“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Powell in Navarro County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The Powell Oil Field

The Powell Oil Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
1. The Powell Oil Field Marker
Inscription. One of the world's most noted petroleum fields. Discovered 1905; developed in three periods. A number of early shallow wells (800' - 1,000' in Nacatoch sand), drilled by Claude Witherspoon, are still producing. Field's second and greatest era came as a result of three heartbreaking years of drilling. On Sunday, Jan. 7, 1923, the W. H. Warren-R. K. Blackshear "J. H. Burke No. 1" (2,933' in Woodbine sand) blew in as a gusher, triggering a feverish drilling boom. As this was prior to spacing and proration regulations, derricks sprouted by the dozens. The site of "J. H. Burke No. 1" is one mile southwest of this marker. On May 8, 1923, another great gusher, the "J. K. Hughes-W. J. McKie No. 1" (2.25 mi. SW), blackened the area with oil which soon ignited, causing 15 deaths. This 8,000-barrel-a-day gusher defined the main pool. By fall, the six-square mile field was out producing Pennsylvania plus nine other oil states. On Nov. 23, 1923, came peak day of 354,893 barrels. The population skyrocketed. Corn and cotton patches became townsites for Oil City, Tuckertown, Wildcat. In 1923 Powell ran over 30 million barrels; in 1924, over 40 million. It then declined, with last million-barrel year in 1931. Waterflooding ushered in third yield period, 1964.
Marker in memory of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Burke and W. H. Warren sponsored by Mr. and
The Powell Oil Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
2. The Powell Oil Field Marker
Mrs. Paul J. Sloan

Erected 1973 by State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 11624.)
Location. 32° 7.047′ N, 96° 19.58′ W. Marker is in Powell, Texas, in Navarro County. Marker is on 1st Street (State Highway 31) near Carr Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Powell TX 75153, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Collin Street Bakery (approx. 8 miles away); Corsicana Newspapers (approx. 8.1 miles away); James Emerson Whiteselle (approx. 8.1 miles away); The Molloy Hotel (approx. 8.2 miles away); Capt. Charles Henry Allyn (approx. 8.2 miles away); Site of Merchants Opera House (approx. 8.2 miles away); State National Bank of Corsicana (approx. 8.2 miles away); Alexander Beaton (approx. 8.2 miles away).
Regarding The Powell Oil Field. Encouraged by nearby discoveries in Mexia and Wortham, the Corsicana Deep Well Company announced plans to drill for oil in the Powell area in the June 9, 1919 issue of the Corsicana Daily Sun. However the drilling effort yielded a dry hole and was abandoned six months later.
A second attempt also failed. Finally, on January 7, 1923,
The Powell Oil Field Marker, looking east along Texas Route 31 image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
3. The Powell Oil Field Marker, looking east along Texas Route 31
now more than three years from the announcement, oil was found.
By July 14, 17 wells were in operation. Seven more came in on a single day, August 1, 1923. Soon the Powell field was pumping more oil than the combined oil production of the day in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
The Powell oil field produced wealth and tragedy in great proportions. On May 10, 1923, a spark ignited the derrick floor. The fire caused 13 men to die from horrible burns.
At peak production the Powell field boasted more than 500 pumping wells and produced some 354,000 barrels (56,300 m3) of oil per day.
By the late 1920s the Powell field had been pumped dry and was abandoned. (Wikipedia)
Additional comments.
1. Waterflooding
[Enhanced Oil Recovery, Well Completions]
A method of secondary recovery in which water is injected into the reservoir formation to displace residual oil. The water from injection wells physically sweeps the displaced oil to adjacent production wells. Potential problems associated with waterflood techniques include inefficient recovery due to variable permeability, or similar conditions affecting fluid transport within the reservoir, and early water breakthrough that may cause production and surface processing problems.
    — Submitted September 28, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

Categories. Industry & Commerce
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 281 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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