Editor’s Note: In with the Bartlesville Area History collaboration Museum, the Examiner-Enterprise has revived the late Edgar Weston’s ‘Revisiting the Past’ columns that ran in the newspaper from 1997-99. Weston’s columns recount the history of Bartlesville as well as Washington, Nowata and Osage counties.
One of the most interesting and colorful cattlemen of this area was W.S. Sherman Moore. He was born in Putnam County, Illinois, December 6, 1865, the son of Mr. and Mrs. JB Moore, who were native to Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively. He was reared in Burlington, Iowa and, in 1885, at the age of nineteen years, accompanied his parents to the Indian Territory and settled on Wolf Creek, a few miles northwest of Delaware, IT.
His father was a farmer and stockman, and after farming for three years, the father passed away. The family then moved to Kansas, but Sherman returned to Indian Territory. In the late 1880s, he was employed by the Cherokee Cattleman’s Association as a line rider, his job being to keep the cattle from Indian Territory, from crossing the line into Kansas, as all of Indian Territory at that time was open range. The only fenced areas were homesteads, gardens and small crop areas.
Sherman rode from Elgin, Kansas to Edna, Kansas making the round trip in four days. It was a lonely, dangerous job on the border. A line cabin was at each end of the two day trip, and a line cabin midway between for him to stay overnight. Outlaws and cattle thieves thrived along the border.
He later worked for JS Todd and George Tomblyn on ranches in what is now Nowata County, and near Checotah, IT During this time he met and married Emma Scudder in 1898. Moore and Todd formed a partnership and established the Moore Todd Ranch east of Dewey in 1898.
Emma Scudder was born in Georgia and came with her family to Chelsea, IT in 1880. She was an eighth Cherokee Indian, which permitted her husband to do business in the Cherokee Nation, as an intermarried white.
In 1910, Moore and Todd leased the Berkman Ranch in Crockett County, Texas which consisted of 185 sections of land. They operated this ranch for several years and part of it is now owned by Jim Todd’s son. In 1915, they bought a large spread in Osage County and operated it for several years. In 1927, they divided their holdings in Washington and Nowata Counties. The ranch east of Dewey was later divided into the Moore Ranch and the Montgomery Ranch. During the early days of cattle raising, thousands of cattle were wintered on the open range as there were no fences except farmer’s fields, no cottonseed cake and no prepared supplement of any kind, and still they did a good job of it. During hard winters, losses would sometimes run high. Sometimes in the summer, during severe droughts, they would have to drive their cattle several miles to a river or creek for water. They did not have the stock ponds that we have now-a-days on our ranches.
Three children were born to Sherman and Emma Scudder Moore, Marie Moore Payne, Monsieur Moore, and Clark Moore. All have passed away now. Monsieur Moore and Clark Moore divided the Moore Ranch and Monsieur took the west half of the ranch. Clark Moore took the east half of the ranch which ran over into Nowata County.
Marilyn Moore, daughter of Monsieur and Leona Edwards Moore, has spent her entire life on the Moore Ranch and in Dewey, Oklahoma. She and her husband, Kenneth Tate, operate a part of the Moore Ranch at this time. Marilyn grew up in jeans and cowboy shirts. She rode with the cowboys, helped work cattle, rode fence and repaired it. She was a hand along with the cowboys in all facets of the ranch work. Marilyn never met a stranger in her lifetime and knew almost everyone in the area on a first name basis. Her father, Monsieur, was very active in horse and cattle circles. He was president of the American Quarter Horse Association, one of the founders of the National Quarter Horse Show and was the founder of the Junior Quarter Horse Show. The Monsieur Moore Quarter Horse Show at Dewey has been of National honor for many years.
Kenneth Tate, Marilyn’s husband, too has roots deep in Indian Territory. His grandfather, Nathan E. Tate, was born in Missouri and lived in Centralia and Sedan, Kansas before locating in the Indian Territory in 1902. He married Hattie Sanders, who was born in 1887 in the forks of Caney River four miles northwest of Dewey. Their son, PW “Bill” Tate, married Ruby Hawkins, the daughter of Rube Hawkins, another early family. Bill Tate formed a dairy route in Bartlesville in the late 1920s. He delivered the bottled milk that he purchased from the Bynum and Lemon Dairies. In 1933, Bill Tate established the Quality Dairy in Bartlesville and operated it until 1948, then worked for Reda Pump until his retirement.
Kenneth Tate, the son of PW Tate and Ruby Hawkins Tate, was born in Bartlesville. He grew up in farming and dairying but he had developed an interest in trucking and entered into the trucking business in 1960. He retired from the trucking business but continues to ranching and developing Prairie Song IT Village.
At this writing, Kenneth and Marilyn Moore Tate have six children together, three each from former marriages. Kenneth has three sons: Kenny, Larry, and Mark Tate, and five grandchildren. Marilyn had three children: Sherman Lucas, Linda Lucas Peale, and Larry Lucas, who were killed in an airplane crash while in high school. She has two grandchildren, Justin Lucas, and Rachel Peale.
Marilyn and Kenneth had a dream of building a retreat on the ranch near Hogshooter Creek. After a time of planning and looking, they constructed a large log house at the edge of the woods on the prairie, where they had a view of the surrounding area for miles. The retreat created interest in visitors coming to enjoy the retreat and the tremendous prairie location.
Interest developed plans into expanding the site into a homestead setting and as more log buildings were constructed, it was called Hogshooter Homestead.
The prairie setting was so impressive that they added log buildings and changed the name to Prairie Song, IT It has grown into a major tourist attraction, greeting folks from many states. In addition, the old-time western town has grown to include a Saloon, Post Office, General Store, Jail, School House, Chapel, Doctors Office, Stables and much more. All of the buildings were designed and built from Kenneth’s vision, with his own hands. Marilyn filled each
building with beautiful 19th century antiques, designed the interiors and arranged the displays areas. Song Catcher Hall creates a unique, one of a kind wedding or event experience. And, from 2004-2019 Prairie Song was host of the annual Western Heritage Weekend with Cowboy Church and a Wild West Show.