The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 39
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Hamill Brothers-J. G. and A. W.--oil well contractors at
Corsicana, received a letter from John H. Galey, informing
them that "a Mr. Lucas" would see them about drilling a well
at Beaumont and that Guffey and Galey would back any agree-
ment Lucas made. The price agreed on was $2.00 per foot for a
1,200-foot test. Hamill Brothers were pioneers with rotary, the
new method of drilling, which was a string of pipe with a bit
at the end, contrasted with cable, or "standard," tools, with a
bit at the end of a cable. Cable tools had failed at Beaumont.
It was hoped that perhaps the solid length of pipe would con-
quer the sliding sands.
Although Lucas' backers had assured the financing of the
well, no provision had been made for the captain's living ex-
penses, and, during the winter of 1900, the articles of furniture
in his home were sold, one by one. Only the courage of his
wife had sustained Lucas when he had wanted to give up, and
now she kept a brave smile though the food was simple and
the dining table was only a box with a calico covering. On
New Year's Day, 1901, Lucas bowed his head to ask the bless-
ing over the dinner and prayed that the well would strike oil.
Because the bit was not making any headway, Al Hamill
telegraphed to his brother at Corsicana for a new fishtail bit,
and on January 10, Al met the train to get the bit; then he
drove back to the well. And here is the story, in his own words,
of the happenings that followed:
We put the new bit on and had about 700 feet of the drill pipe back in
the hole when the rotary mud began flowing up through the rotary table.
It came so fast and with such force that Curt, who was up on the double-
boards, was drenched with mud and had a hard time getting out of danger.
Soon, the four-inch drill pipe started up through the derrick, knocking
off the crown block. It shot up through the top of the derrick, breaking
off in lengths of several joints at a time as it shot skyward.
It all happened in much less time than it can be told.
After the water, mud and pipe were blown out, gas followed, but only
for a short time. Then the well became very quiet.
We boys ventured back-after a wild scramble for safety-to find things
in a terrible mess. There was at least six inches of mud on the derrick
floor and some damage had been done to our equipment. Naturally, we
were all disgusted.
We started shoveling the mud away when, without any warning, a lot
of heavy mud was shot out of the well with the report of a cannon!
It was followed by gas for a short time, when oil showed up in head
In a very short time, oil was going up through the top of the derrick
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/55/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.