In 1924, Daddy was one of the organizers of the Sayre
Oil and Refinery Company. They drilled several shallow wells south
of Sayre (south of the North Fork of Red River) and first got oil
production at about 2,500 feet depth. But after a few years saltwater
started displacing the oil. In desperation, they sold half of their
interest to Ramsey Petroleum Company. Later, to try to expand their
field, they brought in Cap Poarch, who had consolidated some mineral
leases. They drilled on these leases and got some good gas production,
but then the market for gas disappeared. Eventually, they worked a
deal to sell gas to a new carbon black plant formed by another group.
They sold the natural gas for three-quarters of a cent per 1,000 cubic
feet. Gas much later in the 1970s was selling at a price 1,000 times
as high. The oil/gas field eventually became depleted but was still
being used for gas storage in the 1970s.
But imagine the vision of Daddy, this early entrepreneur and the absolute
vertical integration of his business. He started out giving driving
lessons which led to auto sales, which led to sales of gasoline. From
that chain, he went into oil wells, then developed a refinery with
gasoline fractionating, which culminated in sales of petroleum by-products.
Other people at that time were involved in the new concept of mass-produced
automobiles. In 1926, Henry Fords Model T was selling in Sayre
for only $400 and had a self-starter. It had previously sold for several
times that amount.
During the late 1920s, Daddy closed out his garage and the Sayre Oil
and Refinery Company which had never been very profitable; he concentrated
on the more profitable brokerage of oil and gas leases for the remainder
of his career.
The south Sayre oil field was ushered in when Rubana Oil Companys
number one Gray well gushered in 1922. For a few years Sayre was in
a boom-town status. Crowded with fortune seekers, wheelers and dealers,
fits and misfitsa conglomerate citizens never had dealt with
before. It did not take them long to learn the ropes and the transition
was almost peaceable.
An oilman called Dry HoleWilson was one of those
who lost a fortune, which some said was over a million dollars. He
lived in a tent he had pitched on the west side of Short Creek, near
the Main Street bridge.
A slide projected on the Liberty Theater screen asked viewers to contribute
to the Dry Hole Wilson fund at the box office.