W. Scott Heywood
Walter Scott Heywood, known as W. Scott Heywood (May 21, 1872 – November 28, 1950), was a member of the Louisiana State Senate
Louisiana State Legislature
The Louisiana State Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is bicameral body, comprising the lower house, the Louisiana House of Representatives with 105 representatives, and the upper house, the Louisiana Senate with 39 senators...

 who earlier headed a family-owned company which struck the first oil well in Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 on September 21, 1901 near Jennings
Jennings, Louisiana
Jennings is a small city in and the parish seat of Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, United States, near Lake Charles. The population was 10,986 at the 2000 census....

 in Jeff Davis Parish.

Heywood was born in Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

, Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. As a young man, he prospected for gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 in Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. With his brothers, Alba, O. W., Clint, and Dewey Heywood, he drilled for oil in California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and at Spindletop
Spindletop is a salt dome oil field located in the southern portion of Beaumont, Texas in the United States. The Spindletop dome was derived from the Louann Salt evaporite layer of the Jurassic geologic period. On January 10, 1901, a well at Spindletop struck oil . The new oil field soon produced...

 near Beaumont
Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the...

, the first such strike in Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...


Oil strike

Immediately after drilling at Spindletop, Heywood was hired to drill the first oil well in Louisiana. A rice grower in Jeff Davis Parish in southwestern Louisiana noticed that flammable bubbles were rising from his fields. Area businessman formed S. A. Spencer & Company and leased some two thousand acres about the field. The company contacted Heywood, who after visiting the site determined that the landscape there was similar to the land about Spindletop. Heywood lit the bubbles with matches and produced a red flame with black smoke. Convinced that he had found petroleum gas, Heywood contracted with the existing company to drill two wells to a depth of one thousand feet for an undivided one-half interest in the acreage. Under the agreement, Heywood could organize his own Jennings Oil Company, which he founded on April 29, 1901. A rig was moved from Beaumont to drill, beginning on June 15, 1901, the first well, called Clement No. 1. The initial hole had to be moved. There was excessive heat and swarms of mosquito
Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae . The word Mosquito is from the Spanish and Portuguese for little fly...

es. At a depth of a thousand feet, no oil was found.

The existing contract required that a second well be drilled within thirty days after the first one. A new agreement was negotiated which allowed Heywood to continue drilling beyond the bottom of the first well. If favorable conditions were found at 1,500 feet, he could proceed to an even greater depth. At 1,500 feet, no oil was discovered, and the team ran short of drill pipe. However, Heywood opted to order more drill pipe and continue to try. At 1,700 feet, oil was discovered in sugar sand
Sugar sand
Sugar sand, found in some areas of the Eastern United States, is a fine silt made up of ultrafine mineral sand mixed with a large percentage of organic granules. Because of its lightness it can easily form quicksand in hollows. In New Jersey, quicksand is often referred to as "sugar sand." Even...

. Additional drilling discovered 110 feet of oil sand. A casing was set with a gate valve
Gate valve
The gate valve, also known as a sluice valve, is a valve that opens by lifting a round or rectangular gate/wedge out of the path of the fluid. The distinct feature of a gate valve is the sealing surfaces between the gate and seats are planar, so gate valves are often used when a straight-line flow...

, and after running a bailer
A bailer in hydrogeology is a hollow tube used to retrieve groundwater samples from monitoring wells. Groundwater monitoring wells are drilled in areas where there are underground storage tanks or where there is environmental remediation occurring. The wells are typically built out of PVC casing...

 the well gushed forth a four-inch stream of oil over 100 feet high. This spray of oil and sand lasted for seven hours and covered several acres of rice fields. However, the sand soon filled up the casing, and despite repeated attempts to clear it, the well was abandoned. Though the drilling failed, Heywood's work signaled the beginning of the oil boom in Louisiana. Heywood thereafter owned and operated barges on the Mermentau River
Mermentau River
The Mermentau River is a river in southern Louisiana in the United States. It enters the Gulf of Mexico between Calcasieu Lake and Vermilion Bay on the Chenier Coastal Plain.The Mermentau River supplies freshwater for the Mermentau Basin...

 in southwestern Louisiana and constructed a pipeline
Pipeline transport
Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

 from the oil fields to the railroad.

Civic leadership

With his oil strike, Heywood relocated to Jennings, where he became active in civic affairs, including the chamber of commerce
Chamber of commerce
A chamber of commerce is a form of business network, e.g., a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community...

 and the rationing board during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He worked to secure establishment of the Jennings Municipal Airport.

A Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, he served in the state Senate for one term from 1932 to 1936, during the administration of Governor Oscar K. Allen
Oscar K. Allen
Oscar Kelly Allen, Sr. , also known as O. K. Allen, was the 42nd Governor of Louisiana from 1932 to 1936. He was a key lieutenant in the political machine of Huey Pierce Long, Jr., that dominated the state during the first half of the 1930s...

. There, he worked for passage of the popular homestead exemption
Homestead exemption
Homestead exemption is a legal regime designed to protect the value of the homes of residents from property taxes, creditors, and circumstances arising from the death of the homeowner spouse...

 law, still in effect in Louisiana. His two-seat geographically large district, then unnumbered, included in addition to his own Jeff Davis, the parishes of Allen
Allen Parish, Louisiana
Allen Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Oberlin. As of the 2000 census, the population was 25,440. Allen Parish is in southwestern Louisiana, southwest of Alexandria....

, Beauregard
Beauregard Parish, Louisiana
Beauregard Parish [p] is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Beauregard Parish was formed on 1 January 1913. The parish seat is DeRidder. As of 2000, the population was 32,986. Beauregard Parish is part of the DeRidder Micropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Fort Polk...

, Calcasieu
Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
Calcasieu Parish[p] is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Lake Charles. As of 2010, the parish population was 192,768...

, and Cameron
Cameron Parish, Louisiana
Cameron Parish is the parish with the most land area in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Cameron and as of 2010, the population was 6,839...

. Heywood served with colleague Clement M. Moss.

Heywood died in Jennings and is interred there at Greenwood Cemetery.
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