October 3 marks the start of big oil in East Texas. It’s on this day in 1930 when Texas wildcatter Columbus “Dad” Joiner hit pay dirt with the Daisy Bradford No. 3, a well dug a few miles west of Henderson.
By his mid-60s, Joiner had already twice lost a fortune in the oil business in Oklahoma. His losses there were discouraging. But rather than give up on the oil business, he simply turned his attention south to the Lone Star State and started all over again.
Experts warned there was no oil in the eastern part of Texas he’d had his eyes on. But he went with his gut and by 1927 was leasing almost 1,000 acres owned by farmer Daisy Bradford. He was sure there was oil in East Texas.
His first two attempts to find “black gold” on the Bradford Farm proved fruitless. And to make matters worse, he was running out of money. His drilling equipment was half broken and cobbled together. And he couldn’t even afford new wood for the skids he used to move his rig from one place to the next. When one of those skids fell apart while moving to a third site, Joiner set up shop right where he was. And it was a good thing he did.
Early tests on the well showed promise. And word got around. When the well erupted with oil October 3, there were about 4,000 people there to witness the event. And it didn’t take long for others to start exploring the area.
Two other wells a few miles away erupted over the next few months. And people discovered that the area was one giant oil field, spanning about 200 square miles. To this day, the East Texas Oil Field has been the single most productive oil field in the world. It’s produced more than 5.2 billion barrels of oil.
At Veteran Energy, we’re proud to call Texas home. And we’re thankful for people like Columbus “Dad” Joiner who helped shape the Lone Star State into what it is today.