The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 40
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and rocks were shot hundreds of feet into the air. Within a very few
minutes, the oil was holding a steady flow at more than twice the height
of the derrick.
As soon as I pulled myself together, Peck Byrd was started on the
dead run for Captain Lucas. Peck breathlessly gave the report to Mrs.
Lucas and she at once located the Captain, by phone, at Louie Myers'
store in Beaumont.
It was not long before we saw Captain Lucas coming over the small
hill with his horse in full run. He decided his horse was too slow, so he
jumped or rolled out of the buggy and ran to me, shouting: "Al, what
is it?" When I answered, "Oil," he exclaimed, "Thank God," and hugged
me, good and hard.
From the doorway of their home, Mrs. Lucas could see the
great column of oil. Soon the captain saw her hurrying to the
scene, and, as he said afterward, "the look of joy which illu-
minated her countenance was reward sufficient for all the
worry and work."
The roar of the untamed geyser of petroleum caused negroes
to flee in terror; they thought the end of the world had come.
Many persons feared the earth would cave in. A minister
delivered an indignant sermon: the Almighty did not intend
that His creation should be disturbed in this way.
Tidings of the Lucas gusher, located at tidewater, the might-
iest well the world had ever seen, flashed around the globe;
and thousands swarmed in to view 100,000 barrels of oil a day
soaring into the air.1 A great lake of oil formed, and sugges-
tions poured in as to methods for taming the monster. One
group offered to close it in for a mere $30,000.
For nine days, it raged. When the awaited valve arrived,
the drilling crew tackled the danger-laden task. The men
worked five minutes or so in the gas-impregnated air, goggles
over their eyes, gauze shields over their noses, and cotton plugs
in their ears, then dashed back to comparative safety.
The well was capped-and then a spark from a locomotive
set the lake of oil on fire, and the hundreds of thousands of
barrels went up in huge black clouds.
More gushers were drilled, and railroads ran special trains
from Galveston, Houston, and other cities to see "the greatest
sight on earth." Wells were permitted to flow into the air to
entertain the thousands of Sunday visitors.
Beaumont looked like circus day, every day, with map vendors
1The largest well in the United States until that time had been rated
at 6,000 barrels daily.
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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/m1/56/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.