E. W. Marland-- oilman, legislator, 10th Oklahoma governor, philanthropist-- was part and parcel of the 1920s. He lived hard, worked hard, played hard; surrounded himself with people-- extravagant house parties, polo matches and fox hunts; and beauty-- palatial homes, acres of gardens, stunning statuary. The vast oil empire he built at one time produced 10% of all the oil in the world.
Learn More ...
Gov. E.W. Marland's State of the State
Life and Times of Ernest Whitworth Marland
E.W. Marland

Virginia Marland
 

Mary Virginia Collins was born July 7, 1876. She was described as  a woman of superior intelligence, beauty, quiet, slender, with lovely dark hair. On November 5, 1903, she married E.W. Marland. She was with him when he made and lost his first million and followed him to the  Oklahoma plains. Living in the Arcade Hotel, she made friends with the women in Ponca City. George and Lydie Roberts, her blood niece and nephew, came to Ponca City in 1912 to stay with her and E.W.. After E.W. hit his first oil well, they moved from the Arcade Hotel to a home on North 6th Street while E.W. had the Marland's Grand Home built. When the Marland's moved into it, they had adopted George and Lydie. Virginia mothered them and their many friends. She was outgoing and enjoyed charity work. In 1920 she had a bout with cancer and it was felt  she had been cured. Virginia became secluded and was no longer outgoing. E.W. had an air conditioning unit for one room put in the home on Grand for her comfort. She was ill for about a year and on June 7, 1926 she passed away from pneumonia. All Ponca City businesses closed the day of her funeral for two hours out of respect for her. It was estimated that 1,500 Ponca Citians attended her public funeral. Three cars were required to carry all the flowers to her final resting place at the Ponca City I.O.O.F. Mausoleum.                             **

 

Lyde Miller Roberts was born April 20, 1900 in Flourtown, Pennsylvania. The second of four children, she preferred to be called Lydie. In 1912, her and her older brother George came to Ponca City to visit their aunt and uncle, Virginia and E.W. Marland. After E.W. hit oil, he and Virginia asked George Fredrick Roberts, a push peddler and Margaret Collins Roberts, to let them adopt George and Lydie. The Roberts said okay. Lydie was sent to the best schools in Ponca City, in Illinois, New York and Long Island. She enjoyed art, music and dance, but not as much as she enjoyed fox hunts and polo matches. After Virginia Marland passed away in 1926, and the Marland Mansion was completed, E.W. took Lydie back to Pennsylvania, had the adoption set aside and on July 14, 1928 they married. The lifestyle E.W. offered her did not last long, for E.W. lost his oil company in 1928. With his fortune gone, they moved into the Artist Studio on the Mansion grounds. In 1932, E.W. was elected to the U.S. Congress and they moved to Washington D.C. In 1934, E.W. was elected the 10th Governor of Oklahoma and they lived in Oklahoma City for four years. In 1941, E.W. was forced to sell the mansion and they moved into the Chauffeurs Cottage. E.W. died four months later. Lydie was a very private person and from 1941-1953, she stayed at the Chauffeurs Cottage. In 1953, she left Ponca City for 22 years, It is not certain where she was during this time. In 1975 she returned to Ponca City and remained there until her death in August, 1987. **


Lydie Marland

George Roberts Marland

 

George Roberts Marland was born November 19, 1897 in Flourtown, Pennsylvania. The oldest of four children, in 1912, George and his younger sister Lydie came to Oklahoma to visit their aunt and uncle, Virginia and E.W. Marland. After E.W. hit oil, he and Virginia asked George Fredrick Roberts, a push peddler and Margaret Collins Roberts, to let them adopt George and Lydie. The Roberts said okay. George was sent to the best schools including Lawrenceville Academy in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, University of Pittsburgh and Yale University. He served in the armed forces during World War 1, returning to Ponca City where he joined E.W. Marland in Marland Oil Company. George enjoyed playing polo and was an ardent football fan. In 1928, after E.W. resigned Marland Oil Company, George and Wesley I. Nunn purchased a Buick agency from Joe Donahue. Later George bought out Nunn and on January 22,1930, he married Laverne Donahue Denoya. Laverne had two children, Ann and Larry. Laverne and George had one child, Margo born in 1930.  George joined E.W. in 1932 in forming a new oil company and relinquished his auto agency to F. A. Jennings. When E.W. went into politics, George continued in the Marland venture, but in 1941 after E.W. Marland died, George and Laverne moved to Tulsa. There he became  an independent oil lease and royalties broker. In January, 1957. George took ill with pneumonia and had just returned to work, when he took ill again and died from a heart attack. George Roberts Marland was placed near his sister Lydie, Mary Virginia and E.W. Marland in the Mausoleum in the Ponca City I. O. O. F. Cemetery in Ponca City. **


Lew Wentz
 

Lewis Haines Wentz was born in Tama City, Iowa, November 10, 1887, though he spent most of his early years in Pennsylvania. His employer sent him to Oklahoma for six months to check on his investment interest, Wentz stayed for 38 years. When he arrived in Ponca City, he moved into the Arcade Hotel and remained there until his death. Wentz was one of seven children born to a blacksmith, played baseball for the University of West Pennsylvania. He later coached ball in Pittsburgh schools. Lew did not have a post secondary education but believed in working for what you got. He went on to become the owner of the largest one-man oil company in the world in the 1920's. He was known as Americas richest bachelor. Though he was very political, he never ran for any office. He was known as "Daddy Long Legs" because he cared for children and made sure every Ponca City child had a coat and pair of shoes. He provided children with swimming pools and places for outdoor activities along with helping Oklahoma's crippled children.  Wentz eventually owned the Arcade Hotel that he lived in and Rock Cliff Ranch, northeast of Ponca City . He sold his oil holdings, just before the crash of 1929. Lewis Haines Wentz died at the Arcade Hotel June 9, 1949 and was buried in the Ponca City, I. O. O. F. Cemetery in Ponca City. **


William H. (Bill) McFadden was born June 11, 1869 at Moundsville, West Virginia. He worked as an apprentice in Mackintosh Hemphill Steel Foundry. In 1909, at the age of 42, he became president of Mackintosh Hemphill, but resigned shortly thereafter due to ill health. In 1910 he came to Oklahoma thinking he was going to die. He was suffering from lungs irritated by an acid vapor from a galvanizing compound used in steel mills. After arriving in Oklahoma, he lived in a tent town on the north side of the Salt Fork River, on the 101 Ranch headquarters grounds. When he was a youth, he borrowed $3,200 to pay the premium on a $20,000 life insurance policy. Twenty-nine years later, he had $189,000. "That was big money in those days", he recalled. When he arrived in Oklahoma, he had a pillowcase that he slept on every night and put in a suitcase he took with him when he left his tent. The pillowcase contained over $100,00 in cash. He met E.W. Marland and they became lifelong friends. McFadden invested in the 101 Ranch Oil Company, becoming vice president and general manager. He financed E. W. Marland's ninth well. Later he became president of the Kay County Gas Company, vice president of Marland Refining Company and an executive of Marland Oil Company. He helped back Marland Oil by putting up $66,000. In 1914, W.H. (AKA Mr. Mac) McFadden became the mayor of Ponca City, serving until 1920. McFadden listed three, no four essentials for success. They were air, water, food --and oil! William McFadden not only financed E.W. Marland, but also loaned Lew Wentz $5,000 to get his start. One of his ventures was a private camp for Camp Fire Girls in Ponca City. Around 1950 he stated that 5,014 girls had attended the camp. He financed $40,000 for the American Legion Orphans Home School in Ponca City. In 1935 he was placed in Oklahoma's Hall of Fame, and a statue of "The Plainsman"  in Bartlesville, Oklahoma was in his likeness. McFadden treasured the Gulich Award given him in 1946 in Ponca City by the Camp Fire Girls, along with a lifetime membership. William McFadden married Helen Charolette Williams Levi in 1920. They never had any children. McFadden left Ponca City in 1928 and moved to Ft. Worth, Texas where he died at the age of 87 in 1956.      **


William H. (Bill) McFadden

Charles Curtis


Charles Curtis was a Representative and a Senator from Kansas and a Vice President of the United States. He was born in Topeka, Kansas on January 25, 1860. He attended the common schools, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1881. Later he was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-third and to the six succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1893, until January 28, 1907. He resigned only to be elected Senator, chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Interior (Fifty-fourth through Fifty-seventh Congresses); had been reelected to the Sixtieth Congress, but on January 23, 1907, was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican to fill the vacancy in the term ending March 3, 1907, caused by the resignation of Joseph R. Burton, and on the same day was elected for the full Senate term commencing March 4, 1907, and served from January 29, 1907, to March 3, 1913; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1912; served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Sixty-second Congress; chairman, Committee on Indian Depredations (1905-11), Committee on Coast Defenses (1911-13), Republican Conference (1924-1929); again elected to the United States Senate for the term commencing March 4, 1915; reelected in 1920 and 1926 and served from March 4, 1915, until his resignation on March 3, 1929, having been elected Vice President of the United States; Republican whip 1915-1924; majority leader 1925-1929; elected Vice President of the United States on the Republican ticket headed by Herbert Hoover in 1928, was inaugurated on March 4, 1929, and served until March 3, 1933; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1932 for Vice President; resumed the practice of law in Washington, D.C., where he died on February 8, 1936; interment in Topeka Cemetery, Topeka, Kans.


Laura Mae McDonagh Streich was born September 16, 1959 in Fort Worth, Texas to Lester and Lorraine McDonagh. She graduated from the Ponca City High School in 1977, receiving a BA in Fine Art from Oklahoma State University in 1982. She married John R. Streich in 1986. Laura was a very special person, she loved the beauty of history. Working tirelessly, she helped preserve many Ponca City historical sites.

Laura researched and wrote the copy for 22 historical markers placed throughout Ponca City by the Ponca City Main Street Authority... worked to help organize the 1990 and 1992 Cherokee Strip Historical Tours, the 1992 Christmas House Tour, assisted with the Fifth Annual Statewide Historic Preservation Conference held in Ponca City in May 1993. Laura researched and wrote the application to nominate Marland's Grand Home, Wentz Camp and Pool for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Laura interviewed and helped select art conservators to appraise the Matzene Art Collection at the Ponca City Library, served as co-anchor on the "Taste and Tasteless" annual fundraiser program at the Poncan Theater and put in more than her share of sweat equity hours during the initial cleanup of the historic building. A member of the Eastern Heights Christian Church,  charter member of the Poncan Theater Company, president of the now defunct 101 Ranch Restoration Foundation, alternate to the board of directors of the Oklahoma Museum Association, charter member of the Ponca City Landmark Conservancy Committee, member of the Standing Bear Statue Committee, Main Street Historical Preservation Committee, Cherokee Strip Centennial Committee and the 1994 Leadership Ponca City Class.

Jan Prough said of Laura "She entered our lives at the Pioneer Woman Museum in 1982...I may be exaggerating just a little, but Laura had scarcely set down her purse when she asked permission to take the Miller Sword and have it cleaned at her expense. I knew right then, we had a different person on our hands....Brick streets going to be removed...gas lights forbidden...garage at Cultural Center (now Marland's Grand Home) going to be bulldozed, fact or fiction, Laura was at the City Commission meeting to plead the cause of preserving history.... She walked among the great and small... She touched all our lives. We'll never forget the ray of sunshine, the breath of fresh air, and the beauty she brought to our lives. And we'll miss her forever." Laura fought the biggest battle of her young life, but lost it to cancer. She died at her home on 14th Street (the gate house of the E.W. Marland Estate) in Ponca City, August 5, 1995. She was 35 years old. Ponca City lost a true historic legend that day. She was buried at Resthaven Memorial Park Cemetery in Ponca City, Oklahoma.

Laura Mae
McDonagh-Streich






Willie Cries-For-War
Ponca Indian
December 15, 1892-November 10, 1978


Known as Willie Cry, he received a general land allotment of 160 acres. His allotment became very significant to the history of North Central Oklahoma. At the age of nineteen, Willie leased his land to E.W. Marland to drill for oil. On June 27, 1911, Marland’s #9 well, his first to produce oil, was on Willie Cry’s lease. This was the beginning of the 101 Ranch Oil Company, later to become the Marland Oil Company. In the late 1920’s, Marland Oil Company became Conoco Oil Company known today as ConocoPhillips.

Oil changed the lives of all who came near it. Willie received $1,000 a year rental for his land and a 12.5 cents royalty per barrel. This well produced for 65 years with Willie becoming a wealthy man. The black oil (Way-gle) came from a pipe, staining the ground. The older Indians believed it was a curse with no real value to the people.

Willie Cry was a leader in the Native American Church, known as a man of virtue, concerned for the health and welfare of the tribe. Well versed in English, he preferred to speak in the Ponca language. He was one of the last Ponca Indians to have seen the Ponca Sun Dance performed. Willie Cry died at the age of 86. He was survived by two daughters, 20 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren and 8 great-great-grandchildren.


Ray and Velma Falconer

Known throughout the United States and beyond, Ray and Velma Falconer were owners of a shop called the "Glass Negative". They have in their possession many historical negatives, including glass negatives dating back to the 1860’s. The Falconers are active, major supporters of the 101 Ranch and Oklahoma’s rich history. Ray Falconer was born May 9, 1922 in Tacoma, Washington. He served with the 8th Air Force in England as a tail gunner and educated in photography through the New York Institute of Photography. Ray takes pride in "pictures in leather", making many billfolds, belts and holsters. He worked for the City of Ponca City as a maintenance electrician until his retirement in 1986. Velma Bozworth Falconer was born April 3, 1924 near Drummond, Oklahoma. She was the seventh of ten children. After her family moved to Lamont, Oklahoma in 1929, she became interested in the 101 Ranch rodeos and shows. In 1943, she was caregiver to the mother-in-law of the Joe Miller. She told Velma about life on the 101 Ranch and further peaked Velmas interest. In 1943 Velma met Ray and they married September 15, 1945. They have one son, Kenny. The Falconers purchased a photography shop and its inventory in 1967. To their surprise, they found their new inventory included many glass negatives, thus starting their large collection. In 1975, Ray was honored by the Oklahoma Heritage Association for his distinguished service through "unselfish efforts" to preserve a "valuable glimpse" of Oklahoma history. The Falconers opened their shop in 1980, and their photographs have been shipped all over the United States and to 22 foreign countries. These photographs are used in books, newspapers, magazines, television documentaries, homes, offices, restaurants and Children’s National History contests. Ray and Velma are active members of the 101 Ranch Old Timers Association. Ray served as director of the 101 Ranch Restoration Foundation, photographer for the 101 Ranch Collectors and a member of the 101 Ranch Auxiliary. Velma also served as a director of the 101 Ranch Restoration Foundation, member of 101 Ranch Old Timers Auxiliary, 101 Ranch Collectors historian. She has served as Vice President of the 101 Ranch Collectors, a member of the 101 Ranch newsletter staff, and a charter member of the Standing Bear Memorial Park.