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Leonard Brown and Don Picek at Texas Company's Helle No. 1A near Keene, N.D.
Leonard Brown and Don Picek at Texas Company's Helle No. 1A near Keene, N.D.
TitleLeonard Brown and Don Picek at Texas Company's Helle No. 1A near Keene, N.D.
Date of Original1955-08-20
CreatorShemorry, Bill, 1914-2004
Creator RolePhotographer
DescriptionView of two men standing and chatting next to an oil well Christmas tree.

"The Luck of The Texans. ‘It doesn't look like very much yet, but it's the beginning of another new oil field in North Dakota' Those were the words of Leonard Brown, tool pusher for the Noble Drilling Company, as he spoke to Bon Picek, a driver for Diamond Transportation Co. one day in August 1955.
The Christmas tree in the photo had just been installed on a new well, the Texas Helle No. 1A, located NW NE 8-151n-95w on the Keene Dome in McKenzie County. This is about five miles, mostly east and some south of the town of Keene. At that time, the closest production was in the Sanish Field, seven miles to the northeast.
The Helle location had been drilled as a wildcat and the discovery of oil proved the existence of a new field which was later named Blue Buttes. The well was drilled to a total dept of 9, 416 feet and during an initial test over 23.5 hours, flowed 224 barrels of oil an hour through a 24/64-inch choke. Perforations in the Madison were at 9, 290-9, 302 9, 320-9, 334 and 9, 369-9, 386. A later test produced 384 barrels per day through the 24/64-inch choke.
At the time of the photo, plans were underway to drill two additional wells nearby, the Texas Anderson, 3 miles to the south, and another stepout, a half mile southwest, the Texas Government Dorough ‘D'. Both wells produced.
At this time the Texas Company was undergoing a phenomenal stroke of good luck, having never encountered a single dry hole in tis McKenzie county exploration program. Although it is not certain thirty-six years later, just how many Texas Co. producers had been drilled up to August of 1955, but memory seems to recall the number at about 12."
General SubjectOil
Business & Industry
Work Life
Subject (LCTGM)Oil wells
Petroleum workers
Petroleum industry
Men
People
Employees
Personal NameBrown, Leonard
Picek, Don
Organization NameDiamond Transportation Company
Noble Drilling Company
LocationKeene (N.D.)
Decade1950-1959
Item Number1-68-6-4
Negative Number1-28-168-6
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
Dimensions of Original26 x 21 cm.
Publisher of OriginalShemorry, William E. (Bill)
Place of PublicationMud, Sweat & Oil: The Early Days of the Williston Basin
Transcription"Bill Shemorry, Telephone 602-274-5717, 4725 - 13th Ave. N., Photography - Aerial - Oil Field - Industrial - Commercial; Phoenix, Arizona 85013, May Thru Dec. Phone 701-572-3380, Post Office Box 33, Williston, N.D. 58801, 'Since 1940.'" and "LUCK OF THE TEXANS, 'It doesn't look like very much yet, but its's the beginning of another new oil field in North Dakota'. These were the words of Leonard Brown, tool pusher for Noble Drilling Co. as he spoke to Don Picek, a driver for Diamond Transportation, late one day in August 1955. The Christmas tree had just been installed in the Texas Company's Helle No. 1A located on the Keene Dome in McKenzie county. The site is about 5 miles southeast of the town of Keene. The well had been drilled as a wildcat and its coming in proved the existence of the new field which was later named Blue Buttes. At this time the Texas Co. had been under going a phenomenal stroke of luck, having drilled 12 holes in McKenzie county without ever encountering a duster. - - Photo by Bill Shemorry" - Printed on Shemorry's stationary and taped to back of similar photograph 68-6-3
NotesTitle created by staff.
Biography/HistoryWilliam E. "Bill" Shemorry was a native of Williston, N.D. who began work in the newspaper industry as a newsboy selling the Williston Herald and the Williams County Farmers Press. In 1953, he started to publish the Williston Plains Reporter, which he operated for 25 years before selling to the Williston Herald. Shemorry then began to concentrate on his own writing and photography. In addition to writing many books on the history of Williams County, he also collected photographs of early North Dakota photographers. Shemorry was an active member of the Williston Fire Department, was Civil Defense Chief of Williams County for three years in the 1950's, and was a combat photographer in World War II. Shemorry's photograph of the discovery of oil in North Dakota on April 4, 1951 at the Clarence Iverson No. 1 is one of the most famous oil photographs ever taken, and was published in many national publications.
Bibliographic ReferenceThe quotation used for the description is with this same image from page 145 of Shemorry's 1991 book, Mud, Sweat & Oil: The Early Days of the Williston Basin.
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionWilliam E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection Mss 10958
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-68-6-4)
Rights ManagementPermission to reproduce this image must be requested from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Ordering InformationTo order a reproduction, inquire about the collection, or provide information about an image, please email Emily E. Schultz at eschultz@nd.gov
Digital IDws16864
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