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Study of Miller/Ponca Indians

[From Kent Ruth book, 1957]
In 1868, after the federal government had induced the Ponca Indians to make two cessions of their land along the Missouri River in Dakota and had solemnly confirmed them in the possession of what remained, a treaty with the Sioux included a clause giving them every acre of the Ponca reservation. The Poncas refused to give up their ancient homes, and warfare between the tribes followed in which the more powerful Sioux killed a fourth of the Poncas.
[Fall of 1876] according to Kent Ruth book . . .
Nine years later, the government acted to save the Poncas, not by giving back their land and otherwise satisfying the Sioux, but by ordering them off their land. They still objected to removal, whereupon an official from Washington came to escort ten Ponca chiefs to Kansas and Indian Territory so that they could select a new home.
The Ponca Indians reached the country of the Osages in the fall of 1876. In the words of one of the chiefs: “We . . . found it stony and broken and not a country that we thought we could make a living in. We saw the Osages . . . without shirts, their skin burned, and their hair stood up as if it had not been combed since they were little children.”
Arriving at Arkansas City, Kansas, without having induced the Poncas to choose a new location, the government man lost patience with the chiefs and deserted them. So they went back, five hundred miles, on foot.
From study of Ponca chapters in Book II.
February 21, 1877.
Party (11 Ponca Indians from Dakota Territory) in Arkansas City. Had been to Kaw & Osage Agencies. Came from Independence, visited agencies, before arriving in Arkansas City. Thinking about moving to old Kickapoo reserve.
February 28, 1877, Ponca Indians, thinking Agent intended taking them to Washington, started on foot for Dakota reservation. [Never made clear who was part of this party!]
June 6, 1877.
Emporia. Part of Ponca tribe passed through Emporia en route to new reservation (Quapaw Reservation south of Baxter Springs).
Miller version [Kent Ruth book] . . .
[Summer of 1877] according to Kent Ruth book . . .
 The following summer, in 1877, soldiers gathered up the tribe and marched them to the Quapaw reservation in the northeastern corner of Indian Territory. It was here that George Miller found them and persuaded them to move to land adjoining his lease.
[From 101 Ranch book...Collings]
Joseph Carson Miller, born March 12, 1868
      Miller family lived near Baxter Springs, Quapaw Indians.
1879 [Deer Creek/Salt Fork ranches purchased by Miller] (JOE, 11 YEARS OLD.)
1881 - Spring, Millers moved to Winfield. JOE, 13 YEARS OF AGE.
Year not given: Joe talks to Poncas...they move in 1879 to Ponca Reservation.

Very apparent to me that Joe could not have made trip to visit with White Eagle and other Ponca Indians. As you will see the Ponca Indians moved to Ponca Reservation July 1878. Joe was about ten years old at that time. Furthermore, the Miller family did not move to Winfield until 1881. Miller started ranches in Indian Territory in 1879 according to 101 book, a year after Ponca Indians settled.
[Summer of 1877] according to Kent Ruth book . . .
[Reservation] ??? Not clear! Must be Quapaw Reservation.
In their new reservation—which had been described glowingly by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs as “in all respects . . . far superior to their old location in Dakota,” 158 of the tribe died within a short time. To make their situation more bearable, the government gave help in building homes and establishing schools.
[From Fabulous Empire..Zach Miller book]
1877 - Ponca forcibly moved, old Quapaw Reservation, near Baxter Springs.
1878 - Ponca Reservation, near Dean’s Ranch
1878 - 101 Ranch brand started...before that used Lee Kokernut brand.
1880 - 101 Ranch brand started...From 101 Ranch book...Collings

Year not given: [from Kent Ruth book, 1957]
Miller’s next step was to induce the small tribe of Ponca Indians, then living temporarily with the Quapaws, to accept a reservation near his leased land and allow him to graze his cattle on it for one cent per acre annually. He was a good friend to the Indians, an excellent cattleman, and a tireless hustler: his earnings from the ranch grew enormously. When his sons (Joe, George, Jr., and Zack) grew up, they too joined in pushing forward the enterprise.
[From study of Ponca chapters in Book II]
October 31, 1877. Band of Ponca visit Osage (about 36 Ponca Indians) on their way to Cheyenne Agency to visit chiefs.
January 9, 1878. (From Chetopa Herald) Poncas passed through. President Hayes promised them a new reservation.
January 16, 1878. Col. Boone, here last week (in Arkansas City) with a dozen or more members of Ponca tribe, looking for a new home, on the Salt Fork.
February 27, 1878. Agent says that the Ponca Indians will move from near Baxter Springs to a part of the Arapaho and Cheyenne reservation, south of Arkansas City.
April 24, 1878. Boone removed as Agent for Ponca.
April 24, 1878. Ponca camped near Dean’s ranch, visited Pawnees.
May 1, 1878. Ponca Indians passed through Arkansas City, going north.
May 15, 1878. Ponca Indians (about 350) hold dance at Chetopa, Labette County, last Saturday. They were on their way to new reservation west of Arkansas River.
June 12, 1878. Whiteman, confirmed by Senate as new agent, Ponca Indians.
June 12, 1878. Schiffbauer Bros., contract for building commissary for Ponca Indian supplies, to be located at Dean’s ranch, Salt Fork.
July 24, 1878. Ponca Indians on way to new agency near Dean’s ranch, 35 miles south of Arkansas City.

Kent Ruth book, 1957 . . .

Ponca Indians came to Indian Territory in 1879.
The Miller Brothers erected the White Eagle Monument in memory of the Ponca Chief their father induced to come to this area in 1879. The monument stands on a hill, once used as a signal station by the Ponca Indians. Built of native red stone, the monument is 12 feet in diameter and 20 feet high, topped by the huge white figure of an eagle.
White Eagle was a principal figure in a drama of tribal exile quite as tragic, though not as well known as the “Trail of Tears” made by the Five Civilized tribes.

[From study of Ponca chapters in Book II]
April 9, 1879. Standing Bear, other Poncas, started on foot for Dakota reservation.
[Kent Ruth book, 1957]
In the winter of 1879 Standing Bear led a party of Ponca Indians northward to the Omaha reservation located in Nebraska. The Omaha, kinsmen to the Ponca, gave them refuge and supplied them with seed to plant in the spring. Before they could plant, however, soldiers came to arrest Standing Bear. He and thirty of his followers were imprisoned at Fort Omaha.
                                          The Ponca Case. Trial of Standing Bear.
Through the intervention of citizens of Omaha, led by a newspaperman, the case of the Poncas came to trial on a writ of habeas corpus sworn out to secure their release. They were successful and the Poncas returned to the Omaha reservation where they were joined later by some 200 others who came up from Indian Territory.
The greater number of Poncas, some 700, remained on the land assigned to them in the Cherokee Outlet.
At the trial of Standing Bear, government attorneys contended that an Indian was not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus because he was not a “person within the meaning of the law.” An old chief answered them eloquently and well: “The people of the devil . . . have tried to make me believe that God tells them what to do, as though God would put a man where he would be destroyed! . . . They have destroyed many already, but they cannot deceive me. God put me here, and intends for me to live on the land they are trying to cheat me out of.”


Page 24 of “The 101 Ranch” by Ellsworth Collings and Alma Miller England with Foreword by Glenn Shirley.
“. . . Poncas moved in 1879 to their new home.”


Cowley County Historical Society Museum