The March
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The March to the Hill

(Galveston Daily News, January 11, 1901)

Beaumont, Texas, Jan. 10--BIG STRIKE IN OIL---Six Inch Stream of Oil Shooting One Hundred Feet In The Air Near Beaumont---Forced The Pipe Out---Six Hundred Feet of Four Inch Pipe Drives up Through The Derrick---A Record-Breaking Geyser---The Estimated Flow Is 5,000 Barrels in Twenty-Four hours---Scraping A Reservoir.

A stream of oil six inches in diameter is shooting over 100 feet into the air from a well located about three miles south of this city, and the people of Beaumont of every sort and condition are in a feverish state of excitement. Nothing in point of general interest ever before so wrought up the population of this city. The throng on the streets appears to be childishly happy, and grown up men going about smiling and bowing to each other like school girls, and the oil geyser is the sole topic of conversation among men, women, and children.

The news reached this city just at the noon hour, and was brought here by two men, almost simultaneously. One was W. R. J. Stratford, and the other was Charles Ingalls, who lives about one hundred yards from the well. Mr. Stratford is a surveyor and chemist, and was on the Sabine and East Texas railroad tracks several hundred yards from the well about 10:30 A. M. this morning, the time it blew out. Being experienced in oil fields, Mr.Stratford says he recognized the singing sound peculiar to wells of this sort and stopped to watch it. Just about the same time, he saw the pipe shoot into the air, and the oil began spurting into the air far above the 60-foot derrick. Six hundred feert of four-inch pipe was blown from the well straight up through the derrick.

Then after about 300 feet had issued from the ground, the wind broke it in twain and this piece fell to the ground and the remainder shot high above the top of the derrick. The oil followed and has since been shooting a steady stream six inches in diameter above the derrick. A strong wind is blowing from the south and this forces the oil against the woodwork of the derrick. The well is located on the side of the hill, which forms a sort of basin to the eastward, and the oil is flowing in a large stream down this hill into the valley-like place below.

This afternoon a large number of teams with scapers (horse-drawn ditching tools) and men with shovels were put to work, throwing up levees to hold the oil from scattering all over the country. It is probable that this reservoir will be nearly filled with oil by tomorrow morning. it is estimated that the flow will amount to about 5,000 barrels in twenty-four hours, though it is impossible to measure the flow in any certain method as yet.

The well was sunk by Captain A. F. Lucas of Washington, D. C., who has been operating for oil in this territory for more than a year. It was dug by the Hamill Bros. of Corsicana, professional oil well men, and one of these gentlemen told the correspondent this afternoon that he had not in all his experience seen a well that equaled this one. He said Corsicana wells are insignificant compared to this well, if th size and force of the flow is any indication of its value.

Captain Lucas is fairly delighted. To the correspondent who called upon, he said he hardly knew what to say:

"We've struck oil is about all I know to tell you," said Captain Lucas. "You can see the well yourself, and except for my experience, you can tell almost as much about it as I can tell you. I have had experience in almost every oil field in the united States, and I never saw a well to equal this. It is a larger gyser than I ever saw in West Virginia or Pennsylvania, and I believe it is the strongest stream ever found in the United Sttes. Our first step will be to anchor the well by a process familiar in all fields. I have two large well rigs on the road here now, and will at once sink other wells."

All parties interested decline to give the depth of the well, but it is reliably known that it is close to 1,300 feet.

Mr. W. R. J. Stratford, a well-known chemist who made a rough analysis of a sample of the oil, pronounced it a very superior grade of light oil with a paraffin basis. It contains lubricating oil of excellent quality and also illuminating qualities. It burns freely. Samples of the oil have been brought to the city and are exhibited in bottles. It is of a light blue shade and about the same consistency as thin molasses.

It smells strongly of petroleum. The well is located on a 5,000-acre tract of land belonging to the Wiess-McFaddin-Kyle land company, and the oil privileges are leased by Captain Lucas, who also has a number of other leases on large tracts of land in that vicinity.

Every vehicle in town was brought into service this afternoon and there has been a constant stream of people to and from the well. Experienced oil men pronounce this as a certain discovery of a field of great value, and predict unlimited investment. There is a strong natural gas pressure behind the well.

Two other large drilling rigs are now at work in the county near Taylor's Bayou, being operated on land leased by Mr. J. A. Paulhamas. Mr. Paulhamas is at the camp today, and just what the development has been down there is not known. (Compiled by W. T. Block)

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