My great grandfather was a driller in the early 1900's both in Ohio and Oklahoma. He is listed on the U.S. Census as being in these places and his occupation is listed as a driller. But he disappears after the 1910 census. My question is, did the oil companies keep records of their employees and if so, how would one go about finding such informtion. I know virtually nothing about oil companies, so any help would be appreciated.
Oil companies in the early 1900's
The early Oklahoma companies were mostly wildcatters operating on shoestring funds, and were taken over or merged with later firms, in some cases more than once. Whether any records were preserved by the successors is hard to say. This list of possbles will give a few early names and succesor entities.
You could try searching Big Four Oil and Gas Company as well as South Western Oil Company. Both had operations in the Midwestern states. I know they had some in Illinois and possibly Indiana. They may have had operations in Ohio as well so you may want to check those companys. They were in operation from at least the late 1800s to the early 1900s and there may be records (payroll or otherwise) that will confirm the information you are searching for.
I know this is a little late and that if you have not found an answer to your question yet that this may help. :)
My dad was born in 'ragtown' (Wirt, near Healdton OK) and there was a HUGE rush for jobs in that area. (It was also an extremely 'rowdy' town)
Those names may help you find oil companies. Also, there's nice (small) oil museum in Van TX and 1 or 2 more in east texas. Perhaps you can find some 'museums' with online resources?
I collect old stocks (beautiful artwork) from the turn of the century. Most of what I have is for mines, but I do have the following oil: Homer-Bull Bayou Leasing Company, 333 Mayo Building, Tulsa, Oklahoma (no zip). There was a letter with the stock that was written to the purchaser. The letterhead was from Ralph Development Company, Oil Properties-Oil Securities. 332- 337 Mayo Bldg.Tulsa, Oklahoma, again no zip.
The letter also references Hercules Oil Co., through Houston, Fible and Company. No other information re: them. Both the stock and letter are dated March 1920.
I also have a Nebraska-Texas Oil and Gas Company, Henrietta Texas stock dated August 1921. The deed records for those were held at the "county clerk's office in Clay County, Texas.
Another one from the Mexia Royalty Pool, Fort Worth, Texas, dated 27, October, 1922. County Clerk, Tarrant County,Texas in the deed records, book 726, page 471.
Hope that helps!
blueriverjewels, what a fascinating hobby! What got you started on it and where do you find the treasures?
cbwinters, do you have any indication of which oilfield(s) might have been your great-grandfather's location? There were quite a few, communications were limited and record-keeping was often primitive by today's standards (manual typewriters and telegraph, etc.). So it is remarkable that many information sources are still available. Indian Territory had no centralized government until statehood in 1907. This selection from the geology department of Oklahoma State University (Stillwater)
is interesting for the background of the industry's development. For every named company there were other wildcatters who didn't record much of anything. I don't want to discourage you (!) but anything you can find on his wherebouts should help narrow your search.
My father was born in Ardmore in 1905. As a very young man he worked briefly in a field to the west of there, probably near Healdton. A natural gas blowout nearly asphyxiated the workers. Dad was almost completely bald by age 25 and he believed that accident was the cause. As BP's experience tells us - it's a dangerous business.
yeah, my dad said, when he was just starting as a kid, he worked on rigs for 6 weeks with no pay. A sorta apprenticeship to learn the business/prove his 'worth' as a worker.
Imagine how many laws that would break nowadays!
I got interested in collecting old stock pages because I am a rockhound and do lapidary. I live in Nebraska and belong to two gem & mineral clubs and both have yearly shows. One of the dealers sold the old stock pages, old mining lamps, crucibles and every year I would buy a few more things. Most of what I have are for gold mines, silver mines- things that have to do with my hobby.
Rockhounds, in case you don't know, are interested in many things. I will list a few- rocks for cutting, shaping or tumbling, specimens (fragile), fossils, geodes (rocks that are hollow or have an unusual shape that are cut in half to display, silversmithing to display the beautiful stones, camaraderie with other rockhounds across the country, either through the internet or meeting while looking for new rocks. And on and on. It was at its peak in the '50's, when people took 2 week vacations and camped in tents. It has morphed into many various things, but the passion is the same. I am a rockhound & lapidary. And a gardener:)
Back to mines, there are many abandoned mines throughout the country, and as many tales to accompany them. It is not a good idea to go into an abandoned mine. Toxic fumes. But I would take my chances for rocks... being the adventurous rockhound that I am.
Rockhounds, in case you don't know, are interested in many things. I will list a few- rocks for cutting, shaping or tumbling, specimens (fragile), fossils, geodes (rocks that are hollow or have an unusual shape that are cut in half to display, silversmithing to display the beautiful stones, camaraderie with other rockhounds across the country, either through the internet or meeting while looking for new rocks. And on and on....
I would add; flint knapping, faceting, 'kids' activities, gold panning field trips (from fee-dig to museum displays or someone's house) gemology, beading, and more.
if interested, there's a forum here for that too; http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/crag/all/
If I hadn't been so "diversified" all these many years I would have enjoyed rock-hounding, too. As kids we hunted fossIls in the creekbeds of southern Oklahoma. And I think geodes are truly fascinating.
cbwinters, back to the oil fields......there were many of them and you would be fortunate if you could determine your ancestor's approximate worksites. In addition to the Oklahoma Historical Society's information you might find the references of the Tulsa Historical Society and the Gilcrease Museum helpful.
There are many others, but the Tulsa area was early to boom with gushers.