Item #010084 1907 – Letter to the owner of land in Louisiana advising him to hold on to the property as there is a possibility that it may sit over an oil deposit. "Hig" to "Jim"

1907 – Letter to the owner of land in Louisiana advising him to hold on to the property as there is a possibility that it may sit over an oil deposit

Lake Charles, Louisiana: 1907. Unbound.

This two-page letter from Hig to Jim is datelined “Lake Charles La 4-28,07”. In nice shape. A transcript will be provided.

In the letter, Hig (possibly a traveling salesman) advises his old friend Jim to hold on to stock he owns controlling some property in Louisiana’s “Orange Land”.

“When I first came here I made a drive over pt. of the ‘Orange Lands.’ The most of it is good rice land, and rice land is on a boom. The Beaumont Oil boom is extended into this country: possibly there is oil under the orange land, if so and it is found the land will be worth a good deal. From what I know . . . I do not think it has any present value. The land is encumbered for all it is worth. I do not think you can sell the stock for 1.00 a share. If it was mine I would keep it for ‘futures’, for two reasons: one is because you will have to, and another is by a turn of a card it may be worth 100 – Aya! 1000. etc. on the dollar. . .. Now Jim don’t misunderstand me. I do not say that I think it . . . will ever be worth any thing, but you have got I, and as far as I can see will have to keep it, but I would just about as soon gamble on the kind of stuff now as any thing. You have nothing to lose and may gain. If any one makes you an offer for [it,] there is ‘a cat in that bag.’. ..”

. Very good. Item #010084

At the time, the number of commercial orange groves was relatively small as satsuma cultivars had not yet been introduced. “The small groves of orange trees, scattered all over Southern Louisiana . . . on numerous bayous and lakes in and near the sea marsh, five, ten, twenty, or fifty in a grove, and individual trees planted near dwelling houses, cannot be summed up . . . with any accuracy. . .. The home consumption of oranges that never reach the market is immense. [and] there is orange land enough . . . to supply the whole Mississippi Valley with oranges. [but] most of the sea marsh of Louisiana [would need to be] leveed and drained, as the lands of the Netherlands have been reclaimed. . ..”

If Jim held onto his land just a little longer, he probably became a very rich man, far richer than Hig imagined possible. The first oil strike in Louisiana occurred in 1901 at a rice field in Jennings, and in 1905 more than six million barrels from under the rice fields at the Jennings site with a value of almost $4.5 million dollars (the equivalent of over $150 million dollars today) and the boom was on as individuals and companies searched for more in the Louisiana orange lands.

(For more information, see Dennett’s Louisiana as It Is. . .., Spiers’s History of Gulf Coast Citrus in HortScience June 2017, “First Oil Well in Louisiana” and “History of Oil & Gas in Louisiana. . ..” at the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources website,).

Price: $100.00

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