By Donald F. Schofield
Indian dealer, rancher, harbor developer, oil impresario—these are the various worlds of 1 of the least chronicled yet so much attention-grabbing characters of the yank 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. turning 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 advised 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 castle provisioner to troops garrisoned at Camp offer, Indian Territory, Lee won a companion and accrued a fortune in brief order from buying and selling buffalo hides and gowns. large herds of buffalo grazing at the southern plains have been killed mostly on his order. while buffalo have been not a ecocnomic commodity, Lee tackled his subsequent challenge—the livestock trade.
He 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 farm animals rancher Lucien Scott, led to the monstrous LS ranch, the most profitable operations of its day. Lee even brought a brand new breed of farm animals, the Aberdeen-Angus, to the western diversity. yet as his partnership pale, Lee moved directly to his subsequent undertaking—the improvement of Texas' first deep-water harbor.
In 1888, Lee and different financiers submit 1000000 cash to finance a dream: commencing foreign exchange 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. although threats of economic 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 growth. but with good fortune, the mercurial Lee grew to become to another challenge—oil.
Starting nonetheless one other partnership, Lee devoted himself to prospecting for oil at the West Columbia Ridge in Brazoria County. Lee and staff struck oil in 1907, constructing one of many first generating wells of Brazoria County, yet insufficient drilling gear hampered additional fruitful exploration. Lee moved his rigs to the famed Spindletop, the place he perfected the means of shallow drilling. notwithstanding excellent good fortune within the oil enterprise 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 one of 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 common 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 in the course of the cost of the yank frontier.
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Indians, Cattle, Ships and Oil: The Story of W. M. D. Lee by Donald F. Schofield