Columbus Marion Joiner

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Columbus Marion "Dad" Joiner
Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1860-03-12)March 12, 1860
Center Star

Lauderdale County

Alabama, USA
DiedMarch 27, 1947(1947-03-27) (aged 87)
Dallas, Texas
Resting placeSparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas
Spouse(s)(1) Lydia Ann Beaver Joiner (married 1882)
(2) Dea England Joiner (married 1933)
ChildrenJohn Lee, James Bert, Willie Mae, Vernon Snow, Frances Sue, Martha Marie, Ruby Nell, Mary Louise
Parent(s)James and Lucy Joiner
ResidenceDallas, Texas (last)
Alma materSelf-educated

Columbus Marion Joiner, nicknamed Dad Joiner (March 12, 1860 – March 27, 1947), was an American oilman who at the age of seventy drilled the discovery well of the East Texas Oil Field of the 1930s.[1] Newspaper articles referred to Joiner as the Daddy of the Rusk County Oil Field.[2]: 6, 70, 288 

Born in Lauderdale County, Alabama, Joiner's father was killed in 1864 during the American Civil war, and his mother died in 1868. Joiner had only seven weeks of formal schooling. Tutored at home by his sister, he was taught to read using the Bible, their only book. He learned to write by copying text from the Book of Genesis.[3] Joiner left home in 1877, but returned home in 1881 to marry, and start a dry goods store in Muscle Shoals Canal. In 1883, he entered into the practice of law in Tennessee and was from 1889 to 1891 a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives. He relocated in 1897 to Ardmore in the southern Oklahoma Territory, where he farmed,[4] handled leases for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, but lost all of his assets in the Panic of 1907. Joiner, and former druggist, physician, and amateur geologist A.D. Lloyd (his original name was Joseph Idelbert Durham) teamed up to drill two test wells, barely missing out discovering the Seminole oil field, and the Cement oil field. Joiner then commuted to Rusk County from 1921 to 1925, before moving to Dallas, Texas in 1925, where he focused on selling some of his Rusk County leases to recent widows. On 11 August 1925, Joiner obtained a lease on widow Daisy Bradford's 975.5 acre farm, and moved to Rusk County proper in 1926.[5][2]

In 1930, Joiner and A. D. Lloyd discovered the East Texas field, the largest petroleum deposit yet found at that time. Based in five counties, it was centered about western Rusk County. Yet, Joiner had oversold interest in all three wells he drilled on the Daisy Bradford farm. He also sold some of his leases several times over, in one case to 11 different purchasers. Facing thereafter financial problems, he went into voluntary receivership and sold his well and leases for $1.335 million to H. L. Hunt. As of 1938, Joiner's estate was estimated at $3 million in value. However, at the time of his death nine years later, his assets were described as of "nominal value."[5][2]: 69–70, 90–92, 110–111 

The town of Joinerville in western Rusk County is named in his honor.[2]: 67 

The East Texas Oil Field[edit]

In 1927, A. D. "Doc" Lloyd convinced Joiner to drill for oil in East Texas, predicting a well would encounter the Woodbine at a depth of 3,550 feet (1,080 m). Joiner mailed out a prospectus written by Lloyd to seek financing for his wildcatting. After collecting enough financial backing, Joiner began drilling in Rusk County. Joiner and his crew drilled for three years beginning in 1927 with rusted, third-hand equipment. At one point, the Texas Company geologist Walter R. Smith visited and joked, "I'll drink every barrel of oil you get out of that hole." Despite the opposition, Joiner was convinced of the possibility of oil in Rusk County. Beginning in 1930, Joiner began to drill eight miles west of Henderson, Texas, on the farm of Daisy Bradford. Using a flimsy pine rig and battered tools, his first two wells were unsuccessful. Eventually, at 8 p.m. on October 3, 1930, the Daisy Bradford Number 3 struck oil. The ensuing gusher sent the area into a frenzy. Joiner was nicknamed "Dad" because he was the father of the oil strike.[3][6][2]: 26, 32 

Other wildcatters who drilled too far east of the narrow but long East Texas field included Michael Late Benedum and Joe Trees, part of the Pittsburgh oil establishment, and Clem S. Clarke, an oilman and Republican politician from Shreveport, Louisiana.[7]


  1. ^ Handbook of Texas Online: Durham, Joseph Idelbert
  2. ^ a b c d e Clark, James; Halbouty, Michael (1972). The Last Oil Boom. New York: Random House. pp. 6–9, 18–19, 110–111. ISBN 0394482328.
  3. ^ a b Yergin, Daniel. The Prize, The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, Simon & Schuster, 1991, p. 244
  4. ^ Jeff Reed (2014). "The "Dad" Of East Texas Oil - The Story of Columbus Marion Joiner". Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Columbus Marion "Dad" Joiner". The Handbook of Texas. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  6. ^ Olien, Diana; Olien, Roger (2002). Oil in Texas, The Gusher Age, 1895-1945. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 168–172. ISBN 0292760566.
  7. ^ Historians Allan Nevins and Frank Ernest Hill (1951). Reminiscences of Clem S. Clarke: Oral history. New York City: Columbia University. OCLC 122308295.

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