What do gas and unemployment have in common in Daviess and Clinton Counties? Plenty, especially when oil is found in this vicinity and oil wells are pumping oil out of its surface.

In 1931, Frank Messler of the Messler Gas Comany and his geologists struck a good flow of gas at a depth of 165 feet on the S.J. Sloan’s, 120 acres south of the Oakland School.

Unsatisfied with the findings, the company drilled a little deeper to a depth of 190 feet and found a flow of gas stronger than the first. At both the 160 feet and the 190 feed levels, the gas spouted out of the holes. Still, a third flow of gas was found at 220 feet. At first, they thought the well would be capped at this point, but decided to dig a little deeper. This drilling showed a good oil content, with the flow being strong enough to show up plainly on the water in and around the well.

Mr. Messier was confident that the oil deposits would prove to be very profitable. Once started, drilling was continuous 24 hours a day, with two shifts each working 12 hours a day.

Casing was being transported in to use on the wells, but in April 1931, bad weather only allowed the iron casings to get only part way from Highway 36 to the well. Teams were used to complete the hauling of the casings and it would be put down to shut out the heavy flow of water.

By mid April of 1931, three wells showed an ample gas flow. Two of these wells were on the Sloan place and one was on a neighboring farm. One of the wells on the Sloan farm had been drilled to a depth of 550 feet, although it had 540 feet of water, it still indicated it still had a good flow of oil.

By June of 1934, Mr. Messler and his associates had formed a small corporation for the development of 100,000 acres of oil and gas lands which they had under lease in this part of Missouri including territory around Lathrop, Cameron, and as far north as Jamesport and vicinity. Twenty-four wells had already been drilled on the property.

At this time, five more drill rigs were brought in the territory, and the men were expecting to place 50,000 more acres under lease. When asked if the development of a gas and oil field would likely bring other industries in to the area, Mr. Messler stated that a cement plant and a brick plant were already planning to locate here.

— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO