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Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate Records

(Mss. 3262)


Summary and Scope Note

Biographical/Historical Note

Subgroup Descriptions

Container List




Dates: 1900-1970, n.d.

Size: 16 linear feet (17,505 items)


Summary and Scope Note

The early correspondence deals with the involvement of the Heywood brothers and their associates in the oil industry in Louisiana. Beginning in 1928 the papers also concern the political activities of Walter Scott Heywood, his experience with raising sheep, and his involvement with the Independent Petroleum Association of America. From the 1940's until his death in 1950 the correspondence reflects W. S. Heywood's involvement with the Jefferson Davis Parish Rationing Board, the Louisiana State Mineral Board and with the Mermentau Basin Association. The financial documents are primarily bills and receipts for equipment and supplies used by the Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate and its related companies. The miscellaneous documents include the speeches of Walter Scott Heywood, his writings on the American Oil Industry and his Autobiogrphy of an Oil Man.

Biographical/Historical Note

Walter Scott Heywood was a professional musician, gold miner in Alaska, and an oil "wildcatter" in California, Texas and Louisiana. He was a state senator from the fourteenth senatorial district of Louisiana from 1932- 1936, member of the Louisiana State Mineral Board from 1942-1948, and first president of the Mermentau Basin Association. He also served as regional chairman of the National Recovery Administration in the early 1930s and as vice chairman of the Louisiana Tax reform Commission from 1932-1935. In 1929, he helped organize the Independent Petroleum Association of America. During World War II he served on the Jefferson Davis Parish Rationing Board.

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 21, 1872 and died in Jennings, Louisiana on November 28, 1950. His father was Chester Wright Heywood, (a professor at Hiram College) and his mother was Clarissa Brencie Bannister, (a school teacher). Scott Heywood had four brothers, Alba Stimson, Otho Wright, Clinton Orville, and Chester Dewey Heywood and two sisters, Cleora Irene and Clethene E. Heywood.

In 1893 Scott Heywood visited the Florence, Colorado oil field while touring with his brother's band. He decided that the oil industry offered a more financially secure future than playing in a touring band and orchestra. When the tour reached California, Scott and his wife stayed and settled in Hanford, Fresno County. During the late 1890s Scott Heywood formed oil companies in Fresno and San Francisco to develop oil leases in those areas. While in San Francisco Heywood learned of the important oil discoveries being made at Beaumont, Texas.

He immediately left for Beaumont and wired his brothers to join him. When Dewey arrived they leased a fifteen acre site in the Spindletop Oil Field from the Higgins Oil company. Their first well brought in 15,000 barrels of crude oil per day. They aquired a contract with Guffy and Gaily to sell 4,000 barrels of oil a day at $.20 a barrel. At this point the Heywood Brothers Oil Company was organized and began selling fuel oil to steam plant operators in Louisiana and Texas. Alba and O. W. Heywood soon joined their brothers Scott and Dewey in order to help with selling oil and managing the property.

The second Heywood oil well was brought in on May 25, 1901, and was the largest well in the United States at that time. It initially produced 148,000 barrels of oil a day and was still producing 7,000 barrels a day one year later.

Shortly after their second well was brought in the Heywood Oil Company began receiving requests to do contract drilling for other oil companies in the area. The Heywood brothers organized the well drilling partnerships of Heywood Brothers and Dobbins and Heywood Brothers and Harper. Dobbins and Harper were both experienced drillers who understood the new rotary well drilling system.

In 1901 Scott Heywood was approached by I. D. L. Williams and S. A. Spencer, two businessmen from Jennings, Louisiana, who together with Dr. A. C. Wilkins, Thomas Mahaffey and French Jaenke, had formed a co-partnership and pooled their land and leases near Jennings. They asked Scott Heywood to develop their holdings. On April 29, 1901 Scott Heywood signed a contract with S. A. Spencer and Company to organize the Jennings Oil Company.

The first well of the Jennings Oil Company was built in a rice field owned by Jules Clement on September 21, 1901. It kept clogging up with sand and had to be abandoned. This was the first oil well in the state of Louisiana. The drilling crew was composed of Elmer Dobbins, day driller and co-contractor, Charles Noble, Sr., night driller, Doug Phelps and Sank Henderson, helpers, and Scott Heywood Superintendent and co-owner.

After completing his contract for drilling Jennings Oil Well #1 in late 1901, Scott Heywood arranged with five Jennings businessmen to organize the Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate. All of the leases and lands were transferred to the new company and the stock was equally divided between the firm of Heywood Brothers and the five businessmen from Jennings. The new syndicate was capitalized at $10,000 with 10,000 shares selling for one dollar each.

In 1908 Heywood Brothers entered an agreement with Gulf Refining Company whereby all of the Heywood Brothers Jennings oil leases would be operated by Gulf. Scott Heywood retained his position as president of the Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate, but the company secretary, Neal S. Whisenhunt, was left in charge of managing the company properties. The Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate operated solely on a royalty basis from that point on.

In 1927 Scott Heywood returned and took over the operation of the Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate in order to help fight a lawsuit concerning some of their leases. When Huey Long ran for governor of Louisiana the following year, many of his ideas impressed Scott Heywood. Following Long's election, Heywood sent him copies of several pamphlets that he (Heywood) had written and published regarding the manipulations of the large oil companies. In reply, Governor Long asked to meet with him.

During their meeting, Huey Long told Heywood about his plan to pay for the free school books for Louisiana school children by placing a severance tax on each barrel of oil extracted from Louisiana. Heywood supported the idea and came to Baton Rouge during the legislative session beginning in May 1928 to help get the severance tax passed. Heywood spoke in favor of the bill before the Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee during their open hearings. After the bill passed, the oil companies sued to overturn the law. Scott Heywood testified as the state's chief witness.

In June 1929, Scott Heywood served as the personal representative of Governor Long at the National Governors' meeting held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During the meeting, Scott Heywood, along with the other independent oil producers in attendance, organized the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Heywood became a charter member and served as a Director for the State of Louisiana.

From 1932 to 1936 Scott Heywood served as the state senator from the fourteenth senatorial district of Louisiana. He ran on a platform calling for property tax reductions, a homestead exemption, and for lieu taxes to take the place of property taxes. He did not seek re-election.

In 1936, Scott Heywood quit active drilling and sold his personal wells and leases because of declining health. He retained his duties as President and Treasurer of the Jennings Oil Company and the Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate. He was a member of the board of directors of the Mermentau Basin Association at the time of his death.

Subgroup Descriptions

  • Subgroup I. Correspondence, Business and Personal, 1901-1970, nd. 11.5 linear ft.

The early correspondence concerns mainly the business activities of the Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate and its related companies. There is some personal correspondence interspersed with the business correspondence. Most of the early correspondence concerns business dealings with equipment suppliers and oil customers. Beginning in 1927 the correspondence concerns the lawsuit over several Jennings-Heywood oil leases and Scott Heywood's political activities, especially his involvement with Huey Long and his term as a state senator from 1932-1936. Beginning in 1929, the correspondence deals with Scott Heywood's involvement in Louisiana politics, with the Independent Petroleum Association of America and, the Louisiana State Mineral Board. During the 1940s the correspondence deals with Heywood's involvement with the Mermentau Basin Association and the Jefferson Davis Parish Rationing Board and the building and use of his boat.

  • Subgroup II. Bills and Receipts, Business and Personal, 1900- 1909, n.d., 3 linear feet


The financial documents are primarily bills and receipts for services and supplies purchased by the Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate and its related companies. Also included are bills for oil shipped to purchasers. Bills and receipts for personal and household items are also included.

  • Subgroup III. Miscellaneous, 1903-1963, n.d., 1.5 linear foot

Included are lease accounts, profit and loss statements, biennial reports of the Louisiana State Mineral Board, proxies for shareholders, undated speeches of Scott Heywood, and Heywood's AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN OIL MAN.

Container List




Box 1

Correspondence, January 1901 - September 1903



(Folders 1-67)


Box 2

Correspondence, October 1903-December 1904


(Folders 68-139)


Box 3

Correspondence, January 1905 - July 1906



(Folders 140-202)


Box 4

Correspondence, August 1906 - June 1908


(Folders 203-263)


Box 5

Correspondence, July 1908 - December 1911


(Folders 264-331)


Box 6

Correspondence, January 1912 - June 1925


(Folders 332-393)


Box 7

Correspondence, July 1925 - June 1930


(Folders 394-435)


Box 8

Correspondence, July 1930 - February 1934


(Folders 436-481)


Box 9

Correspondence, March 1934 - June 1938


(Folders 482-519)


Box 10

Correspondence, July 1938 - June 1943


(Folders 520-558)


Box 11

Correspondence, July - December 1946


(Folders 559-602)


Box 12

Correspondence, January 1947 - April 1970, n.d.


(Folders 603-635)


Bills and Receipts, Business and Personal, 1900-1909, n.d. (Subgroup 2)


Box 12

Bills and Receipts, July 1900-September 1902


(Folders 636-658)


Box 13

Bills and Receipts, October 1, 1902 - July 31, 1904


(Folders 659-732)


Box 14

Bills and Receipts, August 1904 - December 1905, n.d.


(Folders 733-791)


Box 15

Bills and Receipts - Bills of Lading,


February 1906 - March 1909, n.d.;


Household; Bills and Receipts, 1904 - 1905;


Miscellaneous, 1903 - 1909, n.d.


(Folders 792-836)


Miscellaneous, 1903-1963, n.d. (Subgroup 3)


Box 15

Miscellaneous, 1903-1909


(Folders 837-874)


Box 16


Miscellaneous, 1908-1963, n.d.


(Folders 875-929)


Oversize Items



Map, Mineral Leases of Louisiana, (removed from folder #926), March 1948


Certificate of Award, Scott Heywood, 1946


Financial Documents, Jennings-Heywood


Financial Document,


Financial Statements, Arnaudet, Caffery, 1905


Map, Intercoastal Waterway, 1939



Map, Mermentau Basin, 1943


Maps, Oil and Gas Fields, Gulf Coast,


Illinois, Texas, 1936, 1939.



Maps, Waterbottoms and Descriptions of their locations, 1936, 1939.



Scrapbook, Scott Heywood, 1929-1933



Newspaper Clippings, 1934, 1941, 1944.