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1930s Roughnecks Drill for Oil in the East Texas Oil Field

“Bread will be coming right out of your ears, ma’am. New roads, agriculture, employment, education – these are just a few of the things we can offer you, and I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that if we do find oil here – and I think there’s a very good chance that we will – this community of yours will not only survive, it will flourish.” – There Will be Blood, 2007

The sea of oil beneath their feet stretched for 45 miles. Found on October 3, 1930, by Columbus Marion Joiner, the East Texas Oil Field was one of the largest oil fields in the United States. The roughnecks and roustabouts came in their thousands to work the land. In 1939, Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee was in Kilgore to photograph men working on drilling rigs… read more >

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