CRUDE AWAKENING – 4. Early Petroleum Texas Style

In Texas in the 1930’s-1950’s oil men would meet in cafe’s  or hotel lobbies for lunch, spread their maps out on tables and talk oil. Everyone knew everyone else.

But gone are the trademark Stetson hats of landmen and engineers with the spray of oil worn like a badge of honor. The uniform today is more Brooks Brothers and Armani – buttoned down and pinstriped.

Very little directly related to the industry is visible today – gone are the refineries in midwestern towns, the railway tank cars, and gritty service yards that labeled world-class oil cities. Only, parks, churches and hospitals remain that give testament to the wealth pulled up from deep inside the countrysides.

What remains visible are oil derricks dotted across the United States and the Middle East and all the by-products I mentioned in earlier blogs.

Now that we’ve established what a wildcatter is.  How did these inquisitive men find the land to drill on?

This my friends is a long and checkered story, but in the early days it was luck.

In 1887 a water well was drilled in Tarrant County Texas and the driller happened to find oil.  Subsequently, the first oil and gas lease on record was initiated.  Compensation was 5% of net value  for gas found and 5% net value for any petroleum found.  By 1949 there were 24 failed attempts to find oil and gas in Tarrant County, all drilled at about 1000 feet.  If this happens the wells are capped off and abandoned. Tune in to find out what happens next.


About bettybyrd

Betty Byrd is an editor, author, and actress. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in creative writing, and furthered her literary career through graduate studies at Ohio State University. She was an editor for The Spectator, Ohio’s largest weekly newspaper, and has free – lanced for a national men’s magazine. Betty has appeared in film and television, as well as numerous commercials and mini-series. She is a voting member of the American Federation of Television Artists and also of the Screen Actors Guild. In 2002-2003 Betty was accepted into the Who’s Who of America and in 2007-2008, the Who’s Who of American Women. Her previous literary works include a novel, Trinity’s Daughter, for which she was honored as a local author by the San Diego Public Library. She is also a recipient of a first place fiction writing award for her new novel, Utopia, Texas at the prestigious Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference. Betty has had successful book-signings across the country to large crowds at local Barnes and Nobles and other bookstores. She has been featured in newspapers, and appeared on NBC – TV, and radio talk shows. Betty currently lives in Southern California with her husband and family.
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1 Response to CRUDE AWAKENING – 4. Early Petroleum Texas Style

  1. Billy B says:


    Great job on the info about oil. Never knew what it was all about. Keep on drillin!!

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