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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Historical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Index Terms

Texas A&M University Kingsville, South Texas Archives

Seefeld Family Papers



Collection Summary

Creator Seefeld Family
Title Seefeld Family Papers
Dates: 1900-1939
Abstract: The Seefeld Family was a proud and hardworking family in the early twentieth century in South Texas, most notably in Alice, Texas, the heart of the oil field industry. Successful and prosperous in Wisconsin, the Seefelds invested money into agricultural and oil interests in Jim Wells County. They were one of the first families to invest in oil, and on September 25, 1920 they formed the Diamond S Oil Company. The first oil well in Jim Wells County was drilled. Unfortunately it blew out resulting in the loss of much of the investment, the ranch and farming plots. The Seefeld Family will be remembered for their hard work,their ambitions and the risks they took in the oil and agricultural industries.
Identification A2009-004
Collection URL http://archives.tamuk.edu/ead.php?xml=Seefeld%20EAD
Quantity: 1 linear foot
Location: I-22-1 Boxes 1&2; STA Phtofile A2009-004
Language: English, Spanish, French and German

Historical Note

Shortly before the Civil war Joachim Seefeld, a native of Pomerania, brought his wife and three children to Wisconsin. Settling in the southeastern corner of the state, he prospered as a truck and dairy farmer supplying the large German community in nearby Milwaukee. In 1876 he sold the farm and moved to Milwaukee to open a wholesale produce business. By 1885, Joachim had retired and the successful business was being carried forward by his eldest son, Charles Friedrich and two of his sons. In the 1890's Charles and his brothers became interested in the Lone Star State. In the first nine years of the new century they purchased 227 acres in Bexar County, 2,852 acres in what became Jim Wells County and assorted small parcels of urban and suburban real estate in San Antonio and Waco. Charles Friedrich sent two of his sons to Texas to live and work the land. This collection relates the business and personal activities of one branch of the Seefeld family that resided four miles south of Alice, Texas on what was known as the Palo Verde Ranch. The members of this family were Walter Seefeld, his wife Sophia, and their children Marie, Evelyn, Carl and Elizabeth. The ranch which totaled 2,852 acres, shared a fence line with part of the much larger King Ranch and consisted of a beef and dairy operation and farming plots intended for lease or sale to absentee investors in Wisconsin under a Co-Operative Farming Plan. Eventually the business plan was expanded to include the incorporation of the Diamond S Oil Company which sold its shares to South Texas and Wisconsin investors and drilled the first oil well in Jim Wells County. The agricultural side failed due to lack of water and investors and the oil well blew out and was abandoned. Walter Seefeld lost his Palo Verde Ranch after mortgaging it for the oil investment. The family moved to Houston in 1925 and at the age of 50, Walter had to seek employment as a manual laborer. The Seefeld's expectations in agriculture and oil were just premature and just optimistic enough to be ruinous. Petroleum and gas in abundant quantities were struck in Jim Wells County in 1928 and within sight of the Diamond S derrick which had been abandoned three years earlier. [This history was taken from "The Texas Myth in Reality: The Seefeld Family as Entrepreneurs," by James P. Baughman, Southwestern Historical Quarterly (July, 1971), pp.41-53.]

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Scope and Contents

The Seefeld Family Papers are comprised of business papers related to oil, gas, and truck farming in Alice, Texas. The Seefelds were also involved in cotton farming and hog raising in the 1920s. They formed the Diamond S Oil Company in 1920. Included in the collection are personal and family letters mostly relating to the businesses. Financial ledgers, notebooks, and accounts make up the bulk of the papers. A copy of the article "The Texas Myth in Reality: The Seefeld Family as Entrepreneurs" by James P. Baughman, Southwestern Historical Quarterly (July, 1971) pp. 41-53, is also included in the collection.

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Arrangement

Arranged in folders: Correspondence- Family, Personal, Business Business- Financial Records, Ledgers, Accounts John Wright Deals Publications Newspaper Clippings Calendar Booklets

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Index Terms

Persons
Seefeld, Walter -- Correspondence
Seefeld Family
Organizations
Diamond S Oil Company
Geographical Names
Alice (Tex.)
Jim Wells County (Tex.) -- History -- 20th century
Subjects
Farm life -- Texas, South
Frontier and pioneer life -- Texas -- Jim Wells County
Oil well drilling -- Texas, South
Oil wells -- Blowouts
Oil wells -- Abandonment
Petroleum -- Prospecting
Pioneers -- Texas, South -- Correspondence
Truck farming -- Economic aspects
Vegetable gardening -- Texas, South

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