Stories from the Sunday School Times – Part 2
During the Great Depression, there was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. It was situated in a huge field later to be called Yates Pool. At the time, Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage so he was in danger of losing his ranch.
Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills and provide for his family. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract. At 1,115 feet, they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. And Mr. Yates owned it all.
The day he purchased the land, he received the oil and mineral rights—a multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it.