History of Black Gold Ranch



            The historic Black Gold Ranch near Skiatook in Osage County, Oklahoma takes its name from the storied race horse of the same name.  The ranch was the home of Black Gold’s breeder and owner, Rosa Captain Hoots and her husband Alfred Worth Hoots.  Al was a well known race horse owner in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. He owned a mare named U-see-it who had great success racing in Oklahoma and neighboring states.  It was always Al’s dream to take U-see-it to Kentucky and breed her to Black Toney, one of the most highly regarded thoroughbreds in the country.  He envisioned a colt from this mating winning the most prestigious of all horse races, the Kentucky Derby. 

            Al never got to see his dream fulfilled, but on his deathbed, he elicited a promise from Rosa that she would do it for him.  Rosa gave Al her promise, but she knew that unless something changed, she couldn’t afford to fulfill his dream.   Something did change as the story goes.  As a member of the Osage Tribe, Rosa began to share in the great oil riches that were flowing into Osage coffers   She then sent U-see-it to Kentucky and had her bred to Black Toney.  When a colt was born, Rosa named him Black Gold in recognition of the oil money that made his life possible.

            Black Gold fulfilled Al’s dream in spades.  Not only did he win the 50th running of the Kentucky Derby in 1924, he won three other derbies that year—the Louisiana, the Ohio and the Chicago—an accomplishment that would go unmatched for more than 50 years.  The life and times of Black Gold are the subject of a well known book written by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis.  The book contains a sketch of the historic barn that is still in use on the ranch today.

            In the mid-1930’s, the ranch was acquired by William H. and Sarah E. Jordan and their son, Fred Jordan.  Beggar Boy, a younger full brother of Black Gold and a well known horse in his own right was still on the ranch when the Jordans moved there. Fred married Maxine Darrow of Sperry and they operated the ranch as well as a hardware store in Sperry for many years.  In 1972, Fred was elected Osage County Commissioner and served in that capacity for 18 years.  During this time, he served several terms as president of the Oklahoma Association of County Commissioners and of the Oklahoma County Officers and Deputies Association.   Maxine retired after teaching many years in Skiatook Public Schools.

            Fred Jordan passed away in 1992.  Maxine continues to reside in the original ranch house.  Two of their sons, Sydney and Kevin also make their homes on the ranch and the family raises Angus cattle.  A third son, William R. Jordan resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.

            The original ranch house was built in the 1870’s by Rosa Hoots’ father, Peter Augustus Captain.   It is constructed of massive sandstone blocks quarried by French stonemason Joe Bartelle on Rock Creek a few miles south of the ranch.  In the mid-1960’s, Fred and Maxine Jordan restored and added on to the house.  The house was heavily damaged in a direct hit by a major tornado in 1974, but the rock walls stood firm and the house was repaired.


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Sites providing historical information concerning Black Gold and the ranch.