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November 30, 1999

Congratulations to Kaye Bond and Clyde Speer at the Cherokee Strip Museum for arranging to have the noted author, Michael Wallis, come to Perry for a book signing reception on December 5 at the museum. Mr. Wallis' latest literary effort is being widely hailed for its contribution to the understanding of how this part of the United States was settled. The nonfiction book chronicles the history of a place that is dear to the hearts of so many in Perry and Noble county -- the fabulous 101 Ranch. Mr. Wallis will be at the museum for two hours next Sunday, starting at 2 p.m., to sign copies of the book and visit with folks who come to meet him.

His new book is titled "The Read Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West." Critics and readers alike are praising the author for the obvious depth of his research and his story-telling skills. The book is fairly lengthy (652 pages, including an epilogue, end notes, bibliography and index), but it is laced with brief anecdotal history pieces and it can be read in short takes without losing the thread of the story. If you scan the bibliography carefully you will find several Noble county names listed as contributors to the work. Mr. Wallis spent sometime in Perry and elsewhere in Noble county while gathering information and documents and interviewing those who have first-hand knowledge of the old 101.

Longtime residents of this area are familiar with the 101 Ranch story, at least the essence of it, but Mr. Wallis' book gives us a straightforward account of the history of the Miller family, the ones who established the ranch empire in Noble and Kay counties late in the 19th century. The author dispels some of the false legends about the ranch that have been told for years, but he also gives a factual accounting of the story that often rivals fiction.

Mr. Wallis is a native of Missouri but he has devoted years to compiling a history of the American West, particularly Oklahoma. Some of his earlier creations have been "Route 66: The Mother Road," and "Oilman: The Story of Frank Phillips and the Creation of the Phillips Petroleum Co." He also is co-author of "Mankiller: A Chief and Her People." In all, he has written ten books. He is a member of the Oklahoma Professional Writers' Hall of Fame and has been the recipient of some prestigious awards for his literary contributions. He and his wife, Suzanne, live in Tulsa.

The history of this area, including the Cherokee Outlet land run, is rich and ladened with drama and romance. We are fortunate that professional historians and authors like Michael Wallis focus their efforts on recording that story.

Mr. Wallis' new book should be part of your personal library if you have any interest in the history and the lore of this fabled part of the Cherokee Outlet. Be at the museum next Sunday to meet the author and spend a few minutes discussing this masterful effort to capture the thrills, the tragedies, the highs and lows that accompanied the extraordinary history of the 101 Ranch. It is part of our own history.