By Donald F. Schofield
Indian dealer, rancher, harbor developer, oil impresario—these are the numerous worlds of 1 of the least chronicled yet so much attention-grabbing characters of the yankee West. within the early, bustling years of the frontier, a brazen younger guy named William McDole Lee moved from Wisconsin to Kansas after which to Texas to forge a existence for himself. changing into a riding entrepreneurial strength in Texas's improvement, Lee quickly garnered the alliances and assets essential to form the monetary destinies of disparate teams through the nation. His tale is expertly informed in Donald F. Schofield's Indians, farm animals, Ships, and Oil.
Beginning in 1869 as a dealer to the southern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes and citadel provisioner to troops garrisoned at Camp provide, Indian Territory, Lee won a accomplice and collected a fortune briefly order from buying and selling buffalo hides and gowns. large herds of buffalo grazing at the southern plains have been killed principally on his order. while buffalo have been now not a ecocnomic commodity, Lee tackled his subsequent challenge—the livestock trade.
He all started with herds branded LR that grazed on pastures close to citadel provide. Then got here his LE herd within the Texas Panhandle. one other partnership, with famous livestock rancher Lucien Scott, led to the big LS ranch, some of the most profitable operations of its day. Lee even brought a brand new breed of livestock, the Aberdeen-Angus, to the western diversity. yet as his partnership light, Lee moved directly to his subsequent undertaking—the improvement of Texas' first deep-water harbor.
In 1888, Lee and different financiers submit a million cash to finance a dream: beginning foreign alternate from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the mainland on the mouth of the Brazos River. Their Brazos River Channel and Dock corporation used to be to build, personal, and function a deep-water harbor at Velasco, with a railroad hyperlink to Houston. notwithstanding threats of monetary catastrophe loomed huge, the Velasco facility was once to welcome, in its day, tugs, barges, and three-masted schooners and to supply impetus for Houston's increase. but with good fortune, the mercurial Lee grew to become to one more challenge—oil.
Starting nonetheless one other partnership, Lee devoted himself to prospecting for oil at the West Columbia Ridge in Brazoria County. Lee and team struck oil in 1907, constructing one of many first generating wells of Brazoria County, yet insufficient drilling apparatus hampered additional fruitful exploration. Lee moved his rigs to the famed Spindletop, the place he perfected the means of shallow drilling. even though mind-blowing good fortune within the oil company eluded him, Lee's accomplishments set him squarely one of the nice marketers of the Texas oil industry.
Lee's exploits led him to roles in the most dramatic moments in Texas and the West—Indian uprisings, buffalo hunts, political scandals, cowboy moves and shoot-outs, railroad promotions, oil-well blow-outs and gushers. the folk he encountered are the well-known and notorious of western historical past: Cheyenne leader Little gown and the outlaw "Hurricane invoice" Martin; Indian Agent John D. Miles and significant basic John Pope; outlaws Tom Harris and William Bonney, and Sheriff Pat Garrett. Altogether, Lee's biography vividly indicates one man's manipulation of individuals and occasions throughout the cost of the yank frontier.
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Extra resources for Indians, Cattle, Ships and Oil: The Story of W. M. D. Lee
Indians, Cattle, Ships and Oil: The Story of W. M. D. Lee by Donald F. Schofield