Howell Will Long Be Remembered...

...ran the December 18, 1978 headline as the Alice Echo-News reported the passing of H. H. Howell.

“Hansel Hamilton Howell triggered one of the hottest oil and gas lease plays in the history of South Texas…” with completion of the H. H. Howell No. 1 Reed and Lindsay well on Easter Sunday, April 1938 flowing  385 barrels of oil in twelve hours on its’ first test.

The “oil tycoon’s” Alice field discovery had a tremendous economic impact on Alice and on other communities in Jim Wells County as the Hub City of South Texas became one of the “leading oil and gas supply and service centers in the petroleum industry and home base of a number of highly successful producing companies and drilling contractors.”

Only 14 years earlier, Howell was a World War I veteran working as a driller in Long Beach, California when he signed up with Burmah Oil Co. to develop their field in Burma.

H.H. Howell, Inc.

H.H. Howell-Wildcat Legacy


    H. H. Howell 1896-1978

Howell's 1924 ocean voyage across the Atlantic and then with fellow passenger Fannie Lincoln between Liverpool, England and Rangoon, Burma via the Suez Canal changed his life. The shipboard romance with his future wife, a Middlebury College, Vermont graduate enroute to the Presbyterian Mission School in Burma, blossomed into a married life in a bamboo dwelling at the oil camp near Chauk, Burma in 1926.

Returning his new family to stock market-crashed 1929 America, Howell salvaged marginal oil wells in Smackover, Arkansas, started his own drilling business in 1931 and moved to South Texas to wildcat in 1936. During the War World II years, Howell drilled numerous strikes across Jim Wells, Nueces, San Patricio and Duval Counties, Texas and 19 wells in Wyoming's Big Piney field. Part 1 of our story closes in 1947 when Howell sold the 5 Alice-based rigs.


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