Lyne Taliaferro (Tol) Barret, pioneer oilman, was born at Appomattox, Virginia, on November 7, 1832. His family moved to Texas in 1842, first to San Augustine County, and then to the Barret plantation at Melrose. Barret began his career as a clerk and by 1862 had become a partner in the mercantile firm Hardeman Brothers and Barret. He first became interested in the oil industry before the Civil War and contracted with Lucy W. Skillern to lease 279 acres near Oil Springs in 1859, but the war stopped his preparations. From about 1863 to 1865 he served as captain of the Quartermaster Corps, Confederate States of America, for the Nacogdoches district. After the war, Barret, Benjamin P. Hollingsworth, Charles A. Hamilton, John T. Flint, and John B. Earle organized the Melrose Petroleum Oil Company. Drilling began at Oil Springs during the summer of 1866 and resulted in the first producing oil well in the state. Due to the low price of oil and the political unrest caused by Reconstruction, t
Scope and Content Note
The Lyne Taliaferro Barret Papers consists of correspondence, field notes, deeds, receipts, contracts, and promissory notes of Barret. Includes material on the Angelina River clearance and the Confederacy and Reconstruction, the personal papers of T. Jeff and Amanda Johnson and business records of the Melrose Petroleum Oil Company (1845-1914).
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