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The speaker is an 82-year-old White man with a college education from Rockport, Indiana; he was recorded in 1968.



County: Spencer
State: IN

Commentary:
Located in southwestern Indiana on the Kentucky border, Rockport is a town with a present-day population of around 2,000 people and is the county seat of Spencer County. Around 1939, there was an increase in oil drilling and prospecting activity in the area. In this segment the speaker talks about two friends and their foray into oil drilling.
Inf: Buster _____ and Boyd _____, uh, the owner of the rig, and he says, ???That door fastens.??? I got up out in there and there was a fence running down in there, and it wasn???t latched and I saw it opened outside. And I just got set down, and it didn???t make any noise but it made the awfulest explosion you ever saw. It threw oil all over creation and they had gas, you know, did it in the fire in that stove. We all took out of this house and I happened to be out first and I outran all of ???em. And I want to tell you everybody???s doing his best, too. [Laughter] ???Cause that gas had got afire, you know. Well I (warned) it burned us up like (helly). And uh, I was amused. And then they put a, a, to plug it off, they put on a rubber thing on there. Put it down there a valve, like, to fasten it. And when they put that, it uh, when that, that s-, stream oil as big as a stovepipe and just gush out of there.

Aux Inf #1: Oil. Wasn???t it?

Aux Inf #2: Oil? Yeah.

Inf: Oil.

Aux Inf #1: No water?

Inf: No water. Just pure, black oil. They had a run a stream as big as a stovepipe and just rushed into that pit. And when they put that uh valve down in there, why it ran, oh, it must???ve been, ah he estimated around fifty, sixty barrels of oil they lost right there. And they, and I think I was really delighted for, since, I never saw one come in like that before. I, used to be kind of a hobby, I???d try to make all the drillings around here. And uh, it really was amazing [Aux Inf #1: Ma-] to see that oil.

Aux Inf #1: Mary said that when they struck oil the first time, they all, um, rubbed it, all laid down and rubbed it all over ???em.

Aux Inf #2: You didn???t see. You weren???t down there during???

Inf: No, I, I wasn???t there.

Aux Inf #2: ???the first one.

Aux Inf #2: Well, you know, you know they had had, I think she said forty-six dry holes in a row [Inf: Mm]. Without any oil. And they were, they were getting pretty discouraged, you know. And they hit it dow-, that was the one was down in the field down there.

Aux Inf #1: First ones.

Inf: First ones to drill down there. Aux Inf #2: And those boys g-, just laid down on the ground and rolled and they???d get that oil and they???d go ???ooh??? and just rubbed it all over. [Laughter] It was the funniest thing I ever saw.

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