Talk of Wilson County TX Historic Towns

by Barbara J. Wood
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Historical Marker unveiled at Linne Oil Field

Wilson County News, June 2007
By Nell Sutherland, WCN Correspondent
SUTHERLAND SPRINGS —John and Shirley Grammer continue their campaign to memorialize historic locations in Wilson County with the June 23 dedication of a Texas State Historical Marker at the site of the Linne Oil Field on F.M. 539 at Polley Lane.
This site is dear to John's heart, as he and partner John Gauntt produced oil from the field for many years.
As Gene Maeckel of the Wilson County Historical Society described the Grammers' goal to gain historical recognition for historical sites: "Go to their house. They'll give you a job." John countered with his description of his wife's drive to recognize historical sites: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."
The formal dedication of the marker was moved to the Sutherland Springs Community Building due to threatening inclement weather.
The Linne Oil Field, the most extensive and significant in this area, was discovered with the oil strike on April 1, 1955, on acreage leased from Oscar Linne on part of the old Polley plantation. Within the year, the company completed over 30 wells in the field, named the Linne Poth A Sand Field.
Continuing significant production for more than 50 years, the field continues to be a significant source of tax revenue for Wilson County.
But Shirley unearthed in her research a tantalizing bit of history, which could have changed the history of Wilson County.
During the years 1853-54, on the homestead of Dr. Gray Jones Houston about three miles west of the Polley plantation, farm workers digging a water well discovered an odorous black substance seeping into the hole.
Due to the offensive odor, the doctor had the workers cover the hole, thus delaying the discovery of oil in Wilson County for almost a century. Meanwhile, Col. Edwin Drake's discovery of oil near Titusville, Pa., in August 1859 set off an oil boom that captivated the country.
Samuel A. Maverick, a friend of Houston's, recalled the farm well incident and took his sample of the smelly black substance to check it out. He traveled to Indianola, boarded a boat for New York, and then went overland to Titusville, Pa. Maverick returned to this area with a report that the substance found on the Houston farm was exactly the same as the Titusville discovery.
COURTESY/ Wilson County News  2007