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Week in Beaumont

(Galveston Daily News, February 3, 1901)

Beaumont, Tex., Feb. 2--Satisfactory Progress Has Been Made--Down To Business.

The progress which has been made in the actual work of development of the Beaumont oil field during the past week has been very marked, and the situation as it closes today is more business-like, more permanent, and more reasonable than it has been since the oil era began.

Although the surface excitement which has characterized the conditions

here ever since the great strike has in a large measure given way to calmer thought, and wild schemes and unreasonable business propositions have been succeeded by substantial transactions. Beaumont today is not the city it was one month ago. While the least change has been in the city's physical aspect, yet there have been many changes. A new class of people walk the streets, new enterprises are on every hand, street fakirs, museum attractions, and all sorts of little money-making schemes abound in almost endless variety. Many of the attractions which were here during the recent rice carnival have returned, giving to all the general appearance of hustling activity, bustling activity.

Restaurants and hotels have been enlarged, new sleeping apartments have been rapidly prepared, and the town generally has expanded with a vim and enterprise very creditable to the people. The floating population of Beaumont is perhaps five or six times as much as it was a month ago, and yet so accustomed have the people become to it that the conditions are no longer novel. Beaumont was always cosmopolitan, but now it is even more cosmopolitan than many cities three times its size.

Thus it will be seen when it is said the excitement is subsiding; it does not mean that the interest is lagging, but rather that the new conditions are becoming common and are no longer occasion for comment.

It is a promising indication and a fortunate thing for this field that the land is not leased to a few operators. As it is, there are many different firms who will sink wells on small tracts of land, and in this way the development will be diversified and constant. Many of the leases are for immediate development, and none of them permit more than a year to elapse before a well is sunk. While the transfers of real estate have been heavy, no deals of importance have been made, and very few of those which have been recorded

can be traced to what might be called an oil deal. The largest amount of land sold is to and from local owners and others who have been interested in Beaumont for some time.

There is going to be a great deal of litigation grow out of this oil business. Leases of every description are being filed in the County Clerk's office. Some leases have been noted in which there is no royalty consideration specified, the space being left blank. Other leases do not definitely specify the land. Some merely located it by relative objects. For instance, one recited a certain piece of land three and one-half miles from Beaumont on the Kansas City Southern Railroad, while others are equally indefinite.

Instruments were filed today in which leases made over a year ago covering about 15,000 acres of land were revoked and declared null because of the failure of the lessee to begin work within a specified time. The lessee in this instance claims the leases are valid and in force, and there will of course be a law suit to settle the question.

The Standard Oil Company has folded its tents, and like the Arab silently stolen away. As has been noted in these dispatches from time to time, there have been scores of Standard Oil Company representatives here. Some who openly professed to be with the big monopoly; some who would not admit it, but were so classed; and there have even been men here who registered and operated under fictitious names. This correspondent's attention has been called to a gentlemen here who is well-known to be a representative of the Standard, yet he registered under a name entirely new to his old friends. But they have nearly all quietly left. Whether they have accomplished their purpose is merely a conjecture. But many men advised of the situation say that they have and that they control the Lucas well. There are many incidents which could be cited to prove this, and none in themselves are sufficient, save the fact that they have evacuated. And it is now generally believed to be the custom of these people not to leave anything undone or retreat without a victory. Time, and that not distant, will show what they hold. When the next oil well is discovered, then the facts will come out; and perhaps not before then, but certainly then. A movement in the nature of an injunction is now on foot, which may develop what part the Standard Oil Company has taken in this field.

Before another week has passed, there will be as many as a dozen wells drilled in the ground seeking oil. It will take at least a month for thse drills to accomplish anything. It took the Lucas contractors nearly three months to find the great gusher. (compiled by W. T. Block)

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