Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Rich Hill Oil Company Part 2

This Part II of The Rich Hill Oil Company continued from last night's blog.

They had quite a bit of trouble with the drilling. One man I asked said there was oil but too much water. They had to give it up because the casing would not keep the water out. He said they went to a depth of about 3000 feet. When the oil rig was removed, the well caved in and now it is not possible to locate the place.
Among the papers was a handbill that had been circulated inviting the public to bring a dinner and spend the day at the well on October tenth. The big drill would be in operation and people were asked to come and see what it cost to drill a well 2800 feet deep, why it took so long, and what became of the money. The day was not just for stockholders only but for anyone interested. People were to bring friends and neighbors, and no one would be asked to buy shares. Questions would be answered by representatives of the company.
I called on George and Grace Craig to find out more about the drilling. George said that Fred Neptune was the last driller. The drill hit a very hard granite-like formation that the drill would not cut through. When the drill started off in a slanted direction, Mr. Neptune reported this to the officials and was told that the agreement called for 3000 feet. Soon the drilling was stopped perhaps because they ran out of money. Mr. Craig said that the subscribers did not necessarily pay the full amount all at one time, but some paid $10 a month until they had paid the full $100. The company had started the sale of stock in 1921 and were still selling at the same price in 1924. George also said that usually a casing was used for the first 200 feet, but it seems there had been so much trouble with the drill that the casing was damaged and had to be taken out and repaired several times. This required time and delayed the drilling operation. I personally knew some of these men who controlled the company. They were all successful business men who must have felt very strongly that this would be a successful business venture. Mr. Strickland owned and farmed several acres around the Papinville area. He kept hired men in the houses on the farms, farmed with mules until tractors came into use, had many cattle and even in later years did strip mining near Rich Hill. His coal was hauled in a wagon, shoveled by hand on to railroad cars, sold to the Rich Hill Power Plant and the Ice plant. When he suffered financial reverses, many men were put out of work.
As is true in any investment or business venture some of these men were not hurt by the failure find out but others found the loss put a strain on their financial standing.
With Today's technology and a sufficient amount of capital deep oil in large enough quantities for marketing may be a possibility in the near future.

3 comments:

oldfatcowboy said...

Bart, I just found your blog and find it very fascinating. Our family farm is near Rich Hill, and I love the place. Unfortunately I work in KC, but I will eventually be able to come home. I really appreciate your insight into the history of the area.

Bart McClaughry said...

It is nice to know when people find this blog and they find it interesting. I appreciate all of the readers especially those who care about the area and the historical information. If you have information you would like to share please get it to me and I would gladly write a blog about it!

Staci said...

Wow, I was researching some old Rich Hill Oil Co. stock certificates that I found in my mother's papers. George and Grace Craig were my great grandparents! It was really delightful to find this. And the history is most interesting. Thanks for putting this online!