Miles Frank Yount, oilman and civic leader, son of J. N. and Hattie Yount, was born at Monticello, Arkansas, on January 31, 1880. Yount left school at age fifteen and moved to Texas, where he worked in the oil and rice fields. He brought one of the first rotary drilling rigs ever seen along the Gulf Coast to the area and designed several special adaptations for the new machine. He formed the Yount Oil Company by 1913, which two years later became the Yount-Lee Oil Company. Certain that more oil lay below the dwindling Spindletop oilfield, Yount secured mineral rights to large tracts in the area. In 1925 his McFaddin No. 3 well struck oil at 2,800 feet, sparking a second Spindletop oil boom. He eventually acquired mineral rights in several of the Gulf Coast's major fields, including the High Island, Barbers Hill, Hull, and Sour Lake oilfields, as well as those at Hackberry and Liberty, Texas, and Crowley and Jennings, Louisiana. Yount built large tank farms, a terminal, and docks near Beaumont to ship his company's oil to destinations around the world. Yount married Pansy Merritt on September 15, 1915. The couple had one child. Although his own academic training had been limited, Yount had a keen interest in education and amassed a large personal library. He was a regent for the University of Texas. Other hobbies included collecting violins and horses. While Yount sought to avoid the public limelight, he made several generous gifts to Beaumont charities and at least once donated personal funds to help the city meet its payroll during the early days of the Great Depression. He also served on the city's port commission. He was a Presbyterian. Yount died in Beaumont on November 13, 1933, apparently of a heart attack. He was buried in Beaumont's Magnolia Cemetery. His Yount-Lee Oil Company was subsequently purchased by Stanolind Oil for over $41 million in 1935, then the third largest cash transaction in American business history.
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Joseph L. Clark, Texas Gulf Coast: Its History and Development (4 vols., New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1955). Judith Walker Linsley and Ellen Walker Rienstra, Beaumont: A Chronicle of Promise (Woodland Hills, California: Windsor, 1982).
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.
“Yount, Miles Frank,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 16, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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