Homesteading in the Shadow of the Famous Miller Brothers

The 160 acres my father leased in
1899 in the vicinity of Ponca City,
Oklahoma, were surrounded by the
large pasture of the Miller brothers’ 101 Ranch. We had to fence all sides of
that quarter section to keep the Millers’ cattle out.

I attended the Miller brothers’
first rodeo in 1905. It was called a buffalo chase and buffalo meat was served.
Thirty-three trains brought people to the pasture near the railroad track where
the chase was given for the National Editors Association. Water was hauled in a
thrashing machine waterwagon from a nearby creek and sold at five cents a tin cup.

The Miller brothers became famous
and their 101 Wild West Show was seen at home and abroad.

I remember when the Miller brothers
lived in a dugout. A group of neighbors, seining for fish nearby, needed salt,
so I and another girl were sent to the Millers to get it. They had us go to the
cow lot and take it from the salt barrel.

Sometime later Jack Miller came to
our house, wanting a drink. I drew a bucket of water and handed him a tin cupful.
He gave me my first dime. I was so proud. I bought my sister two yards of
calico at three cents a yard. I don’t remember how I spent the other four

Mrs. Elsie McAllister
Ponca City,

Back in 1955 a call
went out from the editors of the then
Weekly asking for readers to send
in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early
settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from
grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were
received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first
Folks title – My Folks Came in a
Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine
other books have since been published in the
My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to
make those stories available to our growing online community.