Christmas at “101 Ranch”
By ZOË H. BECKLEY.
[Originally published in TRAVEL MAGAZINE for December, 1908.]
Ask a typical New Yorker what Christmas means, and like as not he will reply, “Crowded streets, congested crossings, packed trains, millions of bundles, blazes of light, gay cafés, deserted theatres, and people festive, expectant, weary or sad as circumstances and their temperaments dictate.” The fortunate few of us who are bidden to country house parties, or who perchance own a hutch in the hills where the stars are unobscured by arc-lamps—these few may know something of the unalloyed Christmas spirit that pervaded our ancestors and will creep into the veins of the most world-worn if only given a chance.
At Christmastide, if we have time to think about it at all, something in the depths of us seems to cry out for action, life, big spaces, crystalline air, the smell of pines, jingling bells; long rides with a mental picture of blazing fires and cheery voices as their goal. Don’t we of the modern moiling cities long in our hearts for something better than steam-heated rooms, electric lights and immaculate butlers? Don’t we have a sneaking yearn for the old-time jollity of Christmas Day—full of excitement, mysterious packages and home-made pie?
Out in the ranches in the West one may experience quite a different Christmas from the conventional one.
Out, for instance, in the biggest ranch and diversified farm in the country, known to fame as the “101 Ranch,” out at Bliss, Oklahoma, run by the three Miller brothers. There are eighty-five thousand acres of profitable land where they raise pretty much everything, including particular Cain—at least, at Christmas. The land is in what used to be the Cherokee Strip, and when the Government opened up the territory to the people, Joe Miller raced off, at the crack of the pistol, on his father’s
CHRISTMAS DAY GATHERING AT “101 RANCH”
Kentucky thoroughbred, riding forty miles to the desired claim. The horse that had run the race so nobly used his last breath to finish, and fell dead at the close of day on a spot that his rider has marked with a monument to his memory. The ranch has had its vicissitudes since that day, but its development by these three young men, from a range of un-tracked prairie to a profitable and perfectly-conducted establishment is truly wonderful. It points to the limitless possibilities lying in this great Southwest of ours, when modern methods, skill, industry and a knowledge of economics are brought to bear upon the vast natural richness of the district.
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REMEMBER: Peoples' attitudes toward race, religion, and culture were a lot different when this was written! The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of TravelHistory.org or of Hidden Knowledge, Publishers.