Heritage, Volume 12, Number 3, Summer 1994 Page: 9
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The photograph above shows the city of Beaumont in 1901. The Spindletop oil find drew thousands of people to Southeast Texas seeking their fortunes in the oil
fields. Photograph from Sun Oil Company.
Capt. Anthony F. Lucas was trained as
an engineer in his native land of Austria.
He had worked for many years at salt mines
in the southern United States. In 1893, he
became the resident engineer for the salt
mine at Avery Island near New Iberia,
Louisiana. Captain Lucas had become the
leading authority in the United States on
the geology of salt dome formations. He
recognized the same type of salt dome formation
at Spindletop as the many he had
drilled in Louisiana encountering signs of
oil and sulphur.
After signing the lease with the Gladys
City Company, Captain Lucas immediately
went forward with exploratory drilling using
all of his expertise. Lucas found, the
sands of Spindletop Hill to be very tricky
indeed. He was only able to drill to a depth
of 575 feet before running into difficulties
and out of money. He was encouraged by
the signs of oil and gas he observed, so he
met with James Guffey and John Galey,
who had been involved with some limited
production in Corsicana, to seek financial
"The well was only a
mile from our home...
There my wife stood in
the door watching the
display, and it was a
heap of satisfaction to
see her there. She soon
came hurrying over to
the gusher, and the look
of joy which illuminated
her countenance was
reward sufficient for all
the worry and work I
had gone through."
backing for further drilling. Guffey and
Galey suggested that the deeper pockets of
Andrew Mellon be brought to the project.
Captain Lucas was sent back to Beaumont
to try to obtain new leases on the hill
as quietly as possible. Lucas obtained another
lease from the Gladys City Company
on September 18, 1900. Guffey and Galey
leased an adjoining tract owned by
McFaddin-Wiess and Kyle. Under Captain
Lucas' direction, the well was spudded in
October 27, 1900, on this new property at
Spindletop. The Hamill Brothers were the
contractors on the job with Curt Hamill
acting as the chief driller. A new heavier
and more efficient rotary type bit was used.
The casing was driven in outside the drill
pipe as a continuous part of the drilling
operation, causing damage to the thread at
the top of the last casing pipe. This damage
later made capping the well very difficult.
Captain Lucas' log read depth of the hole to
be 1,160 feet. The Lucas Gusher blew in at
10:30 a.m. on January 10, 1901. One of
Capt. Lucas' associates gave this account:
HERITAGE * SUMMER 1994 9
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 3, Summer 1994, periodical, Summer 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45412/m1/9/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.