The Healdton Field began in July 1913 with completion of the discovery well owned by the Plains Development Company, a partnership of Roy M. Johnson, Edward Galt, A. T. McGhee, Samuel Apple, and Wirt Franklin. The field reached its peak in 1919. By 1949 it ranked as the twenty-fourth largest ever opened in the nation; it is still a significant oil producer today. The Healdton Field is located in western Carter County and eastern Jefferson County. Because of the relative shallowness of the large oil pools and the cheapness of drilling a well, the Healdton Field became know as a "poor man's field."
Development of the field had a major impact on the area and on the oil business. Wirt Franklin and Roy Johnson were later important in the development of the national petroleum industry, as were others who got their start in the Healdton Field, such as Robert A. Hefner, Sr., and Lloyd Noble. Hefner, a lawyer, introduced the concept of subsurface leasing into mineral rights law. Noble developed an international oil business and established the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, a nonprofit biotechnology research foundation that helps farmers. During the field's development the towns of Wilson, Ringling, and New Healdton (now called Healdton) came into existence. The combined production of the Healdton, Hewitt, and Sho-Vel-Tum Fields made Ardmore, Oklahoma, the center of an important refining region.
SEE ALSO: PETROLEUM.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kenny A. Franks, Ragtown: A History of the Greater Healdton-Hewitt Oil Field (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1986). Vivian McCullough, "The Ardmore Folks Get Around," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 30 July 1939. Mac McGalliard, "Pioneer Spirit: The Centennial History of Ardmore," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 65 (Spring 1987).
James R. DeJarnett
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