Columbus Marion Joiner

Columbus Marion "Dad" Joiner
Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
In office
Personal details

(1860-03-12)March 12, 1860
Center Star
Lauderdale County

Alabama, USA
Died March 27, 1947(1947-03-27) (aged 87)
Dallas, Texas
Resting place Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas

(1) Missing

(2) Dea England Joiner (married 1933)
Parents James and Lucy Joiner
Residence Dallas, Texas (last)
Alma mater Self-educated



Columbus Marion Joiner, nicknamed Dad Joiner (March 12, 1860 March 27, 1947), was a self-educated American oilman who at the age of seventy drilled the discovery well of the East Texas Oil Field of the 1930s.[1]

Joiner had only seven weeks of formal schooling. Tutored at home, he was taught to read using only the Bible. He learned to write by copying text from the Book of Genesis.[2] In 1883, he entered into the practice of law in Tennessee and was from 1889 to 1891 a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives. He relocated in 1897 to Ardmore in the southern Oklahoma Territory, where he farmed[3] and then made and lost two fortunes in oil both before and during statehood. He came to Texas in 1926.[4]

In 1930, Joiner and A. D. Lloyd discovered the East Texas field, the largest petroleum deposit yet found until that time. Based in five counties, it was centered about western Rusk County. Facing thereafter financial problems, he went into voluntary receivership and sold his well and leases for $1 million to H. L. Hunt. As of 1938, Joiner's estate was estimated at $3 million in value. However, at the time of his death nine years later, his assets were described as of "nominal value."[4]

The town of Joinerville in western Rusk County is named in his honor.

The East Texas Oil Field

A. D. "Doc" Lloyd convinced Joiner to drill for oil in East Texas. Joiner mailed out a prospectus written by Lloyd to seek financing for his wildcatting. After collecting enough financial backing, Joiner began drilling in Rusk County. Joiner and his crew drilled for three years beginning in 1927 with rusted, third-hand equipment. At one point, a geologist from Texaco came by and joked, "I'll drink every barrel of oil you get out of that hole." Despite the opposition, Joiner was convinced of the possibility of oil in Rusk County. Beginning in 1930, Joiner began to drill eight miles west of Henderson, Texas, on the farm of Daisy Bradford. Using a flimsy pine rig and battered tools, his first two wells were unsuccessful. Eventually, at 8 p.m. on October 3, 1930, the Daisy Bradford Number 3 struck oil. The ensuing gusher sent the area into a frenzy. Joiner was nicknamed "Dad" because he was the father of the oil strike.[2]

Other wildcatters who drilled too far east of the narrow but long East Texas field included Michael Late Benedum and Joe Trees, part of the Pittsburgh oil establishment, and Clem S. Clarke an oilman and Republican politician from Shreveport, Louisiana.[5]


  1. Handbook of Texas Online: Durham, Joseph Idelbert
  2. 1 2 Yergin, Daniel. The Prize, The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, Simon & Schuster, 1991, p. 244
  3. Jeff Reed (2014). "The "Dad" Of East Texas Oil - The Story of Columbus Marion Joiner". Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Columbus Marion "Dad" Joiner". The Handbook of Texas. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  5. Historians Allan Nevins and Frank Ernest Hill (1951). "Reminiscences of Clem S. Clarke: Oral history". New York City: Columbia University. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
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