Ernest W. Marland

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Ernest W. Marland

Ernest W. Marland

“The saga of the Marland family of Ponca City is perhaps the most intriguing story in the bold and exciting history of Oklahoma.”
C.D. Northcutt


Ernest Whitworth (E.W.) Marland, a native of Pennsylvania, was educated at Park Institute and received his law degree from the University of Michigan. He began his law practice in Pittsburgh but abandoned the profession and went into the oil business. In 1908, he came to Ponca City, Oklahoma, and within 12 years “had amassed a $100-million fortune, founded the company that became the energy giant Conoco, and controlled ten percent of the world’s oil reserves.” He built a “Palace on the Prairie” in Ponca City, which today serves as a historic landmark and museum. E.W. Marland was a member of the 73rd U.S. Congress (1933-1935) and served as the Governor of Oklahoma (1935-1939). He was a noted philanthropist, building churches, hospitals, and schools and contributing to youth centers and other civic projects. The most recognized of his gifts is the Pioneer Woman statue in Ponca City.

Fun fact

When E.W. Marland’s first wife died in 1926, he married her twenty-eight-year-old niece, Lydie Roberts, finished building a $2.5 million mansion in Ponca City, sold his oil company to Conoco, and became Governor of Oklahoma. In 1953, Lydie vanished from Ponca City and returned 22 years later to live in seclusion near the mansion until her death.

Oklahoma connections

Marland came to Ponca City, Oklahoma, in 1908 as an oilman.


Ponca City







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