Tag Archives: Patillo Higgins

Today in Texas History – January 10

Black Gold at Spindletop - Lucas Gusher

From the Annals of the Wildcatters –  In 1901, the first Spindletop well came in near Beaumont.  The site had been the object of speculation since the early 1890s,  mostly by amateur geologist Patillo Higgins who was convinced there was a large pool of oil under a salt-dome formation south of Beaumont. He and his partners founded  the Gladys City Oil, Gas and Manufacturing Company but never brought in a successful well.  In 1899, Higgins leased a tract of land at Spindletop to mining engineer Anthony Lucas. The Lucas well erupted on January 10 scattering the oil hands as drilling pipe was blown out of the hole, followed by mud, gas and a 100 foot gusher of oil.  It took 9 days to cap the well.  This started the Spindletop boom.  Within a year, there were almost 300 active wells at Spindletop and hundreds of oil exploration and land companies operating in the area.  Companies such as Exxon, Texaco and Mobil got their start at Spindletop.

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