Heywood, Alba (1859–1921)

By: Robert Wooster

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Alba Heywood, oil producer and land developer, son of Chester Wright and Clarissa Beancia (Bannister) Heywood, was born at Kingsville, Ohio, on April 9, 1859. He attended public schools and worked as a newsboy in Cleveland as a teenager. After a stint as a farm laborer, he became a canvassing agent and impersonator; he and his three brothers, Dewey, O. W., and W. Scott, eventually formed a vaudeville team and traveled throughout the country. The Heywood brothers acted quickly upon the discovery of the Spindletop oilfield to form the Heywood Brothers Oil Company, which acquired profitable oil leases at the field. With secure storage, pipelines, and markets, the Heywoods survived the depressed oil prices in the wake of the booms of the early 1900s. Expanding rapidly, the Heywood Company discovered oil at Jennings, Louisiana, in 1902. Alba was on Louisiana governor N. C. Blanchard's staff with the rank of lieutenant colonel from 1904 to 1908. He returned to Texas and helped develop a massive irrigation project in the Rio Grande valley that developed 55,000 acres and founded the city of San Benito. He served as president of the San Benito Land and Water Company, the Jennings-Heywood Oil Syndicate, and the San Benito Bank and Trust Company. In addition, he was secretary of the Jennings Oil Company and of Cameron County Water Improvement District Number Two. Heywood was married to Genevieve Stoy in 1892 and to Francis Turner on July 19, 1906. He was a Bryan Democrat and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He ultimately made his home at San Benito. He died on September 15, 1921.

James Anthony Clark and Michel T. Halbouty, Spindletop (New York: Random House, 1952). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.
  • Oil and Gas Industry
  • Oil Entrepreneurs and Wildcatters

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

Robert Wooster, “Heywood, Alba,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/heywood-alba.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995