Strother Chapel

Rededicating ceremonies were held Memorial
Day, May 25, 1998 at 12:00 noon for the O.D. Strother Chapel located in the Maple Grove
cemetery in Seminole, Oklahoma. This Chapel, which stands as a tribute to O.D. Strother, the
pioneer founder of the Seminole City Oil Field, was built and dedicated to the City of Seminole
by his daughter, Susan Alberta Strother Simpson in 1927. The Chapel had fallen into a bad state
of repair over the past 70 years, and has been restored through the efforts of the Maple Grove
Cemetery Association and the Seminole Historical Society.



O.D. Strother was a shoe salesman from St. Louis who traveled the Indian Territory beginning in
1881 spending considerable time in Okmulgee, McAlester and Seminole. This rugged Territory
was a haven for outlaws and desperados. Strother traveled this land using a two-horse driven
spring wagon where few roads and virtually no bridges to cross rivers or streams existed. He
learned to survive using his keen sense of direction, his wit and excellent salesmanship. Crude
oil was discovered in the Indian Territory in 1896 and word of this new source of wealth
spread like wildfire throughout the Territory. Strother became enamored with the stories of the
discoveries and investigated the early sites of discoveries. He was not a scientific man, but had
boundless energy and enthusiasm and began to investigate the early Oklahoma discoveries with
the aid of other oil men and geologists. His investigations convinced him that a northeast to
southwest trend was established in these early fields which would run through the small farm
town of Seminole, and he became interested in buying land in this area. Strother began to
purchase land in the Seminole area in 1905, and by 1917 he had purchased approximately 6,500
acres. The accumulated taxes on these properties became more than he could afford. In 1917, he
organized The Home-Stake Oil & Gas Company , thus incorporating
his holdings, and raised $50,000 to help pay for the property he had acquired. Strother traveled
the oil company circuit to Bartlesville, Tulsa and elsewhere to encourage the oil companies to
lease and drill on his property in Seminole. He usually brought gift packages of pecans, grown
on the trees of his lands, to the oil executives to entice them to lease his property. The Wewoka
discovery in 1923 brought a few oil companies into the Seminole area for exploration -- mostly
shallow wells, a majority of which were dry. This discouraged many of the oil companies, but
not Strother. He had the courage of conviction not to give up on his faith that oil was in the
Seminole area. Strother constantly encouraged and prodded oil companies to explore the area.
He was a consummate salesman with undying faith, unfortunately he died March 17, 1926. Four
months later, Garland's Fixico No. 1 well came roaring in at a rate greater than 6,000 barrels of
oil per day from the Wilcox sand and made Strother a prophet. Soon after, Pure Oil Co.
developed Strother's leases, one of which (SW/4 Sec. 26-9N-6E) located 1 mile East of the
City, would ultimately yield more than 12,000,000 barrels of oil!

The Home-Stake Oil & Gas Company  celebrated its 80th annual stockholders meeting on
June 1, 1998 in its headquarters offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The investors of Home-Stake have
reaped large financial benefits since 1926 with total cash dividends paid to date in excess of
$15.5 million. Many of the stockholders were third and fourth
generation owners of this stock, including O.D. Strother's great grandson and the former Chairman of the board Robert C. Simpson. All of them owe tribute to a man who ushered in one of the
greatest oil fields in America and added a rich page to our states' history books. Home-Stake
Oil & Gas Company was purchased by a larger oil company in 2001 and no longer exists.

 

Chapel to be Added to National Historic Register

 

Page created by Stu Phillips  stu@seminoleoklahoma.com.com

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