The Powell Oil Field
Historical Marker
Powell, Navarro County, Texas


Historical Markers || Petroleum Industry Index


Photograph by Edward L Williams

Location: On SH 31, across street from Powell State Bank on S. side of Rd in Powell, Navarro Co., Texas

See Also:


The Powell Oil Field

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 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. J. 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 the peak day of 354,893 barrels. The population skyrocketed. Corn and cotton patches became town-sites for Oil City, Tuckertown, Wildcat. In 1923, Powell ran over 30 million barrels; in 1924, over 40 million. It then declined, with its last million-barrel year in 1931. (1973) (Powell State Highway 31, across from Powell State bank)


The text of the historical markers have been posted here with the permission of the Texas Historical Commission

Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox