EXTRA!: Special edition in 1931 told world of Gregg’s first well

From Staff Reports

Boldface type nearly 3 inches high told the story Jan. 26, 1931, when the Lathrop No. 1 discovery well blew in.

“LATHROP WELL GUSHER” an extra edition of the Longview News screamed. A sub-headline read “Flow Estimated from 14,000 to 20,000 Barrels.”

The story said:

The Moncrief-Farrell-Arkansas Gas & Fuel Co.’s No. 1 F.K. Lathrop blew in here at 1:10 o’clock this afternoon for an estimated 14,000 to 20,000 barrels of oil daily.

The well, which cored rich oil sand ten days ago and had threatened to come in constantly since 11:00 o’clock Sunday when the plug was drilled came in today under heavy gas pressure.

The well was turned into the tanks …

A vast crowd, variously estimated at from 15,000 to 18,000, witnessed the coming in of the well. Many of them had been on the site since early morning. Some of them had practically “set-up” with it since it cored oil sand ten days ago.

A corps of photographers and news representatives from various state and out-of-state newspapers were present for the event. Cars with license plates from practically every state in the United States were to be seen inside the official circle.

Hundreds of automobiles lined the road to the well and large numbers of others were parked in fields and yards on the way to the well, where they paid parking admittance.

The crowd at 9 a.m. was estimated at more than 5,000 … Throughout Sunday crowds estimated at more than 2,000 watched the well as drillers worked to keep it from coming in. The plug was drilled about 11 o’clock Sunday morning. Gas pressure in the well then blew mud, water and oil half way up the derrick.

The crowd scattered and the crew worked desperately. The hole was filled with mud to prevent it blowing before today.

Gregg County’s first oil well, with an estimated initial production of 15,000 barrels of 40 gravity oil, was 3,587 feet deep, the last 11 feet being saturated sand.

In process of completion, the well blew out part of a hole full of rotary mud and the drillers almost lost control. It made 320 barrels of oil the first hour through three-inch tubing and one-half inch choke.

The Gregg County discovery well was 13 miles northeast of the Bateman-Crim well in North Rusk County, which was purchased by Humble for $2,100,000, including a large block of acreage.