'Gusher Age' To 'God Ahmighty',Thel...What Next?

~to read Texas Historical Commission Markers...click on picture~
In the early 20th Century, the Texas oil boom, sometimes called the Gusher Age, was a time of dramatic change and economic growth in Texas.  After the Gushers, by the 1940's production stabilized in East Texas, and West Texas began to be more fully explored and the Permian Basin gradually became the top producing area of the state.  The Permian Basin became the Oil Service Capital of the nation as the influx of foreign oil depressed the price of oil and gas. 
Santa Rita #1
Management of the petrochemical industry and the discovery of natural gas and it's bi-products of styrene, butadiene, polypropylene, benzene and quantities of synthetic rubber and ammonia kept the Oil Industry booming.  New installation Plants were built along the Gulf Coast and the Houston Shipping Channel.  The Odessa-Midland area was a hub of Oil Service Companies with branches throughout smaller communities like Monahans, Kermit, Ozona, Big Lake and others. 

My Dad was a Jack of All Trades and one of them was as a 'Roughneck' on 'Drilling Rigs'....like the one pictured bottom left during the 1950's.  On the 'Rig', he was a Jack of All Rig Jobs from Floor Hand to Derrick Hand...which was the one that caused Mother the most worry.  In the bottom right picture, Dad and his brother MD are standing on a site where a 'Pulling Unit' is in operation.  This piece of machinery was part of the 'Oilfield Service Industry', which flourished during the 1950's through the 1990's, and will again when the current Texas Oil Drilling Boom Rigs move to their next Drilling Sites.

As I look at these pictures of Dad as a 20th Mid-Century Texas Oilman, I wonder what he would think about the  21st Century Oil Bidnezz.  I imagine he would say....
God Ahmighty, Thel, what will they think of next?
~photos by CollectInTexasGal©...1950 Drilling Location© by Thel~


Wanted-Laundress...Must Have Tubs,Scrub Board and Rough Hands

 Living so near to Fort Richardson in Jacksboro, Texas, it's possible some of my Leatherwood ancestors could have answered the call for a Laundress'...for sure they would have had tubs, soap and scrub boards.  As explained in the picture...beginning early in the war nearly every army had a least one laundress per 20 men.  They were generally women trying to support themselves or were traveling with a male family member. 
Qualifications:  Your attire will be work clothes, traditionally a long plain skirt and blouse with sleeves rolled up, no hoops, nothing fancy, hair netted or braided, plain skirt and blouse, very little underpinnings, full coverage apron, large bonnet (slatted or full brimmed) for weather protection.  Wear flat shoes, no long fingernails, and try to roughen up your hands.

It was not surprising to see the collection of Flatirons at Fort Richardson's kitchen and laundry room displays, after all they were certainly made to last...like forever.  Made of cast iron and heated on the top of a cast iron stove, the laundress need two...one to iron with while the other heated on the stove.  Flatirons were also called Sad Irons as they were heavy, weighing about 15 lb., were hard to move and often heated unevenly resulting in hot handles.

Padded handles, heavy rags and wood were used to alleviate some of the heat and burns to users.  In the 1870's a detachable, spring loaded handle was invented by an American woman who no doubt was tired of being burned, exhausted from tandem lifting, re-heating, and stoking the cast iron stove.

My 2x Great Grandmother Mary Josephine certainly had the right attire for a Fort Richardson laundress.  I imagine, however, she was too busy keeping up with her own laundry for nine children, husband and self.  I am sure had she applied she definitely would qualify...no 'trying' to roughen up hands...that was a given!


Fort Richardson and Salt Creek Prairie

On May 18, 1871, on a hill overlooking Salt Creek Prairie, 20 miles west of Fort Richardson, a Kiowa war party waited for suitable victims on the *well-travelled road below.  After permitting a small military troop to pass unaware, the Kiowas attacked a government contractor's wagon train.  Seven teamsters were killed in the foray, but one escaped and alerted the military at Fort Richardson.

At the post, General William Tecumseh Sherman, who that day had crossed Salt Creek Prairie on an inspection tour of the frontier, ordered immediate reprisal.

In 1869 Sherman was appointed Commanding General of the United States Army by President Grant.  General Sherman devoted much of his time as Commanding General to the Western and Plains states safe settlement through the continuation of the Indian Wars.  Thus the reason for his presence at Salt Creek Prairie and Fort Richardson in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas.

It is unlikely he made mention of Salt Creek Prairie or Fort Richardson in his memoirs published four years later in 1875, however, it was historically significant for Fort Richardson and the people of Jacksboro, Texas, including my 3x Great Grandfather, John Moore Leatherwood.

John Moore Leatherwood was 37 years old, a veteran of the 20th Regiment Texas Volunteer Infantry Confederate Civil War and living within a few miles of Salt Creek Prairie when General Sherman made his crossing and tour of Fort Richardson.

At the time John and Martha Ann Caroline Pearson had seven children including my 2xGreat Grandmother Mary Josephine.  Their eighth child, Minnie Lee, was less than four months old on that fateful Salt Creek Prairie Kiowa attack.

General Sherman's tour and subsequent action in May 1871 is well documented at Fort Richardson's Museum.  He, of course, moved on to complete his tour as Commanding General of the United States Army under President Grant.  On the other hand, my Leatherwood Ancestors remained in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas, and their descendants are citizens there today. 

John Moore, his wife Martha Caroline and six of their eleven children are buried at Salt Creek Cemetery on the corner of Salt Creek Road and Dark Corner Road.  Yes, the same *well traveled road General William T. Sherman rode to Fort Richardson, and where seven teamsters lost their lives on May 18, 1871.

I love Texas History!  Don't you?


June...Collection of Texas History Photos and Stories

In keeping with the theme established last month...Navigating My Nightmare Photo Files...let's make June all about the Collection of Texas History Photos and Stories.  I am currently reading...yes, READING not sewing so much...Wagons West Texas!  I'm right in the middle, so I won't make this a book review...maybe later...at any rate, it is what gave me the idea to blog about Texas History through the photos in my Texas File.
There is already a quite a large collection of TEXAS POSTS here on CollectInTexas Gal...so this 'Collection of Texas History and Stories' gets it's own label and photo.  You will see it on the SideBar for the month of June...so you can quickly review or catch up.
Let's start with Fort Richardson and it's significance in my Texas Family History.