The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 3
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Texas and the Oil Industry
regulations for the admission of anything of that nature. The
other barrel, however, reached its destination; its contents were
analyzed; and the analysis was returned to this country. It is
also well authenticated that prior to 1900 the existence of oil,
gas, and allied hydrocarbons had been recorded in nearly fifty
counties scattered over all of the present major producing dis-
tricts within the state except the Panhandle.
Although there have been numerous claims advanced as to
the location in Texas at which the present oil industry had its
inception, there is now no doubt that it was relatively near
the world's premier producing area, the East Texas Field.
Reliable data indicate that the first efforts by white men to
secure larger quantities of oil from beneath the surface of the
ground than were available at a seepage were made near Tar
Spring in Angelina County and near Oil Spring in Nacogdoches
County. Shortly before 1859 Jack Graham dug a pit near the
spring in Angelina County and collected the oil which seeped
into it. In 1859, the year of the Drake Well in Pennsylvania,
Graham was instrumental in having a well sunk near this pit
by use of a spring pole, but he failed to secure any considerable
quantities of oil.
At about this same time, Lynis T. Barrett conceived the idea
that it would be possible to secure greater quantities of oil from
a well than from the surface seepage at Oil Spring. He accord-
ingly acquired a lease in 1859 covering the Skillern tract with
the intention of boring a well there with an auger. This was
the first oil lease ever taken in Texas.: The growing seriousness
of the slavery question and the outbreak, shortly afterward, of
the Civil War resulted in the temporary postponement of his
Immediately after the war Barrett and his associates secured
a new lease on the Skillern tract, and on December 20, 1865,
they commenced boring for oil. The boring was done by an
auger eight feet long and eight inches in diameter. The auger
was purchased in New Orleans and transported by boat and
wagon to the location. Resembling a gin screw, this auger was
securely fastened by clamps to a joint of pipe and turned by
means of a large wheel actuated by cogs from a drive shaft
driven by a steam engine. It was mounted under a tripod, and
additional joints of pipe were added as it bored deeper and
deeper into the earth.
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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/m1/19/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.