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Pattillo Higgins and the Search for Texas Oil

  • Texas and wildcatters—they go together. And Pattillo Higgins was the granddaddy of them all. Without him Spindletop, Texas’ first gusher, would never have been drilled, and the history of the modern oil industry might have been far different. Here for the first time is his dramatic, almost mystifying story, based on his personal papers and told by his grandnephew.

    It was Pattillo Higgins who showed the more famous Captain Anthony Lucas where to drill at Spindletop. He organized the Gladys City Oil, Gas and Manufacturing Company in 1892, and he located oil fields all over Texas and Louisiana—as many as 100 independent fields, some still unexplored. Although often doubted, he has never yet been proven wrong on one. In his career he gained and lost several fortunes, opened the first brick plant in southeast Texas, and operated a logging enterprise on the Neches River. He was once acquitted in a murder trial, experienced a religious conversion, and married his adopted daughter. But throughout his life the search for oil was his chief preoccupation—one he never abandoned. This is the story of a determined, dedicated individual who took large risks in order to find black gold. It firmly gives Pattillo Higgins his rightful place as one of the three or four great names in the Texas oil industry.

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