Some years ago I enjoyed taking a guided tour of the McFaddin Ward Historic House Museum in Beaumont, Texas. Today I came across these small poems I wrote about the place, some of which I've posted below. The McFaddin family were part owners of Spindletop, the place where the Texas Oil boom began in 1901. Perhaps you've heard of the Lucas Gusher, which first erupted at Spindletop on January 10, 1901, with the oil shooting as high as 150 feet, netting some 100, 000 barrels a day. Today you can also visit the place, now called the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum.
In the summer of 1836,
William McFaddin walked home
from the Battle of Goliad
with two acorns in his pocket,
acorns he gathered from
the San Jacinto battleground.
He planted them near the house
where two tall, wide, and wise live oaks
still stand today, often surrounded
by astonished tourists.
Mr. Lemon, the black cook,
roasted red pepper
on his wood stove
to keep interlopers
out of his kitchen.
In the bedrooms of
all the young ladies,
ornate kneelers imported from Europe
invite even the unholiest to pray.
The Lucas Gusher
In the north bedroom,
where one of the McFaddin boys slept,
a picture of the family's oil well
at Spindletop hangs over the bed,
eternally gushing black oil.
photo by KAO: from the East Texas Road sign series