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The United States Oil and Gas Company (USOG) was organized in 1887 by Edward Byrd, an intermarried citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, and associates. In 1882 Byrd discovered an oil spring southwest of Chelsea in present Rogers County, Oklahoma. In 1886 the Cherokee Council granted him a lease of one-half section of land for petroleum exploration. To attract investors, he enlarged his lease to ninety-four thousand acres. Known as the "Cherokee Lease," it covered portions of present Rogers and Nowata counties. Byrd then joined in affiliation with William Linn of Pennsylvania and Kansans William Woodman, Finley Ross, Oak Daeson, and Martin Hellar to establish the USOG.

In August 1889 the USOG completed a well near Spencer Creek, some seventeen yards from the oil seep Byrd had located in 1882. By 1891 ten additional wells had been drilled nearby. Of these, the most prolific pumped fifteen barrels of oil a day. Such limited production, combined with a scarcity of markets, led to the purchase of the USOG by John Phillips of Pennsylvania in 1895. Phillips reorganized the business as the Cherokee Oil and Gas Company, but he too lacked success and ceased operations.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kenny A. Franks, The Oklahoma Petroleum Industry (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980). Kenny A. Franks, Paul F. Lambert, and Carl N. Tyson, Early Oklahoma Oil: A Photographic History, 1859-1936 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1981). Carl Coke Rister, Oil! Titan of the Southwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1949).

Jon D. May

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