Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Rich Uncle

We all wish we had one, but for most of us it didn't happen. In my wife's family it happened but they didn't know about it until it was too late.

Her great uncle was Guy Glenn from Bonham, Texas. Unfortunately he died in 1986, about five years before we knew anything about him. He was the older brother of her grandfather. The grandfather was AWOL for 50 years so no one had contact with that side of the family.

I met Guy's daughter and niece while doing family research about 10 years ago and heard from them that he had struck oil on his Texas ranch back in the 1940s. Until recently I hadn't found any other sources to confirm the stories.

As it turns out he had six producing oil wells on his 160 acre ranch near Snyder, Texas. Guy had bought the farm in 1939 when his father died and he received $600 from the estate. Guy made a pretty good investment, turning that $600 into millions.

Of note is that Guy made sure my wife's grandmother also received $600 from the estate, the share from his AWOL brother. Today you wouldn't be able to give away an inheritance that belonged to a deadbeat but I guess back in the 1930s in Texas the Judge didn't ask a lot of questions so they gave the money to the wife and children.

Standard Oil struck oil near Snyder, Texas in 1948 and shortly afterwards oil wells popped up everywhere in the area.

Guy's modest farm was in the middle of the Kelly-Snyder Oil field, one of the most prolific in the USA.

I found several newspaper articles mentioning his wells coming in, with details on how many barrels they were producing. That was front page news for the Snyder newspaper.

It wouldn't be a real Texas story without a bogus land claim that Guy had to defend to keep his title to the land. Someone tried to file a title to the land in 1952 claiming they had bought it twenty years earlier, but Guy came out as the legitimate owner.

In 1956 Guy sold the Snyder farm, bought a large cattle ranch outside of Bonham, Texas and became one of the leading citizens of this small town. He died in 1986 and his obituary lists a full lifetime of community service.

No comments: