Chaos in the east realas Oil idd,
ROBERT D. BOYLE
T HE MANY-FACETED STORY OF OIL IN TEXAS HAS BEEN TOLD
well by the scholarly Carl Coke Rister, the late Boyce
House, the irrepressible George Sessions Perry, the digni-
fied Fritz Lanham, and many others. But in a field so large, there is
still room to add a few sidelights and human interest stories of
"might have beens" and skulduggery connected with the East
Texas Joiner discovery and its consequences.
The Joiner Test Number 3 spudded in in early October, 1930,
at Henderson,' with some estimates placing its production as
high as lo,ooo barrels per day, and "All hell broke loose in East
Texas." Persons from all sections rushed to the new field. There
was brisk trading in leases and royalties. Properties that could
have been bought for ten dollars an acre a short time before,
sold for eight hundred to one thousand dollars per acre.2 Drilling
went on at a dizzy pace, and within a few months a forest of
derricks had risen around the Joiner discovery well.
While a man might not have oil under his own land, at least
he well might feel secure in the ownership of the property. But
was he? The era of lawsuits and cloudy titles began. Stories con-
cerning them are varied and numerous. For instance, an elderly
woman had 700oo acres of good farm land in an area floating on
oil. Lawyers came representing an unknown client. It seemed that
back in the late 188o's her half-brother while camping out on a
fishing trip with some friends, engaged in horse-play with one of
them over the possession of a gun. There had been some drinking
and the play developed into a real battle in which the half-
brother gave the friend quite a beating. Still enraged the next
day, the friend went to town and before a judge demanded that
'Lucille Glasscock, A Texas Wildcatter (San Antonio, 1952), 52-53.
2Dallas Morning News, October 5, 193o, p. 13, c. 3-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed May 18, 2013.