The Puzzle of Lydie Marland

February 28, 2013

The puzzle of Lydie Marland’s life haunts anyone who has been captivated by her extraordinary story. Lydie (pronounced Ly-de) has been described as mysterious, eccentric, beautiful, artistic, refined, enigmatic, and troubled. She was called a “Princess” when she became First Lady of Oklahoma and I’m sure she was called many other things—good and bad—by those who thought they knew her. The Marland story is fantastic to the point of unbelievable and Lydie’s part in the story is perhaps the most tragic.

Click here for more information about Lydie's "Palace on the Prairie"

Lydie Facts

Lydie was born April 20, 1900 in Pennsylvania near Philadelphia.

Lydie was adopted by a rich aunt and uncle at age 12 and moved to Oklahoma.

Lydie's older brother George was also adoped by the Marlands.

Lydie's adopted father, E.W. Marland was an oldman who controlled 10% of the world's oil production at one time and started what would become CONOCO Oil Company.

After Lydie's aunt and step-mother, Virginia Marland, died, her adoption was annulled and she married E.W. Marland, her former father.

After marrying E.W. Marland, he lost his fortune, won a Congressional seat in Washington, and eventually became the 10th governor of Oklahoma.

Lydie was widowed at age 41.

In 1953, Lydie stormed out of Ponca City and disappeared for 22 years.

In 1958, The Saturday Evening Post ran a feature article entitle Where is Lydie Marland?

In the late 1970s, Lydie returned quietly to Ponca City after living as a hermit in various cities across the United States.

Lydie died in Ponca City, Oklahoma in 1987 and is buried with her husband, E.W. Marland.