The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 7
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Texas and the Oil Industry
total of five wells was completed before the end of 1896, and
the production for that year amounted to 1,450 barrels.
Oil production at Corsicana began in 1895, and it has been
continuous there for the past fifty-one years. Several of the
earliest leases are still perpetuated by production. The first
great steps in the advancement of the industry in Texas were
taken in 1897, when J. S. Cullinan agreed to install a pipe line
system, erect storage tanks and a refinery, and develop a market
for the oil. The stills of the refinery, built and operated under
the supervision of E. R. Brown, were fired on Christmas Day,
1898, a true Christmas present for that community and for
the state of Texas. The first shipment of refined oil left Corsi-
cana on February 24, 1899. Production from the field increased
steadily to 544,620 barrels in 1898, and to 668,483 barrels in
1899. Corsicana gave Texas its first sustained commercial pro-
duction, its first efficient and complete refinery, the rotary rig,
the gas industry, and a firm foundation for the future growth
of the entire industry. The Corsicana Field also resulted in
the first legislation relating to field development by the enact-
ment of House Bill No. 542, which was approved and became
effective in March, 1899. It prescribed practices for casing
wells, for plugging and abandoning wells, and for preventing
gas wastage and stipulated that gas was not to be burned for
illumination between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M.
In connection with the rotary rig, it is interesting to note
that it originated about 1882 in the territory of Dakota, where
the Baker brothers used it for drilling water wells. In its first
operation, water was poured down outside of the drill pipe and
cuttings washed back up through the pipe. Later, water was
poured down inside the drill pipe from an elevated platform,
but these rather tedious and difficult methods of securing cir-
culation of the water were superseded when a windmill was
used to pump water into the drill stem. It was then a natural
step for power-driven pumps to be used, but this simple outfit,
originated in Dakota and first powered by one horse, revolu-
tionized deep drilling and made it possible in areas of soft un-
While the field at Corsicana was forging rapidly ahead, Pa-
tillo Higgins was continuing his efforts to secure production
at the Big Hill south of Beaumont. Convinced of the possibili-
ties for production in the immediate vicinity of the mound, he
had been instrumental in the drilling of test wells there as
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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/m1/23/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.