Oil Field Information

Oil Field History

Even though there had been oil wells drilled in Ellis County as far back as 1924 in the Bemis Oilfield (16-11-17), which was labeled Bemis # 1. The drilling on this particular oil well commenced on Sept 10, 1924 and was completed on May 4, 1926 when it was plugged as a dry hole. During that time frame if a well wasn’t going to produce 50 bbls a day or more, it was considered a dry hole. The first producing oil well in Ellis County drilled in 1928 was on the William Shutts Farm, located 16 miles northeast of Hays (NW/4 5-12-17) in the Saline River Valley area. The first wells were drilled from wooden derricks. The derricks were built on each site, which allowed men to raise and lower a string of cable tools that were powered by steam engines. The wooden derricks were replaced by steel derricks. The only steel derrick left standing in Ellis County today 2005 is located in the Saline River Valley area, in Catharine N Township. (NE/4 34-11-17) Today’s drilling rigs are portable, a hinged “jackknifed type of machinery that are raised & lowered intact with the help of winch trucks and can be moved from site to site. One of the major producing oil pools in the Saline River Valley area is known as the Bemis-Shutts Pool.

Wooden Oil Derricks

(picture from Ellis Co Historical Society)

Steel Oil Derricks

(picture from Ellis Co Historical Society)

Rumsey Oil field showing derrick being built-1936

Drilling Rig used in 2004





Saline River Valley Oilfield Camps




Pictures of Tearing Down a Drilling Rig/Derrick





Page created by Jackie Slimmer Langholz



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