Lyne “Tol” Barret had a novel idea for getting rich. In late 1865, he and some friends formed the Melrose Petroleum Oil Company, the first such enterprise in Texas. At the time, folks thought the big money was in land or cattle.
Their first well brought in about 10 gallons a day—not very much. Barret’s financial backers backed out, leaving him high and dry and the Texas oil industry years away.
Barret returned to his old mercantile business, but lived long enough to see his former field developed into a major money-maker in 1887.