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Thursday, March 7, 2013


Flat Car Loaded with Lumber

Ellie told Leon she was quite interested in the oil fields around Tulsa but didn't want to invest in them without someone she could trust being there to watch over what was going on.
Leon said he felt the same way, which was why he had not put most of his money in it.

He suggested that he could move there and keep an eye on what was happening.  He said if he went, he would want to build a place to live for the available housing was atrocious.  

They agreed if he could put together a deal with a wildcatter then they would enter the oil business.

The railroads had a connection to Tulsa so Leon and Kathryn left for Tulsa. He didn't want her to go, but she insisted since part of the money was going to be hers.

Usually she left the investing up to Leon but she wanted to be part of the decision making in this case.

When they arrived the town had grown and there were no accommodations available, he finally managed to rent space in a tent which wasn't very private.

Leon and Kathryn talked to several men with oil leases, and finally settled on one who seemed to have the experience and connections they needed.

Over the next two days they talked extensively about all the details of the deal, and signed an agreement to start digging.  

Leon said they would leave immediately, and would send enough money to get started. Then he would return to help with the business end of the deal.

Their partner was named Digger; he had some equipment so he began preparation to start drilling.

Upon Leon’s return to Oakland he explained where they stood to Ellie and said he needed to get back there with money to buy the necessary equipment.  Also he would need a house to live in.
Leon went to a lumber yard with a rough plan and asked them to figure out what ever was necessary to construct the house.

After a couple more days he had everything he needed ready to load on a flatcar. Building materials were not to be found in Tulsa unless you brought them in yourself so he loaded the rail car and it was off to Tulsa.

He made arrangements with the railroad to have a couple of Pinkerton men waiting to stand guard over the materials until they could move it to the building site.

With money in hand the drilling went forward, and Leon started to erect his home.
While I didn't mention her, Kathryn was involved in every step including putting the house up.  

It was almost impossible to hire someone to work except in the high paying oil field jobs.  Businesses were suffering because of this problem, and Leon couldn't get anyone to help him erect the house.

Leon came across a couple of black men who couldn't get hired as oil workers, and he promised them if they would work for him building his house, he would guarantee to get them hired on one of his oil crews. They immediately took him up on that.

In the next four weeks they had the walls completed, and the roof on, which was a relief for Leon and Kathryn for it got them out of the tent they brought with them.

They passed the tent on to the black men who were glad to have it and get out of the weather.  In the next four weeks they finished the house complete with water in the kitchen.  Their well, windmill and storage tank provided all the water needed.

Kathryn had been busy ordering furniture, drapes and rugs for their home. It wasn't anything like their house in Oakland but they were proud of it.

Five rooms, two bedrooms, a large parlor, dining room and a big kitchen, what more could you ask for?   

To be Continued


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