Texas Oil History

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A Breed So Rare: The Life of J. R. Parten, Liberal Texas Oil Man, 1896–1992

Original Price
25.99
ISBN
9780876111666
Binding
Hardcover
By
Don Carleton
No Texas archetype is more indelibly stamped on the public perception than the Texas oil man—a shrewd, flamboyant figure captured most recently in the character of J. R. Ewing in the long-running television series “Dallas.” During the 1980s when this program was playing worldwide, reinforcing the stereotype of the oil man as a conservative, unprincipled rogue, another Texas oil man named J. R.—in this case, J. R. Parten—was quietly concluding a remarkable career that spanned most of the twentieth century. Although J. R. Parten shared some characteristics with the fictional J. R. Ewing—he was a highly successful and tough-minded entrepreneur—Parten was a quiet gentleman, loyal to his friends, and a man of honor and principle. Little known during his lifetime, he remains a relatively anonymous figure despite the fact that he played a number of historically significant roles in Texas and the nation, and counted numerous bigger-than-life characters as colleagues, associates, and friends: Huey Long, Sam Rayburn, John Henry Faulk, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Harry Truman, among others.Through numerous interviews and unlimited access to Parten’s personal papers, the author tells the fascinating story of Parten’s life, from small town East Texas at the turn of the century to the capitals of the world. After studying at the University of Texas from 1913 to 1917, he served in World War I as the youngest major in the field artillery. He entered the oil business in 1919 and was a true pioneer in the industry, establishing numerous energy businesses that earned millions of dollars and employed thousands of people. While serving on the University of Texas Board of Regents from 1935 to 1941, Parten used his knowledge of the oil business to greatly increase the university’s income from its oil holdings, and fought tenaciously for academic excellence and freedom of speech for students and faculty. When democracy was threatened during World War II, Parten was a dominant figure in the development of the “Big Inch” and “Little Inch” pipelines, which stretched from East Texas to the East Coast and provided critical fuel for the victorious Allied war effort. In 1945 Parten served as chief of staff for the U.S. delegation to the Allied War Reparations Commission in Moscow and later participated in the Potsdam Conference in Berlin.A lifelong Democrat of moderately liberal cast, Parten was a player in state and national politics, often crusading on the liberal and losing side of elections and issues. In 1950 he helped establish the Fund for the Republic in an effort to counter threats to basic civil liberties during the Red Scare of the 1950s. His support for the Texas Observer and for sometimes unpopular politicians and ideas brought important liberal ideas to the local and national stage. As a generous philanthropist and political activist—often behind the scenes—Parten supported world peace and opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War. A man who stood firmly behind his beliefs, Parten was a quiet doer in a culture that is more likely to recognize the flamboyant gesture. He held fast to his principles, but as a lifelong learner he was always willing to change. J. R. Parten was a man who made a difference.
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Texas Oil, American Dreams: A Study of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association

Original Price
19.99
ISBN
9780876111581
Binding
Hardcover
By
Lawrence Goodwyn

In this intricately interpretive narrative, Lawrence Goodwyn explores the legend of the Texas wildcatter, the twentieth century's version of Thomas Jefferson's "yeoman farmer" and the nineteenth century's plains-riding cowboy. Goodwyn brings into clear relief the people who endeavored to act out the American Dream in the remote corners of "oil country." A driving force in American culture, the "American Dream," always difficult to define, nevertheless possesses one core quality: the thought that all citizens, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, enjoyed the opportunity to make something of themselves through their own efforts.

Goodwyn looks at the notion of the American Dream through the eyes of the Texas wildcatter. Surprisingly, even before the outlines of the wildcatter come into focus, other vague but seemingly omnipotent actors occupy center stage: major oil companies. Indeed, the "independents" and the "majors" are found to be abrasively yoked in awkward embrace; what immediately becomes clear in this intimate study is that the presence of one helps in important ways to define the other. In fact, as Goodwyn perceptively shows, the relationship of individual enterprise to corporate enterprise becomes uniquely visible in the sources amassed over half a century by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.

This peculiar relationship also came about because of another component of the national experience: the American antimonopoly tradition. In compelling detail, Goodwyn shows precisely how the American antimonopoly tradition has historically been mobilized by Texas independents in a sustained effort over many decades to defend themselves against the forces of centralization that have always occupied a dominant position in global petroleum.

Texas Oil, American Dreams has a magisterial quality whose ultimate meaning extends far beyond the borders of Texas because the enterprise of oil-finding and the wildcatters who have lived it constitute one of the most intense expressions of individual American striving. Above all, they kept careful records of their own efforts-when they prevailed and why, and when they met defeat and why. In Goodwyn's own words: "In its implications about the driving imperatives of modern life, their story is not provincial. It speaks to everyone who respects the idea of autonomy and independence."

[...]

Red Water, Black Gold: The Canadian River in Western Texas, 1920–1999

Original Price
19.99
ISBN
9781625110022
Binding
Paperback
By
Margaret A. Bickers
Red Water, Black Gold: The Canadian River in Texas 1920–1999 tells the story of the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle. It is a tale of grand designs, high hopes, deep holes, politics, fishing, follies, foibles, and environmental change. Although efforts had been made to tap the Canadian River’s waters before 1920, the discovery of oil in the Panhandle gave new urgency to the search for permanent water supplies. Additionally, the spread of groundwater irrigation amid the discovery of the limits of Ogallala Aquifer spurred regional interests to tap the Canadian. But overestimates of the river’s flow and unfamiliarity with the critical role groundwater played in maintaining that flow led to complications and frustrations, culminating in a lawsuit over the location of the banks of a seemingly waterless river. This book is a valuable addition to the water history of Texas and the American West and to the growing body of worldwide regional water histories. Combining traditional historical sources with hydrology, climatology, and geology, Red Water, Black Gold complicates the traditional story of top-down water management as well as telling the thus-far untold story of the Canadian River in Texas.
[...]

Giant Under the Hill: A History of the Spindletop Oil Discovery at Beaumont, Texas, in 1901

Original Price
14.99
ISBN
9780876112366
Binding
Paperback
By
Ellen Walker Rienstra, Jo Stiles, Judith Walker Linsley
How did a profligate who killed a deputy sheriff before reforming, a mining engineer who went AWOL from the Austrian navy, and three East Texas drillers join forces with other equally colorful characters to drill on Spindletop Hill? The answers are all here—the challenge and frustration of the search, the excitement of the discovery, the euphoric chaos of the boom, and the genesis of the giant companies.

In this scholarly work firmly rooted in the narrative tradition, and using material collected over decades, the authors bring to life the efforts of Pattillo Higgins, Anthony Lucas, Al and Curt Hamill, and Peck Byrd to master the Spindletop salt dome—efforts that culminated in the discovery of the great Lucas Gusher. Their find subsequently transformed not only the state of Texas but the entire oil industry.

[...]

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