Sheriff Southerland, of the Watonga, will prove to be one of the most important arrests ever made in the Territory. Colby is said to have been implicated in the murder of George Montgomery, the Santa Fe railroad detective, who was assassinated at Winfield almost two years ago. W. O. Coffelt has been on trial for the deed, at Winfield, three times on the charge.
There has been an organized gang of horse thieves operating in the Territory, and Colby is thought to be one of the leading spirits of the organization. Their plan of operation was to get a bunch of horses together from different portions of the Territory and ship them out before arrests could be made or the workings of the law set in motion. When Colby suddenly fell into the clutches of the law, he had a number of horses in his possession.
However, Colby is wanted on numerous charges, probably the most serious of which is his alleged implication in the Montgomery murder.
[Appears to be an article from Arkansas City Traveler dated August 20, 1903.]
WILL SUE FEDERAL OFFICERS.
Geo. Miller Will Ask $10,000 For False Arrest.
From Saturday’s Daily.
Geo. Miller, of the 101 Ranch, was in the city last night on his way to the ranch, after a visit to Winfield on business. He said that when the Miller boys were hauled before the federal commissioner at Perry this week, for violating the federal quarantine law, his case was dismissed. He says now, in order to get even and have the higher authorities investigate the process employed by the federal inspectors, he will bring suit for damages in the sum of $10,000 against Leslie J. Allen, federal inspector, and Albert Dean, livestock agent in charge at Kansas City for the bureau of animal industry. These two will be made joint defendants in the suit. The secretary of agriculture will be asked to investigate the methods employed in government inspection. This may relieve some of the officials from duty in that department. The federal authorities seem to have a grudge against the Millers, and are not pushing the other suits as hard as theirs.
At the time the alleged illegal shipping was done, George was not in town and could know nothing of it. He now is going to ask for damages for false arrest and detention from business.
He was arrested with his brothers some time ago, for shipping cattle without being properly inspected, the inspection being made by Jack McFall, Kansas inspector, at Arkansas City. Now it turns out that the cattle were again inspected by Dean at Kansas City. An effort, it is understood, will be made to cause the arrest of McFall on the charge of violating the federal inspection law, by representing himself to be a federal officer. This probably cannot be made to hold water, for he made his inspection as a Kansas officer and issued Kansas certificates for that inspection.
[From Arkansas City Traveler, September 10, 1903.]
ANOTHER TRIAL FOR COFFELT.
Alleged Murderer of Montgomery Will Be Given a Fourth Trial Next November.
“O. W. Coffelt is to be tried in the November term of court,” said County Attorney Torrance, Monday morning, in answer to an inquiry from a Free Press reporter. Continuing he said:
“I am satisfied of Coffelt’s guilt notwithstanding the three trials which he has had, and which resulted in hung juries. At the fourth trial we will have some new and direct evidence to present, which, I believe, will throw new light on the case.”
“Do you think it possible to get a jury in Cowley County?” was asked.
“I think it is, because of the fact that the evidence in the last trial was not extensively published. In my judgment it will be no more difficult to get the fourth jury than it was the third.”
Bert Colby, who was recently arrested in the Territory and is now a prisoner at the county jail on the charge of murdering Geo. C. Montgomery, was mentioned in the interview. Mr. Torrance said in substance that Colby would not be tried until after Coffelt. He inferred that Colby knew something about the murder and Coffelt’s plan of escape after killing Montgomery. Colby is thought to be the man seen at Hackney the night of the murder.
Coffelt’s three trials for the murder of Santa Fe Detective Montgomery resulted in hung juries. In the first, seven were for conviction and five for acquittal; the second copy [?] for acquittal, and the third six and six. Winfield Free Press.
[Believe this article came from Arkansas City Traveler: Dated October 8, 1903.]
Miller Bros, proprietors of the famous 101 ranch, are putting up a $10,000 stone farm residence at the Salt Fork, northwest of Bliss. It will be, perhaps, the finest farm house in Oklahoma when finished.
[Arkansas City Traveler: Dated October 29, 1903.]
WILL ENGLAND MARRIED.
This morning at the splendid new 101 ranch house occurred the wedding of Wm. H. England, of Topeka, and Miss Alma Miller, Rev. Parker, of Emporia, officiating. There were about 40 relatives and intimate friends in attendance. After the ceremony the party was served with an elegant wedding breakfast. They left the ranch on the noon train for Topeka, where the groom has prepared an elegant home for them.
Will England is a Cowley County boy, having been raised in Dexter. He now holds the position of filing clerk in the supreme court of Kansas.
The bride is a very beautiful and accomplished young lady, being a graduate of Vassar and having traveled abroad for two years. She is also an heiress to a considerable fortune, left to her by her father. The TRAVELER extends congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. England.
[Arkansas City Daily Traveler. Dated: November 19, 1903.]
Sensational Evidence Will Be Sprung, It is Said, by Both Sides.
The Coffelt case is well underway in district court, but as yet no new and startling evidence has been introduced. Both sides, however, promise there will be “something doing” before the trial is ended. There is said to be sensational evidence coming.
Up until 2 o’clock Tuesday, the state had introduced eight witnesses. J. M. Bradley, county surveyor, was the first. He established a chart of Winfield, including the Montgomery home in the south part of town, and the route which the murderer is supposed to have taken when he killed Montgomery October 5, 1901. Dr. Jacobus told about his summons to Montgomery’s home after the shooting. Andy Smith saw the blaze of the murderer’s gun. Henry Kirk was an eye witness of the trouble between Montgomery and the Millers. Del La Plaine told about Coffelt having a horse at a livery stable in Ponca City the day before the murder. James North testified about threats George Miller, Sr., had made on Montgomery’s life. E. W. Enspeinger, operator at Bliss, and J. W. Foster, sheriff of Noble County, who arrested Coffelt at Del Rio, Texas, testified. Free Press.
[Arkansas City Traveler: Dated November 26, 1903.]
Defense Begins Its Side of the Murder Trial Today.
From Saturday’s Daily:
The prosecution concluded its side of the Coffelt murder trial today and the defense is now making its case. The star witness for the prosecution yesterday was Bert Colby, an ex-employee of the 101 ranch.
He was in the first trial, but evaded the second and third. He has been in custody in Cowley County for several months. His evidence is in relation to the movements of Coffelt, and of witnesses who are used to establish the alibi. Being one of the strongest witnesses for the state, the defense subjected him to a searching cross examination. The attorneys for the defense believe they have drawn from him stronger details as to the arrangements made for dismissing felony cases against him in the Territory. The object is to show that he was induced by fear of the penitentiary to swear against Coffelt. He insisted on redirect examination that the prosecution had only required him to tell the truth, and he had told it. The other witnesses since Thursday were J. E. Torrance, Harrison Carter, Rosa Carter, Ed. Donnelly, I. S. Brecount, and I. R. White.
[Arkansas City Daily Traveler. Dated: November 26, 1903.]
Sensational Testimony was Sprung Saturday
Afternoon When Frank Potts Went On the Stand.
From Monday’s Daily.
Saturday afternoon the state sprung its sensational evidence in the Coffelt case, when Frank Potts took the stand for the first time in any of the Coffelt trials. He told in detail of how Geo. W. Miller tried to employ him to kill Montgomery. Just what weight his story will have with the jury is unknown. The attorney for the prosecution believes they have a good witness and the attorneys for the defense hope to be able to break down his testimony.
The witnesses on the stand Saturday morning were Ed Colby, Ed Nelson, and King, a Kansas City commission man, who slept at Joe Miller’s on the 5th of October.
Mr. and Mrs. Hutchins were on the stand for the state Friday afternoon. Mrs. Hutchins testified that they had been furnished transportation from New Mexico to come to Winfield and testify in the Coffelt case. At the time Montgomery was killed, they were living on the 101 ranch. Hutchins said Coffelt came to Joe Miller’s house early on the morning of October 6, and inquired for Joe. Heard Coffelt tell Miller, “I have fixed him.” He heard Miller say, “Father is over at headquarters.” The cross examination of Hutchins was very severe, and became somewhat confused, but he stuck to his story.
Jake Harmon, the Santa Fe detective, was put on the stand and the state made an effort to show why Harmon had not succeeded in subpoenaing certain witnesses for this trial. The defense objected to his testimony, however, and the objection was sustained.
When Potts was introduced it created something of a sensation in the courtroom. He was still on the stand when court adjourned on Saturday night and was to finish up today. The attorneys for the defense severely cross examined the witness.
He was expected to be the last witness for the state. His testimony, briefly, was as follows: Potts was an employee at 101 ranch and said Miller came to him and asked if he would do him a favor. He said he would do anything for him he could. Miller said he wanted him to kill Geo. C. Montgomery. Potts said he didn’t want to do it, but Miller told him he wouldn’t be caught. Potts expected Miller to go on his bond for that other trouble and didn’t want to refuse, so came to Winfield at Miller’s request. He went to Miller’s barn on West Ninth and stayed there a day. Miller brought him a basket of lunch and a bottle of wine. Also brought him a double barreled shotgun and told him to stay in so people wouldn’t see him. Miller took him out at night in a carriage and showed him where Montgomery lived. Miller was then called away to Kansas City, and Potts came out on the streets. He visited a restaurant and a blacksmith shop, and had his horse shod. When Miller came back Potts told him he couldn’t do the job because he had been recognized.
He returned to 101 ranch. Miller asked him to try it again, but was refused. Miller asked him if he thought Coffelt would do the job. Said he could do it himself, play crazy, and get out of it within a year. Zack Miller told Potts two weeks later that his father would not do the job, but would get Coffelt to do it. Coffelt came to Potts some time in August and asked him where the gun was and how it was loaded. He was told it was in Miller’s cellar at Winfield. Coffelt said he wanted to know that the shells were loaded alright for a job of that kind. He asked Potts what he was to have got for doing the job, and said he thought it was worth $500.
In a conversation later Zack Miller told Potts that Coffelt had changed his plan of killing Montgomery and would shoot him from behind a wood shed near the Santa Fe depot.
Confusing! Following articles both penned as appearing December 3, 1903.
[Arkansas City Traveler: Dated December 3, 1903.]
Prosecution Is Introducing Additional Testimony in the Coffelt Case.
From Thursday’s Daily.
The defense rested in the Coffelt case last evening and the prosecution began introducing some testimony in rebuttal today.
C. W. Sowers was put on the stand and in addition to the testimony previously given by him in regard to seeing Coffelt at the 101 ranch on Saturday evening, October 5, 1901, testified further that he had had a conversation last June or July with Frank Potts, in which the latter had said that he could get $1,000 if he would testify against Coffelt and secure his conviction. That Potts had said he could give Sowers $300 if the latter would leave the country and not testify for Coffelt and that if he didn’t leave the country, he would be arrested for perjury.
On cross examination he denied that paper containing the testimony which he gave had been prepared and given to him by an attorney for the defense before he went on the stand the first time.
C. E. Noble, of Chandler, Okla., cattle inspector, testified that he went to inspect cattle belonging to Davis, south of Bliss, in company with Ed Snyder and Frank Potts as testified to by the latter.
Testified that he saw Coffelt in Ponca City on the night of October 5, 1901, about 8 o’clock, when he went through the train expecting to meet another cattle inspector named Dale. He saw Coffelt on the smoker. Came here to testify at the last term of court, went to Ponca City before being called to the stand, with the understanding that he would be telephoned for. Afterward he learned that telephone message was sent him, which he failed to receive.
On cross examination he denied that he had received $100 from George Miller for appearing as a witness for Coffelt and that he was not threatened with a lawsuit for the recovery of the money, and that he had no quarrel with the Millers.
On redirect examination he stated that at the time of the last trial, when he left to go to Ponca City, the state was still examining witnesses and none had yet been introduced by the defense.
Deck Chase, foreman of the farming department of the 101 ranch, testified to seeing Coffelt on the ranch on the night of Oct. 5, 1901; he was at the headquarters camp at the time he saw him. Coffelt asked if any of the boys had brought his horse to the ranch from Ponca City. Coffelt accompanied him to the farming camp. Heard Coffelt ask Sowers about the horse. Coffelt was looking for blankets to sleep on. Heard Sowers say Coffelt could sleep with him. Saw Coffelt the next morning at the farm before breakfast. He and Coffelt went to Joe Miller’s house. Coffelt asked Miller for a horse to ride to Ponca City to get his own. From Joe Miller’s house witness and Coffelt went to headquarters camp where they separated. Did not hear Coffelt say to Joe Miller that “we have fixed him,” and didn’t hear Joe say, “Go and tell father.” Said Frank Potts had told him that he (Potts) could get $1,000 for testifying against Coffelt and securing his conviction. He is not working for the 101 ranch now. In cross examination he stated that he is now living in California. Paid his own expenses. He expected the Millers to refund his expenses. Came here to testify in response to a telegram from George Miller.
Most of the testimony introduced yesterday was about minor details and has been given in former trials.
[Arkansas City Traveler: Dated December 3, 1903.]
The Arguments Are On in the Famous Murder Trial.
From Saturday’s Daily.
The fourth trial of O. W. Coffelt for the murder of George C. Montgomery is drawing to a close. The hearing of testimony in rebuttal closed at 10 o’clock Friday, and court adjourned until 1:30 when the court’s instructions were read. The counsel’s arguments were opened for the state by County Attorney Torrance. It is expected that it will take several days to hear the attorney’s arguments.
This trial has been a hard fought one and those who followed the case and heard the various trials, seem of the opinion that both sides have made their strongest cases at this time. The testimony of Frank Potts is the strongest evidence ever introduced, but the defense has built up a strong alibi.
A fine array of legal talent is employed on both sides of the case. County Attorney Torrance is assisted in the prosecution by G. H. Buckman, C. W. Roberts, W. L. Cunningham, and A. C. Crews, of Ardmore, Indian Territory. The attorneys for the defense are Jackson & Noble, O. P. Fuller, C. J. Wrightsman, of Pawnee, Oklahoma, Emory Earhart, and Sewell Beekman.
The hearing of testimony in the case covered a period of ten days, the state seven days, defense two days, and rebuttal one day.
Fifty-seven witnesses testified for the state and thirty-two for the defense. To secure a jury, 190 additional jurors were drawn.
The general opinion seems to be that the case will result in another hung jury, though the state is confident that conviction will be secured. On account of this being the fourth trial, it is expected by some that the jury will come to some agreement and end this case.
The court’s instructions to the jury was a clear statement of the law bearing upon the case. The jury was instructed to find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree or acquit him.
Believe the following came from Winfield Courier.
Date appears to be November 19, 1917. Probably wrong, as he died Nov. 2, 1917.
MILLER. William T. Miller, brother of the late George W. Miller, died at St. Mary’s hospital Friday night, November 2, 1917, about midnight. The cause of death was from the infirmities of old age. Mr. Miller was born in Kentucky about 80 years ago. For the past five years he has been an invalid and made his home at St. Mary’s hospital. Mr. Miller was held in the very highest esteem by all who knew him. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Mrs. Mollie Miller, and three nephews, George, Zack, and Joseph Miller, of the 101 Ranch, Bliss, Oklahoma, and a niece, Mrs. W. H. England, of Ponca City.
The funeral will be held from the Kyger chapel Sunday morning at a nine o’clock conducted by Rev. Richard W. Gentry of the First Christian church. Interment will be made in the Graham cemetery.
Kay failed to state what newspaper this came from...it appeared on the front page, Saturday, October 2, 1920.
“101 Ranch” Owners Arrested.
Oklahoma City, Okla., October 2. George L. Miller, Joseph C. Miller, and Zack T. Miller, owners of the 101 Ranch near Ponca City, were arrested today on indictments returned by the Federal grand jury charging them with violating of the Federal penal code for conspiracy to defraud the United States government. The men are charged with obtaining deeds to “Thousands of acres of Indian lands” adjoining their ranch, under false pretenses.
Kay had also typed up two other Miller stories.
The Miller family, which founded and ran the 101 Ranch, moved to Winfield in 1881. They lived at 509 West Ninth Avenue (moving from another house in Winfield in which they stayed temporarily—602 Manning). Their new home was known as the “Hiatt House.”
The Miller family had troubles with the Santa Fe Railroad, where George Montgomery was employed as a private policeman. Mr. Montgomery was transferred to Winfield in 1898 by the Santa Fe.
In June 1901 a couple of boxes of cigars were stolen from a news agent on one of the Santa Fe trains. The case fell into Montgomery’s hands and he worked it up. He brought Zack Miller, son of George W. Miller, to trial on that charge. Zack Miller was tried and found guilty. In the sheriff’s office at Perry, after the trial, Montgomery had a fist fight with Joe Miller, another son, in which he badly pounded Joe Miller. This brought the trouble to a head and from thence forward it was war between Montgomery and the Miller family.
Some time later Montgomery and the older George Miller were on the train together and the old man is said to have started trouble then. After Montgomery told him repeatedly that he wanted no trouble with him, the old man attacked him with a knife. Montgomery hit Mr. George W. Miller, Sr., on the head with a gun. This served to anger the Miller group more than ever and it was reported that they made threats upon Montgomery’s life.
The Miller family made frequent threats to “hang his hide on a fence at Bliss,” with regard to George Montgomery. Once several members of the Miller family and 101 ranch hands were at the Bliss depot platform, awaiting the arrival of Montgomery, as they learned he was going through Bliss. They invited him to get off the train. Montgomery did so with a six-shooter in each hand and stood the whole crowd off while he talked to them. He stepped back onto the train and was not harmed.
On Saturday, October 3, 1901, George Miller, Sr., returned from the ranch to his home in Winfield. While the train stopped in Arkansas City, Miller got off and walked up and down the platform. He went to the wall of the eating house and on one of the bricks wrote these words: “101 ranch will get even with that son _____.” Here the sentence ended for when he reached that point, he turned and saw John Green and Nate Sellers, two Santa Fe bridgemen, looking over his shoulder at the writing. He attempted to erase the writing, but his pencil had no rubber on it, and the words remained. The next time Montgomery came through Arkansas City; and, in fact, it was his last trip south, he was shown the writing. He did not seem to be very much worried over it and passed it off lightly. On October 9, 1901, the brick was removed from the wall by Santa Fe employees and taken to a place of safety, where it was kept.
[Bill: article thus far is full of discrepancies. Montgomery was killed October 5. Montgomery was in Wichita the week before he was murdered. Kay’s article had Montgomery murder taking place October 10.]
On Saturday, October 5, 1901, George C. Montgomery was murdered. The newspaper still exists and says “Winfield went on record Saturday evening with another cold-blooded murder and this one is the most horrible that has ever been committed in this county. A man who was able to take good care of himself in every case where coolness, daring, and bravery were necessary, was shot down without the slightest time in which to defend himself or a word of warning to show him the danger.
“The cold blooded method, used by the murderer, makes every man, woman, and child who has heard the details shudder; and it is the sincere hope of a large majority of the people of this county that the apprehension of the murderer will be quick and retribution swift. The murderer, coward that he was, evidently had nerve enough to plan this deliberate killing of an unprotected man. It is the human idea that every man should be given a chance to defend himself if he cares to and in case he doesn’t, to at least have a show to get away. Not so with this case. The murderer evidently knew his man well and knew that in an open, free, and equal fight he would be up against a man whose nerve was as steady in facing a gun in the hands of a bad man as sitting down to a meal.
The shooting occurred Saturday evening about 7:40 o’clock at Montgomery’s home. The house is on a corner on South Loomis Street, and faces north with the east side toward the street. Montgomery had been in Winfield all day and after supper was at a table in the sitting room preparing his weekly reports to be sent to the head offices.
“The room in which Montgomery was working is on the east side of the house, with a window facing the east. A newspaper reporter visited the house Tuesday and saw Mrs. Montgomery, and from her got the details. Little Phil, their older boy, had been in the yard playing with his dark lantern and was throwing the light through the window into his father’s face. This bothered Mr. Montgomery and he told the boy to stop, which he did, and started into the house. He just reached the kitchen when the report was heard. Mrs. Montgomery had just started to go into the kitchen when the gun was heard. She turned, saw her husband half rise from his chair, put both hands to his face, and say ‘My God! I’m shot.’
“He fell on the floor beside the table. The lamp had been between Montgomery and the window and the shot shattered it, throwing the glass and oil all over the room. Mrs. Montgomery, for a few seconds, supposed that the lamp had exploded and thrown the oil into his face, blinding him. She and her mother put out the fire as quickly as they could, and it required hard work to do this. They finally succeeded and then it dawned upon them that Montgomery was dead. Montgomery did not live five seconds after being shot. The pellets were #8 buckshot and were fired from a 12 gauge shotgun. Eight shot struck Montgomery, three in the face and five in the neck and breast. Two went into the left eye and entered the brain and one struck just on the right side of his nose. One entered his heart and the others perforated his lungs. In the wire screen through which the shot first passed, there were seventeen holes. The window showed a hole about seven inches in diameter.
“The night was ideal for this purpose, with the exception of the muddy condition of the ground, which made tracking easier. There were tracks of buggy wheels near the east gate, but any grocery or milk wagon may have been responsible.”
Of course, the number of stories usual in such circumstances were circulated. The first thought that entered the minds of everyone when they heard of the killing was to connect the Miller gang of the 101 Ranch with it. It grew out of the trouble which Montgomery has had with members of the gang for the past three months. This in no way implicates them and up to date the one and only indication which points to them is recent trouble and threats made by the Millers against Montgomery. They may not have had anything to do with the killing. It may have been over an old grudge held against the dead man by someone unknown to Montgomery’s friends. He never talked of these matters very freely, and it is very likely there are some who would be glad to know he was out of the way. He may have known something concerning someone, the telling of which might prove serious of that person, and he might have been put out of the way on the theory that dead men tell no tales.
At the murder scene suspicious tracks were carefully preserved for the bloodhounds. When the dogs arrived, they were taken to the tracks and given the scent. They went directly to the west bridge across the Walnut and from there to the depot at Hackney and from there to Arkansas City. They came directly up Summit Street and to J. C. Maddox’s barn on East Washington Avenue. The hound went directly to a wagon standing in front of the stable, and then into the barn and into a stall. That was all of the work she would do. All efforts to get her to pick up the trail again were without avail and while she was willing to work, there was evidently nothing to be done. This put a new feature into the case and the story of the three men and the wagon follows.
Three men in a spring wagon pulled by farm horses, came into town (Arkansas City) from the south and put up at the stable. One appeared very drunk and was put to bed in the hay loft. The other two went to a hotel in town. The next morning they returned and got the wagon and left town.
When Sheriff Foster, at Perry, heard of the murder, he went directly to the Miller ranch and found that all the men had been there during Saturday night with the exception of Zack Miller and Bill Potts. Zack spent the night at Bliss and Potts had not been at the ranch for a week.
Saturday afternoon of October 12, Cal Ferguson and John Skinner brought Will C. Johnson up from the south and after a thorough sweating process lasting all day Sunday and Monday forenoon, placed him in jail as a suspect in the murder case of George C. Montgomery.
Will C. Johnson was born in Ireland in 1876 and came to America with his family. They settled on a farm about 12 miles north of Winfield. His father is J. M. Johnson, who drove the mail wagon. Will C. Johnson had been working at Evans quarry and was hired to work at the 101 Ranch breaking horses. He was separated from his wife, whom he married at Bartlesville, Indian Territory, where she resided with his son.
The preliminary hearing was held by Justice Webb and on November 18, 1901, Johnson was bound over for trial in the district court.
The story of the Montgomery murder trial (trials) is told in another story.
After the death of G. W. Miller in 1903, the family moved to their newly constructed home at the 101 Ranch at Bliss, Oklahoma.
[Kay ended story here. Did not give source(s) for story.]
Another story written up by Kay...
MILLER FAMILY IN WINFIELD AND THE 101 RANCH.
George Washington Miller was the founder of the 101 Ranch near Ponca City, Oklahoma.
G. W. Miller was born in Crab Orchard, Kentucky, in 1841. His parents were G. W. Miller and Elmina Fish Miller. His father died when G. W. Miller was three, and he was raised by his Grandfather, John Fish. I have no reference to service in the Civil War, but there is evidence of his selling horses and mules to the Army. His grandfather’s plantation, which he inherited, was operated by slaves and after the war it could not be run profitably.
George W. Miller married Mary Ann (Molly) Carson in 1866. a son, Joseph Carson Miller, was born March 12, 1868, in Crab Orchard. In 1870 they sold their interest in the plantation in order to move to California.
In the fall of 1870 they decided to winter in Newtonia, Missouri. While there G. W. Miller started buying hogs for slaughter, and making bacon and smoked hams. He also started a store in this town of 200. He heard that he could trade 100 pounds of bacon in Texas, for a marketable steer. On February 16, 1871, he left his wife in charge of the store as he loaded 10 wagons with 20,000 pounds of slab bacon and ham, and started on the trail to Texas. He found he could get one steer for 50 pounds of bacon. He acquired 400 steers and drove them over the Eastern trail to graze his cattle on their reservation near Miami, Oklahoma. This was his first cattle ranch, and it was so successful that he gave up all thought of going to California.
He built a comfortable house for his family, in Newtonia, and his only daughter, Alma, was born there in 1875, and his second son, Zachary Taylor, was born there in 1878. On his first trip to Texas, he discovered Texans cared little for any form of paper money and that he could buy steers that were priced at $6.00 for $3.00 gold. They could be sold at the railhead in Baxter Springs, Kansas, for $20.00 to $30.00 per head.
In the fall of 1880 Col. Miller moved his family to Baxter Springs to be nearer his ranch at Miami, Oklahoma. They stayed but a short time, and in 1881 moved to Winfield. Col. Miller had located a new ranch site on the Salt Fork River near Bliss (now called Marland), Oklahoma, in the Cherokee Strip. The Cherokee Strip was 58 miles wide and 160 miles long. The Millers bought Texas cattle in late winter and drove them to the strip, where they could graze till fall, and then be sold. Col. G. W. Miller called it the 101 Ranch. The family lived at 602 Manning until 1888, when they bought and occupied 509 West Ninth Avenue (called the Hiatt House in 1992). Col. J. C. McMullen had purchased the land from E. C. Manning in 1877. He began construction in 1879 of this two-story brick building and moved into it in 1880. Col. McMullen was a banker associated with the Winfield National Bank. Mrs. Miller remained in Baxter Springs until after the birth of the last son, George Lee, June 21, 1881.
In the fall of 1882, Winfield had its first agricultural fair. They needed an attraction and called upon Col. Miller, who provided a wild west show.
None of the Miller children attended public school in Winfield, but were educated in private schools. The son George attended St. John’s College in Winfield in 1896.
The Miller family bought cemetery lots in the Graham-Union Cemetery. The legal description is Block 2, lot 29. To visit this lot where Joe Miller’s baby daughter, who died in 1897, is buried, approach the cemetery from the south, enter at the second entrance, go to the second crossroad west of the street, turn north, and the Miller property is the third lot north on the east side of the roadway.
On January 14, 1893, the following advertisement appeared in the Winfield Courier.
“Stolen out of my feed lot at West 9th Avenue Bridge, sometime during January, 8 head of fat hogs, most all black except one white stag, weighing about 175 pounds. No Marks. I will pay $100 for thief and $50 for hogs or $25 for private information to their recovery.” Signed G. W. Miller.
On December 6, 1897, at Perry, Oklahoma, George Miller was convicted of stealing cattle and sentenced to the penitentiary. The newspaper article stated his son, Joseph, formerly a banker in Blackwell, Oklahoma, was in the penitentiary for counterfeiting.
George Miller, Sr., died April 25, 1903, at the ranch after contracting pneumonia. The family had plans to build a home at the ranch, which they concluded after Mr. Miller’s death. The daughter, Alma, married William H. England, a former Winfield attorney, at the ranch house on October 31, 1903. The family had completed the move from Winfield to Bliss, Oklahoma, by Christmas Eve of 1903. The house was then sold to the Hiatt family and it still remains in the hands of a family descendant.
Mrs. Molly Miller died July 31, 1918, at Bliss, Oklahoma.
Joe C. Miller died March 12, 1927, at Bliss, Oklahoma.
George L. Miller died February 1, 1929, at Ponca City, Oklahoma.
Zack T. Miller died January 3, 1952, in Waco, Texas.
Fred C. Clarke, of rural Winfield, was appointed the general operating receiver of the 101 Ranch on September 16, 1931. He held the auction of the ranch equipment on March 24, 1932, and was dismissed as receiver on March 25, 1933.
Col. Zack Miller held a final auction of the contents of the White House on July 5, 1936.
Footnotes given by Kay.
 There is nothing in the Winfield Courier to verify this.
 Alma Miller states that her father was southern in his attitude and would not allow his children to attend nonsegregated schools.
 Zack Miller’s book “Fabulous Empire,” refers to a cemetery lot in Winfield in which 101 ranch hands were buried. Both Sally Wilcox and Don Dietrick have stated that they located this lot, but I have not done so. City records of the cemetery do not show any such lot.
 Check Perry, Oklahoma, newspapers and court records.
Check Blackwell, Oklahoma, newspapers.
 Alma Miller England co-authored a book entitled “101 Ranch” in 1936, which is still being sold.
In her book she mentions an employee of the ranch named Hiatt. Research indicates that this is not Jesse W. Hiatt, who purchased the Miller home in Winfield.
 Look up newspapers for these events.
Winfield (Kan.) Daily Courier, Thursday, February 7, 1991.
Descendant Recalls 101 Ranch.
Miller Visits Hiatt’s, a Former Family Home.
By JANE SANDBULTE.
A dapper 85-year-old man who walked briskly into Hiatt’s restaurant Sunday noon with two friends was eager to see the interior of the Victorian-style brick building.
That’s because his grandparents, Col. George and Mollie Miller, and his father, Joseph C. Miller, lived in the house in which the restaurant is located back at the turn of the century.
What made the visit even more intriguing was the fact that his grandparents sold the house to J. W. and Mary Jane Hiatt, the great-grandparents of Nancy Tredway, who along with Jan Flick, owns and operates the restaurant.
The Millers, who lived in the house at 508 W. Ninth Ave. from 1892 to 1902, were not ordinary people. While Mollie Miller and their children were comfortably situated in Winfield, George Miller was living south of Ponca City, Okla., in a dugout while establishing the famous 101 Ranch which eventually encompassed 11,000 acres of land. The family moved to the ranch in 1902.
Joe C. Miller, Jr., related Sunday that his grandparents were traveling from Kentucky to California by covered wagon in 1871 and stopped in Missouri for the winter. While in Missouri, they heard of the good grazing land in Kansas and decided to come here. The family resided at Baxter Springs before moving to Winfield.
“They made a deal with the government to rent Indian land in Oklahoma,” Miller said. “They prospered and became nationally known when they put on the 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show.”
Miller said the show, which was presented world wide from 1908 to 1914, included such activities as bronc riding, trick riding, and Indian dancing, and concluded with a dramatic scene featuring Indians attacking pioneers in covered wagons.
“The show ended in 1914 in London when war broke out,” he said. “The British government took over the livestock and equipment and paid them about $100,000.
“Then later when they struck oil on the ranch, they put on a new show called 101 Ranch Real Wild West and Great Far East,” he said. “They bought the Walter L. Main Circus, which contained elephants and other wild animals. They kept and used the elephants and camels,” and had a combination wild west and wild animal show.
The second show, which lasted from 1922 to 1930, featured such famous performers as Tom Mix and Buck Jones. Buffalo Bill was a special guest one year, according to Miller.
Joe Miller, the last survivor of the Millers born on the 101 Ranch, was born there in 1905, and his nursemaid was Maggie Pickett, the wife of Bill Pickett, a black cowboy famous for his bulldogging.
“Bill Pickett was credited with starting the sport of bulldogging,” Miller said. “He was the only man who could bulldog a steer by biting the bull’s lip to turn him over.
“He was one of the greatest of all bulldoggers. I saw him bulldog a steer when he was 60 years old. He was a working cowboy until the day he died.”
Joe Miller left college, he said, in 1927 to go out with the family’s famous show. After touring with the show for three years, he went into the finance business in Ponca City and continued that business until retiring in 1980.
Miller was recently honored by the Ponca City Kiwanis Club for having 61 years of perfect attendance at Kiwanis meetings. He is also well known for having attended all University of Oklahoma football games for many years, except during World War II when he was serving with the Navy.
Although he had driven by the house that is now Hiatt’s restaurant, Miller had never been inside before his visit Sunday.
“It was a treat for me,” he said. “I had heard about it, and it’s just as beautiful as I’d been told. I intend to return to partake of the delicious food.”
Miller was accompanied by his friends, Don and Vi Richardson, of Ponca City. Don Richardson, a 1954 graduate of Winfield High School, brought something special to show Tredway and Flick—money that was minted on the 101 Ranch and used by the ranch’s thousands of employees to make purchases at the company store.
One of the bills, which are larger in size than U. S. dollars, is for the amount of “5 bucks.” It features an Indian chief in the center and the words “Miller Brothers 101 Ranch, Round Up Grounds, 1924,” along with the location of the ranch and the words “no cash value.”
Other bills, which are now owned by Winfield High School graduate Marvin Krepps, are for the amounts of “10 bucks,” “20 bucks,” and “50 bucks.”
Richardson said the 101 Ranch, whose demise came during the Depression, also issued brass coins in the amounts of 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50 cents.
The money, he said, could be traded for regular money if ranch employees wanted to shop elsewhere.
Note: Article had picture of Joe Miller...nice looking, distinguished appearing man.
Note written to Dr. Wm. Bottorff. Forgot to give date. MAW
Bill, to my knowledge, this is the end of Kay’s notes. It does appear that he put some items on his computer [an ancient one] and for some reason it does not appear on his current index. Reason I retyped everything and made a few changes. MAW