A Guide to the John W. Gates Papers, 1910-1926
John Warne Gates (1855-1911) was born in Winfield, Illinois and studied bookkeeping, penmanship, and business law at Northwest College in Naperville, Illinois. Gates found work as a barbed-wire salesman for the Washburn-Moen Company in 1876 and found tremendous success selling barbed wire to cattlemen in Texas. He later left Washburn-Moen and formed the Southern Wire Company with his partner Alfred Clifford.
Gates was later involved in several steel and wire companies, and invested heavily in railroads. Gates was also instrumental in kicking off the modern petroleum era. Through the creation of the Texas Oil Company (now known as Texaco), Gates provided necessary funding for the Spindletop oil field, which struck oil in 1901. He was also heavily involved in the development of Port Arthur, Texas. He died on August 9, 1911.
“Gates, John Warne,” Handbook of Texas History, accessed 3/24/16, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fga41.
The John Warne Gates papers (1910-1926) consist of correspondence, legal and financial records, articles and clippings.
This collection is open for research use.
John Warne Gates Papers, 1910-1926, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Esther Kirchner, March 2016.
Detailed Description of the Papers