Necessity, Texas; 1921





Necessity, Texas is in Stephens County, east south east of Brackenridge. Shallow oil in the Strawn, Caddo and other Mississippian formations was first discovered in Brackenridge in 1920 and that town exploded with oil finders, much like nearby Ranger and Desdemona. The Strawn (2,500 feet) produced all over Stephens County, even down near Necessity, named by post Civil War settlers in 1873 that tried to grow dry-land cotton in the county and, out of necessity, needed a post office to receive mail. Gulf Oil poked around down here in the day and left some wells for Chevron to plug.

Stephens County; near Necessity; 1922. Photo by Basil Clemmons

American Petroleum Institute numbers are a new form (<20 years) of well identification in Texas, way different than Texas Railroad Commission lease identification numbers. Very early TRRC numbers had two zeros in front of them. There are a lot of those sort of leases in Stephens County. This is old oil country now depleted, save for the hangers on and the great believes in 2-3 BOPD wells by the hundreds. In the mid 1990's Stephens County still produced over 5 MM BO per month. There are a lot of very, very old wells in this part of Texas plugged with cedar posts and Portland cement.

Spilled oil is simply produced oil flowed to an earthen pit during testing.


In 1921 Necessity grew to a population of 700 but by 1930 those people were all gone, wandering around looking for more oil in other places. Necessity is now mostly gone and the post office long closed. The Baptist Church is still there on the north end of town with a cemetery, of course. Not counting dogs and cats, the population is down to 13 people. So, there's not much to see anymore.

But, if you like romance novels, you can read about it !