How Petrolia Came to Be

Population of Petrolia today. (Picture by Judy Wade)

By Judy Wade 

Petrolia sits at the crossroads of State Highways 70 and 148 in northern Clay County, 15 miles east of Wichita Falls and 14 miles north of Henrietta. Its site was originally part of the Byers Tree Ranch, 31,000 plus acres acquired by brothers Walter and George Byers in the 1880s.

It is located on a 160 acre plot given by the Byers brothers for the establishment of a town. It was named after an oil-producing town in Pennsylvania where the Byers family originally came from. Before Petrolia came into being, Oil City sprang up three miles southeast. In 1901, farmer and rancher

J.W. Lochridge hired Samuel McCord to dig a water well. Instead of water, McCord hit oil at 263 feet. Lochridge was disappointed because he needed water for his livestock. He found a use for the oil, using it in his dipping vats to rid his cattle of parasites. Lochridge later discovered the value of the black goo and in 1903 formed Lochridge Oil Company. Speculators flooded the area, and Oil City was born.  To read more pick up a copy of the August 2016 issue.