Worth Millions
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Is Worth Millions

(Galveston Daily News, January 31, 1901)

Beaumont, Tex., Jan. 30--Baltimore Capitalist Says Beaumont Oil is Worth $10 a Barrel as a Lubricant--Public Imposed Upon--He Claims That The True Value of the Product Can Not Be Much Longer Concealed--Not Disturbed Over Titles--Owners of School Lands Said to Be in The Clear, So Far As State Claims Are Concerned.

The information contained in this morning's News from Austin that the product of the Lucas well might be claimed by the state in accordance with an old mineral law on the statute books caused some comment, but did not greatly excite anyone here. In the first place the Lucas well is not on school or public lands. It is located on a titled survey granted by the Spanish (Note: actually Mexican government in the year 1835) to Pelham Humpries. However, the question sprung by the Austin land people (Texas General Land Office) is not worrying land owners here to any extent. It is known that the law referred to exists, but is also known that later laws exclude oil from the operation of this law, and furthermore, there are several laws which put owners of school lands in the clear as far as mineral rights are concerned.

Charles E. Anderson of Austin, who has had 26 years experience in the public land business in Austin, is here and said today the effort to cloud the titles of school lands in this section was not worthy of consideration. "It would be strange indeed," said Mr. Anderson, "if we who have been in the land business for 20 years would let an opportunity to secure minerals pass by this way. No, you can put it down, there's nothing to it, and the people who are agitating the matter know it as well as anyone else."

Colonel James E. Tate, capitalist and business man of Baltimore, spent today in the city examining the crude oil from the Lucas well. He was very much surprised at what he found. "The papers have not been doing this oil justice," said he. "From what I learned from reading the papers, I came here expecting to find an oil almost worthless, whereas I found the product even more valuable than illuminating oil. The oil is possessed of a very heavy body and closely resembles the West Virginia natural oil. At a nominal cost it can be utilized for lubricating purposes, and as such is the most valuable oil which could be found. As a lubricating oil, it is worth $10 a barrel. I cannot understand why this oil has been treated so unjustly by everyone. I know you newspaper men are entirely at the mercy of the experienced oil men, and they have imposed upon you. This oil is worth millions to this country and its value can not long be concealed."

Several other prominent oil men who are disinterested in the oil are talking strongly along this line. They say there is a powerful influence at work here with the object of "knocking" this oil for speculative purposes. They say the oil has a lubricating body unequaled by any crude product found in the United States, save West Virginia. In discussing this feature of the proposition this morning, a Philadelphian remarked:

"Why, the oil might be the poorest grade of fuel oil, yet if it would burn and make heat, it has a value. I would not hesitate to make a contract to dispose of the fluid that comes from the Lucas gusher, and such a contract would be much more attractive if it included a dozen more wells of equal capacity and the same grade of oil. The general public is not aware of the fact that a fuel crisis is gradually approaching the industrial world, and I think that this Beaumont strike will not only prove profitable, but that is is providential."

Another gentleman who is from Ohio remarked that the Beaumont oil is having an experience similar to that of the fluid (oil) found at Lima (Ohio). "When the strike was made there," continued the gentleman, "it was heralded abroad that the oil was practically worthless. The contrary was quickly demonstated, however, and soon those who were most energetic in decrying the value of the Lima product became most active in their efforts to get control of the fluid. Your field has an advantage over the Ohio field. Your present well is practically at the ship side and you are therefore not dependent upon any company or combination for a market. And you can ship it at a much less cost than can the Pennsylvania, Ohio, or West Virginia oil be piped to the coast. Where it required millions to develop the fields in those states, it will only need thousands (of $) here. I regard Beaumont as the coming oil field of the world, and if Beaumont does not develop into a great city, it will be because industries can not get ground upon which to operate, and people get lots upon which to build residences or business houses.

The Higgins Oil Company has let the contract for two wells, which are to be sunk at once near the Lucas well. The material for the derricks is now being cut in the sawmills. (compiled by W. T. Block)

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