A geyser of oil poured forth
as Hughes County's freak "Vaseline" well, changing a peaceful countryside
into a seething mess.
Sleepily, the little village of Lamar, where "nothing
ever happens," had watched the staking of what workmen spoke of the
"location." This did create undue excitement. No one expected
anything to happen in Lamar - except the usual fair crops, the culminating
marriage of some childhood sweethearts, a baby, or some other every day
Nor did the quiet, neighborly farm folk of Lamar
talk more than casually as the derrick began to tower in the sky, cold,
somber-like, as if an unwelcome sentinel in their midst.
Came the day when machinery began to turn. Noise of
hammers ceased only to give way to a loud crescendo of chugging and
staccato blasts that interrupted the peaceful tranquility of the village
which knew no disturbance.
Farmers, tilling the soil nearby, would stop their
plowing or hoeing and would wonder, "just how far down 'then dern
critters' are going to drill," as weeks passed. "Why we coulda'
drilled a dozen water wells in this time." they reasoned among themselves
as they discussed the infinite to them.
Their surmising was to be short-lived. Their typical rural
curiosity, doubt and wonder was soon to give way to hysteria.
For, at almost "high noon" on that day, 12 years ago
Saturday, one of the strangest phenomena in oildom was to occur.
One a kind all by itself, the old faithful "Vaseline
well" caused oil men to marvel then, as today, since it produces the same
oil of Vaseline-like content.
At 3,710 fee, the strange kind of oil was reached. It
flowed over the derrick, spraying the country-side for a 200 foot area
with the semi-solid mass.
At first a dark green color, the oil turned to
brilliant yellow when it cam in contact with outside air. It hung like gum
from fences, trees or anything it touched.
Analysis disclosed the oil to be an almost pure
Vaseline. It mystified the well's crew and men of various phases of the
oil industry who flocked to the industry's newest discovery.
Because of its thickness, ordinary pipelines would not
carry the oil. A special line, sandwiched between four steam pipes to heat
the almost solid lubricant enabled it to flow to storage tanks.
Production at first was 350 barrels a day. The oil,
being of high paraffin content, sold at a premium.
The Newman well, 12 years later, is pumping and paying,
although it now produces only 15 barrels a day.
Recent rise in the price of oil and a subsequent
general comeback of the industry has again directed attention to the freak
W.C. Newman of Okmulgee, who owned the "Vaseline well,"
last week tested the scene of the once feverish activity There is talk of
prospective development of that area.
Again, the Lamar community, where Newman once held
leases on 10,000 acres of land, may hear the chugging of oil field
machinery and may come to know better the jargon of the field, also the
Veterans of the field scratch their heads and opine
that it is a pretty good omen, the old faithful's continued production
through all these years. With the adjacent territory uncondemned, the
drill bit may yet add to the glory and grandeur of Lamar once knew when
the town of a handful of people became known to the farthermost parts of
International publications have heralded the unusual in
oil that the industry knows as the freak "Vaseline well." Recognized as
the only one of it's kind, the well is a marvel even to glob-trotting oil
men, both as to oil it produces and it's life.
Men who have followed the drill bit to all climes in
search of the elusive "black gold" declare they have never seen, nor
heard, of anything like Lamar's freak well.
Charles F. Marlow, veteran pumper, who has been on duty
at the well ever since it was placed on the pump several years ago, says
he cannot estimate the life of the unusual well. There is a likelihood of
cleaning it out with a shot which is expected to increase the flow.
Marlow and his son, Ed, who assists him live 75 feet
from the well.
The only near serious accident that has ever occurred
at this well was when a 200 barrel flow tank blew up. the flaming oil from
this ignited a battery of tanks.
Marlow was working near the derrick. His wife,
standing nearby, screamed, warning him when she saw the top of an
exploding take hurled toward him. He escaped uninjured.
The burning oil from the battery of tanks seared a wide
area of ground. The cause for the explosion was never found