The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 5
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Texas and the Oil Industry
of interest in the Nacogdoches area in 1886, when B. F. Hitch-
cock, who had been studying the area, was instrumental in the
organization of the Petroleum Prospecting Company and in
the resumption of drilling at Oil Spring. The first well drilled
encountered flowing production rather unexpectedly, and the
first day's production, estimated to have been 250 or 300 barrels,
was lost. The well did not flow after the first day but was later
completed as a pumper. This well opened the first of the many
Texas oil booms. Several companies were formed; extensive
operations were soon commenced; and plans were made for
development of a field comparable to those of the Pennsylvania
area. The Petroleum Prospecting Company, operating near the
spring, completed thirty producing wells prior to 1890, erected
the first steel storage tanks for oil in Texas, and built the first
oil -pipe line in the state, a three-inch line extending from the
field to Aaron Hill at Nacogdoches. The Lubricating Oil Com-
pany, operating about three miles northeast of the spring, had
an extensive plant, including a crude method for refining the
oil of impurities by heating it in an iron evaporating pan and
then filtering it before running it into iron shipping drums.
The small production of the wells and other economic factors
contributed to a rapid decline of the field and its practical
abandonment about 1890. Many of the early wells even now
yield a few gallons of oil, although practically forgotten among
the pine trees which have grown up around them.
Concurrent with the activity in the Nacogdoches Field, de-
velopment was being carried on several hundred miles to the
southwest where George Dullnig had encountered oil at 235
feet while drilling for water in 1886 on his ranch just south-
east of San Antonio. A second test near by also secured minor
production, and a well to the northwest was completed as a
gas well. This gas was used as a fuel supply in the oil operations
and on the ranch. The production from the Dullnig wells was
the first to be reported in governmental statistical summaries
in 1889, when Texas was credited with a production of forty-
eight barrels of oil and with natural gas valued at $1,728. The
value of the gas produced was computed by assigning to it the
value of the amount of wood or coal necessary to fire the boiler at
the rig for the same length of time that the gas was used. The
oil was sold in barrels at twenty cents per gallon, in five-gallon
containers at thirty cents per gallon, and in smaller quantities
at thirty-five cents per gallon.
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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/m1/21/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.