In 1886, as a young boy, Henry Labrier helped drive a herd of cattle from south of Lubbock, Texas to Long Canyon, south of the Black Mesa and west of Kenton, Oklahoma. He then rode back to the 101 Ranch, located east of Kenton and hired on as the bronc buster.
Henry fell in love with the high mesa country…and a pretty little lass up the dry Cimarron River. He and Johanna Dacy got hitched and purchased a parcel of land north of the Black Mesa and started their own ranch. They were blessed with five sons and one daughter.
In 1944 two of Henry and Johanna’s sons, Ross and Shirley, purchased the 101, which had been slowly dispersed as more settlers moved into the valley. Ross and his new bride Ina K. had humble beginnings in the Dry Cimarron River Valley. In Sheila Bright’s article “The Last of Kenton” Ina Kay said ““We started out with four head of cattle, and I had three checks that weren’t cashable, I got $75 a month for teaching, but about half the time I’d have to wait a month or two before the check was good.” Ina Kay told Sheila that “for most of her married life, she saddled up a horse and rode with Ross to herd and feed the cattle. She carried (their daughter) Jane in a sling in front of her until the girl turned about 3, old enough by ranching standards to ride a good, steady horse.”
When Shirley passed away his widow sold his portion. Ross, his wife Ina K. and their daughter Jane continued to work his holdings and build their herd. Over the years Ross’s family have worked to piece the original 101 back together.
Ross passed in 1983 and Jane acquired the ranch. Ina K. continued to live in the 101 Headquarters and help run things until she retired to a nursing home when she was 100 years old. Ina K. passed in 2017 at 105.
Jane, her husband Bobby and sons LeRoss, Leon and Leston take great pride carrying on in the pioneering spirit of her father and grandfather.
Over the years the Labrier and Apple family have been featured in many articles. Pictures of the Apple boys, the quintessential cowboys, grace several magazines and maybe even a book or two. Lone Man’s Land, a documentary produced by Ezra Gentle and Sheila Bright featuring the Apple family hit theaters in 2015.