Top Ten Things Not to Do at a Gusher Oil Well Hit in Beaumont Texas in 1901

 

Lucas Gusher. Wikipedia image

This week marks the 120th anniversary of a big oil strike at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas. Since this is the dawn of the oil industry, which grew to be the first Trillion dollar industry, we need to see this. We better take a list of the things not to do so we don’t cause a tear in the time continuum.

James’s Oldsmobile from Eternal Road – The final stop

Let’s climb into the Oldsmobile and be off.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at a Gusher Oil Well Hit in Beaumont Texas in 1901 by John W. Howell © 2021

10 If you go, do not step on the black grass. If you do, at best, you’ll only use one foot. At worse, you’ll go several feet. (The problem is, MacGregor the oil well spewed oil for hundreds of feet coating the landscape. You now are covered from the knees down, and some roughneck wants you to pay up for the oil you are taking.)

9 If you go, do not ask Tiny, the WWF champ, a question as he tries to cap the well. If you do, at best, he’ll be too busy to pay attention to you. At worse, he will stop what he is doing and put a melon hold on your head. (You see, MacKenzie, Tiny has been trying to cap the well for nine days, and so far, the well has showered the area with 900,000 gallons of crude. Tiny has missed several of his coping group meetings, so he is a little tense. Don’t worry, those dimples made by his finger grip will go away in, say, five years.)

8 If you go, do not feel you have to lecture on how fossil fuels were made. If you do, at best, you might find someone to listen. At worst, no one will care since the boss is yelling about the crude oil spilled all over the ground. (The fact that crude was formed by plants and animals under pressure will fall of deaf ears, Maklin. If you could point them to an easy way to pick up the oil, I think you might have something. That big guy over there is telling you to start scooping oil. Nt the time to refuse.)

7 If you go, do not congratulate Patillo Higgens on finding the oil. If you do at best, he won’t be listening. At worse, he will hear you. (Patillo Higgens was the guy who thought there was oil under the salt dome near Beaumont. He leased the land at Spindletop to engineer Anthony Lucas. Lucas is the one who hit paydirt. Higgens had sold his stake in the land before the strike. So you see, MacNab. Higgens is a bitter pill. Speaking of that, I think you ought to start for the door. Higgens is drinking again.)

6 If you go, do not listen to anyone who wants you to buy an oil lease. If you do, at best you won’t have any money. At worse, the man will take an IOU. (Now you are in a pickle, MacPherson. You have given an IOU on a worthless lease. The bright spot is when the guy goes to collect, you will be long gone. All these hucksters and grifters are why Spindletop became known as Swindletop.)

5 If you go, do not try to explain to anyone how Beaumont will become a boomtown. If you do, at best, folks will think you are lying. At worst, you’ll tell Joseph S. Cullinan, who will go on to found the Texas Fuel Company. (Joe was very interested in what you had to say. His company became Texaco, and he very rich. Joe wants you to join him at his company, Masison. Too bad you have to go.)

4 If you go, do not talk about how much oil will be needed for gasoline-powered engines. If you do, at best, you’ll be laughed at. At worse, you’ll have to explain exactly what makes you believe the numbers will be that high. (So now everyone thinks you are weird, Madu. In 1900 there were 4,092 cars.  By 2018, there were over 273 Million gasoline vehicles in the US alone. Who’s going to believe those numbers?)

3 If you go, don’t tell anyone about the number of oil wells that will be drilled in Spindletop next year. If you do, at best, your drink will be taken away. At worse, you will be labeled as a fortune teller and run out of town. (you have to admit, Magni, the idea of 285 active oil wells is not something people can grasp. Don’t look now, but the Tar and Feather group has just started a fire.)

2 If you go, do not trip over a president of a drilling or Land development company. If you do, at best, he won’t notice. At worst, he’ll take offense. (It’s going to be hard avoiding those guys since over 500 companies converged on Spindletop. Mahpee. You can be forgiven for being clumsy, except that guy looks like he’s drawing a pistol.)

1 If you go, do not let your Down with Big Oil t-shirt show. If you do, at best, no one will know what big oil is. At worst, you’ll have about 2,000 workers wanting your hide. (The Spindle top area produces over 17 million barrels of oil that first year. That was about $3.4 million or in today’s dollar value over $102M. You can see that any dispersions on oil would be taken seriously, Maichail. I think I would hit the return home button.)

78 comments

  1. That was the start of something big for sure! Guess it would be best not to mention it might run out eventually.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah. It only pumped 100,000 gallons a day for a year. Then fell to 10,000 the next.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was wondering how they stop the gusher. Though it sounds like 9 days to get it under control was a mess.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It was a real mess. Some guy came up with a thingy he called the Christmas tree. I haven’t gone into anymore on that but it worked.

      Like

      1. Now I’m just imagining a gaudy fir getting jammed into the hole.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha. I think it was the shape of the cap.

        Like

  3. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    Thanks for the history lesson, John. You make it fun. Who knows, maybe I would have learned something way back when, if you had been my teacher. Loved the Top Ten, and the chuckles! 😄

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I sometimes wish I had been a teacher. The problem with that is my methods would be so unconvential that I would have been bounced after the first term. Of course, after the standardized test scores were in they would want me back but by then it would be too late. Long story short explaining why I chose organized commerce. Thank you, Gwen 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gwen M. Plano · ·

        At first blush, I thought you wrote organized crime 😁 instead of commerce. I got it right with my reread. LOL

        Liked by 2 people

      2. They are very close in actuality. ( A boss asking the minions to do what they don’t want to do) In my Twitter bio, I talk about being a prisoner of organized commerce for over 40 years. Most get a chuckle out of that so you are not alone. 😁

        Like

  4. Fun list today, John! You certainly would make a great history professor. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Gwen mentioned something like that. I’m sure the school would have a heart attack over my methods.Thanks, Jill

      Liked by 1 person

  5. #0 best if you do nothing… look at the picture – its scary enough 😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahahaha.Good one. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😂✌️ hehe 😜

        Liked by 1 person

  6. all the facts you are finding/sharing… so fun 😂 I wonder how long time it takes to research all those details for 1 post 🤔😱…or maybe they aren’t facts😶😶????

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It takes me a total of three to four hours to do the history posts. Yes, they are facts that need to be looked up in several places. There is no one spot for details. Of course, if I didn’t wander off on some obscure detail it might go quicker. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I knew it should be at least 3 hrs, because of so many details you are mentioning… But it’s also very rewarding:) 👋😃📚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is. Thanks, VR.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I could always tell Tiny that the oil will become so valuable that he will be forced to clean it all up from the ground. As long as no one lights a match, he’ll be okay, because Red Adair wasn’t around back then.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When you tell him that I hope you are wearing your best running shoes, GP. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m off – see ya!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Your mini history lesson provides a good picture of what an oil boom town was like. Not a place I would want to be!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would think there would be some things that would be exciting about it, but for the most part you are right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m at the point where the only excitement I want is mental. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No oil covered mess for you. I agree.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m guessing “No Smoking” is a given at this site.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At least for the nine days it took to get the thing under control.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You’ve never actually said, John, but my time machine isn’t a modified Prius…is it? Good advice on dealing with (or not) Tiny. My dad’s advice (more than once) was “never bother a man while he’s working.” I have the dimples to prove my willingness to ignore that advice.

    Great list and interesting information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha, Dan. Good advice for your dad

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow – that’s a lot of oil. You educate me every Monday, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Teri.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Fascinating post, John (made even more fascinating by my having lived right close to Beaumont for a year or so). I think I’d have liked seeing that gusher!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spindletop has a memorial to the gusher and made a park where the original stood.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for another fascinating glimpse into history, John. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Soooz.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    Interesting how much we still depend on that find.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. The good news is were are mostly self sufficient and are an oil exporter.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oil always makes me think of, J.R Ewing, the film Giant, and the Beverly Hillbillies, I do love the term gusher for some reason, and Ms Finn is right, we still depend on it and take it, somewhat, for granted. Of course, it’s taken a slice out of the planet that’s hanging by an oily thread.

    I’ll stop. I don’t want to depress anybody.

    I do enjoy these though. It’s like a mini course taught by you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Susannah. There are so many great oil stories. When I think of Giant I think of the James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor characters for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LT was never more beautiful as Leslie Benedict. Sigh. They all were at their beauteous best. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. 😇💕😁

    Billy Ray Chitwood

    https://www.billyraychitwood.com http://about.me/brchitwood

    On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 3:01 AM Fiction Favorites wrote:

    > John W. Howell posted: ” This week marks the 120th anniversary of a big > oil strike at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas. Since this is the dawn > of the oil industry, which grew to be the first Trillion dollar industry, > we need to see this. We better take a list of” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Billy Ray.

      Like

  17. Just a note of ‘correction’, good John:

    My new website address is: https://www.brchitwood.com (knot that sillie-ole-hillbilly name…billyraychitwood!!! Just, sayun…)

    The new website Includes my books, all my blog posts (near 350 blog posts, short stories, and flash fiction pieces, et al)… WordPress…

    One last comment/question: ‘How do you keep up with yourself – Yu 1 of them durn wurker-hollics? Yu gotta an infernal-internal generator???’ Don’t blow no fuse, JH! Jus askin!

    brc

    ‘…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I already folow you there. Yup. Type A My dear wife has labeled me a shark. Not because I’m a killer but that I never stop. Just the way I am.

      Like

  18. This happened in my part of Texas. I had friends whose grandparents were affected by this moment. I enjoyed reading this perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great piece of history, Audrey,

      Like

  19. Excellent lesson in what must have been a sight.. eesh…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. BTW VooDoo Ranger was excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh that’s right! Tell me more… Tasting notes, please

        Like

      2. Hints of cut pine, citris, mellow hops, excellent finish and nice buzz.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That sounds so interesting! Thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Plus 9% ABV Yowzaa.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I followed the capping of the Macondo well after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but I’d never really thought about capping Spindletop. In some ways, the guys at both wells were equally challenged; the tech may have changed, and the conditions were quite different, but the task was the same, and it was a hard one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, indeed. I can’t imagine trying to cap pressure that’s gushing 100,000 gallons a day.

      Like

  21. Poor Higgens.

    This post goes to show that the only thing that gets away with being crude is oil.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. Thanks, Marc.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Fascinating facts about the fuel that keeps our nation running! Thanks for sharing, John!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I suppose putting on that Down with Big oil shirt, and chaining myself to the oil rig would be a messy and painful idea. 🙂 I think they would love your big Oldsmobile, John. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Messy indeed. You would be covered with crude and they didn’t have good detergents back then. I think they would love it too. Thanks, Mark.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Another great list John. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Don. 😊

      Like

      1. You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Wow, John, these figures are amazing aren’t they? No wonder there is global warming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And house warming too.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. A little off-center from your wonderful history lesson above. But what’s really funny about oil is the fact that just as it was losing the market for lighting lanterns, etc., (kerosene), automobiles came along and saved the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So very true, Andrew.

      Like

  27. Fascinating, John. I wonder if the folks who lived at Spindletop adapted, or if most moved away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question. I know right now there is a park where the original well came in. With over 250 wells I wonder if there was room for people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My thoughts exactly.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. The mainstream news-media have lost both informational control (e.g. story parameterization) and, perhaps most problematic for them, advertisement revenue to popular social media platforms.
    Though I don’t know his opinion of social media in general, renowned American author and linguistic/cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky noted that while there are stories published about man-made global warming, “It’s as if … there’s a kind of a tunnel vision — the science reporters are occasionally saying ‘look, this is a catastrophe,’ but then the regular [non-environmental pro-fossil fuel] coverage simply disregards it.”

    Like

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: