Oil Everywhere
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Oil Everywhere

(Galveston Daily News, January 27, 1901)

Beaumont, Tex., Jan. 26--If Reports From Different Sections Are Reliable, Beaumont Is Not Alone In Glory--Standard Oil Lease--Report That The Company Has Secured Southern Pacific Lands is Believed.

It is more than probable that the report published this morning that the Standard Oil Company has leased all the lands of the Southern Pacific Company lands in Jefferson County is true. The information comes from Austin, and if the deal has been carried through, it was done either there or with the General Land Agent in San Antonio. The News correspondent sought a number of opinions today on this matter, and the indications are that the lease has been effected. It is said that representatives of the Standard Oil Company have examined the lands here very carefully and that afterwards they went to Austin. Furthermore, various oil prospectors here have written to the Land Agent in San Antonio, but he declined to even reply to some of their letters, and some of the gentlemen are ably prepared to either purchase the land or prospect for oil. The announcement was made soon after the discovery of the Lucas well that the lands of the Southern Pacific were withdrawn from the market.

The report of the leasing created very little surprise here and no regret at all. So far as the majority of the citizens are concerned, it is believed they would have soon, if not rather, see the Standard Oil Company have the leases than any one else, unless it would be J. A. Paulhamas or Captain Lucas. The field is now too much divided to be successfully bottled up by the Standard Oil Company, even if they should choose to do so, and no one can give a logical reason just now why they want to retard the development except that the Standard is usually accredited with every motive which tends toward anything which does not bring money into the coffers of the Standard (Oil) Company. Some leases were filed today by M. F. Harmon of Houston, but there were fewer real estate transactions today than any day since the big well was struck.

There is being a great deal said about the high prices of lands here and the indifferent attitude of property owners toward leasing. Much of what has been said is true, yet there are two sides to this questions as well as others. The man who wants to buy or lease land naturally thinks the price is too high, and he is the man who is getting the most advertisement in the newspapers. He pops up everywhere and gets his story of distress into the papers in every shape. The land owners are not heard from, but they have a side to discuss as well. In the first place, they know the country is in an uncertain condition. The land owner is confronted with a condition of which he is absolutely ignorant. He doesn't know the value of the lands. He has no idea of what they are worth. But he does know there is talk of fabulous wealth and thousand-dollar-an-acre land, and the land shark comes to him with silvery language and pictures to him the necessity of development and the great future of the country if he will give up his lands to be developed, and let the real estate man reap the rewards.

The people are excited. They know that, and the land owners reason that if the oil is there, it will stay there, and that in due course of time, the wildness will subside, and land will be estimated at its true value, and will then be sold. Land owners don't want to sell now, and they refuse to sell simply by placing the price too high. In a month or two, things will be different. Oil men have been unaccustomed to finding a field where men are able to hold land, and where men are even willing to keep right on making $20 an acre per year raising rice.

These oil men have no reason to go into print saying the development here is being retarded by the avaricousness of the land owners. The land owner only wants a chance. He awoke here one morning with the grandest surroundings which ever blessed man. With an abundance of land, a splendid climate and a bank account, the smoke house full for the winter, and before the shadows of evening are gathered around his blessed head, he is confronted by a veritable nightmare which destroyed his sleep for weeks. And while he country went wild with excitement, he was told the fairest of stories of future greatness and wealth, while the land agents besought him to sell out. He was bewildered and is yet. He needs a chance, a respite from prospective wealth and he will be all right. The citizens of East Texas will put their shoulder to the wheel when the time comes, and push this oil dlevelopment for all it is worth. But in the meantime, the plow will be kept going, and the next year there will be harvested the greatest crop of rice ever known in Texas. And the sawmills will continue to turn out the golden products of the forest, which have played well their parts in the promotions of the country's best interests. It would be as reasonable to expect the citizens of Galveston to have placed a value on their property the day after the memorable storm (the destructive hurricane of Sept. 8, 1900, which drowned 6,000 people at Galveston), as for the citizens of Jefferson County to estimate the value of land after the big well was discovered. And this situation will work out as surely as did the one (emergency) at Galveston. (Compiled by W. T. Block)

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