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The New East Texas Oilfield
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  The New East Texas Oilfield  
     
  East Texas during the late 20's and the early 30's was in a bad time of the depression that the United States was experiencing everywhere. Times were hard everywhere, and East Texas was also in a bad way. Everyone was in search of something to help them create a better way of living, to raise above the poverty that had seemed to blanket the country. Then something or should I say someone did something to bring a change to the way of life in East Texas. Columbus Marion Joiner "Dad" as he would called, and his oil well drilling that he was doing over in Rusk County, in his search for oil. Dad Joiner brought in his well and launched the great East Texas oil field, bringing with it an unprecedented oil boom to this depressed area, mostly small farms and ranches. It happened so fast, like almost overnight! East Texas became the "oil capital" of America, People by the thousands began to converge on America's newest oil field. Everyone wanted his piece of the cake, rig builders, roughnecks, pipe liners, pipefitters, teamsters, engineers, geologists, land managers, anyone with an idea of how to make money by way of the sudden oil boom.

Also came the need of housing, food, clothing and tools for all the thousands of new people coming into the boom area. Supplies of all sorts were quickly needed and for those who could supply this for them, would become a premium business in itself. Buildings were being built everywhere, businesses were booming. Fame and wealth came to some almost overnight, The talk soon changed from cows and crops to drilling, oil, leasing and royalties. People opened up their homes and took in boarders. This new boom left no one hungry. No matter where you came from or what you did before , you could profit from the new black gold that was being brought to the surface.

Columbus Marion "Dad" Joiner was born in Lauderdale County, Ala. in 1860. Over the years he had developed an avid interest in drilling for oil. The geologists learned during the 1930's a lot about oil and where it was found, but this taught them that not all oil is found on top of a structure, that you had to drill deep inside the earths structure to pull it out. "Dad Joiner" leased 10,000 acres of land in Rusk and Smith counties in 1927-1929. One of these leases just happened to be the 978 acre farm of Daisy Bradford. "Dad Joiner" started drilling the first hole in mid summer of 1927, but then abandoned it in Feb. of 1928 at the depth of 1.098 feet. He drilled a second time, but then abandoned it in 1929 at the depth of 2,518 feet. So he tried once again, a third time, and we all know what they say, the third time is the charm. The #3, Daisy Bradford, in January of 1930 was drilled to 1,530 feet and by October 3, 1930, with a loan from Daisy Bradford for $5,000, it had reached a depth of 3,592 feet when oil showed. On October 5, 1930, with a crowd of 4,000 landowners, leaseholders, stockholders, creditors and spectators standing around watching all day, the oil began to spout out, enough oil flowed out that it put the well in a range of approximately 300 barrels a day.

November 30, 1930, "Dad" sold 400 acres of his Rusk County holdings to H.L. Hunt for $1,250,000. February 1931, Humble purchased the lease on which the Crim well was drilled for $2,100,000. Three of their early managers of the Humble Pipeline Company were Cap Foley, George Lee and Hick Hensley.

October 20, 1930, Ed W. Bateman and others spudded the Lou Della Crim well in the Eldridge Sevier Survey, in Rusk County, about 4 miles southwest of Kilgore......and about 10 miles due north of the Daisy Bradford. On December 28, 1930, this well was drilled in, flowing 308 barrels of oil in 20 minutes and got a potential rating of 15,000 barrels of oil per day.

The #1 Ashbey was drilled one mile west of the Daisy Bradford well in Rusk County. This made the 4 discovery wells of the East Texas field and they were all completed in the Woodbine Formation. By February 9, 1031, 4 main pipelines had been completed. The Panola & Rusk Pipeline, Iinland Waterways, Petroleum Marketing and The Magnolia Pipeline from Arkansas to Neches, Texas.

In Kilgore, the block of buildings where the bank was located ( Browns Drug, Saxton Grocery & the bank) were removed in order to drill 24 oil wells on one city block. This became known as the richest block in the world.

Some of the merchants of the East Texas area, mainly Longview and Kilgore, were: O.L. Norton, Tom Richardson, G.W. Tate, Walter H. Cunningham, E.H. Brawley, T.X. Reynolds (M System Stores), Charlie Chaffin (Big Groceries), and Fred Stuckey (Ladies ready-to-wear & general dry goods and shoe store). There was Turpie Slade, Mr. Landers (insurance), Crim Mercantile, W. B. Goyne & Sons, Trip Elders (garage), Wylie Crim (City Grocery, with son Conley and daughter Aleene), Saxton Grocery, Brown's Drug Store (operated by Sam Ross, the brother of Mrs. Brown), Kilgore National Bank (a subsidiary of the Commercial National Bank of Shreveport) run by George Hays.

For Kilgore, the Laird's, Ben & Shack, were instrumental in helping organize the Kilgore College, along with Roy Laird who was Mayor of the City of Kilgore. He also had a large part in the development of the Laird Memorial Hospital. There were Malcom & John T. Crim who ran the Crim Mercantile Store. John & Ben Peterson who were outstanding farmers in the area. They expanded their ranch holdings into Harrison County. After their death, it was sold to O.W. Fox, and in drilling it for Lignite, it was found to contain substantial deposits.

There was quite a flurry of lease buying in the city of Kilgore. When the Miss Lou Della Crim well came in it was a town of 800. One week later the population had swelled to 8,000.A loaf of bread or a quart of milk could be purchased for 5 cents, a dozen eggs for 12 cents and you could buy 6 hamburgers for a quarter. People lived in tents, in their cars, Some even use lumber from discarded pallets and cardboard to cover the wooden slats. And some just used the empty cardboard boxes,fashioning them in a way to use as a shelter.