Carl G. Cromwell, ignoring orders, brings in world's deepest oil well

December 4th, 1928

On this day in 1928, Carl G. (the Big Swede) Cromwell drilled the world's deepest oil well. In the wake of his 1923 success with the famed Santa Rita No. 1, Cromwell had become drilling superintendent of the Texon Company's rapidly expanding field on University of Texas land in Reagan County. He also acquired his own leases and became known as an honest, generous, free-spirited wildcatter. In association with company engineer Clayton W. Williams, Cromwell experimented in drilling deeper than the average 3,000 feet. In 1926 Williams located a site and Cromwell's crews began work. In late November 1928, because of mounting expenses and problems, Cromwell was directed to shut down. Instead, he disregarded orders, went into hiding, and kept drilling. On December 4, at 8,525 feet, University 1-B came in. It remained the world's deepest oil well until 1931, the same year in which Cromwell died in an automobile accident.

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Carl G. Cromwell, ignoring orders, brings in world's deepest oil well

December 4th, 1928

On this day in 1928, Carl G. (the Big Swede) Cromwell drilled the world's deepest oil well. In the wake of his 1923 success with the famed Santa Rita No. 1, Cromwell had become drilling superintendent of the Texon Company's rapidly expanding field on University of Texas land in Reagan County. He also acquired his own leases and became known as an honest, generous, free-spirited wildcatter. In association with company engineer Clayton W. Williams, Cromwell experimented in drilling deeper than the average 3,000 feet. In 1926 Williams located a site and Cromwell's crews began work. In late November 1928, because of mounting expenses and problems, Cromwell was directed to shut down. Instead, he disregarded orders, went into hiding, and kept drilling. On December 4, at 8,525 feet, University 1-B came in. It remained the world's deepest oil well until 1931, the same year in which Cromwell died in an automobile accident.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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