Ranching in the Osage, Oklahoma

The history of the great ranches in this area is a big interest of mine…

Welcome back. The year was 1893 when the Cherokee Strip Land Run made history and had a lasting impact on the future state of Oklahoma which extends even into the present day. Erd C. Mullendore was born in Indiana. He was 11 when the family moved to Kansas and 22 when he and his brother Dave staked a claim in the famous land run that would eventually lead to the creation of a 300,000 acre ranch. During this time several over big ranching operations were established in Osage County as well.

In 1903 the Drummond family became well known in the area. Three Drummond brothers, Cecil, Gentner and Jack all became ranchers, acquiring large tracts of land before World War I. Osage County was becoming famous for its cattle production and was suppliing beef to the entire country.

In 1954 another man became a major landowner in the region when he purchased the Lohman Ranch among many others. This purchase was the beginning of the Oklahoma Land and Cattle Company established by Boots Adams. Boots, as everyone called him, was a Phillips Petroleum Company executive at the time but even after his death in 1975, the family continued to buy up other big ranches in the area. That ended in 1989 when the entire spread was sold to the Mormon Church.

The Chapman-Barnard Ranch had its start in the 1900s growing to over 100,000 acres in the days when cattlemen were kings. The Tulsa Tribune ran a story calling the Adams, Drummond, Chapman-Barnard and Mullendore ranches a vast empire of land and cattle. That was then, and friends as we all know times moves on and people and things change. The Chapman-Barnard Ranch split up and the Nature Conservancy now owns over 30,000 acres of the ranch where they are running buffalo to restore the original prairie ecosystem.  Oklahoma Land and Cattle Company has become part of an even larger ranch put together by the Mormon Church as part of their nationwide farming and ranching operations.  The Drummond family is still a major force in ranching in Osage County and their combined family holdings frequently land them on the list of the 100 largest land owners in the U.S. which is published by the Land Report.

The last ranch in the area still operated by the same family is the Mullendore Ranch which now extends into several states and is known coast to coast by its Crossbell brand. The ranch is an historical showplace and just once a year the public has a chance to visit when the Mullendore family hosts a fundraiser for Elder Care, a not-for-profit based in Bartlesville which provides services for senior adults and caregivers. This is a rare chance to see an important part of Oklahoma’s history and one of the most beautiful spots in the state.

As you follow the three mile road that leads into the ranch you will pass hundreds of horses in rolling pastures, giving you a feeling for what attracted the ranch founders Gene and Kathleen Mullendore to this areas. At the end of the drive you’ll see the original three story house which is faced with massive native stone as well as several outlying buildings and barns and numerous horse pens. A swimming pool near the main house is constructed in the shape of the CrossBell brand.

The event will be held on Saturday May 7th from 6-10 PM. Tickets and sponsorship information is available from Elder Care at (918) 336-8500 or email dmcardle@abouteldercare.org.

You loyal readers know I attend a lot of events but overall this is the best! My scoop of the week is don’t miss it! If you want to read up on ranching history before you go check out Ranching in the Osage by Les Warehime which is full of great stories.

I’ll end this week with a little information about another event that snuck up on me. The Ramona Chamber of Commerce is holding their annual meeting on Friday evening at 6 PM at the First Baptist Church . The Citizen of the Year will be announced along with the recipients of several different scholarships.

I attended this event a few years ago and I can tell you from experience you don’t have to be from Ramona to have fun. There’s plenty of good food and friendly folks to visit with and this year Senator John Ford is the featured speaker. I plan to attend for sure and the good thing is its only 15 bucks and friends the food alone is worth that.

Hope to see you there and till next time I’ll see ya down the road…………………