The date was 5 July 1926. The location was Ged, Louisiana. Five men, covered in oil, stand on a drilling platform. Their names, as well as “3-11-Crew Vincent #10,” are written on the back of a photo that captured the moment for eternity.
Pictured: Bob Benoit, Jeff Alters, Ed Alters, Elmer Goodrich and Tom Fontenot
Edgerly Petroleum Company
With the discovery of oil in Beaumont in 1901, the oil boom was in full swing in this section of the country by the time the Edgerly Petroleum Company filed their Charter on 22 March 1915. Organized with $10,000 in capital stock, the original stockholders were Sloan A. Emerson (President), Lastie Vincent (Vice-President), and J.G. Sutton (Secretary-Treasurer), all of Vinton in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
The company was one of several companies drilling in the Ged fields, located a few miles west of Vinton. Other companies drilling there were Gulf, the Texas Company, Vinton Petroleum Company, the Siess Oil Syndicate, Wilson and Broach, G.B. & F. and Marrs McLean.
Sloan A. Emerson and Edgerly Petroleum
On 09 July 1925, the Lake Charles newspaper wrote, “The growth of the Edgerly Oil Company has been phenomenal under the management of Mr. [Sloan] Emerson. It has climbed from a very small concern up to a most influential position in the oil world as an independent operator. It now has wells in both Louisiana and Texas and is believed to have a very successful future before it.”
Sloan Emerson was no stranger to the oil business when he and the others started the Edgerly Petroleum Company. In May of 1910, Emerson was responsible for the first gusher in Calcasieu Parish — the Sabine 99, Sam Johnson No. 1, of the Texas Company, known then as the “Producer’s Oil Company.”
Emerson and the Edgerly Petroleum Company would continue to bring in gushers in the Ged fields in the 1920s.
The Crew of Vincent #10
Bob Benoit, Roughneck (RN)
Bob Benoit held many different jobs throughout his life. In addition to working as an oilfield roughneck, he worked as a clerk in Benoit's News Stand and the drug store in Vinton. The 1930 census listed his occupation as an electrician in the Vinton ice house, which was owned by a distant relative.
Jeff Alters and Ed Alters
What was their relationship? Were they brothers?
Ed Alters. An article about Ged in the Lake Charles American Press, dated 04 January 1918, states, “The Lyons Gulf Coast Co. is drilling deeper in its Vincent No. 6, with Red Bolton and Ed Alters, drillers.” Other articles demonstrate that Ed was an experienced driller by the time he posed for this photo on Vincent No. 10.
Elmer Goodrich (DM)
The Lake Charles American Press archives have several articles that mention an Elmer Goodrich in the Vinton-Ged area. The first reference was written on 9 October 1917. Elmer Goodrich was one of 13 people “baptized and received into the fellowship of the Ged Baptist Church.” Elmer died a tragic death after being shot by two men on 28 February 1937, in a roadhouse on the Old Spanish Trail near Orange, Texas, where he worked as a bartender. Elmer had a brother named Homer.
Tom Fontenot (FM)
A 53-year-old Hackberry merchant named Tom Fontenot died of a heart attack in March of 1938. Was this the same Tom Fontenot as in the photo?