The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
cap rock, sandstones, sandy shales, limestones, chalk, and
dolomite of various geologic ages. It is the only area in the
world in which oil and gas fields are associated with salt domes,
igneous intrusives, major and minor folding and faulting, sand
lensing, erosional unconformities, and depositional unconform-
History of Development
The use of petroleum is no new thing to the natives of Texas.
The Indians who dwelt within the borders of what is now the
Lone Star State were familiar with oil seepages and with sour
waters. They journeyed from far and wide to heal battle wounds
and skin diseases at Sour Lake, Oil Spring, Tar Spring, Damon
Mound, and other places well known to them. It is also quite
probable that in religious ceremonies gas seepages were burned.
A scant fifty years had passed after the discovery of the
western hemisphere by Columbus before the survivors of the
De Soto Expedition used asphalt from near Sabine Pass to repair
their crude boats. This account is the first record of white men's
knowledge of the existence of petroleum in America. The
earliest settlers, like the Indians, appreciated the many uses of
the crude oil. They employed it to soften and preserve leather,
to lubricate cart axles and such machinery as they possessed,
and they used it as an insecticide and as an external ointment.
Legends handed down from pioneer families tell how the oil
was collected by skimming it from the surface of the water,
if present in sufficient quantities, or by dipping bunches of pine
straw in the thin scum on the water and then stripping it off
into jars or other containers.
Authentic information as to the location and the number of
seepages of oil and gas known to the hardy pioneers of Texas
is difficult to secure, but it is known that seepages along the
Old Spanish Trail were familiar places to explorers and settlers,
that a health resort was in operation at Sour Lake for some
time prior to 1850, that there was a seepage near Toyah in
western Texas, and that oil from wells in various parts of north-
ern, eastern, and southern Texas made the water unfit for
human use. It is also known that two tar barrels of oil were
collected at Nacogdoches about 1832 and shipped to Europe.
One barrel was consigned to Liverpool, England, and the other
to Germany. The barrel shipped to Liverpool never reached its
destination because no provision was made in British customs
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/18/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.