King of the Wildcatters

King of the Wildcatters : The Life and Times of Tom Slick, 1883-1930

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Tom Slick was a legend among the "independents" - those who hunted for oil the way mountain men hunted for furs. Ray Miles traces the growth of Slick's career and the modern petroleum industry, including the oil conservation movement, of which Slick was an early proponent. He examines the first generation of oilmen who sought fortunes in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas and looks at Slick's unique hands-on business style of brokering on street corners and eschewing stockholders and board members. In 1929, Slick sold his Oklahoma holdings in the Prairie Oil and Gas Company - the largest sale of oil properties by an individual to that more

Product details

  • Paperback | 178 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.5 x 15.2mm | 294.84g
  • Texas A & M University Press
  • College Station, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 8 b/w photos, 6 maps, bibliography, index
  • 1585443999
  • 9781585443994

Back cover copy

A legend among oilmen, Tom Slick was an independent operator in the truest sense. His office was his buggy during his early days of wildcatting the Mid-Continent oil field around 1910. And even after great success brought him to posher surroundings in an Oklahoma City office suite, his style remained hands-on. His impromptu deals were often brokered on street corners and over the telephone in his typical laconic style. Well into the 1920s he was the last of a breed who had no stock holders or board members to answer to, and instead "worked out of his hip pocket." Slick's extraordinary rise paralleled that of the modern petroleum industry. He began his career in the oil fields of western Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the American oil business. Before 1910, he headed west, traveling with his father and brother to the fields of Kansas to work as contract drillers. Slick met with failure in these early years, as he moved on to Oklahoma in an attempt to locate oil. In 1912 he received the financial backing to drill one more well, which turned out to be the discovery well for the vast Cushing Field. This amazing success was followed by more discoveries of fields - a frenzy of acquiring, drilling, then selling that in 1929 culminated with Slick's sale of his Oklahoma holdings in the Prairie Oil and Gas Company - up until that time, the largest sale of oil properties by an individual. In this first biography of Tom Slick, Ray Miles fleshes out the man who, despite his legendary drive - and the high-profile nature of the oil business - was exceedingly private and withdrawn. Miles relies on newspaper accounts, court and business records, correspondence, and personal interviews with family, friends, and associates to render a portrait of one of the most successful and colorful, yet elusive, businessmen of his more

About Ray Miles

Ray Miles is assistant professor of history at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. His research and writings concentrate on the American more

Review quote

"... Miles gives us a highly readable biography of an intriguing person and a welcome addition to the history of oil's first century." - Southwestern Historical Quarterly; "... an informative and well-written account of the life of one of the most successful and best known independents of an earlier time. It belongs on the shelf of any reader with special interest in the histories of the domestic oil industry and of Oklahoma." - Western Historical Quarterly"show more