MILLER TO REBUILD OLD TRAIL MARKER:
WILL HONOR INDIAN
Oklahoma Historical Society Also Takes Part In Having White Equal Monument Built
April 27, 1926 - Co-operating with and at the request of the Oklahoma historical society,
the old Indian trail marker which formerly occupied a prominent position on a high hill,
just south of the Salt Fork River here, is to be rebuilt under the direction of George L.
Miller of the 101 Ranch as a monument to the former Ponca Indian chief, White Eagle.
Miller proposes to place a white eagle on top.
Prior to the settlement of the country the Indians had monuments, built of stone, placed at
various points throughout the country as guide post to tribe's traveling to and fro. Each
tribe, as it passed would leave signals, by which others could tell who had passed and which
way they were traveling. Friendly tribes generally understood these signals.
One of the stone monuments stood for years on top of the mound, where it is to be rebuilt
by Miller. Gradually farmers and others took the stones away for building purposes, the
discovered the monument location and requested Miller to re-establish it. When the monument
is completed it will be dedicated with much ceremony by Indians in particular.
DEDICATION OF WHITE EAGLE MONUMENT NEAR HERE EVENT OF
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE; IS RELIC OF OLD INDIAN CUSTOM
July 24, 1927 -- The rebuilding of an ancient Indian trail marker or signal station, as a
monument to an Indian chief of prominence, has been an accomplishment in this vicinity
recently, the first restoration of the kind, according to state historical authorities,
to be completed in the plains country and the southwest, where they were formerly frequent.
The monument here, on a high mound 11 miles south of this city, and within the old Ponca
Indian reservation a re-erected to the memory of White Eagle, the Ponca chief, who led his
people during the '70's to their new reservation of 50,000 acres here from their former
holdings along the Nebraska-Dakota border. The dedication of the monument, with the
principal chiefs of the Ponca tribe officiating, was staged Sunday, with a big crowd of
people in attendance.
White Eagle was born on the Nebraska reservation in 1840 and lined for 74 years, serving a
goodly portion of the time as chief. During the earlier period of his life, the Indians
were still practicing polygamy and white Eagle had six wives --- several of them at the
same time. His first child, given the name of Mary Elk, was born in 1859, or when White
Eagle was 19 years old. His wives were Me-glee-dah-ees, Gambling, Carry-water, Amelia
Primeaux, Julia Primeaux and Victoria DeLodge. In all White Eagle was the father of 15
Favored Land Allotment
In line with his every loyalty to the government, White Eagle immediately favored the
allotment of the Ponca Indian lands in severalty, about 30 years ago, although there was
a strong contingent among the Poncas against it under the leadership of Standing Elk.
White Eagle had his way, however, resulting in his people accepting allotments eventually,
and he was awarded allotment No. 1, given his first choice of lands because of his loyalty.
The plot of land, on which the White Eagle monument stands, belongs now to the Miller brothers
of the 101 Ranch here and it was re-erected by them at the suggestion of Joseph B. Thoburn,
dean of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Col George W. Miller (deceased) were lifetime friends
of White Eagle and because of this Col. Joe Miller was adopted into the tribe during the
chieftainship of White Eagle under the tribal name of Waling Above.
The rebuilt rail marker is five feet in diameter and 14 feet high, surmounted by a white eagle.
The marker is of red sandstone, backed with mortar in order to make it permanent. On one side
is a marble tablet, 12x30 inches, which reads:
INDIAN TRAIL MARKER
Re-erected to Memory of
Chief White Eagle (1840-1914).
Who Led His People to civilization and Favored the White Man's Ways.
Miller Brothers, 101 Ranch
June, 1927 - Crazy Snake, former companion of White Eagle and one of the old warriors who
participated in the tribe's sun dances, was in charge of the dedication ceremonies which
were opened with a prayer by Head-Walker, who facing the East as is required by Indian
custom, besought the Great Spirit for guidance and blessing. Brief talks were made by
Crazy Bear, the 100-year-old and blind Little Dance, the blind Little-water, John Bull,
White Deer and george L. Miller. Crooked Horn and George Primeaux interpreted the talks
of the Indians, all of them around 90 years of age. Mrs. Elaine Waters, granddaughter of
White Eagle, and the aged widow of the chief, Victoria DeLodge, performed the unveiling
of the monument and numerous descendants were present. An Indian village of tepees and
a herd of three hundred buffalo provided an imposing background for the ceremonies.
Joseph B. Thoburn, dean of the Oklahoma Historical Society from whom the suggestion came
that the trial marker be re-erected by Miller, says that throughout the prairie regins of
the eastern portions of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, the pioneers of from forty to
seventy years ago found numerous landmarks in the form of perpendicularly piled, or
pillar-shaped cairns of loose stones, from two and a half to three and a half feet in
diameter and from fout to seven feet in height, in nearly ever case these cairns or stone
heaps wre located in conspicuous positions, on the summits of high hills, bluff or on
pronounced elevations and quite genereally in the immediate vicinity of or overlooking
valley. As a rule they were visible from many quarters and for ong distances. In the
common parlance of the pioneer settlers they wre know as Indian guideposts, guide rocks
and trail markers.
"That these stone heaps were artificially piled by the had of Indian people, there can be
no doubt." Says Thoburn. "That they were thus erected for the purpose of identifying or
distinguishing any area or in anyway serving as a guide for Indian travelers, either singly
or in bands, would seem to be an absurd assumption, since to the eye of every Indian brave
or hunter, each landscape, which he had once beheld was so indelibly pitched up his memory
as to enable him to instantly recall it, though many years had passed since he had seen it
before. And as for trail markers, no Indian never needed to have a trail marker, for he
could follow all day with unerring accuracy a trail so dim that ordinary civilized man would
have failed to note even its existence.
Colonel George W. Miller founded the 101 Ranch in northern Oklahoma in 1893.
He and his wife Molly, sons Joe, Zack and George Jr. along with daughter,
Alma helped establish what became known as the "Largest Diversified Farm
and Ranch in America".
The Miller family also fielded the 101 Wild West Show and traveled the
United States and the world from 1905 to 1931. Pioneers in movie making,
some of the first western movies were filmed on the 101 Ranch located in
north central Oklahoma. Presidents and celebrities from around the world
were entertained at the ranch and the family home, known as the "White
House" which in addition to headquarters for the vast empire of more than
110,000 acres, was a palace on the Oklahoma prairie.
Eventually the ranch failed during the great American depression and was
sold off in parcels in 1936 after 43 years of operation. The headquarters
site was listed as an Oklahoma Historical Site, placed on the National
Register of Historic Places and became a National Historic Landmark in 1975.
The 101 Ranch Old Timers Association was organized in 1968. Its
membership consisted of men and women who lived or worked on the ranch or
the 101 Ranch Wild West Show. In 1976, the 101 Ranch Old Timers Association
was formed as a non profit organization with around 200 members. Membership
has now been opened to those interested in preserving their
memory and the remarkable history of the 101 Ranch.
In January 1996, the 101 Ranch Oldtimers received
the deed to the Ranch headquarters which has been cleaned up and
converted into a roadside park. They continue to make improvements as they
can to the area.
In an effort to raise funds for on going projects the 101 Ranch Old Timers have
produced a DVD video. Since 1927 a memorial to the Ponca Chief White Eagle has stood
on a mound just north of Marland, Oklahoma. In 1932 the famous inventor of bulldogging
Bill Pickett was layed to rest on this same mound. The Mounument Hill Project started in
the 1970's is coming closer to realization. With your help this historic and sacred place
can be made accessible to the public. Would you like to know more ...
In 1998, the 101 Ranch O.T.A. received the deed to Monument Hill, the site
of Bill Pickett's grave and monument to Chief White Eagle of the Ponca
Indian tribe. They are now in the process of finding funding
to create a parking lot and walkway at this site so tourist may visit the
grave and monument. Bill
Pickett's gravesite is located just north of Marland, OK. Once featured on a U.S. Postal Service stamp, the black cowboy, Bill Pickett
was a world-class athlete and credited with inventing the sport of
bulldogging, now known as steer wrestling.
If you are interested in helping preserve the western heritage of
Oklahoma's historic 101 Ranch by joining the 101 Ranch Old Timers
Association, please contact Joe Glaser.
101 Ranch metal art work pieces are also availible for purchase.
These are available from:
Joe Glaser 101 O.T.A. Sec/Treasurer
Ponca City, Oklahoma 74604
Donations to any of the 101 Ranch Old Timers Association are greatly
appreciated. If you would like to donate to a specific project, please send
a notation with your check.
Old Timers Pass On
Longtime 101 Ranch Old Timer Association member, Kenneth Goodeagle, 83, Pawnee, who lives in
Pawnee, Oklahoma was a cowboy and performer on bucking broncs with the 101 ranch Wild West
Show from 1929-1931. At one time he lived on the top floor of the "White House". He says he
personally knew Old Tony, the soda-slugging bear.
For many years Kenneth worked for Pawnee Bill, and his wild west show. In 1931 he helped
Pawnee Bill raise money for Zack Miller to return home with the 101 Ranch Show after it
went broke in Washington, D.C.
Kenneth helped unveil the National Historic plaques at the 101 Ranch Site, August 17, 1996.
101 Ranch Old Timers Association Calendar 1998.
**Another 101 Ranch Old Timers Association member, Kenneth Goodeagle passed away.
Mr. Goodeagle, who once worked for Pawnee Bill and his Wild West Show, was 109
years old at the time of his death.
Spring 2004 101 Rnach Old Timers Association Newsletter.