The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 341
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Chaos in the East Texas Oil Field
a "peace bond" be put on the half-brother to ensure his keeping
the peace in the future. A portion of the 7oo acres was put up
to guarantee the keeping of the peace. The bond had never been
cancelled and, therefore, said the plaintiffs, the title was cloudy.
With the half-brother long dead, however, the woman's son-in-
law explained the whole story to the county attorney who simply
went to the court house and wrote "Cancelled" across the peace
bond which saved the case from even going to court."
A man whose farm, owned since 1905, was also well situated in
the new oil field, was approached by the agent of an oil company
who paid him a dollar an acre for a lease. The company's legal
department, however, in tracing title could find no record of the
man's ownership of the farm in the county records. The worried
owner hastily reminded the county clerk (who had been in office
for almost a life-time) that way back in 1905 the deed to the then
newly purchased farm had been presented for recording. The old
clerk replied that if the owner said it was so then it must be, but
that he had absolutely no recollection of it. A search was begun
at once, but no deed was discovered. The land owner then trav-
elled to West Texas where the former owners of the farm lived.
"Yes," said the man and his wife, "we sold you the property and
gave you the deed, but we distinctly remember reserving all the
mineral rights." The land owner was shocked and even more
confused, for he had no recollection of any mineral rights being
reserved by the former owners. "Who drew up the deed?" asked
the county clerk after the owner returned to East Texas. Judge J.
N. Campbell had drawn it, and he recalled that "I wrote it out in
long-hand, and I don't remember anything about mineral rights
in it." Everyone knew Judge Campbell's left-handed writing, but
still the deed remained lost. "I've looked everywhere," said the
old county clerk, "and I can't find it."
The night before the case came to trial, with the former own-
ers claiming mineral rights, the county clerk sat before his old
roll-top desk making a final search for his friend's deed. He
went through every cubby-hole time and again. Finally, about
two o'clock in the morning, he said to someone who was helping
him, "Help me move this desk." As the desk was moved from
8Mrs. Sam L. Scothorn, Dallas, to R. D. B., interview, January 12, 1962.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/401/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.