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BATSON, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Hardin County, East Texas
Highway 105 and FM 770
35 Miles NW of Beaumont
3 Miles W of Saratoga
32 Miles E of Cleveland
Population: (Est.) 140

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Batson Tx - Former Post Office
Batson, Texas former post office
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, May 2013
History in a 55-Gallon Drum

From 1891 to 1898, the town was known by the post office name Otto after R. Otto Middlebrook - an early settler who probably did something noteworthy to earn the honor, however our source was unable to provide details.

The community had originally been settled before 1840 by the two Batson Brothers. These two, as well as other residents, first lived in mud houses (talk about humble origins) unaware that they were sitting on top of millions of barrels of oil.

In October of 1903 the Batson-Oid field was discovered near Pine Bayou, a mile north of Batson. Both town and post office moved to be closer to the action - and action it was, with an estimated 10,000 workers, camp-followers and innocent bystanders showing up to witness history-in-the-making (and maybe make some money as well). The new town was named for Eli Batson, a Batson Brother descendent.

Two schools were in operation in 1897 with total enrolment of 68 students. Batson has all the businesses to guarantee success. Stores, a livery stable, a blacksmith, four hotels and ten saloons made Batson a town to be envied.

By 1906 Batson had three schools to educate the 252 children of oil workers, and a bank. As oil production fell, so did the population. It receded to a mere 600 in 1927. The New Batson field was discovered in March 1935. The population rose to 1,000 by the 1930s. The population was down to 200 from 1950 to 1970 and it has decreased further to the current 140.

More on the Oil Field >

Batson Images:
Batson Tx - Post Office sign
Post Office sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, May 2013
Batson Tx - Former Post Office today
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, May 2013
Batson Tx - Former Post Office / former Oil Patch Museum

Former Post Office/Oil Patch Museum interior today
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, May 2013

Batson Texas Oil Patch Museum

The former post office once housed the Oil Patch Museum
"[I was told that the museum] has moved to a more modern structure next to the Community Center." - Barclay Gibson, June 1, 2013

TE Photo, November 2007
More Texas Post Offices | Texas Museums

Batson Texas Oil Patch Community Center
Oil Patch Community Center
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, August 2007

More on the Oil Field

The discovery of the Batson field was chronologically sandwiched between Spindletop & Sour Lake (1901), and Humble (1905). The four together established the first Gulf Coast oil fields.

The area had drawn attention as early as 1900 when "signs" of oil were noticed. However a 1901 shallow exploratory well yielded nothing. Two years later, inexperienced speculators S. W. Pipkin and W. L. Douglas, organized an oil company financed by Beaumont backers eager to find a new strike. On October 31, 1903 oil was found at only 790 feet. Initial production was 600 barrels a day. Six weeks later a second well brought in 4,000 barrels from a depth of 1,000 feet and a third well was soon producing 10,000 barrels daily. By the end of 1903, Batson Field had an annual average of 4,518 barrels of oil each and every day.

In January 1904 a new well brought in 18,000 barrels a day. Drilling increased to a frenzy. Prior to 1930 no regulations existed to prevent operators from sinking as many wells as they wanted - as close to one another as they wanted. March 4, 1904, set a record when more than 150,000 barrels of oil was brought up. The peak yearly production was reached in 1904 when 10,904,737 barrels of oil were recovered. In 1905 salt water started making its presence known and the field started getting dry holes.1905 production fell to about one-third of the 1904 figures.

Production declined for twenty years, however in 1924 deeper wells reached oil at 3,600 feet. Production decreased by 1931 and continued until November 1934. In 1935, annual production was back up to a respectable 616,474 barrels daily. In 1939, the Railroad Commission of Texas divided the field into Batson Field and Batson-New field. At that time, the old field reported 190 wells. At the end of 1948 the total number of wells drilled in the field was 1,450.

The "lifestyle" of the early East Texas fields have provided historians with some of the more colorful anecdotes in Texas history. No volume claiming to be a history of the oil industry is complete without mentioning the hi-jinks and borderline depravity of the Saratoga-Batson-Sour Lake fields.
Batson Texas
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, August 2007
Photographer's Note:
"Batson is an early oilpatch town with a now operating sawmill denoting it is now in the lumbering business." - Ken Rudine, August 26, 2007
Batson Tx Road Sign
Batson Road Sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, May 2013
Batson Tx Jordan Cemetery

Jordan Cemetery in Batson
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, May 2013
More Texas Cemeteries

Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic/contemporary photos, please contact us.
Batson, Texas
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Cleveland
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