Reeves County boom centennial

Anybody share articles about Pecos River oil boom 100 years ago?

February 21, 1920 … Pecos lawyer/wildcatter Ira J. Bell (1861-1934) triggered the Pecos Valley oil boom when his “Bell Well” struck a gusher two miles west of the Pecos River in Section 20 Block 2, H&GN RR Survey.

Wildcatters flocked to the Pecos erecting derricks around the Bell Well, and a crowd and movie crew watched Bell drill to a deeper level. Promoter Abner Davis promised to match “the Bell Well with its light green oil bubbling and sputtering out through the casing joints”, retaining 25% of $100 subscriptions payable in five installments. Davis also advertised $10 memberships in “five gusher wells … $10 monthly for 10 months secures full $1000 syndicate share… that we are playing to make 1000 to 1 invested.”

The Bell Well was initially prolific but short lived. Ira Bell boasted of controlling 60,000 acres, intending to sell some land and aggressively drill others, but some Bell holdings were liquidated by sheriff’s sale in 1923. When Bell died in 1934, he was acquiring silver mining leaseholds.

(source: old newspapers)


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