Life and Death of an Oilman: The Career of E.W. Marland

Life and Death of an Oilman: The Career of E.W. Marland

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One of America’s most colorful oilmen was Ernest Whitworth Marland, a man who had much in common with other industrial giants of his age-- the Mellons, Rockefellers, the Morgans.

Moving to Ponca City, Oklahoma, from Pennsylvania shortly after the turn of the century, Marland quickly found oil on the lands of the Ponca and the Osage Indians.

E.W. Marland was a man of paradox--an advocate of unhampered oil exploration but also a champion of oil conservation, a man who lived in luxury but espoused the common causes of his idol, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

About the Author:

John Joseph Mathews, who died in 1979, was one of Oklahoma's genuinely gifted writers. He was the author of Wah' Kon-Tah: The Osage and the White Man's Road, a poetic description in prose of the spiritual life of the Indian, and a Book-of the-Month Club selection in 1932. His other books include Life and Death of an Oilman: The Career of E. W. Marland (1951), about the controversial governor of Oklahoma and the founder of the company  that later became known as Conoco, and The Osages: Children of the Middle Waters (1961), a narrative history of his tribe. Talking to the Moon was first published in 1945 and is reissued with a foreword by Elizabeth Mathews, his widow.

Mathews was the great-grandson of Old Bill Williams, a noted frontiersman, and was a mixed-blood Osage. For many years he served as a member of the Osage Tribal Council.

Educated at the University of Oklahoma in geology and at Merton College, Oxford, where he took his degree in natural sciences, Mathews was a fine American blend of scientist and poet, philosopher and producer, historian and storyteller, Indian and white.