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MOONSHINE HILL, TX

MOONSHINE HILL, TEXAS. Moonshine Hill was located on a section of the Humble oilfield two miles east of Humble in northeastern Harris County. In 1887 gas seepages were noted in the area by James Slaughter, who, with Houston jeweler S. A. Hart, drilled unsuccessfully several years later. In 1903 Houston retailer Charles F. Barrett took a lease on Moonshine Hill at a site near what is now Farm Road 1960. He began drilling in March 1904 and in May discovered oil. Next to start drilling were the Moonshine Oil Company of Walter Sharp, Ed Prather, and Howard R. Hughesqv; Staitti and Granberry Oil Company; and Higgins Oil Company, which brought in a gas well in 1904. The community was probably named for the Moonshine Air Jammer Company pumping station, near the first well in the field to produce enough oil for commercial purposes; this well was brought in on December 12, 1904. The first gusher blew in on January 9, 1905, giving rise to a tent community that came to be known as Moonshine Hill. By March 1905 thirty-one wells in the field were producing an estimated total of 87,775 barrels daily, and some 10,000 people resided at the townsite, where stores, hotels, boardinghouses, saloons, and livery stables were in operation. In 1905 the Humble field was the largest in Southeast Texas. By 1909 Moonshine Hill had six or eight saloons, three grocery stores, a dance hall, a meat market, a drugstore, a two-room school building, and a union church. At that time the community was larger than Humble.

The Moonshine Hill field had three booms. Production leveled off after 1905 and stayed at the rate of 2,000,000 barrels a month until 1914, when deeper drilling techniques produced a second boom, in which production doubled. Production declined to 200,000 barrels monthly in 1920, but a third boom came in 1929, when peak production reached 650,000 barrels a month. A branch of the Humble post office was established at Moonshine Hill on June 8, 1916, and discontinued in the 1930s, when the school and stores closed and people moved away in search of other oil booms. State highway maps in the 1980s showed only scattered dwellings at the townsite. The field remained in production, and in the 1980s produced small quantities of oil and gas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Frank J. Gardner, Oil and Gas Fields of the Texas Upper Gulf Coast (Houston: Petroleum News Corporation, 1952). History of the Humble, Texas, Area (Humble, Texas: James Tull Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1976). Houston Metropolitan Research Center Files, Houston Public Library. Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.

Diana J. Kleiner

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Diana J. Kleiner, "MOONSHINE HILL, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrmnl), accessed July 28, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.