September 6, 2014

The History of the 101 Ranch and its Winter Home in Sicily Island

Original 101 Ranch in Ponca City, Oklahoma

The original 101 Ranch was established Ponca City, Oklahoma by Col. George W. Miller in 1893. Beginning with 2,000 acres, Col. Miller and his three sons, Joe, George and Zack, eventually expanded the ranch to 110,000 acres and 25,000 head of Longhorn cattle.

Following the death of their father, the three brothers continued to add more livestock which included herds of Holstein, Shorthorn and Hereford Dairy cattle as well as Duroc-Jersey hogs.

The Miller brothers entered the entertainment world in 1905 by hosting a newspaper editors convention which featured the famous Indian warrior, Geronimo and Bill Pickett.  After garnering national attention from this event, the 101 Ranch Wild West Show was born.

101 Ranch Wild West Show Wagons

The 101 Ranch Wild West Show toured the United States and in 1914 began touring internationally. The King and Queen of England were entertained by the show in 1925.  The last show was performed in 1931.

Pawnee Bill and Zack Miller, Sr.

At some point in the early years of the 101 Ranch Wild West Show, The Miller brothers purchased land south of Sicily Island and opened a branch of the 101 Ranch.  This branch is said to have been used to winter some of the show animals which included elephants.

The following article from the October 14, 1936 edition of the Monroe News Star mentions the winter location of the 101 Ranch in Sicily Island.

Zack Miller and his family lived on the Sicily Island 101 Ranch circa 1913.  Zack was married to Olive Marguerite Blevins who was the daughter of Anderson Bean Blevins and Tassie Belle Lowdermilk.  Their two children were Zack Miller, Jr. and Tassie Blevins Miller Gibbs.

Marquerite and children lived at the 101 Ranch in 1930.  This was most likely during or after her divorce from Zack, Sr.

1930 U. S. Census
Zack Miller, Jr. continued to visit Sicily Island until his death in 1993 in Grass Range, Fergus, Montana. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco, McLennan, Texas, near his mother and sister.

Pictured in the photograph below are Zack Miller, Sr. (center), wife, Marguerite (white hat), Zack, Jr. (kneeling) and Blevins (standing).

101 Ranch Old Timers Association

Brothers Joe and George died in 1927 and 1929, respectively.  Zack Miller was unable to handle the management and operations of the ranch and wild west show.  By 1932, all assets of the ranch were lost in bankruptcy.  

The 101 Ranch Old Timers Association was formed to preserve the memory of the ranch and entertainment provided by the Miller family.  In 1960 the Ponca City, Oklahoma 101 Wild West Rodeo Foundation was formed. Yearly reunions continue to be held.

The Sicily Island 101 Ranch is now owned by Carroll and Amy Huff Barron.

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