Payday: The Dan Hughes Story

An autobiography of the late Dan Hughes, Texas oilman.

An autobiography of the late Dan Hughes, Texas oilman.


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By <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong>, Sr.<br />

and<br />

Garnette Bane

<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 1_Layout 1 2/17/2016 2:51 PM Page 2<br />

First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2016 <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong>, Sr.<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any<br />

form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,<br />

without permission in writing from the author.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-944891-02-2<br />

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 2016933748<br />

PAY DAY: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> <strong>Story</strong><br />

by <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong>, Sr., and Garnette Bane<br />

Printed by HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101<br />

San Antonio, Texas, 78254 • (800) 749-9790<br />

www.hpnbooks.com<br />


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Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4<br />

1929-1936: Early Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5<br />

1942-1946: High School Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14<br />

1948-1951: <strong>The</strong> College Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17<br />

1951: Monroe, Louisiana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30<br />

1951-1952: El Paso, Texas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32<br />

1952: Korea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38<br />

1953-1954: New Orleans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72<br />

1954: Beeville, Texas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76<br />

1954-1961: Union Producing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . 81<br />

1961-1969: Consulting Geologist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88<br />

1968: Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105<br />

South Texas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107<br />

English Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112<br />

Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118<br />

Texas Ranches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124<br />

An English Hotel and Canadian Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . 128<br />

Difficult Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131<br />

South America and Colombia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138<br />

Barnett Shale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142<br />

Korean Investors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144<br />

Fayetteville Shale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146<br />

Colombia Cara Cara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148<br />

Eagle Ford Shale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150<br />

Colombia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153<br />

Investors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154<br />

Moving Forward and Giving Back. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155<br />

Ranches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160<br />

Present Exploration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163<br />

Personal Reflections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> Family History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170<br />

<strong>The</strong> Family of Winnie Bell Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175<br />


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Water and oil may not mix, but the <strong>Hughes</strong> family of Texas has<br />

proved that blood and oil mix quite well.<br />

In fact, the <strong>Hughes</strong> family has established a legacy spanning more<br />

than eight decades, working within the oil and gas industry. It was<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> G. <strong>Hughes</strong> who pioneered the family heritage back in the 1920s<br />

while working at Magnolia Petroleum Company. <strong>The</strong> family’s<br />

livelihood today was born out of <strong>Dan</strong> G.’s hard work and<br />

perseverance during the early discoveries and harvesting of the<br />

natural resources.<br />

Texas has long held a reputation for being a petroleum-rich state;<br />

and, today, <strong>Dan</strong> G.’s heirs carry on his legacy in the technology-fueled<br />

renaissance, exploration and harvest of oil and natural gas, not only<br />

in Texas, but points far beyond.<br />

This book serves, not only as a history of the family and its success<br />

in the 20th and early 21st centuries, but as an instrument for<br />

education about the industry evolution. Contributing to that are the<br />

changes that have taken place in higher education with regard to the<br />

industry, including geology, exploration, mapping, discovery,<br />

investing, leasing, drilling, and extraction.<br />

It is the hope that this book will also serve as a roadmap for<br />

educators and young geologists alike, promoting their interest and<br />

growth in the ever-challenging industry. If it inspires even one young<br />

geologist then the <strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> family has made a vital contribution<br />

to the oil and gas business.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> G. and Winnie <strong>Hughes</strong> with grandmother Cordelia <strong>Hughes</strong> and <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley,<br />

age one month, 1929.<br />

1929-1936<br />


Oil was pumping through <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong>’ veins when he was born<br />

in 1929, attributed, perhaps, to his father’s job in the oil industry,<br />

strong work ethic, and the fact that <strong>Dan</strong>, and his identical twin<br />

brother, Dudley, were born in nearby Monroe, Louisiana, the same<br />

year as the Texas Oil Boom. That’s when wildcatters struck the East<br />

Texas field, opening a reservoir that has produced 5.5 billion barrels<br />

of oil to date, which was the largest strike at the time in the U.S.<br />

Because their birth coincided with that oil boom, an oil career<br />

seemed almost an omen—a good one.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is clear evidence that <strong>Dan</strong> Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong>, the boys’<br />

father, directly impacted their careers in the oil and gas industry by<br />

setting an example as a dedicated and conscientious worker—a man<br />

who embraced the work ethic. Employed by Magnolia Oil Company,<br />

he loved the relatively new business of laying natural gas pipelines to<br />


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connect the newly discovered giant Monroe Gas Field that has<br />

produced 7.3 trillion cubic feet of gas to date with various towns and<br />

markets in the southern area of the nation. (<strong>The</strong> pipeline division of<br />

that company later merged into United Gas Pipeline Company where<br />

he worked until his retirement.)<br />

With only an eighth grade education, he wanted more for his<br />

family and, to accomplish that, later obtained his high school<br />

diploma through a correspondence school. He and his own twin<br />

brother, Dudley M. <strong>Hughes</strong>, had quit school at an early age to help<br />

support the family when his father was killed during WWI.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> G.s’ sons wanted desperately to emulate their father. In<br />

retrospect, they have done just that. Growing up, <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley<br />

listened intently to the stories their father told about his work—the<br />

challenges—and the fun that he experienced working in the oil fields.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> G. realized that the wildcatters who discovered and produced the<br />

oil and natural gas to fill his pipelines were the true backbone of the<br />

petroleum industry and guided his sons in that direction. <strong>The</strong>y listened<br />

with wide-eyed anticipation; and, as they grew older, both knew they<br />

would find their respective niches in the oil and gas fraternity.<br />

For <strong>Dan</strong>, there was never a consideration of an alternative career.<br />

It was always the oil and gas industry. Though his means of acquiring<br />

his own success was vastly different from his father’s, he was willing<br />

to do whatever was required to chart his own course. He admits that<br />

acquiring the knowledge and respect required of the industry took<br />

a lot of hard work, determination, resilience, and education on his<br />

part. He did whatever was required; never losing sight of his goal.<br />

When the <strong>Hughes</strong> family, a family of simple means, moved from<br />

Monroe, Louisiana, to Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the 1930s, young<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> was mesmerized as his father expounded on the benefits of<br />

working in the oilfields, and dreamed of doing the same work that<br />

his father had found so fulfilling. For <strong>Dan</strong>, his career would become<br />

similar to a Horatio Alger story of growing up with little affluence;<br />

however, through formal education and being receptive to learning<br />

all aspects of the business, he has achieved his life’s dream and<br />

contributed much to the business that remains close to his heart.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> G. believed in strong values and worked hard to build a<br />


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Christian family unit. On weekends, the family piled into their T-<br />

Model Ford and went fishing on the bayou, using cane fishing poles<br />

to catch the family’s dinner. Picnics were held under the Spanish<br />

moss-covered-cypress trees along the water’s banks. <strong>The</strong>y crossed the<br />

waterways on crudely made ferry boats consisting of small barges with<br />

large ropes running from one side of the bayou to the other. Cars<br />

drove onto the ferries and the men “drivers” walked along the deck<br />

pulling the rope, directing and propelling the barge across the water.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y swam and played on the beach, keeping a watchful eye pealed<br />

for boats. During the drive to-and-from these family activities, <strong>Dan</strong><br />

G. often talked about his job to his captive audience.<br />

When <strong>Dan</strong> was about four years old, his father was promoted to<br />

pipeline foreman and transferred to Wichita Falls, Texas, where the<br />

family found a completely different climate than that of Louisiana. <strong>The</strong><br />

family originally lived in a rent house in the town and that was where<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s twin siblings June and Jane were born. His mother said that<br />

Magnolia Petroleum Junior Baseball team, 1925 Dallas City Champions.(Twin Brothers,<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong> (pictured 2nd from right in front row ) and Dudley M. <strong>Hughes</strong><br />

(center 2nd row), (age 18), father and uncle respectively of <strong>Dan</strong> Allen <strong>Hughes</strong> and Dudley<br />

J. <strong>Hughes</strong>.<br />


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Dudley (left) and <strong>Dan</strong> (right),.age three.<br />

when the boys were asked what to name the girl babies, <strong>Dan</strong> suggested<br />

that one be named “Pay” and the other be named “Day”. Instead, they<br />

were named Barbara Jane and Beverly June <strong>Hughes</strong>. To a six-year-old<br />

boy during the depression, everything seemed to revolve around pay<br />

day. <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley began first grade at Benjamin Franklin<br />

Elementary School, in Wichita Falls, two weeks after their sixth birthday.<br />

It was during the boys’ first year of school that the family moved<br />


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into a company house provided by United Gas Company (UGC). It<br />

was similar to many company camps built in oilfields for its employees<br />

during the Depression years. It was part of a larger compound<br />

comprised of a sizable fenced-in area containing an office, garage,<br />

warehouse, pipe yard, and a couple of company houses. While living<br />

there, a summer storm and tornado hit the area, destroying much of<br />

the company yard and the back half of the family’s home. <strong>Dan</strong> G. was<br />

so disturbed by the storm’s destruction that he went to his boss at UGC<br />

and requested a transfer to Louisiana out of the West Texas storm area.<br />

It wasn’t long, however, until the family moved in Texas to the<br />

Palestine area where <strong>Hughes</strong> became the district pipeline foreman<br />

for United Gas, and where the family spent the next 15 years. <strong>The</strong>re,<br />

they lived in a company house on top of a sandy hill in a large yard<br />

enclosed by a chain link fence. It was located about a mile east of the<br />

city limits and consisted of a house at one end, and a large garage,<br />

office, and pipe yard at the other. <strong>The</strong> UGC camp had electricity<br />

where as the surrounding farms did not. <strong>The</strong> first thing the boys’<br />

father did after moving in was to construct a concrete storm cellar<br />

to which the family retreated when there were strong thunderstorms.<br />

<strong>The</strong> yard was surrounded by forests. Young <strong>Dan</strong>’s love of hunting<br />

<strong>The</strong> first arc-welded Pipeline in Monroe Gas Field, c. 1927.<br />


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would later prove important in blending his hobby with work by<br />

entertaining and making oil deals with investors. As the children<br />

grew older, they spent much of their free time roaming and hunting<br />

in the nearby woods. <strong>The</strong> boys’ father had taught them to hunt and<br />

to respect the wilds and the animals that inhabited it.<br />

During the Great Depression, a large number of farms were<br />

repossessed by banks, and <strong>Dan</strong> G. considered himself lucky to have<br />

a permanent job at a time when many of his employees, and<br />

neighboring farmers had lost their farms and homes.<br />

School for the <strong>Hughes</strong> boys was similar to that of other youngsters<br />

in the area. <strong>The</strong>y either walked to school or rode the school bus six or<br />

so miles, to Swanson Hill School. Typical of other rural schools in that<br />

depression era, the building had no electricity, was lit at night by<br />

means of gasoline lanterns, by large windows during the day, and<br />

heated by wood-burning stoves in the winter. After school, the boys’<br />

early entrepreneurial spirit often prompted them to recycle scrap<br />

lumber, tools and other accessories from the pipe yard to build things,<br />

including a tree and club house. One summer they built a small<br />

building they referred to as their store. <strong>The</strong> two forward-thinking<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>, Jane, Dudley, and June <strong>Hughes</strong> in Wichita Falls, Texas, c. 1937.<br />


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youths purchased candy for a nickel a bag at a nearby country store,<br />

and after dividing it into smaller bags, resold it to neighborhood<br />

children, making a couple pennies on each bag. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> brothers<br />

had, through their own experience, discovered free enterprise.<br />

WWII imposed hardship on most families. Money was tight and<br />

entertainment, limited. Many evenings were spent at home listening<br />

to radio programs, news about the war, and serials such as Fibber<br />

McGee and Molly and <strong>The</strong> Lone Ranger.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> were strict Christians, belonging to the local Baptist<br />

church. <strong>The</strong>y taught their children the same values that they,<br />

themselves, possessed. Everyone was expected to be in church on<br />

Sunday, and attend Wednesday night prayer meetings. <strong>Dan</strong>’s strong<br />

Christian upbringing has served him well throughout life, and he<br />

attributes much of his success to his faith, and the Golden Rule of “Do<br />

Unto Others.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> boys’ father enjoyed hunting and, through him, his sons also<br />

acquired a fondness for the sport. As they grew older, their parents<br />

instilled a healthy respect for guns and taught them to properly handle<br />

them, when they gave each of them B-B guns (and later, a 22-caliber<br />

rifle) for hunting birds, squirrels, and rabbits near their home. Hunting<br />

birds and other wild game would become <strong>Dan</strong> A.’s second passion.<br />

Every summer, their public activities were limited because of the<br />

polio epidemic of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. Many parents restricted<br />

entertainment at public places because the source of the crippling virus<br />

had not been identified. Instead, the boys spent the summer months<br />

with relatives on their farms in Louisiana where they were expected to<br />

do farm work along with their cousins. <strong>Dan</strong> says that early taste of farm<br />

life further helped him develop an appreciation for the benefits of hard<br />

work. <strong>The</strong> farm workday began at 4:00 a.m. when the dairy opened and<br />

adults milked about 150 cows at that time. Too small to milk, they<br />

helped feed cottonseed hulls and bran to the cows. <strong>The</strong> same routine<br />

was undertaken in the evening; and the next day, they did it all over<br />

again. This showed <strong>Dan</strong> that there was no time off in the dairy business<br />

because each cow has to be milked twice a day, seven days a week. <strong>The</strong><br />

farm experience quickly solidified the fact that farm life wasn’t for him,<br />

and that he’d rather work in the oil and gas business.<br />


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Swanson Hill School, a Country School near Palestine, Texas. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> brothers were<br />

eight years old (<strong>Dan</strong> far left, front row, and Dudley, third from right, front row).<br />

<strong>The</strong> primary crop grown on the farm was cotton, which was picked<br />

by men and women in conditions that had not changed much from<br />

former slave days. <strong>The</strong> twins used cotton sacks and picked cotton along<br />

with the other laborers, and were paid one penny per pound. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

worked hard for hours and still only had about thirty pounds. Regular<br />

black laborers picked about 150 pounds during the same time. <strong>The</strong> boys<br />

couldn’t understand why the adults picked more cotton than they did.<br />

It was a lesson well learned about output, supply and demand—not to<br />

mention the hard work and dedication that was expected of them.<br />

<strong>The</strong> family traveled on weekends and during summers to Kilgore,<br />

Texas, about 60 miles from Palestine, where another aunt and uncle<br />

lived. <strong>The</strong> trips coincided with the early development of the giant East<br />

Texas Oil Patch in the midst of a tremendous drilling boom. Arriving<br />

after dark, the glow in the sky from thousands of flaring oil wells could<br />

be seen 40 miles away, brightening the horizon as if it were day. <strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

uncle was a mechanic for oil field engines in a business he owned and<br />

overhauled large engines. It was then, that the oil “bug” really began<br />

to nibble at <strong>Dan</strong>.<br />


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Although still quite young, the <strong>Hughes</strong> boys had experience in<br />

earning their own money whether from a make-believe candy store<br />

or as farmhands. Much of the work was tough, but at the end of the<br />

day, they liked the feeling and reaping the rewards of hard work.<br />

One of their last summers at Swanson Hill School, they landed<br />

weekend jobs delivering circulars for a finance company. <strong>The</strong>y worked<br />

about a year-and-a-half and earned enough to purchase bicycles for<br />

about $30 apiece. <strong>The</strong> bikes provided transportation until they were<br />

old enough to get their drivers’ licenses. Once they acquired licenses,<br />

they were allowed to drive the family car delivering telephone books.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y quickly learned life didn’t “just happen.” By working, they could<br />

make it happen!<br />

“I remember December 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed,”<br />

says <strong>Dan</strong>. “That Japanese mission killed so many of our servicemen and<br />

women, and changed the lives of all Americans over the next few years.<br />

Even as young as I was, I saw the change as the United States converted<br />

all of its industries to producing war products; and much of the nation’s<br />

food and goods were rationed. <strong>The</strong> items that affected my family the<br />

most were automobiles, tires, gasoline, meat, sugar, and cartridges and<br />

shotgun shells, which we used for hunting. My father was exempted<br />

from serving in the war because of his age and his job supplying natural<br />

gas. His job was considered essential to the war cause. <strong>The</strong> local home<br />

guard installed a large steamboat-type whistle on the pipeline behind<br />

our house, which was blown with high pressure natural gas instead of<br />

steam. This was a preparedness test for enemy aircraft had there been<br />

a real threat.to the nation’s safety,” says <strong>Dan</strong>.<br />

As he matured with the small jobs he had held throughout his<br />

youth, <strong>Dan</strong> landed a job the summer after Pearl Harbor in an<br />

automotive garage where he repaired vehicle bodies and replaced auto<br />

windows. He found it to be a laborious job as he hammered out<br />

crushed parts, filled in dents, and learned to spray paint. Still, he liked<br />

the rush that he felt from having done a day’s work for honest pay. “I<br />

felt this was important work because no new cars were being<br />

manufactured during the war. It was up to everyone to keep the old<br />

ones running,” he says. <strong>The</strong> job lasted all summer and was part time<br />

the following school year.<br />


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1942-1946<br />


Shortly afterward, in 1942, <strong>Dan</strong> entered the ninth grade at<br />

Palestine High School. <strong>The</strong> school curriculum had changed from an<br />

11-year term to a 12-year term and, as a result, his class skipped a<br />

grade. One of the United Gas field men drove <strong>Dan</strong> G’s company car<br />

to town each morning for the mail, and <strong>Dan</strong> and his siblings rode to<br />

school and back in the automobile. He earned relatively good grades<br />

and made friends at the new school. Weekends were spent with the<br />

church’s Boy Scout troop collecting junk steel, aluminum, and copper<br />

for the war effort. Other times, he joined his brother and other<br />

neighbor youth for two- or three-day campouts. <strong>The</strong> fish and game<br />

he caught during the campouts was welcomed by his family since<br />

meat of all kinds was heavily rationed.<br />

During the summer following his freshman year in high school, <strong>Dan</strong><br />

got his first opportunity to work in the oilfields. <strong>The</strong>ir father helped the<br />

boys acquire jobs with the company pipeline gang. <strong>The</strong> crew left the<br />

office each morning to do maintenance on hundreds of miles of natural<br />

gas pipelines in the East Texas area. Even though they were underage,<br />

management allowed the boys to be employed through a contractor<br />

that furnished heavy equipment to the company and work directly with<br />

the company men. <strong>The</strong>re was a labor shortage during the war, and the<br />

company was glad to get the additional help. It was an excellent job for<br />

a teenager, and <strong>Dan</strong> held the job all or part of each summer while in<br />

high school. He was intrigued by the job of repairing pipeline leaks,<br />

clearing rights-of-ways, mowing and cleaning meter stations, walking<br />

pipelines looking for leaks, digging ditches, laying small pipe with tongs,<br />

and other outdoor jobs. At that time a member of the work gang walked<br />

the pipelines every month, checking for leaks. <strong>The</strong> work gang detected<br />

problems when they noticed that gas had killed the grass in an area<br />

above the leak. Members of the crew were dropped off at intervals of 10<br />

to 15 miles where they walked the stretch of line making a note of any<br />

leaks. <strong>The</strong> gang later returned to the reported leaks, dug them up, and<br />

bolted a clamp around the pipe, squeezing a rubber plug into the hole,<br />


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thereby stopping the leak. It was some of the hardest work <strong>Dan</strong> had<br />

done up to that time, but he found it intriguing. <strong>The</strong> boys had fallen in<br />

love with the oil and gas industry following their first work in the oil<br />

fields alongside the older gang members.<br />

At the beginning of the boys’ sophomore year, their father<br />

encouraged them to go out for football practice, even though they<br />

were only 13 years old and smaller than the older players. <strong>The</strong>y were<br />

in good physical shape because of the pipeline work which enabled<br />

them to survive the rigorous schedule. <strong>The</strong> exhausting practice every<br />

day after school during football season helped <strong>Dan</strong> stay in great<br />

physical shape; and has served him well throughout his adult life.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley continued working with the local pipeline gang<br />

during the summers, which helped out with family expenses. During<br />

the summer between their sophomore and junior years, their father<br />

was given an assignment to supervise the construction of a 24-inch<br />

diameter gas pipeline that was being built from Carthage, Texas, to<br />

connect with United’s main pipeline system in Louisiana. When the<br />

twins turned 15 that summer, their father helped them acquire jobs<br />

as welders’ helpers with the contractor constructing the pipeline. <strong>Dan</strong><br />

recalls it as the “best paying,” but hardest job he ever did. It was<br />

extremely hot weather and brushing the hot welds in the humid river<br />

bottom was strenuous. Between each welded section, the welder drove<br />

High School Graduation 1946, <strong>Dan</strong>, Left, Dudley, Right<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 2_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:13 PM Page 16<br />

a bulldozer pulling a steel sled that contained all the heavy welding<br />

equipment. <strong>Dan</strong> walked beside the sled dragging the heavy welding<br />

cables. Rough cut log saplings were placed across marshes to hold the<br />

weight of the equipment and when the sled hit them, the logs rolled<br />

until the sled passed over them. During one such effort, <strong>Dan</strong> was<br />

walking near the front of the sled and suddenly found both legs caught<br />

by rolling logs. He felt himself being slowly crushed, and screamed to<br />

the welder who was driving the tractor, but the driver couldn’t hear<br />

him because of the noise. <strong>Dan</strong> began struggling and, by some miracle,<br />

was pulled from the log’s jaws. From then on, he followed behind the<br />

sled dragging the cables.<br />

While gasoline for automobiles was tightly rationed during the war,<br />

it was unrestricted for airplane use as there were few civilian planes. A<br />

friend of <strong>Dan</strong>’s, James Edward Fuller, took flying lessons and got his<br />

license when he was about 14 years old. His father owned a store with<br />

a butcher shop that proved to be a prolific business due to the meat<br />

shortage during the war. James’ father gave him money, which allowed<br />

unlimited use of the airplanes. <strong>Dan</strong> became hooked on flying when<br />

he flew with his buddy all over the area doing aerobatics and<br />

barnstorming. (At the time, there were no regulations or air control).<br />

Though James taught <strong>Dan</strong> to fly, <strong>Dan</strong> didn’t acquire a pilot’s license<br />

until much later. His friend often rented Piper Cubs, Taylor Crafts,<br />

Curtis biplanes, and PT-19s, a plywood low-wing trainer. <strong>Dan</strong> says that<br />

their flying at such a young age and without aeronautical guidelines<br />

was probably dangerous, but, it whetted his appetite to learn to fly.<br />

When he, Dudley, and James were seniors year in high school they flew<br />

to various colleges to scout out the campuses. Among the schools was<br />

Texas A&M where he hoped to enroll.<br />

In 1945 at 16, as <strong>Dan</strong> was graduating high school, Germany<br />

surrendered and there was an optimistic feeling throughout the<br />

country even though the nation was still at war with Japan. Following<br />

graduation, <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley, went back to work on their summer<br />

pipeline jobs. It was during that time that the United States surprised<br />

the world by dropping the atomic bomb on Japan, ending the war. <strong>The</strong><br />

war with Japan officially ended on August 14, 1946, <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley’s<br />

seventeenth birthday.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 17<br />

1946-1951<br />



After working with the pipeline crew during the summer of 1946,<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>, Dudley and several other Palestine High School graduates,<br />

enrolled at Kilgore Junior College for the fall semester. This began<br />

their formal education in the oil and gas industry which set the true<br />

course of their vocation. <strong>The</strong> twins enrolled in the School of<br />

Engineering with a major in petroleum, primarily because of their<br />

familiarity with the oil and gas wells and pipelines. Students lived in<br />

private homes within walking distance of campus as there were no<br />

dormitories. Area residents found it practical to rent rooms to<br />

students who attended the nearby college. <strong>Dan</strong> found the curriculum<br />

interesting; yet, it seemed more like a continuation of high school.<br />

He wasn’t as challenged as he thought he would be. <strong>The</strong> studies were<br />

basic freshman courses of English, math, and chemistry which could<br />

apply to several different majors.<br />

An uncle who lived near Kilgore offered <strong>Dan</strong> a job working in his<br />

garage repairing large oil field engines and trucks because of his past<br />

experience working in the automobile shop in Palestine. He worked<br />

after school in his spare time and on Saturdays. Dudley obtained a<br />

job painting oil derricks in Kilgore and worked there for several<br />

weeks. Eventually he quit because he considered the job too<br />

dangerous. <strong>Dan</strong>, however, continued working on the oilfield<br />

equipment. It was a means to an end to earn money that would one<br />

day enable him to fulfill his dream of acquiring an education and<br />

entering the petroleum industry.<br />

Back home in Palestine that summer, <strong>Dan</strong> and Bobby Dupree,<br />

resumed their summer jobs working on the pipelines for United<br />

Gas. “We worked hard all day and dated as much as we could at<br />

night. By then, Dad had given Dudley and <strong>Dan</strong> the old, 1937<br />

Chevy that had served the family well throughout the war years.”<br />

(After the war was over and the government shifted from military to<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 18<br />

other production, including automobiles, their father bought a new<br />

family auto.)<br />

About halfway through the summer, <strong>Dan</strong> G. moved the family to<br />

Dallas when he received a promotion as District Superintendent of<br />

the East Texas Division of United Gas. <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley remained in<br />

Palestine, though, obtaining room and board from the Dupree<br />

family. <strong>The</strong> three young men drove the old 1937 Chevrolet for those<br />

last few weeks of summer. This was the <strong>Hughes</strong> boys’ last summer in<br />

Palestine, and it was years before they returned to visit.<br />


<strong>The</strong> boys’ sisters and parents moved into a large company<br />

house located about two miles southwest of the Oak Cliff area of<br />

Dallas. Just before the fall semester began, the boys joined the family<br />

there. Once again, the family lived in provided housing within a<br />

fenced compound that also contained a large district office,<br />

compressor station, and four company houses with manicured<br />

lawns. Having completed a year of college, the twins transferred to<br />

North Texas Agricultural College (NTAC), now University of<br />

Texas-Arlington, and commuted to school via the family’s old car for<br />

the next year-and-half.<br />

NTAC was co-ed, but all eligible males were required to register for<br />

the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Even though the war<br />

was over, troops were still required to occupy Europe and Japan.<br />

ROTC was one way the U.S. ascertained it had plenty of trained<br />

officers should they be needed in an immediate conflict. <strong>The</strong>re were<br />

many veterans enrolling in colleges under the G.I. Bill at that time,<br />

but they were exempt from having to take additional military training.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and his brother carpooled with several veterans to school and<br />

back each day. Bill Writtenberry was one of those veterans. He had<br />

been in a combat engineering company on the front line as the Allies<br />

fought through France and Germany. Much of their commuting time<br />

was spent listening to the veterans’ war stories.<br />

Credits they had earned in the pre-engineering courses at Kilgore<br />

enabled <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley to easily pursue their major in petroleum<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> in ROTC Uniform while at North<br />

Texas Agricultural College (now University<br />

of Texas at Arlington), 1947.<br />

engineering. <strong>The</strong>y carried a heavy<br />

schedule consisting primarily of<br />

math subjects, chemistry, physics,<br />

and related science courses. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

found the curriculum to be more<br />

difficult than at Kilgore. As a<br />

result, about half-way through the<br />

semester they dropped two of the<br />

courses and made them up the<br />

following term. Although <strong>Dan</strong><br />

flunked one course, he improved<br />

his grades and earned a high score<br />

in the same subject the following<br />

semester. He credits NTAC with<br />

teaching him the importance of<br />

taking notes and studying hard.<br />

<strong>The</strong> young men remained<br />

industrious when they weren’t<br />

attending class. With an abundance of surplus war material in salvage<br />

yards, including old aluminum cowlings from bomber engines, the<br />

two turned to recycling for their own benefit. Using the scrap<br />

material, they, once again, drew upon their work ethic and<br />

fascination of building things. <strong>The</strong> result was building a large canoe<br />

and trailer to transport the vessel to-and-from shore. A friend owned<br />

a Model “A” Ford that they used to pull the boat trailer. <strong>The</strong>re was a<br />

relatively large man-made lake about a mile from their house that<br />

furnished cooling water to an electric generating station. With<br />

this canoe, they continued their love of fishing and duck hunting.<br />

While not as productive as the lakes and rivers in Palestine, they<br />

enjoyed the fruits of their labor and the game they were fond of<br />

hunting or catching.<br />

On holidays, they used the trailer to transport the canoe to the Big<br />

Thicket; a remote river bottom located about 40 miles southeast of<br />

Palestine on the Neches River. <strong>The</strong>y camped out for days at a time<br />

enjoying the outdoors and hunting and fishing. While <strong>Dan</strong> found<br />

Dallas a great city with a lot fun activities, he always felt the lure of<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 20<br />

Fishing on Mountain Creek Lake in southwest Dallas, Texas, 1947 in a canoe built by the<br />

boys out of surplus aircraft aluminum engine cowlings. Shown is Dudley, front, <strong>Dan</strong>, rear<br />

and Noble who had the trailer which was used to transport the canoe.<br />

the great outdoors and all that it had to offer. Even as a youth and<br />

later, a young man, he could not deny the pull he felt to the earth.<br />

As the second semester of college began, the petroleum<br />

engineering curriculum included a class in general geology. That<br />

course, probably more than any other, proved to be the most<br />

interesting subject <strong>Dan</strong> had ever taken. Professor Jack Boone made<br />

the course so interesting that, right away, <strong>Dan</strong> knew he would make<br />

it his life’s profession. As identical twins, Dudley felt the same<br />

inspiration; and, both changed their college major to geology.<br />

Fortunately, all the hours they had earned in the engineering major<br />

were transferred to the geology major as it was also part of the School<br />

of Science. <strong>The</strong>y found the geology courses so inspirational that they<br />

acquired a fresh enthusiasm for their college years, making the<br />

course work much easier.<br />


As their first spring semester ended at NTAC, <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley<br />

acquired summer jobs with Magnolia Petroleum Company (now<br />

Mobil Oil) working in the oil field. <strong>Dan</strong> was assigned to the Magnolia<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 21<br />

Field office in Healdton, Oklahoma, and Dudley went to<br />

Burkburnett, Texas. Both locations were, at that time, actively drilling<br />

oil wells. This proved to be the most stimulating and interesting<br />

work, and <strong>Dan</strong> admits to falling in love with Healdton and the oil<br />

fields. Magnolia had several drilling rigs operating, developing a<br />

5,500-foot oil reservoir in an old giant shallow field near Healdton.<br />

That summer, he worked as an assistant to a chemical engineer<br />

named J. C. (Buddy) Cain, a Navy war veteran who had received his<br />

degree before entering the military. One of <strong>Dan</strong>’s main jobs was<br />

collecting samples of the casing head gas from the new oil wells.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, it was tested in the field lab to determine the amount of liquids<br />

that could be extracted from the natural gas in an absorption plant.<br />

He also ran various tests at an old absorption plant in the area that<br />

operated on the gas from hundreds of old oil wells and the pipelines<br />

bringing gas to the plant. It was satisfying work and the pay was good,<br />

with <strong>Dan</strong> averaging a savings of about $800 during the summer<br />

months, even after paying room and board. In fact, $800 paid most<br />

of his room, board, and tuition for an entire year when he later<br />

transfered to Texas A&M. (His brother did not fare as well and quit<br />

his job after two weeks, returning to Dallas and United Gas.)<br />

Prior to returning to school for the fall semester, <strong>Dan</strong>, Dudley,<br />

and Ronald <strong>Hughes</strong>, a cousin, were given permission to use the<br />

family car to drive through west Texas and New Mexico. It was the<br />

first time <strong>Dan</strong> had ever seen the majestic rugged mountains and<br />

deserts of that area. <strong>The</strong>y traveled from El Paso to Ruidoso,<br />

absorbing all of the interesting sights in between, such as Carlsbad<br />

Caverns, White Sands, and Guadalupe Peak. <strong>The</strong> area would<br />

eventually prove to be an important part of his life in the military,<br />

ranching, and business.<br />

In Dallas again, the twins continued commuting to NTAC and<br />

became deeply involved in geological studies and all of the required<br />

associated subjects. With having learned how to study the previous<br />

year, <strong>Dan</strong> earned good grades in most courses.<br />

While WWII was over, other events around the world were heating<br />

up; and, the military began putting pressure on <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley to<br />

become more active in their campus ROTC training and to make<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 22<br />

sure their grades were high in order to avoid the draft. A friend, Dee<br />

White, a geology major from Mount Carmel, Illinois, was also from<br />

a family in the oil business. Dee had attended Texas A&M previously,<br />

but after flunking out, had enrolled in NTAC to improve his grades.<br />

<strong>The</strong> previous summer, he had mapped out a geological structure on<br />

coal outcrops near Mount Carmel, and his father had drilled it<br />

discovering a nice shallow oil field. He was driving a new Hudson,<br />

which was popular after the war, and that enhanced <strong>Dan</strong>’s desire to<br />

find his own oil fields.<br />


<strong>The</strong> brothers enrolled at Texas A&M College for the spring<br />

semester in the School of Geology, and were assigned to an<br />

engineering company in the Corps of Cadets because of their<br />

previous petroleum major. <strong>The</strong>re was a cold snow and ice storm<br />

the day they left for College Station, so that forced them to travel<br />

by train, rather than automobile, along with many other Aggies.<br />

Dee White also traveled by train due to the icy roads, and<br />

introduced <strong>Dan</strong> to the local beer hall the first night, which is the first<br />

time he had drunk any volume of beer. <strong>The</strong> next day, they managed<br />

to enroll, were issued uniforms, and assigned to their military<br />

company dorm.<br />

That year, due to the extreme hazing that had developed in the<br />

cadet corps, the entire freshman class was moved to Bryan Air Field<br />

off campus. All freshman classes were held at that location. Any<br />

student transferring to Texas A&M was required to serve one semester<br />

as a freshman in the cadet corps before advancing to the class equal<br />

to his grades. By the same token, individuals in advanced classes were<br />

required to live on campus. <strong>The</strong>re were only 18 freshmen on the<br />

campus that year, along with 5,000 upper classmen, all of whom<br />

wanted to “shape up” the few frogs (freshman). <strong>The</strong> corps fell out,<br />

formed ranks, and had a lengthy inspection and harassment period<br />

prior to marching to the mess hall for meals. <strong>The</strong> campus freshmen<br />

were under constant pressure except when in class, and after the<br />

evening mess when they were confined to their rooms to study.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 23<br />

Freshmen were not allowed to leave the college for the first six weeks,<br />

and during that period, about a third of the campus freshman<br />

dropped out. <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley were roommates and knew they would<br />

make the grade because they had no other place to go.<br />

During the first semester, <strong>Dan</strong> completed the basic subjects of<br />

physics, chemistry, and various math subjects required in both<br />

engineering and geology. He made relatively good grades thanks,<br />

somewhat, to the nightly study period that the corps required of<br />

freshman. In the latter part of the term, after they were allowed to<br />

leave on weekends, <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley often hitchhiked to Dallas on<br />

Friday and back to campus on Sunday. <strong>The</strong> Aggies had a hitchhiking<br />

line on the highway that ran through the college with one cadet<br />

thumbing the motorist and all students sitting in line beside the road.<br />

As the autos stopped and declared their destination, the cadets next<br />

in line for that city climbed into the car, introducing themselves. Very<br />

seldom did the two have to wait more than 30 minutes before being<br />

on their way to Dallas. During their travels, they met many interesting<br />

people, some of whom were in the oil and gas industry. That gave<br />

them the opportunity to discuss the business at length. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

questioned the drivers about locations and oil discoveries—even<br />

where they thought favorable oil leases might be located.<br />

At the completion of the school term, <strong>Dan</strong> immediately returned<br />

to Healdton, Oklahoma and his old job with Magnolia Petroleum<br />

Company. That year, his boss assigned him to the roustabout crew to<br />

which he reported each morning along with three other college<br />

students, one regular employee about his age, and an older crew<br />

foreman. <strong>The</strong>y left the office early each morning with brown bag<br />

lunches and worked hard in the fields digging ditches, laying<br />

pipelines, and completing other general maintenance tasks. His<br />

principal job was laying two- and three-inch pipe with tongs,<br />

connecting the casing head gas from the new wells to the gas plant.<br />

Many of the wells were the ones that he and Buddy Cain had tested<br />

for gas analysis the previous summer. It was hard labor; but, <strong>Dan</strong><br />

never shied away from demanding work—or, his dream! In fact, he<br />

was quickly becoming accustomed to the hard work and felt he was<br />

getting close to realizing that dream.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/26/2016 11:34 AM Page 24<br />

Through the influence of<br />

their father, Dudley got a job<br />

working in the geological<br />

department of Union Producing<br />

Company (United Gas Co.) in its<br />

main office in Shreveport,<br />

Louisiana, that summer. He<br />

worked with the geological group<br />

in the main office and was able to<br />

see how geological prospects<br />

were developed and carried<br />

through to the drilling stage. <strong>The</strong><br />

geologist helped him draw a map<br />

of the Camp Hill Salt Dome<br />

located under the Swanson Hill<br />

School that they had attended in<br />

Palestine. With preliminary<br />

exposure, they worked in their<br />

spare time trying to promote oil<br />

wells during their next two years<br />

in college, with some success, but no commercial production. This<br />

exposure to the practical side of oil exploration greatly increased<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s interest in the subject and made his remaining two years of<br />

college a pleasure because it primarily focused on geology.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir junior and senior years, the geology class had about 25<br />

students. Texas A&M was a small college at that time, having a total<br />

enrollment of about 6,500 students. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> boys became<br />

good friends with their professors, and one who became an<br />

exceptionally close friend and lifetime acquaintance was<br />

Fred E. Smith. Fred taught paleontology and the geology of<br />

Texas primarily, having worked as a petroleum geologist for<br />

Humble (Exxon) in Texas and Louisiana. He, and his wife<br />

Odette, had no children, so he was like a second father to<br />

many students. He led the geology students on weekend field<br />

trips, mostly to the Texas Hill country around Austin and San<br />

Antonio, and sometimes to the folded belts of Oklahoma. <strong>The</strong><br />

24<br />

Professor Fred Smith, Texas A&M<br />

University, who led geology students on<br />

many weekend field trips.

<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/26/2016 11:34 AM Page 25<br />

college furnished transportation and those who participated had<br />

only to pay for shared motel rooms and food. <strong>The</strong>se were great<br />

experiences and <strong>Dan</strong> learned a lot about rocks that one could not<br />

acquire from textbooks. <strong>The</strong> trips would later prove valuable to him<br />

in his nearly 70-year oil career.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley began their junior year as full pledge juniors in<br />

the Corps, but having transferred in, knew that they would never<br />

attain a high military rank. <strong>The</strong> higher ranks were reserved for<br />

students who had been at the college from their freshman year. <strong>The</strong><br />

two brothers roomed together and continued going to Dallas on<br />

weekends. <strong>The</strong> junior curriculum consisted primarily of geology<br />

courses and labs, providing hands-on knowledge and experience—<br />

something they both enjoyed. <strong>The</strong>y participated in various college<br />

activities, attended football games, and began to thoroughly enjoy<br />

college. <strong>Dan</strong> spent his free time in the geology department and on<br />

weekend field trips with Professor Smith.<br />

One of the required courses for a geology degree was a six-week<br />

summer field camp, the first part of which took place in the central<br />

mineral region of Texas from a headquarters at Brady, Texas; and a<br />

second phase in the Big Bend Park operating from Alpine, Texas.<br />

Dudley went on the trip the first six weeks while <strong>Dan</strong> returned to<br />

Healdton, Oklahoma, to work with Magnolia. <strong>Dan</strong> had a great<br />

summer working with his college pals, but left in the middle of the<br />

summer to complete the geology camp.<br />

Headquarters for the summer geology camp were located on an<br />

abandoned WWII airfield in which the old barracks were used as<br />

dormitories with a central mess hall within the fenced airbase<br />

enclosure. A&M students shared it with some University of Texas<br />

geology students, but each college conducted its own classes and field<br />

work independent from the other school. <strong>The</strong> camp proved to be an<br />

interesting experience and was also fun. <strong>The</strong> team left early each<br />

morning in college vans and spent the day studying and mapping<br />

rock formations in about a 30-mile radius, returning at nighttime.<br />

Much of the mapping was done on a surveying plane table on which<br />

one member of a party shot elevations and plotted them on a chart.<br />

<strong>The</strong> other two members of the team carried surveying rods and<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 26<br />

followed rock outcrops for the plane table member to sight. When<br />

all of the data was collected in an area, the points were contoured,<br />

thereby resulting in a geological structure map. This was the first<br />

method that early geologists used in finding structural traps to drill<br />

and find oil. <strong>The</strong> method is still being used in the twenty-first century<br />

in areas where there are distinct outcrops such as the Rocky<br />

Mountains. <strong>The</strong> remainder of the nights were spent working on the<br />

data collected during the day. Professor Jack Boone was in charge of<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s section that summer, and was the individual who taught him<br />

his first geology class at NTAC. Boone had taken a temporary<br />

assignment to teach the A&M field camp and the two enjoyed<br />

renewing their old friendship.<br />

For the last part of the summer camp, the group moved to Alpine,<br />

Texas, to study and map the rugged terrain of the Big Bend of Texas<br />

and Big Bend National Park. <strong>The</strong> trip to this area instilled <strong>Dan</strong>’s desire<br />

to own a West Texas ranch, several of which he acquired later in life.<br />

In the fall of 1950, <strong>Dan</strong> began his fifth year in college as a senior<br />

in the Cadet Corps with the senior boots, uniform, and all of the<br />

privileges attributed to the rank. He and Dudley were assigned to a<br />

senior company, so designated because it was comprised only of<br />

graduating seniors that had no high rank in the command of the<br />

Cadet Corps. Nearly all of his studies were different phases of<br />

geology, some of which were graduate courses. He was active in the<br />

campus Geological Society and elected vice president his senior year.<br />

On weekends, <strong>Dan</strong> visited family in Dallas and worked with local<br />

oil promoters on oil deals in the North Texas area, where he<br />

managed to secure a small interest in a shallow well drilled on U. S.<br />

Sen. Sam Rayburn’s land. He saw it as a great experience for a young<br />

novice—but was disappointed when it turned out to be a dry hole.<br />

Because the oil business was booming, <strong>The</strong> Geological Society was<br />

quite active, acquiring many experienced speakers who were<br />

independent oil operators and other industry executives. As vice<br />

president of the organization, along with some professors, <strong>Dan</strong> was<br />

expected to take guest speakers to dinner prior to meetings which,<br />

as it turned out, enabled him to meet a number of interesting<br />

professionals and opened doors for him once he began his career.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 27<br />

Summer Geology Camp headquartered in Brady and Alpine, Texas, 1949.<br />

One of the more outstanding speakers was Mike Halbouty, a<br />

successful young independent who inspired young geologists in<br />

the organization. Having graduated in the class of 1930, he<br />

made several trips a year giving talks on salt domes and other<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 3_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:34 PM Page 28<br />

interesting geological developments of the day. (<strong>Dan</strong> has<br />

remained friends with him for more than 50 years; and in 1997, he<br />

awarded <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley the Texas A&M Geosciences and Earth<br />

Resources Distinguished Achievement Medal at the college<br />

graduation ceremonies.)<br />

All graduating seniors qualified for and joined the American<br />

Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) that year. <strong>The</strong> AAPG<br />

held its annual convention in St. Louis that spring and Union<br />

Producing Company offered to take two geology students and its<br />

geologist to the convention on the company airplane. <strong>Dan</strong> and Skip<br />

Mills were elected to go because they were the president and vice<br />

president. It was the first large northern city <strong>Dan</strong> had ever visited and<br />

he arrived in style, attending all the sessions in his senior cadet<br />

uniform including Aggie boots.<br />

In the last semester of college, each student was required to write<br />

a thesis on a geological subject of their choosing, and read the paper<br />

aloud to the school Geological Society. <strong>The</strong> student having the best<br />

paper was invited to present it before the Houston Geological Society.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s paper was written about the San Juan Basin of New Mexico in<br />

which he emphasized the great oil and gas potential of that region,<br />

capturing first place in the contest. Because of his southern accent,<br />

however, <strong>Dan</strong>’s professors thought it best that the second place<br />

winner deliver his paper orally to the organization. That turned out<br />

well because it prompted <strong>Dan</strong> to hone his professional speaking voice.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> made his first attempt to complete an oil deal during his<br />

senior year. George Crocker, one of his geological classmates, lived<br />

in Pleasanton, Texas, where an oil play was being developed.<br />

Excellent shallow oil wells were being made in the Carrizo Sand at<br />

about 3,000 feet deep. In studying the area, <strong>Dan</strong> and George realized<br />

that faults, trapping old deeper Edwards’ production, were being<br />

projected up to the Carrizo formation. This formed an oil trap in<br />

the Carrizo, south of the deeper wells. <strong>The</strong>y found one of the old<br />

fields that had not been tested in the Carrizo. <strong>Dan</strong>, George, and<br />

Dudley drove to Corpus Christi during a school break and requested<br />

a farm out from Tidewater Oil Co. who held leases on the prospect.<br />

Sutton Drilling Co. from Pleasanton agreed to drill the well<br />


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contingent on whether or not they could acquire the leases.<br />

Charlie Brocato, the Tidewater geologist for the area, was<br />

amused that college boys would attempt such a feat. <strong>The</strong> acreage,<br />

however, was farmed-out to an older, established independent<br />

and a well was drilled that discovered a new Carrizo oil field.<br />

This was an exciting time for <strong>Dan</strong> and his brother, and by the time<br />

they graduated, they couldn’t wait to begin their careers in the<br />

geological profession.<br />

Graduation ceremonies were held in the spring with <strong>Dan</strong> and<br />

Dudley’s degrees contingent upon their completion of summer<br />

military camp. <strong>The</strong> military training was usually taken between<br />

the junior and senior years, but was postponed for geologists due<br />

to the compulsory geology summer camp at the time. With five<br />

years of college under his belt, and a Bachelor of Science degree<br />

in geology, <strong>Dan</strong> was finally on his way to doing the work he had<br />

always envisioned.<br />

After a few days rest in Dallas, <strong>Dan</strong> and his brother went to El Paso,<br />

Texas, and checked into Fort Bliss to complete additional military<br />

training after which they were to receive their second lieutenant<br />

commission in the Antiaircraft Artillery. <strong>The</strong> training was similar to<br />

an army boot camp with a great deal of time spent on the firing<br />

range. <strong>The</strong>re, they fired everything from rifles to quad-50-caliber<br />

machine guns to 40-mm cannons and 90-mm high-altitude<br />

antiaircraft guns. After about six weeks they completed the course<br />

and received their officer’s commissions and official diplomas from<br />

Texas A&M University.<br />


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1951<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> was glad to be out of school and ready to plunge into the<br />

world of geology. Union Producing Company, the exploration and<br />

production subsidiary of United Gas Corporation, offered the<br />

brothers jobs as geological oil scouts, which was its training program<br />

for geologists. Union Producing’s headquarters were located in<br />

Shreveport with district offices throughout the oil and gas producing<br />

areas of the coastal states. <strong>Dan</strong> was assigned to the Monroe,<br />

Louisiana, district office and Dudley to the Beeville, Texas, office.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> loaded his few possessions from his Dallas home into a newly<br />

purchased car (the first he had ever owned), drove to Monroe, and<br />

reported to district geologist, Morris (Pete) Peterson. It was a small<br />

office and he and Pete comprised the geological department;<br />

although there was a land man, draftsman, and two secretaries on<br />

staff. Most all young, single men lived in boarding houses, but before<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> located one, he received a lucky break. <strong>The</strong> district land man<br />

had a widowed friend who was visiting in Europe. She had a large,<br />

plantation-type house on the bayou at the edge of town, and wanted<br />

someone to live in it while she was gone. For a low rental payment,<br />

he was able to live in the mansion for his entire stay, considering it<br />

the grandest home in which he had ever lived.<br />

Practically no homes were air conditioned, but his bedroom was<br />

a screened in porch on the second floor behind the large colonial<br />

columns overlooking the water. <strong>The</strong>re was a large ceiling fan over<br />

the bed making sleeping comfortable. All meals were eaten in<br />

restaurants, which was fine with him because he traveled frequently<br />

and was on an expense account.<br />

<strong>The</strong> old Monroe Gas Field was located around the city covering<br />

many square miles and produced from a limestone reef at a depth<br />

of about 3,000 feet. <strong>The</strong> field had already produced several trillion<br />

feet of gas and was still a strong producer. This large gas reserve was<br />

one factor that contributed to the formation of United Gas, a<br />

company that developed its business by building pipelines and<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 4_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:35 PM Page 31<br />

delivering natural gas to the towns and markets in the area. Shortly<br />

after <strong>Dan</strong>’s arrival, the company began drilling three new wells in<br />

the old field, and it was his first well site operation with the company.<br />

<strong>The</strong> wells were drilled with an antique steam rig called a “steam<br />

jenny” on which all of the engines were powered by steam supplied<br />

by a large boiler. <strong>The</strong> boiler, although inefficient, was fired by natural<br />

gas supplied from the lease at no cost to the drilling contractor and<br />

made the operation economical. <strong>The</strong> wells proved to be good gas<br />

wells and pipe was sent to each of the three wells for the pipeline<br />

crew to tie the wells into the main gas line. On one of the three wells,<br />

the crew found that they lacked a half-mile of pipe to reach the<br />

main line, and it was determined that the civil engineers had staked<br />

the well on the wrong lease. As luck had it, Union Producing<br />

happened to own the lease where it was drilled, so the company still<br />

owned the well, even though it was on the wrong lease from the<br />

original location.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company also drilled a well trying to extend the Delhi Field<br />

which was one of the early large oil fields discovered in North<br />

Louisiana. Because <strong>Dan</strong> was inexperienced, the company sent S. A.<br />

Womack, a senior geologist from Shreveport, over to sit on (manage)<br />

the well. <strong>Dan</strong> stayed on the location with him several days taking<br />

cores. <strong>The</strong> well was dry, but educational; nevertheless, <strong>Dan</strong> knew he<br />

had chosen the right profession.<br />

Things went well for three months after <strong>Dan</strong>’s arrival in Monroe,<br />

until he received orders to report to Fort Bliss for two years of<br />

obligatory military service. He drove to El Paso and checked in at<br />

Fort Bliss headquarters.<br />


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1951-1952<br />


Fort Bliss was primarily a training base for antiaircraft artillery<br />

and was headquarters for that branch of the armed forces. <strong>The</strong><br />

location was ideal as there were hundreds of thousands of vacant<br />

desert acres rimmed by rugged, bare mountains north of the fort<br />

that was used for firing ranges for the antiaircraft weapons, including<br />

the long range guns.<br />

Upon arriving, he reported for duty at headquarters, and was<br />

given a room in the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters (BOQ). He was<br />

assigned to officers’ training school to supplement the four years of<br />

military training he had received in college. <strong>The</strong> school was a<br />

concentrated course in all phases of military training pertaining to<br />

antiaircraft artillery, plus other basic subjects. During the breaks<br />

between classes, he often stood on the open veranda outside the<br />

classroom and, observed the mountains, and was amazed at how<br />

clear the brisk, fall desert air was between the building and the<br />

nearby mountains, wondering if gas or oil lay beneath the surface.<br />

Time would tell.<br />

After completing the initial three months Officers’ Training<br />

School, he was assigned to a battery in the Replacement Training<br />

Center at Fort Bliss as a platoon officer with the rank of second<br />

lieutenant. <strong>The</strong> captain commanding the battery was a Korean<br />

veteran, but the other junior officers were also fresh from college.<br />

<strong>The</strong> majority of the junior officers in his battery and BOQ were from<br />

Brigham Young University in Utah, <strong>The</strong> Citadel in South Carolina,<br />

and Texas A&M. <strong>The</strong>y worked hard all day and played just as hard at<br />

night when they were off duty.<br />

<strong>The</strong> battery received a new group of 250 troops for advanced<br />

training on rifles, machine guns, and antiaircraft guns, both light<br />

and heavy, every six weeks. <strong>Dan</strong> was responsible for leading the men<br />

through a training schedule beginning with classroom, followed by<br />

rifle range firing. Advanced training began later, including long<br />

marches through the desert and bivouacking for days at a time.<br />


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<strong>The</strong>re were extremes of weather including burning heat, cold windy<br />

nights, and terrific sandstorms.<br />

During one of the training periods, the men were firing 90-mm<br />

antiaircraft guns at high altitude targets towed by a plane at about<br />

15,000 feet altitude with high explosive shells on timers. <strong>The</strong> shells<br />

were about three feet long and the timers were set automatically just<br />

before being fired. <strong>The</strong> timer delayed the fuse until the projectile<br />

reached the 15,000-foot level where it exploded sending shrapnel in<br />

all directions, hoping to hit the target. Two men fed the shells into<br />

the gun and a good crew could get as many as 25 projectiles into the<br />

air before the first one exploded. An A&M classmate, Lt. Barnes, was<br />

commanding the gun adjacent to <strong>Dan</strong>’s, when one of his loaders<br />

accidentally let the recoil of the large gun barrel strike the nose of<br />

the shell he was holding, knocking it to the ground. <strong>The</strong> shell began<br />

smoking and sputtering. Barnes reacted quickly, picking up the shell,<br />

ramming it into the gun chamber and firing it. <strong>The</strong> projectile<br />

traveled only about 2,000 feet and exploded, but was far enough away<br />

to keep from injuring any of troops.<br />

Another time, <strong>Dan</strong>’s battery was on bivouac on a firing range<br />

called Ora Grande. <strong>The</strong>re was a small mountain in the range on<br />

which they could see an old mine tunnel near the top of the peak<br />

about a half-mile from camp. He and some other officers decided to<br />

hike up to the mine after the firing exercise was finished for the day.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y climbed to the tunnel and began exploring the horizontal shaft<br />

with only a flashlight. <strong>The</strong>y found the tunnel interesting, being<br />

several hundred feet long with many mineral deposits on its walls,<br />

and exiting on the other side of the mountain. When they started<br />

back to camp, it was almost dark and their flashlight batteries were<br />

dead. After having gone about 100 feet, one of the men stepped on<br />

a rattlesnake causing it to buzz loudly. <strong>The</strong>y all jumped and, in panic,<br />

began running down the mountain. About every hundred yards<br />

someone stepped on another snake in the dark and the group<br />

panicked even more, running, and stumbling and falling down the<br />

incline. After stepping on numerous snakes, they arrived back at<br />

camp and found that no one was bitten, thanks to the Army-issue<br />

combat boots.<br />


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At the officers’ club one night, <strong>Dan</strong> was introduced to a girl whose<br />

father was a dentist in El Paso. In addition, the man also invested in<br />

gold mines and other projects in Mexico. He was interested in<br />

geology, and he and <strong>Dan</strong> seemed to have a lot in common, talking<br />

for hours on that subject. His daughter and <strong>Dan</strong> were inseparable<br />

and spent holidays exploring the mountains, taking field trips into<br />

the desert to see fresh lava flows, and picnicking at White Sands. Due<br />

to religious differences and her mother’s opposition, the friendship<br />

was eventually curtailed.<br />

In order to give the troops more uniform training on small arms,<br />

the commanding officer organized an instruction team to teach the<br />

M-1 rifle and the M-2 carbine and put <strong>Dan</strong> in charge. Assisting <strong>Dan</strong><br />

was a team of several non-commissioned officers who were<br />

considered to be experts on the weapons. <strong>The</strong> other training<br />

batteries marched their troops to an open space where he gave each<br />

group instructions on assembling, disassembling, cleaning and<br />

aiming weapons. His crew circulated among the men and assisted<br />

them in following instructions. Later, they took the group to the<br />

firing ranges where the 250 men fired live ammunition under a<br />

prescribed training program.<br />

<strong>The</strong> best thing about the assignment was that <strong>Dan</strong> and his crew<br />

had only to report for duty to the instruction field or firing range<br />

when they had a group to instruct. <strong>The</strong>y received a schedule at the<br />

first of each month designating the days they were to give instruction<br />

and were free the rest of the time. This allowed <strong>Dan</strong> to have threeto-four<br />

days off; and in his spare time, began studying the geology of<br />

the area and the oil wells drilling that were within driving distance<br />

of Fort Bliss. <strong>The</strong> El Paso Newspaper published an oil column in its<br />

Sunday newspaper in which the oil activity in West Texas and New<br />

Mexico was reported, giving new locations and discoveries.<br />

One Sunday, he read about an oil well being completed about six<br />

miles north of Carlsbad, New Mexico, that was making 70 barrels of<br />

oil per day at a depth of 560 feet. <strong>The</strong> well had been drilled by an<br />

independent oil operator named George D. Riggs and was on a<br />

federal lease. Having time off, he drove to Carlsbad the next day,<br />

located the well which was still testing, and met Mr. Riggs. This<br />


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proved to be one of the most fortunate acquaintances that <strong>Dan</strong> ever<br />

established and the two remained friends for the rest of Mr. Riggs’<br />

life. George was an old geologist who was sent to Carlsbad by a major<br />

company doing surface geology and magnetometer surveys. He<br />

became an independent, teamed up with a landman named Russell,<br />

and together they leased thousands of acres of federal land along<br />

favorable oil trends in southeastern New Mexico. <strong>The</strong> leases could<br />

be filed on for 50-cents per acre for a term of 10 years. As larger<br />

petroleum companies began exploring the area, the leases would be<br />

sold for a much higher price plus an overriding royalty.<br />

<strong>The</strong> El Capitan Permian Reef outcrops in Texas just south of New<br />

Mexico and forms the highest mountain peak in Texas. From there,<br />

it dips gradually to the northeast until it goes underground near the<br />

city of Carlsbad, and continues to get deeper to the northeast.<br />

George Riggs had mapped a small surface high structure, north of<br />

Carlsbad, which he drilled encountering the reef at 540 feet resulting<br />

in that discovery. <strong>The</strong> well was drilled with a cable tool rig which lifts<br />

a heavy steel shaft about 20 feet long with a drill bit attached to the<br />

bottom end, up and down by means of a cable, chiseling away at the<br />

bottom of the hole. After a few feet of hole were drilled, the bit was<br />

pulled out and water poured into the hole. A bailer was then<br />

attached, lowered to the bottom of the hole, worked up and down,<br />

filling it with a mixture of cuttings and water. Eventually, it was pulled<br />

to the surface and emptied. <strong>The</strong> bit was then lowered into the clean<br />

hole and drilling continued. George and a helper drilled and<br />

completed the wells by themselves. He also produced and pumped<br />

the wells for many years thereafter.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> was so enamored with Riggs and his oil exploration activities<br />

that he began traveling to Carlsbad on his days off to visit George on<br />

the drilling rig and helping wherever he was needed. <strong>The</strong> third well<br />

drilled was running somewhat low structurally to the other producing<br />

wells on the small oil field and encountered about three feet of tight<br />

sand with a good oil show. This sand occurred on the flank of the<br />

structure, above the producing zone in the reef, but appeared to be<br />

too tight to produce. <strong>The</strong> sand had pinched out and was gone in the<br />

higher wells in the field. On studying the area, <strong>Dan</strong> found that zone<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 5_Layout 1 2/15/2016 5:37 PM Page 36<br />

was the Yates sand and was producing in a field about six miles to the<br />

northeast, having made 1.8 million barrels of oil at a depth of about<br />

800 feet. <strong>Dan</strong>, obviously, gnawing at the bit to get to work as a<br />

geologist, suggested to George that he should lease more land down<br />

the flank of this structure where the sand might thicken and produce.<br />

Riggs said he had all of the leases he wanted, but recommended to<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> that if he put some leases together he might be interested in<br />

drilling them. That was the impetus <strong>Dan</strong> needed.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s college classmate Ed Abrahamson was working for Union Oil<br />

Company of California in Roswell, New Mexico, as a geologist. Ed was<br />

a WWII veteran and, therefore, not required to serve in the armed<br />

services following graduation. On <strong>Dan</strong>’s next free day, he visited<br />

Abramson at the Union office. <strong>Dan</strong> told him that he would like to<br />

check an area for leases, at which point, Ed took him into the company<br />

land department and pulled out a map of the Carlsbad area, giving<br />

him the information he needed. <strong>The</strong> center of the prospect appeared<br />

not to be leased and the land man instructed him how to go about<br />

filing for it. <strong>The</strong>re were 240 open acres, so <strong>Dan</strong> set about filing on it<br />

in his name, enclosing a money order for 50-cents an acre. As in all<br />

bureaucratic transactions, it took several months to hear from the land<br />

office, and when he did, <strong>Dan</strong>’s application had been rejected stating<br />

that the law requires the minimum amount of acreage which can be<br />

filed is 640 acres. <strong>Dan</strong>’s further study showed that a ruling had been<br />

made creating the minimum requirement to that effect after his<br />

original filing. <strong>Dan</strong> immediately filed an appeal stating that his<br />

application had satisfied all regulations in effect at the time it was filed,<br />

and the later ruling should not apply. It was several months later when<br />

he received notice that his application had been approved, and the<br />

lease issued. With that, <strong>Dan</strong> was ecstatic and well on his way to<br />

becoming a respected geologist and oil man. When Dudley married<br />

during the twin’s tour at Fort Bliss he gave Dudley half interest in the<br />

New Mexico federal oil and gas leases as a wedding present.<br />

Even though he had been giving instructions on small arms for<br />

several months, the army reassigned <strong>Dan</strong> to an infantry post to take<br />

advanced instruction on the rifle and carbine since he was an artillery<br />

officer. He drove to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he checked into<br />


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the BOQ for a month’s training. He found it an interesting training<br />

session firing at all types of targets including long-range. He knew<br />

he and his men were being prepared for the possibility of warfare<br />

with the target practice; however, it allowed him to draw upon his<br />

love of guns, remembering the times he and his brother shot birds<br />

as youths. Near the end of the tour, he received his overseas orders,<br />

and much to his delight, learned he would be stationed in Germany.<br />

<strong>The</strong> army allowed officers 30 days to clear the post when reporting<br />

for overseas duty, so <strong>Dan</strong> drove back to El Paso to prepare for leaving.<br />

Three days before he exited the post, Dudley received orders to go<br />

to the Far East, which meant the Korean conflict. In checking with<br />

the personnel officer, Dudley found that there was an old regulation<br />

in the manual that stated twin brothers could, upon request, go to<br />

the same theater of operations. Dudley immediately requested to go<br />

to Germany with <strong>Dan</strong>. <strong>The</strong> warrant officer in charge told him, “Don’t<br />

worry Lieutenant, I’ll fix you up.” He did. <strong>The</strong> next day <strong>Dan</strong>’s orders<br />

were changed to go to Korea; and he left the post for a short leave<br />

in Dallas before shipping out.<br />

Jane (left) and June <strong>Hughes</strong> (right), circa 1952, home from college at the University of<br />

Oklahoma, shortly before <strong>Dan</strong> left for Korea<br />


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1952-1953<br />

KOREA<br />

<strong>The</strong> leave provided a month of leisure; but when the time was up,<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> was eager to go. He had never been out of the United States<br />

except for crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico, and he looked<br />

forward to seeing the rest of the world. <strong>Dan</strong>’s father drove him to<br />

Dallas’ Love Field where he boarded a commercial flight to<br />

California to await his overseas’ flight. He was touched as he boarded<br />

the flight and noticed tears streaming down his father’s face.<br />

Fred Smith, <strong>Dan</strong>’s old friend and professor from Texas A&M, had<br />

been called back into the Air Force from his reserve status due to<br />

the Korean conflict, and was stationed in Los Angeles. Because <strong>Dan</strong><br />

had never been to California, he arranged a two-day layover to visit<br />

the professor and his wife. <strong>The</strong>re were two other Aggie classmates<br />

there when <strong>Dan</strong> arrived, and along with the Smiths, did a grand tour<br />

of Hollywood and Los Angeles day and night. Dudley arrived the<br />

next day and Fred was able to meet his plane and arranged for him<br />

to spend the night with the group, resulting in another night on the<br />

town. Dudley’s orders routed him through Alaska to Japan on<br />

military aircraft rather than a commercial airliner as <strong>Dan</strong> was<br />

ordered. Bad weather, however, and mechanical difficulties on the<br />

plane delayed Dudley’s arrival there for several weeks.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> flew on to San Francisco and reported into an air base on the<br />

Oakland side of San Francisco Bay where he waited for his flight to<br />

Japan. He and other officers were instructed to check the flight<br />

schedule each morning to see if their names were on the list. If not,<br />

they were free until the next day. After about a week, his name<br />

appeared on the list and he, along with Lt. Chris Kristofferson, a<br />

friend from Fort Bliss, were assigned to the same flight on a<br />

Constellation airliner. <strong>The</strong>y flew from San Francisco to Honolulu for<br />

the first leg of the journey, landing for refueling after 11 hours.<br />

About three hours later, they were in the air again, and flew 11<br />

additional hours, landing at Wake Island for refueling. <strong>The</strong> two took<br />

advantage of the sunny weather to play tourist, inspecting the<br />


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destroyed tanks, ships, and gun emplacements that resulted from the<br />

battle of Wake Island a few years earlier. <strong>The</strong>y found it hard to<br />

imagine how the Marines and Army personnel could have held off<br />

the Japanese attack force as long as they did. After about four hours<br />

of sightseeing, they boarded the plane again and flew another 11<br />

hours, finally landing at Yokohama, Japan on November 8, 1952.<br />

From there, they were bussed to quarters at Camp Drake.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> found Tokyo to be a busy city which was rebuilding from the<br />

heavy bombing it took during WWII. <strong>The</strong> war had ended and Japan<br />

surrendered only five years before his arrival. Amazed at the upbeat<br />

nature of the Japanese, he surmised that they enjoyed an<br />

enterprising freedom and an influx of foreign money. That, he<br />

figured, inspired them to be industrious and hard-working. <strong>The</strong><br />

other officers and <strong>Dan</strong> were assigned quarters in the BOQ and given<br />

instructions to check the bulletin board each morning for their<br />

orders to ship out. If their names were not on the list that day, they<br />

were free to leave the base and visit Tokyo. <strong>The</strong>re was a plush officers’<br />

club; but, unfortunately the enlisted men were confined to the base<br />

and did not get to enjoy the sights of Tokyo. That confinement made<br />

him appreciate his years at Texas A&M where he earned his<br />

commission. <strong>The</strong> only problem he had, along with the rest of the<br />

replacements, was that they did not receive any pay from the time<br />

they left Fort Bliss. He guessed the lack of pay was probably<br />

intentional so they could not use the money on superfluous things<br />

in Tokyo; however, he managed to purchase a small 35-mm camera<br />

for $25 dollars and took hundreds of color slides during his tour in<br />

Korea. After about a week, <strong>Dan</strong> received orders to report to the<br />

Chemical, Biological, Radiation School (CBR) located at Gifu Japan,<br />

about 200 miles southwest of Tokyo. He traveled to Gifu with a<br />

former A&M classmate, Dutch Maxwell. <strong>The</strong> school was located on<br />

an old Japanese air base from which kamikaze pilots flew their<br />

suicidal missions. He and other officers were housed in the old<br />

Japanese officers’ quarters and attended classes at a series of<br />

locations around the base. Gifu was a small rural town and he found<br />

the people to be warmer and friendlier than those in the crowded<br />

city of Tokyo. Dudley arrived on <strong>Dan</strong>’s last day in Gifu.<br />


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<strong>The</strong> next morning after Dudley’s arrival, <strong>Dan</strong> boarded a train for<br />

an overnight trip to Sasebo, Japan, a small fishing village 500 miles<br />

southwest of Gifu, directly across from Pusan, Korea. Along with<br />

several officer friends from Fort Bliss, he was quartered in the BOQ<br />

for about a week. <strong>The</strong>re they were issued winter combat clothing and<br />

equipment including an M-2 30-caliber automatic carbine. (After<br />

several boring days spent mostly in the officers’ club, they boarded<br />

a small ship nicknamed the “Pusan Express” for an overnight trip to<br />

Pusan, Korea, arriving on December 7, 1952.) After a few hours of<br />

sightseeing, including the large United Nations Cemetery, the group<br />

boarded an old wooden-seated train for an overnight trip to<br />

Yungdungpo, where the replacement center for the 45th Division<br />

was located near Inchon. Before the train left, they were issued<br />

ammunition for the carbines in case the train was ambushed. Luckily,<br />

the guns weren’t needed.<br />

After being issued more cold weather equipment, <strong>Dan</strong> and a<br />

group of replacements, were transported by truck about 150 miles<br />

across the Korean peninsula to the eastern side, and reported to the<br />

145th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion Headquarters. He was<br />

introduced to the ranking officers and briefed on the current battle<br />

Division Headquarters, Yungdungpo.<br />


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An overnight trip on “Pusan Express” from Sasebo, Japan to Pusan, Korea.<br />

<strong>The</strong> headquarters of the 45th Infantry Division at Yungdungpo, Korea.<br />

situation. After an overnight stay in the visiting officers’ tent, he was<br />

transported by jeep about 15 miles north to Battery D where he<br />

reported to a Lt. Cushman. He was the platoon commander, having<br />

graduated from <strong>The</strong> Citadel in South Carolina, and an outstanding<br />

officer. <strong>The</strong> date was December 11, 1952, and the high temperature<br />

was 20 degrees Fahrenheit.<br />


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<strong>The</strong> platoon equipment consisted of eight armored half-tracks,<br />

each containing four, turret-mounted, 50-caliber machine guns in<br />

the bed of the vehicle, one command half-track with radios, and one<br />

jeep. <strong>The</strong> weapons were designed to engage on fast, low flying<br />

aircraft with a high rate of fire power. <strong>The</strong> guns were controlled by<br />

a gunner in the turret with handlebar-type controls, and he could<br />

rapidly elevate the guns up and down and traverse in a 360-degree<br />

arc. <strong>The</strong> platoon was deployed in an antiaircraft pattern with the halftracks<br />

on ridges in roughly a two mile radius around several batteries<br />

of field artillery. <strong>The</strong> artillery units consisted of several batteries of<br />

105-mm howitzers positioned in the northern end of a large valley<br />

nearest to the front line or main line of resistance (MLR). Bordering<br />

the units were two batteries with 155-mm howitzers, which were<br />

bordered on the south by an eight-inch gun battery. <strong>The</strong>re was a<br />

mountain protruding out of the valley floor north of the MLR from<br />

which the enemy could observe and direct fire into these positions.<br />

For this reason, smoke generators were employed during the<br />

daylight hours keeping a continual cloud of smoke over all positions.<br />

Because of the smoke screen, the area was named Smoke Valley.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> shared platoon headquarters with Lt. Cushman. “<strong>The</strong>ir<br />

office” was located in a bunker made of empty field artillery<br />

ammunition boxes filled with dirt and built into the reverse (south<br />

side) slope of a steep ridge uphill from a 105-mm battery. A short<br />

distance up the hill were larger bunkers in which the platoon<br />

sergeant and his headquarter crews were housed, and maintained<br />

the platoon communication center.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first couple of days were uneventful and <strong>Dan</strong> began each<br />

morning by riding in the jeep, inspecting the half-track positions and<br />

trying to learn the location of each. <strong>The</strong> cold weather was clear and<br />

beautiful, permitting great views from the high gun positions of<br />

Smoke Valley and the artillery units. Things were relatively quiet<br />

during the daylight hours with an occasional enemy shell or mortar<br />

exploding in the valley and a few firing missions from the field<br />

artillery. <strong>The</strong> major action took place at night with almost continuous<br />

fire from the artillery along with numerous incoming rounds. He<br />

and the other soldiers stayed in their bunkers most of the night and<br />


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Pictures taken during the train trip from Pusan to Yungdungpo, 45th Infantry Division<br />

Replacement Center.<br />

felt relatively safe, sleeping as best they could with all the action<br />

around them.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> witnessed his first combat casualty while walking back to the<br />

bunker from the mess hall when an enemy 75-mm shell burst about<br />

100 yards from him near a 105-mm gun emplacement. <strong>Dan</strong> and his<br />

companions hit the ground and watched as an officer and a sergeant<br />

ran out of the gun emplacement to take a compass azimuth reading<br />

in the groove cut by the shell before it exploded. <strong>The</strong> azimuths were<br />

plotted on a map in the fire direction center and used to triangulate<br />

on the enemy artillery positions. Unfortunately a second round was<br />

fired, exploding near the first shell. <strong>The</strong> sergeant was killed, the officer<br />

badly wounded, and medics ran out and carried them back to cover.<br />

<strong>The</strong> nightly shelling was routine, and as Christmas approached,<br />

the enemy activity increased with numerous small attacks and<br />

increased shelling. On Christmas Day, most of <strong>Dan</strong>’s platoon was<br />

allowed to travel to the rear to headquarters to see Debbie Reynolds<br />

with her supporting crew in a USO show. However, the group had to<br />

be back to its position before dark.<br />


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<strong>The</strong> day after Christmas, <strong>Dan</strong> went to the mess bunker at noon<br />

and was eating at the officers’ table along with lieutenants from the<br />

surrounding units when loud screaming and an explosion knocked<br />

them from their seats. <strong>The</strong>y dove for the floor while a dozen other<br />

blasts followed. <strong>Dan</strong> drew upon his faith, saying a silent prayer, and<br />

managed to stay calm until it was over a few minutes later. It turned<br />

out that his platoon and the field artillery units had been divebombed<br />

by a squadron of jets from their own aircraft carrier<br />

dropping 500 pound bombs. When targets were selected to be<br />

bombed, the field artillery fired smoke rounds on positions for the<br />

planes to hit. <strong>The</strong> smoke rounds were fired but the jets zeroed in on<br />

the Smoke Valley smoke screen, dropping their bombs on <strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

platoon. One artillery bunker received a direct hit killing three men<br />

and wounding others. He was calm during the action but, like others,<br />

began shaking as they walked back to their bunker.<br />

When <strong>Dan</strong> arrived at his position, the platoon sergeant phoned all<br />

of their gun positions and found them to be unharmed. One of his<br />

half- tracks had fired into the rear of a jet as it was climbing out of its<br />

bombing dive and badly damaged it. It crashed into the sea before<br />

reaching the carrier; however, the pilot was rescued. A week later, all<br />

the pilots involved in the attack were brought to Smoke Valley where<br />

they apologized to all of the units. A coordinating mission was<br />

established whereby a Navy flying officer would be on the front line<br />

when an air attack took place and they gave directions by radio<br />

directly to the planes.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s commanding officer, Captain Cahill, called him from his<br />

rear area position and questioned why, after the attack, he had not<br />

personally inspected all the gun positions over the 10-mile area and<br />

why he had not measured all of the bomb craters and reported back<br />

to him. <strong>The</strong> fact that Lt. Cushman had taken the platoon’s only jeep<br />

back to the battalion that day did not seem to matter to the captain.<br />

<strong>The</strong> only way he could have inspected all locations was to walk the<br />

route, and that would have taken many hours with shells dropping<br />

around him.<br />

On December 28, Dudley managed to stop by <strong>Dan</strong>’s bunker<br />

enroute to his first assignment in Korea to “A” Battery of the 145<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> at a 105 mm howitzer position located below one of his quad-50<br />

squad emplacements.<br />

A front view of 155 mm howitzer emplacement.<br />


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A 155 mm howitzer position at Smoke Valley, seen here in the afternoon, 1952.<br />

A view of same 155 mm howitzer the morning a after typical night of shelling.<br />


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A view of Smoke Valley from Platoon Headquarters.<br />

A view of Smoke Valley with bunkers and emplacements.<br />


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A view of Smoke Valley from the rear.<br />

Smoke Valley, rear area.<br />


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Debbie Reynolds performing with the USO during Christmas 1952 at 145th<br />

Battalion Headquarters<br />

AAA. His brother asked what had taken him so long to get there, but<br />

he explained that circumstances in the rear delayed his getting to<br />

the front. About the same time, <strong>Dan</strong> received orders transferring<br />

him from “D” Battery (in the field artillery position) to “C” Battery<br />

which had its guns dug in along the forward trench lines with the<br />

ROK (Korean) infantry. This was Captain Cahill's way of punishing<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> for not making a round of the positions following the bombing<br />

even though he had no way of doing it. That, however, turned out to<br />

be the best luck <strong>Dan</strong> had during the war as his new commanding<br />

officer was Captain Charles McDonough, a regular career army<br />

officer and a great leader. He was an outstanding officer and lived<br />

on the front line with the rest of <strong>Dan</strong>’s platoon, unlike Captain Cahill<br />

who stayed in the rear at the Battalion Headquarters.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and his group spent the next few days making daily rounds of<br />

their positions which were dug in along the ROK infantry lines and<br />

the slopes immediately behind the line. Things were fairly quiet for<br />

about 10 days and then, one night, hell broke loose. <strong>The</strong> platoon<br />

headquarters where he lived was located on a small ridge about 500<br />

yards behind Hill 854, the highest mountain along the front line. <strong>The</strong>y<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> at Headquarters located behind Hill 854.<br />

Headquarters bunker behind Hill 854.<br />


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came under heavy mortar and artillery fire and their forward line halftracks<br />

radioed that the enemy was attacking all along the front line<br />

and the men were holding them off with carbine fire. <strong>The</strong> quad-50s<br />

that were dug into the line were useless because the turrets could not<br />

be depressed enough to fire down the ridge in front of the trenches<br />

and their high profile made it dangerous to try to climb up to the gun<br />

during close combat. <strong>The</strong> enemy broke through the line on the left<br />

flank, between Dudley's and <strong>Dan</strong>’s platoons, and charged through the<br />

small valley in front of <strong>Dan</strong>’s position. He and the headquarter troops<br />

were cut off from the front line trench positions with the enemy<br />

between it and Hill 854. <strong>The</strong>y considered themselves lucky because<br />

the foe attacked the back flank of Hill 854 instead of his position. Hill<br />

854 was occupied by the ROK Infantry who lost the hill temporarily,<br />

but the South Koreans reorganized, counter attacked, and drove the<br />

North Koreans back through the original break in the line. <strong>The</strong><br />

platoon’s half-track positions in the front line trenches managed to<br />

keep the enemy out of the gun emplacements by small arms fire, but<br />

near the end of the engagement they telephoned that they were<br />

Rear view, Charlie Battery Platoon Headquarters, Hill 854.<br />


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running out of carbine ammunition. <strong>The</strong> battery executive officer, a<br />

first lieutenant, was in <strong>Dan</strong>’s bunker that night and loaded a knapsack<br />

with carbine ammunition and crawled off into the night. He made his<br />

way to half-track positions a half-mile away and resupplied the needed<br />

ammo. <strong>The</strong> company commander recommended him for a Silver Star<br />

medal because of his courageous move.<br />

<strong>The</strong> nights reached temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees below zero<br />

and the days were not much better. At this period in the war, the<br />

army supplied the troops with cold weather gear including new<br />

insulated rubber boots (nicknamed Mickey Mouse boots) and parkas<br />

with fur-lined hoods.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next few days were spent at this location without any major<br />

action except for incoming mortar, mostly at night. During daylight<br />

hours, <strong>Dan</strong> made daily trips along the line inspecting his gun<br />

positions. Along with some of his men, he received orders to go to<br />

Inchon and practice anti-aircraft on Inchon Bay. <strong>The</strong>y traveled across<br />

Korea by truck and reported to the firing range installation on Inchon<br />

A map of the first deployment of <strong>Dan</strong>’s division using quad-50s for ground fire. Map<br />

courtesy of Dudley J. <strong>Hughes</strong> from his book, Wall of Fire.<br />


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An example of the trenches used in Allies lines.<br />

A headquarters bunker supporting a quad-50 position<br />


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<strong>The</strong> view from a forward artillery observing post.<br />

A quad-50 removed from its bunker for inspection.<br />


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Bay. During the next three days his platoon, along with troops from<br />

other units, fired quad-50 antiaircraft fire for hours at targets being<br />

towed by airplanes over the partially frozen bay. Firing next to him<br />

was a Turkish unit that was good, but if the crew missed the target,<br />

the officer beat the men savagely with a swagger stick. <strong>The</strong> wind was<br />

cold, blowing off the frozen bay, but the sun was bright and they<br />

managed to complete the exercise without experiencing frostbite.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, they traversed the Korean peninsula from the west coast by<br />

truck back to a position near the east coast. This was the only time<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> was able to leave the front line for the rest of his tour in Korea.<br />

One of <strong>Dan</strong>’s quad-50s was located on a high hill dug into the<br />

infantry trench and commanded a broad field of fire across the<br />

Mungdung-ni River Valley. An area known as T-Bone Ridge, seemed<br />

to project out of the mountain and across the river from their<br />

position about 1,500 yards away that served as an enemy outpost. <strong>The</strong><br />

U. S. infantry occupying that portion of the line called him and Lt.<br />

Marlow to a meeting and showed plans to attack T-bone that night<br />

and wanted their unit to supply direct 50-caliber machine gun fire<br />

on the target. He bore-sighted the gun aimed at the outpost and put<br />

the required elevation indicated by firing tables for that distance. As<br />

the infantry attacked that night, his quad-50 team kept a continuous<br />

stream of fire into enemy trenches, firing two guns at a time for<br />

several hours. <strong>The</strong> attacking infantry troops were repelled by hand<br />

grenades and unable to take the Ridge. Surprisingly enough, <strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

position drew little mortar or artillery fire, even though the position<br />

was highly exposed on top of the peak. It was concluded that the<br />

Chinese could not determine where the 50-cal fire was coming from.<br />

After a few days his platoon received orders to move off the front<br />

line to a position in the north end of Smoke Valley and prepare the<br />

guns for ground firing. <strong>The</strong>re was no previous procedure to use the<br />

antiaircraft weapons for indirect firing and the guns had no calibration<br />

settings for such. <strong>Dan</strong> drew upon his math and calibration skills from<br />

college to measure the circumference of the turret on a half-track and<br />

used adhesive tape to mark and number it into 360 even<br />

measurements and put it around the stationary base of the turret. This<br />

gave a 360-degree base from which to measure azimuth. One gun on<br />


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A quad-50 forward position preparing for a night firing mission at T-Bone Outpost.<br />

T-Bone Outpost, Mungdungni River Valley.<br />


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the upper mobile turret was then bore-sighted in a known azimuth<br />

and a marker placed on this moving turret on that heading. If the<br />

North Star was sighted, then the marker would be placed on true<br />

north. As long as the half-track was in a stationary position, the turret<br />

could be rotated and the azimuth could be read like a compass. <strong>The</strong><br />

elevation of the guns was obtained by use of a gunner’s quadrant<br />

placed on two fixed points on one of the 50-caliber guns. As the gun<br />

was elevated, a bubble level measured the mils of elevation at which<br />

the guns were to be fired. <strong>The</strong> troops had firing tables that indicated<br />

the elevation in mils required for the trajectory to reach any distance<br />

within range of the guns. <strong>Dan</strong> was issued maps of the terrain with field<br />

artillery forward-observer positions marked, and with this the platoon<br />

was ready to start firing. <strong>Dan</strong> set up the fire direction center (FDC) in<br />

his bunker on a hill above the field artillery positions.<br />

About 10 o’clock that first night, one of the forward observers called<br />

him and gave a fire mission on enemy moving on a distant hill. <strong>Dan</strong><br />

gave settings to four half-tracks to fire 100 rounds from two guns on<br />

each vehicle. When all was ready, he gave the commence firing order<br />

and eight 50-caliber guns cut loose, spraying the target with exploding<br />

A quad-50 emplacement. Enemy trenches are on hill to far right.<br />


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armor piercing projectiles. <strong>The</strong> forward observer was elated because<br />

the 50-caliber fire was much easier to observe at night than the field<br />

artillery, and he could tell it was right on target. <strong>Dan</strong>’s guns were firing<br />

from antiaircraft positions above the field artillery guns, but were well<br />

within range of targets 3,000 yards in front of the line. What he did<br />

not realize was that no one had alerted the field artillery that the quad-<br />

50s were going to shoot ground fire and field artillery personnel<br />

thought themselves under heavy enemy attack. After events had settled<br />

down the next morning, the major in charge of the field artillery fire<br />

direction center, climbed the hill to <strong>Dan</strong>’s bunker and informed him<br />

that the general ordered him to move his firing set-up into the field<br />

artillery fire direction center. This proved to be a good move because<br />

as fire missions were called in from the many forward observers on the<br />

MLR line and the senior officer in charge of the fire direction center<br />

chose which type of artillery to fire on the target.<br />

After several successful fire missions, an ordinance officer came<br />

from battalion headquarters to learn how he had calibrated the guns.<br />

<strong>The</strong> officer copied the azimuth tape band <strong>Dan</strong> had made for the gun<br />

turrets. A few days later, <strong>Dan</strong>’s platoon received steel calibrated bands<br />

to replace the adhesive tape on the base of the turrets. <strong>The</strong> firing<br />

was so accurate that the markings he had made were going to be<br />

adopted for use by the army. <strong>The</strong> bands were also sent to all other<br />

quad-50 units in the 145th Battalion.<br />

Shortly thereafter, <strong>Dan</strong> called the coordinates to one of the guns<br />

to fire a mission into the no-mans-land zone. <strong>The</strong> platoon sergeant<br />

commanding the gun, called back that it was aiming directly into the<br />

friendly infantry trench on the Ridge in front of the gun, even<br />

though <strong>Dan</strong>’s map indicated that the gun’s trajectory should be well<br />

above the ridge. Again, <strong>Dan</strong>’s education enabled him to realize that<br />

the old Japanese topographic maps being used were not accurate for<br />

close-in firing. <strong>The</strong> next day, <strong>Dan</strong> ordered all of his quad-50s, that<br />

were in ground firing positions, to take a bore sight reading every<br />

five degrees, on the forward friendly ridge in front of their position.<br />

By adding the prescribed safe elevation to fire over friendly troops<br />

to the elevations measured at the guns, he was able to compute a nofire-line<br />

on the map for each gun's field of fire. Any target beyond<br />


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Artillery Fire Direction Center, Heartbreak Ridge Area.<br />

Artillery Fire Direction Center, Heartbreak Ridge Area.<br />


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this line was open to be fired upon by that quad-50. <strong>The</strong> half-tracks<br />

were stationed about 400 to 500 yards apart so that each had its own<br />

field of fire but at a distance, the fields all overlapped.<br />

During the next few weeks, <strong>Dan</strong> spent most nights in the FDC firing<br />

missions. <strong>The</strong> quad-50 had become popular with the forward observers<br />

and the FDC commanding officer was glad to give these gun targets<br />

that he, otherwise, might be reluctant to expend the heavier artillery<br />

ammunition on. During the days, he made rounds inspecting the<br />

quads and gauging the gun barrels to make sure they were not too<br />

worn to fire accurately. Also, his platoon built a road up to a high point<br />

on the north edge of Smoke Valley, dug in and installed a quad-50.<br />

<strong>The</strong> position was their nearest point to the MLR and continued to<br />

receive a lot of mortar and artillery fire. While building the road, they<br />

found a fox hole with the remains of a dead soldier who probably had<br />

been killed a year earlier. <strong>The</strong> graves registration unit was called and<br />

a truck was sent to pick up the skeleton and dog tags.<br />

After surveying the personnel in the platoon, he selected a<br />

Sergeant Taylor to assist him in the FDC. He proved to be a brilliant<br />

student and after a few days of training, he was able to fire his own<br />

missions without <strong>Dan</strong>’s help.<br />

Near the end of January, orders were received to move the platoon<br />

to a position about 20 miles to the west of where it was located and<br />

relieve the unit occupying that part of the MLR. <strong>The</strong> position was on<br />

the southeast flank of a long hill extending in a north-south direction<br />

known as Heartbreak Ridge. <strong>The</strong> Chinese occupied the north part of<br />

this ridge and U. S. troops, the south end, with each side having deep<br />

trenches and bunkers facing no-mans-land in between. Dudley's<br />

platoon moved into position on the southwest flank of Heartbreak<br />

Ridge, and with <strong>Dan</strong> being on the southeast flank, established direct<br />

communication with each other. <strong>Dan</strong> surveyed all his gun positions<br />

and set up maps in the fire direction center, and began firing missions.<br />

<strong>The</strong> only communication with home during the entire tour of duty<br />

was the postal service. <strong>Dan</strong> wrote his parents almost daily, but did not<br />

talk much about his or Dudley’s combat activities. Being eager to get<br />

back to Texas and become active in the oil business, he did discuss the<br />

industry in most letters. His father sent the daily oil column from the<br />


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Preparing for a mission with quad-50s.<br />

A quad-50 fire mission receiving coordinates from <strong>Dan</strong> in the Fire Direction Center.<br />


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A quad-50 fire mission.<br />

Lt. Marlow, the other officer in <strong>Dan</strong>’s platoon, inspecting a quad-50 fire emplacement.<br />


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Platoon Headquarters with a 30-caliber gun emplacement.<br />

Artillery rounds hitting enemy positions across valley.<br />


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Artillery rounds hitting enemy positions across valley.<br />

Navy carrier airplanes dive-bombing enemy positions.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong>’s platoon en route to a position on Heartbreak Ridge.<br />

Dallas Morning News which covered wells being drilled in the North<br />

and West Texas areas. Also, George Riggs, the old geologist in<br />

Carlsbad, New Mexico, sent him drillers’ logs from around the<br />

southeastern New Mexico area; and, <strong>Dan</strong> worked on subsurface<br />

geology maps around the area where he had been stationed. <strong>The</strong><br />

letters and newsclippings about the oil business kept his morale up,<br />

and he anxiously waited each day for the mail to arrive. When there<br />

was little action with the enemy, <strong>Dan</strong> continued his fascination with<br />

the oil and gas industry throughout his entire tour in Korea.<br />

For the next few weeks the unit was called on to fire more and<br />

more fire missions, mostly during the night. Occasionally the forward<br />

observer would report a fire starting in the area, indicating that the<br />

50-calibers were hitting their targets. <strong>The</strong>refore the guns continued<br />

to fire bursts into the area all night. It was found that the 145 AAA<br />

Battalion was firing 30 to 40 tons of 50-caliber ammunition per<br />

month. <strong>The</strong> firing technique became routine and missions were fired<br />

as fast as, or faster than, the field artillery. <strong>The</strong> units were understaffed<br />

for this additional ground mission, requiring <strong>Dan</strong> to spend most<br />

nights controlling fire missions from the FDC.<br />

Having studied surveying and map-making in college, the fire<br />

control technique that his platoon developed was simple for <strong>Dan</strong> and<br />

Dudley, but many of the other officers lacking that background, had<br />

a hard time understanding it. <strong>The</strong> commanding officer of the 145th<br />

AAA set up a school at the battallion headquarters and had the two<br />

give several days of lessons to all officers of the battalion on indirect<br />

firing with the quad-50.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> was moved from the platoon headquarters bunker to one near<br />

the large fire direction center bunker and shared it with a doctor and<br />

a chaplain. <strong>The</strong>ir meals were served in a field artillery mess bunker.<br />

One night during routine shelling, a 75-mm projectile went<br />

through the armor in front of the radiator of one of the half quad-50s<br />

half-tracks. <strong>The</strong> shell did not explode, but it tore the engine apart and<br />

the half-track had to be towed off and replaced. <strong>The</strong> old ammunition<br />

used by the Koreans exploded only about 70 percent of the time.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ground fire from the quad-50s was being used more every night<br />

as the forward units found out how effective they were. General<br />

Ginder, commander of the 45th Division, and General White,<br />

commander of the X Corps, sent word to <strong>Dan</strong>’s battalion commander<br />

that they would like to come to the front line and observe a fire<br />

demonstration from the quad-50s. Of course, he and Dudley were<br />

selected for the firing mission. Fourteen of the half-tracks were within<br />

range of Heartbreak Ridge, even though some were in antiaircraft<br />

positions around the field artillery and had not been firing regularly.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y aimed them at different spots along the ridge so they could<br />

saturate the entire area. <strong>The</strong>y planned a time-on target shoot, which<br />

meant that the projectiles of the different guns would commence<br />

Battalion Headquarters, rear area.<br />


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An illustration of quad-50s firing for a generals’ observation on Heartbreak Ridge.<br />

Courtesy of Dudley J. <strong>Hughes</strong>.<br />

hitting the target at the same time. <strong>The</strong> time of flight from each gun<br />

was computed and the guns were fired according to their distance<br />

from the target. By watching the second hand on a watch, <strong>Dan</strong> gave<br />

commands to the guns to fire as: Charlie 2 fire…Able 3 fire…Able 6<br />

fire…Charlie 4 fire, etc. Ordinarily, in routine fire missions they fired<br />

only two guns on each turret in bursts of 50 rounds. To impress the<br />


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generals, they decided to fire all four guns on each turret, emptying<br />

the whole magazine on each, with 200 rounds. <strong>The</strong> shoot was<br />

impressive, lighting up the entire enemy portion of Heartbreak Ridge<br />

as 11,200 rounds exploded in approximately one minute. <strong>The</strong>y made<br />

a mistake by emptying the guns because the general called for a repeat<br />

fire mission. It took about ten minutes to reload all of the turrets and<br />

fire a second burst of 11,200 rounds, blasting the ridge and impressing<br />

the generals. <strong>Dan</strong> often wondered how many casualties might have<br />

been inflicted on the enemy that night.<br />

As the weather warmed, the snow melted creating a land of mud.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n there was heavy snow and more thawing. Peace talks were being<br />

conducted at Panmunjom and, after two years, were beginning to get<br />

some results. <strong>The</strong> enemy began stepping up its attacks to gain a more<br />

favorable position before the cease fire was declared. <strong>Dan</strong>’s platoon<br />

fired thousands of rounds every night on the fire missions. <strong>The</strong><br />

combat troops received word that the troops with fewer points than<br />

were originally required could be transitioned back to the states. <strong>The</strong><br />

battery commander asked <strong>Dan</strong> to give instructions on operating the<br />

fire direction center to other officers prior to his return home.<br />

He and Dudley received word in early May that they would ship<br />

out for home on May 26. It was also <strong>Dan</strong>’s turn to go to Japan for R<br />

& R (rest and recuperation). This was to be a fabulous week in Japan<br />

in a luxurious hotel with all of the entertainment associated with it,<br />

but it meant that he would be going just two weeks before leaving for<br />

home. <strong>Dan</strong> decided to pass on the R&R and gave his slot to the next<br />

person on the list, which needless to say, made that man very happy.<br />

On May 21, <strong>Dan</strong>, Dudley, and Lt. Marlow boarded a jeep and<br />

traveled about 50 miles to the 45th Division Headquarters at<br />

Chunchon where they received their records and orders to go home.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re they relinquished their combat gear and were issued new<br />

khakis. <strong>The</strong> next day, they boarded a train for Inchon. Four days later,<br />

they boarded a landing craft and were ferried to a passenger ship, the<br />

General Black. After 14 days, they landed at San Francisco and, finally<br />

on American soil, boarded a train with sleeper coaches, arriving at Fort<br />

Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Here they were discharged a<br />

couple of days later.<br />


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Lt. Marlow, May 1953. Marlow was the officer assigned to replace <strong>Dan</strong>.<br />

Poc Wan Sik, <strong>Dan</strong>’s Korean houseboy who was a very faithful servant, May 1953.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong>, waiting on orders to ship out for the United States, May 1953.<br />

Dudley (left) and <strong>Dan</strong> (right) at Dudley’s Platoon Headquarters.<br />


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1953-1954<br />


After a brief rest in Dallas, <strong>Dan</strong> contacted Fred Schroeder who was<br />

chief geologist at the headquarters of Union Producing Company in<br />

Shreveport, and was told to report for work at the company office in<br />

downtown New Orleans. Dudley received a similar appointment to<br />

the company’s office in Jackson, Mississippi. He loaded his Plymouth,<br />

drove from Dallas to New Orleans, and reported to J. B. <strong>Story</strong>, a<br />

geologist and district manager for the New Orleans area. <strong>The</strong><br />

company started all new geologists as oil scouts through a special<br />

training program. He was assigned to represent the company in the<br />

Lafayette area. <strong>The</strong> office was located in the heart of the New<br />

Orleans business district and was comprised of about 50 employees,<br />

12 of whom were geologists.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> settled into a rooming house on Canal Street near Lake<br />

Ponchartrain where two other young men lived. He formed a<br />

friendship with several other young men who also worked for other<br />

oil companies.<br />

At that time New Orleans was a real boom town with all the oil<br />

companies opening offices in order to get into the prolific oil and<br />

gas fields being discovered in South Louisiana in the aftermath of<br />

WWII. His job was to visit all the wells in his designated area, obtain<br />

all drilling and test data, and meet weekly with oil scouts from all<br />

the companies in Lafayette. Here they exchanged information on<br />

the wells being drilled or completed that week, along with seismic<br />

or leasing activity occurring in their respective areas. <strong>The</strong><br />

information was written into notebooks and taken back to New<br />

Orleans. For the next two days, he spotted new well locations on<br />

maps and had the secretaries type the information on what was<br />

known as “well cards”. <strong>The</strong> company had two other geological<br />

scouts, covering South Louisiana and they jointly wrote a newsletter<br />

discussing new wells, leasing plays, or discoveries, etc. <strong>The</strong> newsletter<br />

was published and distributed to all of the executives within<br />

the company.<br />


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Many of the scouts in the meetings were in training programs for<br />

their respective companies, and later ended up in management<br />

positions, CEOs, or became independent operators. Those friendly<br />

contacts have been valuable to <strong>Dan</strong> during his oil career. One of the<br />

geologists at UPC was Frank Harrison who had returned from Korea<br />

after <strong>Dan</strong> arrived, and later became an independent in Lafayette.<br />

Shortly after arriving in New Orleans, <strong>Dan</strong> was notified that he had<br />

been awarded a Bronze Star for the action he saw in Korea, and<br />

Frank held a small ceremony with secretaries in the office where he<br />

presented the medal to <strong>Dan</strong>.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Don Gifford, a former Marine and another geologist at<br />

UPC, had G.I. Bill privileges and, already having finished college,<br />

opted to take flying lessons. <strong>The</strong>ir instruction was given in an<br />

Aeronica Champion single-engine plane that only had a compass<br />

and altimeter for navigation. <strong>The</strong>re was no radio. Taking off and<br />

landing was controlled by red or green lights from the control<br />

tower, which they circled prior to landing. After about eight hours<br />

of instruction, he and Don soloed and began flying around the<br />

swamps and bayous in South Louisiana and other areas to acquire<br />

flying hours. Learning to fly proved advantageous to <strong>Dan</strong><br />

throughout his long oil career, allowing him to travel quickly to<br />

various oil leases.<br />

During his early professional career, most of UPC’s south<br />

Louisiana wells were drilled with drilling barges from canals dredged<br />

through the marsh. He visited the wells while they were coring or<br />

logging and stayed hours and, sometimes, days at a time. <strong>The</strong>re was<br />

a large airplane-type propeller fan on the derrick floor that kept the<br />

infestation of mosquitos blown off the driller and floor hands.<br />

Anyone not in the wind stream, was quickly covered with mosquitoes.<br />

Since the transportation to shore was only by crew boat, he<br />

sometimes waited hours for the next vessel.<br />

Buel Humphreys, one of <strong>Dan</strong>’s running buddies and a bachelor<br />

friend from Canal Street, became interested in joining him in the<br />

oil business. Buel’s uncle in Dallas, W. E. Walker, was a prominent<br />

oil investor who owned a large amount of land in South Louisiana.<br />

He also had a drilling company in Corpus Christi with his brother-<br />


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Bronze Star Medal awarded to <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> for actions in Korea, 1952-53.<br />


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in-law, Galloway Selby, known as the Selby-Walker Drilling Co.<br />

(Later, when <strong>Dan</strong> formed his own company, he would do business<br />

with them.)<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley continued building their careers in the oil<br />

business, and <strong>Dan</strong> frequently drove to Jackson, Mississippi, to visit<br />

Dudley where they would discuss the ins-and-outs of the industry.<br />

After a year in New Orleans, <strong>Dan</strong> realized that he had spent his<br />

entire $3,500 savings from Korea and he could not live on his $250<br />

a month. It was unusual for Union Producing Co. to transfer<br />

employees to other districts but <strong>Dan</strong> knew he had to try to get out of<br />

New Orleans. He went to J. B. <strong>Story</strong>’s office, told him about his<br />

financial woes, and asked to be transferred to a smaller town,<br />

preferably in Texas. <strong>The</strong> company arranged a transfer to Beeville to<br />

work for Pete Peterson who was the district geologist. Pete was the<br />

same person for whom <strong>Dan</strong> had briefly worked in Monroe before<br />

going to Korea.<br />


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1954<br />


After saying farewell to his New Orleans friends, <strong>Dan</strong> packed his<br />

belongings and headed for Beeville, Texas. <strong>The</strong> move meant he<br />

would be working in an onshore area of shallow production more<br />

suited to his geological skills. He took a quick and short tour of the<br />

town, and asked directions to the company office. At that time,<br />

Union Producing occupied a three-story brick building across from<br />

the court house square, and had about 150 employees including<br />

geologists, petroleum engineers, landmen, and accountants. Pete<br />

Peterson was happy to work with him again and introduced him to<br />

the geological staff which was comprised of 11 geologists plus<br />

draftsmen and secretaries. He was issued a company car, and with<br />

the assistance of office personnel, found an apartment without air<br />

conditioning over a garage in Beeville.<br />

During <strong>Dan</strong>’s first week on the job, he accompanied one of the<br />

older geologists to core a 5,000-foot well on the Jennings Ranch,<br />

about 60 miles southeast of Laredo. <strong>The</strong>y drove onto the vast 60,000-<br />

acre ranch and came upon a rig in a clearing surrounded by<br />

mesquite brush. It was a pleasant time of year with a mild, dry breeze<br />

blowing, no insects, and millions of stars in a clear sky. <strong>The</strong> drilling<br />

crew had a mesquite fire burning and was cooking steaks and<br />

tortillas, creating an inviting aroma. That turned out to be one of<br />

the most pleasant sensations that <strong>Dan</strong> says he ever experienced—<br />

especially on a well. It was the complete opposite of the Louisiana<br />

wells. At that moment, he knew he had found a permanent home<br />

in South Texas.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re were three oil scouting districts in South Texas, including<br />

Corpus Christi, McAllen, and San Antonio; with Union Producing<br />

Company having a geological trainee assigned to each. <strong>Dan</strong> was given<br />

the San Antonio area which covered the Cretaceous and shallow<br />

Wilcox trends and was, by far, the largest district, although less active.<br />

During the following months, he drove thousands of miles and<br />

became friends with most of the South Texas independent operators,<br />


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drilling contractors, and many land owners. He cites it as one of the<br />

best training programs for future oil operators. At that time, all oil<br />

companies had oil scouts that made their rounds on Monday and<br />

Tuesday and met in San Antonio on Wednesdays to exchange data.<br />

Thursday and Friday of each week was spent in Beeville where he and<br />

other scouts spotted new wells on company maps, provided drilling<br />

notes to the geological secretaries to be typed onto cards, and wrote<br />

a newsletter describing new oil activities occurring in that area. <strong>The</strong><br />

company had several rigs drilling in the area most of the time, and<br />

he occasionally went with other geologists to core and log the wells.<br />

During his first few days in Beeville, <strong>Dan</strong> met Billy Traylor, a<br />

friendly well-known character who worked in the cattle business.<br />

Traylor was employed by Rocky Reagan, Jr., a rancher with a cattle<br />

trading business in the San Antonio stock yards. Traylor, in turn,<br />

introduced <strong>Dan</strong> to many local residents and other ranchers<br />

including Raymond Welder, Jr., then a student at Texas A&M<br />

College. <strong>The</strong>se friendships grew and continued as <strong>Dan</strong> became<br />

established in the oil business. However, after a few months in<br />

Beeville, the army notified <strong>Dan</strong> that he needed to join an army<br />

reserve unit in order to retain his officer’s commission. Failure to<br />

do so would make him eligible for the draft as an enlisted man and,<br />

being unmarried there was nothing to give him an exemption.<br />

Needless to say, <strong>Dan</strong> joined the local reserve unit, a Heavy<br />

Weapons Infantry Company, in Beeville. Union Producing Company<br />

was a patriotic company similar to many of the corporations that<br />

encouraged employees to participate in reserve units. Military<br />

reserves was a carryover from WWII, whereby employees received<br />

full salaries in addition to regular army pay for the two weeks they<br />

were at summer training plus his two weeks paid vacation. <strong>The</strong><br />

infantry unit was comprised of six officers that were mostly former<br />

ROTC students, having received their commissions in college upon<br />

graduation, and about 125 enlisted men. Prior to leaving for reserve<br />

training that summer, <strong>Dan</strong> helped Raymond Welder, another Texas<br />

A&M alumnus secure a job with Union Producing as an oil scout.<br />

Fred Schroeder, chief geologist, said he had seen worse transcripts,<br />

but they hired him anyway.<br />


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Officers in the Beeville Infantry Heavy Weapons Company.<br />

Lt. <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> and Lt. Raymond J. Welder.<br />


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Firing an 80mm mortar.<br />

Firing a 30-caliber, water-cooled heavy machine gun.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong>’s reserve unit met once a week at the Bee County<br />

Courthouse, for a couple hours of military instruction. In return,<br />

he received a days’ army pay which boosted his modest salary. Most<br />

of the enlisted men and non-commissioned officers had served in<br />

the army during WWII or the Korean War. <strong>The</strong> Beeville Heavy<br />

Weapons Company was armed with light and heavy machine guns,<br />

mortars, and recoilless rifles. Even though the officers had never<br />

had any training on some of the weapons, they learned quickly, and<br />

trained the troops as best they could. Many summer training camps<br />

were held at Ft. Hood or another camp in the Gulf Coastal area.<br />


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1954-1961<br />



Eventually, <strong>Dan</strong> was promoted to geologist and given the<br />

Cretaceous Trend to map covering railroad District One. He worked<br />

long hours trying to cover the large geographical area, mapping<br />

different horizons. One of the main formations mapped was the<br />

Edwards Limestone which was a newly discovered producing trend.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re had not been many wells drilled in the remote areas of the<br />

Cretaceous Trend, but <strong>Dan</strong> mapped the whole trend from the Rio<br />

Grande to East Texas on the control that was available. Well sitting<br />

(geological supervision of the drilling operation) was also part of<br />

the job and when wells were drilling around Beeville, he was sent to<br />

core and log the wells. In those days, the company did a lot of<br />

wireline coring which consisted of a core barrel being dropped<br />

down the rig’s drill pipe and retrieved via a wire line after cutting a<br />

20-foot core. Another barrel could be dropped and coring<br />

continued while describing the first core. <strong>The</strong> geologist continued<br />

the coring and drill stem testing any oil shows in the cores,<br />

sometimes continuing for days at a time. <strong>The</strong> experience proved<br />

invaluable.<br />

In the fall of 1956, George Riggs, the old geologist he had met<br />

back in Carlsbad, notified <strong>Dan</strong> that he was finally drilling the federal<br />

lease that <strong>Dan</strong> had acquired while he was in the army at Fort Bliss.<br />

About a month later, the old cable tool rig drilled into the Yates<br />

Sand at 650 feet and the sand was carrying oil. After giving it a shot<br />

of nitro, the well flowed 60 barrels of 32 gravity oil per day. This was<br />

one of the biggest thrills that <strong>Dan</strong> ever experienced and he knew it<br />

would only be a matter of time before he would go into business for<br />

himself. Until that time, he was gaining good experience with Union<br />

Producing where he continued to map South Texas geology.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> married Juanita Jo Wentz in December 1956, and a year later,<br />

their first son <strong>Dan</strong> Allen was born three days before their first<br />


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George Riggs #1 <strong>Hughes</strong> Federal discovery well for the Salazar Yates Oil Field near<br />

Carlsbad, New Mexico, in 1956.<br />

anniversary. <strong>Dan</strong> had joined the Beeville Country Club upon moving<br />

to Beeville because Union Producing Company had recommended<br />

it, and because they enjoyed the social activities. <strong>Dan</strong> saw it as a great<br />

way to meet people who were in the same industry, share ideas, and<br />

establish industry contacts. At that point, he was a well-sitting<br />

geologist and had to be away quite a bit of the time, plus had his<br />

obligation at summer camp for the army reserve.<br />

Jody’s father, Bill Wentz, had built a large house for a rancher by<br />

the name of Hub Sellers on his ranch in the Nueces River bottom.<br />

<strong>The</strong> city of Corpus Christi, at that time, was constructing a dam on<br />

the Nueces River which was to be the water supply of Corpus Christi,<br />

and was named Lake Corpus Christi. <strong>The</strong> Sellers had a lawsuit with<br />

the City of Corpus Christi over the value of the house and the suit<br />

continued for months. When it was finally settled, the water from<br />

the lake was almost reaching up to the house. Bill Wentz called <strong>Dan</strong><br />

one evening and said that he and Jody could purchase the house<br />

for practically nothing and he was willing to move it for them at a<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> A. and Juanita W. <strong>Hughes</strong>’s wedding day, December 1956.<br />

low cost. This was something new to <strong>Dan</strong>, but he had the courage<br />

to invest in the structure, bidding $1,500 for the house which was<br />

over 6,000 square feet. <strong>The</strong> City of Corpus Christi accepted the bid<br />

and they became the owners of their first house. Bill was able to<br />

move the redwood walls intact, tear down the brick walls and save<br />

most of the other fixtures that went with the house. <strong>Dan</strong> bought a<br />

lot from Rocky Reagan for $2,500 in a subdivision near the Country<br />


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Club and drew plans to cut down the size of the house to about<br />

5,000 square feet, forging ahead on a small budget. In order to build<br />

it as cheaply as possible, he went to Monterrey, Mexico and bought<br />

enough Mexican terrazzo tile to cover most of the flooring in the<br />

entire house for twenty-five cents per square foot. <strong>The</strong> brick part of<br />

the house connecting to redwood walls was built with Mexican brick<br />

also obtained inexpensively. <strong>The</strong> house had central heating but no<br />

air conditioning, and was designed for the windows to open for air<br />

flow. It was designed well for an air-cooled house, but was still hot<br />

in the summer. <strong>The</strong> State Bank of Beeville granted him a $25,000<br />

mortgage loan on the property and, a few years later, he added air<br />

conditioning to the 5,000-square foot structure. Shortly after moving<br />

into the new home, the couple’s daughter, Keleigh, was born.<br />

When one of Jody’s uncles died a few months later, it was learned<br />

that his estate included an old cabin cruiser, built of plywood, trailermounted,<br />

and powered by two large Evinrude outboard motors. <strong>The</strong><br />

boat was in poor condition, due to having been stored for a long<br />

<strong>The</strong> cabin cruiser previously owned by Jody’s uncle, purchased from his estate and restored<br />

by <strong>Dan</strong> and Gordon Noble.<br />


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period. <strong>Dan</strong> offered the estate $500 for the boat rig and the offer<br />

was accepted. During several winter months, he, along with<br />

neighbor Gordon Noble, sanded, varnished, and repaired the<br />

cruiser. That spring, he towed the boat to Rockport and began a<br />

long fishing hobby in the bays between Matagorda and Padre<br />

Islands. This was the beginning of his love for boating and fishing<br />

in the Gulf of Mexico.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ranches around Beeville had some of the best quail hunting<br />

in the United States, and <strong>Dan</strong> was invited to hunt on many of his<br />

friends ranches. About that time, he became friends with L. D.<br />

Hunter, who owned a petroleum retail business that supplied<br />

gasoline and diesel to drilling rigs and filling stations. He was<br />

considered a master quail hunter and maintained a kennel of about<br />

40 bird dogs. <strong>The</strong>y hunted together with clients and friends for the<br />

next 40 years. One advantage of living in Beeville was that a person<br />

could work until about 3 p.m. in the afternoon and still have time<br />

to get in an excellent quail hunt before sundown.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s career at the UPC office was taking off and he found<br />

himself quite busy. <strong>The</strong> Fashing Gas Field which produced from the<br />

Edwards Limestone was discovered in the mid-1950s, and the UPC<br />

management became interested in the Cretaceous trend which he<br />

was working. <strong>The</strong> company leased about 150,000 acres along the<br />

trend, mostly based on <strong>Dan</strong>’s ideas, and began seismic surveys<br />

evaluating the acreage.<br />

A 45,000-acre block of leases was acquired in Lee County around<br />

the town of Giddings in an area in which practically no wells had<br />

been drilled. <strong>The</strong>se were one-eighth royalty leases with a ten-year<br />

term, and acquired for approximately $2 per acre. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

completed a seismic survey over the block and found only a<br />

flattening of regional dip with some minor faulting near the City of<br />

Giddings. Even though it was a weak structure on a large lease block<br />

in a wildcat area, the company decided to drill a deep Lower<br />

Cretaceous well on it.<br />

A large drilling rig was moved onto the structure and the UPC #1<br />

Prieuss was spudded in early 1959. <strong>Dan</strong> was the geologist on the well<br />

and was on it for several weeks, watching the mud log and samples.<br />


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When the well reached approximately 8,000 feet, the mud log began<br />

getting oil and gas shows in a limestone formation. It was decided<br />

to core the formation and a 50-foot diamond core barrel was run<br />

on the bottom of the drill pipe. <strong>The</strong> coring began, but, after about<br />

20 feet, the core barrel jammed and had to be pulled out of the<br />

hole. <strong>The</strong> core was laid out on the derrick floor. <strong>Dan</strong> described it as<br />

hard, dense, grey lime that, when tapped with a hammer, fell apart<br />

in slabs along almost vertical fractures with each side of the slab<br />

having a heavy coating of oil. <strong>The</strong> coring continued with the barrel<br />

jamming every 15 to 20 feet until a total of approximately 200 feet<br />

had been recovered, all of which had the heavy coating of oil in<br />

fractures. <strong>The</strong> well was drilled deeper but was plugged back and<br />

completed in the zone for about 300 barrels of oil per day. This was<br />

the discovery well for the Giddings Austin Chalk Field which<br />

eventually produced approximately one billion barrels of oil. An<br />

offset well was drilled by UPC on the property of <strong>The</strong> City of<br />

Giddings Airport and was completed as an open hole producer in<br />

the Austin Chalk. That well initially tested in an open hole<br />

completion at the rate of 1,200 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) but<br />

was killed with drilling mud to repair a leak in the tubing. When<br />

reopened, the well never come back in. After several acid<br />

treatments, the well was completed for about 25 BOPD. Due to the<br />

low price of oil and the Texas allowable, it was decided that it would<br />

not be feasible to develop the field at that time. It was almost 20<br />

years later before a drilling boom would begin and hundreds of<br />

wells drilled extending the field into several counties.<br />

Another interesting play with UPC at that time was in the<br />

Maverick County area in which <strong>Dan</strong> recommended the company<br />

lease about 67,000 acres of the Halsell Ranch, on the idea of the<br />

Edwards’ exploration. Conoco Oil Co. had discovered a shallow,<br />

1,800-foot field adjoining this property on the east side and he<br />

concluded that some of the field would extend on to this UPC lease.<br />

A seismic survey was conducted over the entire lease and one or two<br />

deeper prospects were found. Eventually UPC drilled a 10,000-foot<br />

well on one of the prospects and, there again, discovered oil in the<br />

Austin Chalk. This well was completed for about 100 barrels a day<br />


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but was never extended to any large area. <strong>The</strong> company also drilled<br />

several wells along the edge of the lease adjoining the Conoco field<br />

and made some mediocre oil wells in the San Miguel formation at<br />

about 1,800 feet. <strong>Dan</strong> became fond of the area at the time and<br />

enjoyed visiting the Eagle Pass and Del Rio areas and the adjoining<br />

Mexican towns across the river. Years later, he had the opportunity<br />

to purchase the Quemado ranch located in that area, which enabled<br />

him to own the property for ranching and hunting game.<br />


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1961-1969<br />


In 1961, after several years of experience, <strong>Dan</strong> decided it was<br />

time to become an independent geologist, so he resigned from<br />

UPC to devote his efforts toward private ventures. About the same<br />

time, he was approached by Caddo Oil Company (Caddo) to do<br />

consulting geology work for that company in South Texas. Caddo,<br />

headquartered in Shreveport, Louisiana, primarily invested in<br />

shallow wells of the type in which larger companies would not be<br />

interested. Caddo offered him a salary of $1,000 a month plus an<br />

overriding royalty to find shallow prospects in South Texas<br />

operating out of his Beeville office. <strong>Dan</strong> immediately began<br />

working on old Cretaceous shallow fields that were located in the<br />

northern portion of the trend near San Antonio. <strong>The</strong> first prospect<br />

to be developed by Caddo was the Bear Creek Field located in<br />

Medina, Frio, and Atascosa counties, which resulted in<br />

approximately 250 oil wells. This field at 2,200 foot depth was an<br />

old shallow Olmos strand line in which two or three wells had been<br />

drilled that tested some oil but in low qualities and, therefore, was<br />

never developed. Sand fracing was a new development in the oil<br />

industry at that time and by fracing these shallow wells, they were<br />

completed as producers that made 15 to 20 BOPD. Even though<br />

oil was only $3 per barrel at the time, this was considered<br />

commercial. Also, one of the motivating factors that stimulated the<br />

oil business was the tax structure in the United States. <strong>The</strong><br />

Democratic Party was in power and had instigated a 90 percent tax<br />

which was later reduced to 70 percent tax on all income in the<br />

United States. <strong>The</strong> oil business proved to be a lucrative investment<br />

at that time as companies were allowed to deduct all of their<br />

drilling costs plus get a 27.5 percent depletion allowance on any<br />

oil income. This permitted the investor to drill with thirty-cent<br />

dollars, and if successful, received 27.5 percent of the income tax<br />

free (depletion allowance) which made the oil business an<br />

attractive investment at that time. <strong>The</strong>re were plenty of funds<br />


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available but the big problem was finding wells to drill. While<br />

working with Caddo, he began drilling all of the old shallow fields<br />

in Bexar, Atascosa and Medina counties and eventually ended up<br />

with approximately 400 shallow producing wells. <strong>The</strong> royalty<br />

income along with his retainer allowed him to live well. <strong>The</strong> best<br />

of the fields was the Bear Creek Field which, by the twenty-first<br />

century had produced about 2.75 million barrels of oil. Other wells<br />

were drilled in a series of small fields including the Somerset Field,<br />

Von Ormy, Taylor-Ina, Adams, Anchorage, Fairfield, Leming, and<br />

other shallow fields in the updip area. Not only did he do all of the<br />

mapping and selecting well locations, but also handled the entire<br />

well-site logging, coring, and testing on all the wells. That<br />

demanded a lot of his time and a lot of driving from Beeville to<br />

well sites.<br />

In 1962, the couple’s second son, Hilton, was born. In the<br />

meantime, <strong>Dan</strong> had rented a one-room office in downtown Beeville,<br />

located in the Wilson Building, a former funeral home that had<br />

been converted into offices. As a new independent geologist, he<br />

began working on other areas that were not part of the Caddo<br />

operation. <strong>The</strong> first of the prospects consisted of some Frio age<br />

formation structures located in Bee and Victoria Counties. He was<br />

able to buy the leases and get the prospects in a position to drill, as<br />

many of the land owners were residents of Beeville. Dudley<br />

introduced him to some of his friends in Laurel, Mississippi, two of<br />

which were Field Chisolm and Jimmy Morgan, who were both<br />

interested in investing money in Texas. Field Chisolm’s<br />

family owned Central Lumber Company, a large lumber company<br />

in Mississippi with mineral rights under a pine forest on<br />

approximately 25,000 acres, and who had a large income from oil<br />

production. Chisolm’s brother-in-law, Frank Wisner, lived in<br />

Washington, D.C., and also had this lumber company income. He<br />

was a senior diplomat working for the State Department and had<br />

no way of avoiding the 70 percent income tax voted in by the<br />

Democratic administration.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> had become a good friend to John Turner, an attorney in<br />

Beeville who worked for Dudley Dougherty. Dougherty was part of<br />


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an old Beeville family with a reputation of being strong oil operators<br />

in the early days, but had since become less active. Dougherty had a<br />

310 Cessna that was scheduled to take John to New York, and John<br />

invited <strong>Dan</strong> to go along. On the trip, the plane stopped in<br />

Washington, D.C., where his twin brother had arranged a visit with<br />

Frank Wisner, Field’s brother-in-law. Frank invited the group to his<br />

Georgetown residence for lunch with some friends who were<br />

interested in oil investments. Among the guests at a luncheon were<br />

the Secretary of the Navy who was interested in the oil business and<br />

Henry Sears from New York City.<br />

Henry owned a farm in Maryland on the eastern shore of<br />

Chesapeake Bay near Wisner’s farm where the two first met. Sears<br />

also had successful investments in the oil business and an interest in<br />

an oil field in Kansas. Frank invited him because he would know<br />

more about the oil business than the rest of the group and could<br />

better evaluate <strong>Dan</strong>’s presentation. After the dinner, <strong>Dan</strong> presented<br />

the group with some of the Frio Prospects that he had in Bee and<br />

Victoria Counties that were ready to drill. Even though they didn’t<br />

know exactly what they were looking at, they all agreed to invest a<br />

total of approximately $20,000 in each one.<br />

Back in South Texas, <strong>Dan</strong> had become good friends with Lou<br />

Flournoy from Alice, Texas, who owned Flournoy Drilling Company<br />

and had several good South Texas rigs capable of drilling the deeper<br />

Frio wells. With his income from New Mexico plus the override<br />

income from Caddo Oil Company, <strong>Dan</strong> had enough capital to<br />

purchase leases on his prospects and to carry his share of the<br />

working interest after the well was drilled. Lou Flournoy was a good<br />

operator and had an engineer, Harry Hill, who did the engineering<br />

work and operated the wells that produced. <strong>The</strong>se investors put up<br />

enough money to pay Flournoy’s turnkey drilling costs and <strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

lease costs for one-half interest in the project. In a typical deal,<br />

Flournoy agreed to take 25 percent interest in one of <strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

prospects and, for an additional $15,000, would turnkey drill the<br />

well down to the casing point. <strong>Dan</strong> was to sell a one-half interest for<br />

that amount plus lease cost to the Sears group, thereby leaving<br />

himself a quarter interest. After a discovery well was drilled, all of<br />


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Henry Sears from New York, principle<br />

investor and lifetime friend<br />

91<br />

the working interest owners<br />

were to pay their proportionate<br />

share and <strong>Dan</strong>, along with other<br />

income, was able to carry his<br />

share. Dudley and <strong>Dan</strong> agreed<br />

to form a 50-50 partnership in<br />

which they shared the New<br />

Mexico production and formed<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong> Oil & Gas<br />

Partnership in which all the<br />

production in Texas and<br />

Mississippi and elsewhere would<br />

be shared on a 50-50 basis. His<br />

brother operating out of<br />

Mississippi had previously<br />

formed Triad Oil Company with<br />

two of his co-workers, one of<br />

which was an engineer and the<br />

other was a landman. <strong>The</strong>y also<br />

had an investor company,<br />

Vaughey & Vaughey which paid<br />

their overhead. Triad was<br />

successful in finding Summerland and two or three other large oil<br />

fields in which the partnership had an interest. <strong>The</strong> problem was<br />

that Triad only kept a five percent working interest in these<br />

discoveries so that each parter ended up with a small interest after<br />

dividing the five percent among the four partners. After having<br />

operated the company for two years, Dudley dissolved the Triad<br />

partnership and future Mississippi wells were then operated by<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> and <strong>Hughes</strong>.<br />

One of the more interesting South Texas prospects on which<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> worked in the early days was in Victoria County on the<br />

MacFaddin Ranch area. <strong>The</strong>re was a small ranch of approximately<br />

1,000 acres, bordering the large MacFaddin Ranch, that was owned<br />

by the Roulette family of Kentucky, not held by oil and gas<br />

production. After working up a prospect, <strong>Dan</strong> made a lease with

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the Roulettes and made a deal with Lou Flournoy to drill a test well<br />

on it. <strong>The</strong> owners of the MacFaddin Ranch generously allowed him<br />

to use their roads to get a drilling rig to the Roulette Lease. This<br />

lease was in the Guadalupe River bottom bordering the Victoria<br />

Canal which was being dug at that time. Flournoy constructed a<br />

board road, an expensive operation, for about a mile to the drilling<br />

location in this river bottom. A discovery well was drilled resulting<br />

in a good gas condensate well. <strong>The</strong> gas market was poor at that time<br />

and the gas sold for about nine-cents per thousand cubic feet of<br />

natural gas (mcf) and condensate for $3 per barrel. This was still a<br />

commercial operation due to the cheap cost of drilling. After<br />

drilling two or three wells, he had a nice operation going until the<br />

area had a big rain. <strong>The</strong> rain caused the river to rise through the<br />

area, and with the new canal embankment cutting off the east<br />

side of the river; water flooded his lease and washed away the<br />

board road. It became an expensive operation replacing the<br />

board road and repairing the surface equipment on the wells.<br />

Eventually, they rented a small iron bridge from Live Oak County<br />

and put it across one of the bayous. That kept the operation going,<br />

but it was not nearly as profitable as it should have been due to<br />

its location.<br />

In 1964 <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley both began operating under the name<br />

of <strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong> Oil & Gas. <strong>The</strong> first prospects drilled with the<br />

Sears group at that time were on the Welder, Fox and Chestnut<br />

ranches in Bee and Refugio counties. <strong>The</strong> wells were 5,000 to 6,000<br />

feet deep and discovered several gas condensate wells in the various<br />

Frio sands. This gas was sold mostly to Houston Natural Gas Co.<br />

(HNG) but only received a payout of 11 cents per mcf, which was a<br />

good price at that time. C. R. (Sam) Bass, a Houston-based<br />

geophysicist working for Brewer and Company, presented <strong>Dan</strong> with<br />

a prospect he had worked up on the Mt. Lucas Field in Live Oak<br />

County. <strong>The</strong> old field was a highly faulted large dome from which<br />

HNG had built its first natural gas pipeline to Houston. <strong>Dan</strong> and<br />

Sam drilled several gas wells on the Holman Cartwright Ranch, but<br />

because of the cheap price of gas, did not make the profit they<br />

should have. With that operation, <strong>Dan</strong> became be good friends with<br />


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Holman and Lon Cartwright and has enjoyed hunting quail on the<br />

22,000-acre ranch for many years.<br />

In 1964 <strong>Dan</strong> was elected a director on the board of the<br />

Commercial National Bank of Beeville. <strong>The</strong> board consisted<br />

primarily of ranchers, with him being the only person in the oil<br />

business. It was a learning experience which allowed him to become<br />

friends with all the ranchers serving with him. Because of the<br />

friendship built out of serving the community, he eventually drilled<br />

wells and found production on most of their ranches. <strong>The</strong><br />

experience, even though it was time consuming, made him feel like<br />

he was a strong part of the community. He served on the board for<br />

nearly 20 years. In 1966 he became more involved in his personal<br />

business and resigned from his consulting position with Caddo Oil<br />

Co. <strong>The</strong> company was approximately a year behind in paying his<br />

consulting fees, so they parted company and he became a fullfledged<br />

independent.<br />

In the mid-60s, business was more favorable for the brothers and<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong>’ Beeville office began looking beyond the<br />

boundaries of the Gulf Coast for prospects. Through John Turner,<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> met Pete Shipman, the head of the land department with Getty<br />

Oil Co. in their Houston office. Getty had leased a number of aerial<br />

photo prospects on the south flank of the San Juan Basin in the<br />

northwest corner of New Mexico. <strong>The</strong> old Hospah Field located in<br />

that area had produced approximately four million barrels of oil<br />

from depths of 1,500 to 1,700 feet. <strong>The</strong> exploration department of<br />

Getty decided to lease and drill the wild remote prospects in the<br />

area, looking for the same type of production. Acreage was only $2-<br />

to-$3 per acre in the area and Getty Oil Co. sought an independent<br />

operator to evaluate its acreage by contributing money to wells<br />

drilled, offsetting their leases. <strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong> accepted the deal<br />

and was permitted to buy 2,000 to 3,000 acres on each one of their<br />

prospects with the idea that it would drill a well offsetting the Getty<br />

leases and test the prospect.<br />

When about 15 of the drill sites had been leased, he approached<br />

Henry Sears and other partners about going in to the venture.<br />

Henry was the only one of the group interested at the time, and he<br />


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asked if his friend Joe Bryan from South Carolina could join the<br />

group. Joe was in a 70 percent tax bracket situation and was looking<br />

for an investment in lieu of paying high taxes to the government.<br />

<strong>The</strong> two of them, along with two of the Shearman sons-in-law, joined<br />

the <strong>Hughes</strong> and 25 wells were drilled to test the prospects in this<br />

remote area. <strong>The</strong> wells were located near the Continental Divide at<br />

an altitude of about 7,000 feet in northwestern New Mexico. Pete<br />

Murphy Drilling Co. from Alice, Texas, had one shallow drilling rig<br />

that he personally operated. Pete, who had drilled for the <strong>Hughes</strong><br />

in South Texas, indicated an interest in moving the rig to New<br />

Mexico and drilling the wells. Pete moved his rig from Texas to the<br />

remote area of New Mexico along with trailer houses and the<br />

supporting equipment, and lived in the field with his wife and crews<br />

during the entire operation. A furnished house was rented in<br />

Durango, Colorado, and <strong>Dan</strong>, along with some of his investors, used<br />

it whenever they were working in the area. Although it was about a<br />

100-mile drive to the drilling sites, they found Durango an exciting<br />

old mining town and was also the home of the geologist who<br />

developed the prospects. As drilling progressed, the base of<br />

operations was eventually moved to Gallup, New Mexico, which was<br />

closer to the drill sites. <strong>The</strong> operation was satisfactory, but all the<br />

wells proved unsuccessful with Getty Oil Co. contributing enough<br />

dry hole money on each test to pay for the operation. Each party<br />

came out successfully financially, and a lot of experience was gained<br />

even if they didn’t strike oil. Eventually, after about 15 wells, oil<br />

sands were encountered in one well that caused a lot of excitement.<br />

A shallow air drilling rig was brought in from West Texas and a series<br />

of core tests were drilled around the well in an effort to map the<br />

structure. <strong>The</strong> Hospah sand was saturated with oil but their<br />

completion attempt failed to make it produce. <strong>The</strong> problem was<br />

that the viscosity and the pour point of the oil at the temperature<br />

of the formation were higher than the cold bottom-hole<br />

temperatures. <strong>The</strong> oil would bleed out of the core when it was<br />

brought to the surface, but due to the high altitude, the formation<br />

temperature was too cold for the oil to flow. After drilling about 25<br />

additional wells and core tests, the project was finally abandoned.<br />


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<strong>The</strong> brothers and partners were happy because Getty Oil Co. paid<br />

for most of work; and Getty was happy because <strong>Hughes</strong> had<br />

evaluated all its prospects. Though unsuccessful, it was a great<br />

educational experience and all were satisfied with the operations.<br />

Learning how to operate in a remote area later proved to be valued<br />

in some of <strong>Dan</strong>’s foreign operations.<br />

During the summer months of that operation, <strong>Dan</strong>, Jody, and<br />

the children visited Durango where they spent several weeks<br />

sightseeing and touring. In their spare time, they took trips into<br />

the mountains. <strong>The</strong>y fell in love with the mountains, and had a<br />

great vacation. <strong>The</strong> mountain areas would later prove beneficial to<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> in property ownership with aspects of drilling as well as<br />

hunting game.<br />

Bob Gowdy of San Antonio, a friend of <strong>Dan</strong>’s, worked for<br />

Monterrey Oil Co., and was transferred to Calgary, Canada, in the<br />

early 1960s. After a period in Calgary, he invited <strong>Dan</strong> and several<br />

friends to Calgary to see the oil business in that area. Bob had just<br />

married a Canadian Irish girl, and, together with her father who was<br />

a drilling contractor, wined and dined them for several days. <strong>Dan</strong><br />

found himself impressed with the frontier town and the oil activity<br />

there. Bob had just become an independent and formed a<br />

partnership with J. C. Anderson. Bob, being a geologist, and<br />

Anderson a petroleum engineer, set up a company called Anderson<br />

Exploration and proceeded to work out several prospects in the<br />

Alberta Province. <strong>The</strong>se were in the Peace River Uplift area, about<br />

400 miles northwest of Calgary, which was very wild and remote. <strong>Dan</strong><br />

was impressed.<br />

Upon returning to Beeville, <strong>Dan</strong> began concentrating on the<br />

wilder areas that had not been drilled around South Texas. One of<br />

these areas in Webb County approximately 30 miles north of Laredo,<br />

was a vast area on which a few dry holes had been drilled, some with<br />

gas shows. John C. Beasley, a Beeville friend and attorney, had a ranch<br />

in that area. When he found out <strong>Dan</strong> was interested, he invited him<br />

to his ranch for a weekend of hunting. John showed him around the<br />

ranch and they came upon an old well casing sticking out of the<br />

ground. John said “watch this” and lit a match and threw it in to the<br />


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<strong>The</strong> stagecoach stop at Las Tiendas originally named Las Tiendas de Campana (the<br />

Tents)for cavalry stopovers in the area during pre-Civil War era<br />

casing. A three feet tall<br />

fire flared out of the<br />

casing. It was definitely<br />

natural gas seeping out<br />

of the well. On<br />

returning to Beeville, he<br />

became intensely<br />

interested in the area<br />

and obtained some<br />

seismic records covering<br />

the Beasley Ranch and<br />

surrounding area. He<br />

got C. R. Sam Bass in<br />

Houston to interpret<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> Allen, Keleigh, and Hilton on <strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong>,<br />

Martin #1 in Las Tiendas circa 1967<br />

the records. Although he was interested in the shallow Wilcox, the<br />

only seismic reflection that he could find to map on was the top of<br />

the Cretaceous at about 6,000 feet. Sam came up with a large flat area<br />

but could show no closure that would trap the gas. <strong>Dan</strong> began<br />

reworking well logs in the area and noticed that the Wilcox sands built<br />

up thicker over parts of the structure than other areas. By isopacing<br />


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A structure map on the 3,000-foot Wilcox producing sand in the Las Tiendas Field.<br />


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the interval between the top of the Wilcox and the top of the seismic<br />

Cretaceous, he was able to come up with a large flat lower relief<br />

structure that covered about 11,000 acres. With the gas shows in the<br />

old wells, he became convinced that he had found a large gas field.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> contacted J. Donald Jordan, a lease broker and friend from<br />

Cotulla, and was able to lease approximately 15,000 acres around this<br />

structure at a cost of approximately $2-$3 dollars per acre with the<br />

leases being all one-eighth royalty except for one or two small farm<br />

ins. Prior to this, he had leased the Booth Ranch, which was about<br />

five miles to the north of the Beasley Ranch. <strong>The</strong>re was some seismic<br />

on the Booth that indicated relatively small Wilcox closures. <strong>The</strong> first<br />

wells drilled were the #1 and #2 Booth locations on this 7,000-acre<br />

ranch. Each well had a gas sand about 2,800 feet deep, but the sand<br />

was only about 10 feet thick and the nearest pipeline was 50 miles<br />

away. <strong>The</strong>se wells were temporarily plugged as it was not economically<br />

feasible to try to get a pipeline for that amount of gas. Following that,<br />

he drilled the #1 Beasley-Connevey well on the Las Tiendas structure.<br />

<strong>The</strong> well was located near the one where gas burned from the casing<br />

which he observed on his first visit to the ranch. This well drilled<br />

through the first pay sand, was drill-stem tested, and flowed gas<br />

immediately. Following that, several other tests were made on deeper<br />

sands. Each one flowed gas and the well ended up with five or six gas<br />

sands and a total foot of pay among all these sands of about 100 feet.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se sands were prolific and built up to 500 pounds flowing on the<br />

surface on a drill-stem test in less than 10 minutes at which point they<br />

were shut in. Even though it was relatively shallow, the size of the<br />

structure indicated that they could have found a large discovery and<br />

one that would certainly warrant a pipeline.<br />

Following the well, and in order to prove that this was a large<br />

structure, four more wells were drilled, each a mile or two away from<br />

the first well in different directions. <strong>The</strong>se were all completed as gas<br />

wells. With this data, <strong>Dan</strong> began talking to various pipeline companies<br />

about laying a pipeline into the area in which to tie the wells. This<br />

field was of interest to nearly all the gas transmission companies, and<br />

after bargaining with several, <strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong> signed a contract<br />

with Houston Natural Gas Co. Houston Natural Gas agreed to<br />


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advance them enough money on each producing well and on future<br />

wells drilled to encourage quick development of the field. <strong>The</strong><br />

development wells cost approximately $15,000 to drill and complete.<br />

<strong>The</strong> advanced interest free funding was to be repaid out of 50 percent<br />

of the gas sales when the wells came online. After drilling and<br />

completing approximately 20 wells, Houston Natural constructed a<br />

114-mile pipeline from Mt. Lucas near George West to this Las<br />

Tiendas Field. HNG also laid a large gathering system throughout the<br />

field so that <strong>Hughes</strong> had only to tie in the wells a short distance from<br />

the pipeline. It agreed to pay 16-cents per thousand cubic feet for the<br />

gas produced which was a good price at that time. <strong>The</strong> field was<br />

probably the major turning point in <strong>Dan</strong>’s career that gave him the<br />

cash flow to explore on a much larger basis than he had previously.<br />

Following that discovery, <strong>Dan</strong> also worked an area east of<br />

Pleasanton in Atascosa County. Sam Bass, his consulting geophysicist,<br />

had worked some old records and came up with a structure along the<br />

graben fault zone that runs through the area. This structure was<br />

almost identical to the Velma Field which had been discovered<br />

previously near that area, but was practically non-commercial because<br />

it was over-drilled by many competing wells. <strong>Dan</strong> was able to lease all<br />

the area that covered the structure through J. Donald Jordan, his<br />

broker from Cotulla. After studying the Velma Field, he realized that<br />

it would be necessary to drill the structure on a larger spacing in order<br />

to have the reserves to make it a profitable venture. <strong>The</strong> first well<br />

drilled, cored the Escondido sand, which produced in the other field<br />

and found it consisted of a series of clean stringer oil sands encased<br />

in a sandy shale sequence. By perforating these clean streaks and<br />

fracing the well, the well came in producing about 80 barrels of oil<br />

per day of relatively high gravity oil. After a hearing by the Railroad<br />

Commission, they obtained a rule whereby the field could develop<br />

on 160-acre spacing and, thereby, have an ample drainage area for<br />

the shaly sand. It turned out to be a profitable field and ended up<br />

with 10 producing wells on 160-acre spacing. This field was later water<br />

flooded and responded well to the water flood. In 1981, after 20 years<br />

of production, the wells had declined to seven or eight barrels a day<br />

each and Sun Oil Co. approached the <strong>Hughes</strong> to purchase it for a<br />


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tertiary flood program. <strong>The</strong> field was sold to Sun for $3.5 million,<br />

which was a good price at the time, and <strong>Dan</strong> retained the deep rights.<br />

Several years later, he drilled a deeper Edwards’ formation well on<br />

Joe Bryan’s Annual Shooting at Rolling Rock in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Joe Bryan (at the<br />

head of the table) hosted the evening’s formal dinner.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Rolling Rock Shooting Group, c. 1987.<br />


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<strong>The</strong> Florence Club, Gueydan, Louisiana.<br />

George Crocker receiving the Queen’s Award for New Industry at the Perchem plant in Harlow,<br />

England outside London. <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley owned a controlling interest in Perchem.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> with Tobin Armstrong at Rolling Rock in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, 1986.<br />

(Left to right) Dudley <strong>Hughes</strong>, Hugh Shearman, Joe Bryan, and <strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> , c. the<br />

mid 1980’s.<br />


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the southeast side of the leases and discovered a prolific flowing<br />

Edwards’ oil well at a depth of 7,500 feet. Six additional wells were<br />

drilled on this structure and the area eventually produced as much<br />

oil as the original East Pleasanton Escondido Field. <strong>The</strong> investors in<br />

both the Las Tiendas Field and the East Pleasanton Field were Henry<br />

Sears from New York City, Joe Bryan from Greensboro, North<br />

Carolina, and the Shearman family from Lake Charles, Louisiana.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se investors proved to be substantial and reliable. <strong>The</strong>y became<br />

great friends and the three became <strong>Hughes</strong>’ primary investors for the<br />

next 20 years. <strong>The</strong> oil game is a cash intensive business that can<br />

require large sums of money on short notice when a good prospect<br />

presents itself. <strong>Dan</strong> believes that if an individual is successful and<br />

treats his investors in a fair manner, they remain solid forever.<br />

Each person in the group had different interests in hunting and<br />

the outdoors, so they began a series of hunting trips to various places.<br />

Henry Sears had a large farm and ranch on the east shore of<br />

Maryland on Chesapeake Bay which had excellent pheasant and duck<br />

hunting and a sophisticated lifestyle. <strong>Dan</strong>, Dudley, and the investment<br />

group, visited often on weekends during the hunting season.<br />

Joe Bryan was a member of the Rolling Rock Club in Latrobe,<br />

Pennsylvania, which was the old Melon Estate of about 23,000 acres.<br />

Each year, as the leaves changed in September, he invited the group<br />

for a weekend during which they would shoot pheasants over dogs<br />

in the morning and driven pheasants and ducks in the afternoon.<br />

<strong>The</strong> evenings at Rolling Rock were formal black tie dinners and the<br />

guests included several prominent men from New York and Boston.<br />

Two of these were Charlie Adams, head of the Quincy Trust, and a<br />

direct descendant of John Quincy Adams, and Bob Winthrop, whose<br />

great-great grandfather was the first governor of Pennsylvania.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re were several others along the same vintage.<br />

Tom Shearman, an investor from Lake Charles, had a<br />

membership in the Florence Club in Gueydan, Louisiana, which was<br />

a great duck hunting area. <strong>The</strong> facility had a large, three-story<br />

cypress clubhouse in the marshes with canals, and provided with<br />

Cajun guides, boats and pirogues. Hunters were treated like<br />

southern gentlemen in this club with its service and southern<br />


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cooking. <strong>The</strong> hunting group included Joe Bryan, Tom and Hugh<br />

Shearman, Henry Sears, <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley. Chesley Pruet, Dudley’s<br />

partner from Mississippi, joined the group in later hunts.<br />

In 1967 <strong>Dan</strong> and his wife attended the American Association of<br />

Petroleum Geologists’ meeting in Brighton, England. This trip also<br />

included a tour of mainland Europe, being their first trip there.<br />

While in London, they visited George Crocker, a Texas A&M<br />

classmate who was also a geology major. He had gone to work for<br />

Baroid Mud Co. in South America following college graduation.<br />

After the South American work, he traveled to Europe and was<br />

assigned for a period of time in Rome. At this particular time,<br />

however, he was back in London operating for Baroid there.<br />

George later offered <strong>Dan</strong> a proposition in which he requested<br />

support in forming a chemical company that was to be named<br />

Perchem. He had developed a cheap process to make drilling mud<br />

that used bentonite which reacted with animal fat and became an<br />

oil base drilling mud. <strong>The</strong> product was also used for oil-based<br />

paints. <strong>Dan</strong> agreed, and George constructed a plant outside of<br />

London in the town of Harlow. It was the largest of their plants and<br />

primarily produced oil-based drilling mud. A large drilling boom<br />

was taking place in the North Sea at the time, and the company<br />

furnished the mud for Macobar, which was a brand of drilling mud<br />

that was popular in the North Sea operations. Perchem also had<br />

minor chemical plants in Italy, one in Caprinca outside of Rome,<br />

one in Milan, and one in Switzerland near Zurich. <strong>The</strong>se were all<br />

smaller plants that primarily made bases for paint. All proved to be<br />

successful from <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley’s original small investment which<br />

was mostly financed with guaranteed loans.<br />


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1968<br />

CANADA<br />

Upon returning to the United States, <strong>Dan</strong> was visited by Bob<br />

Gowdy, whom he had visited in Canada a few months earlier. Gowdy<br />

and J. C. Anderson had their Peace River prospects ready<br />

to drill and needed a partner. With the twins’ success in the<br />

Las Tiendas Field and East Pleasanton Field, and Dudley’s wells<br />

in Mississippi, it was decided they could afford to invest in the<br />

wild venture. Because it was going to cost about $100,000, which<br />

was a lot of money at that time, they invited Walter Brown, a<br />

friend from San Antonio, to join them. He took one half of the<br />

interest, which he shared with his uncle who provided most of his<br />

investment money.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first well was drilled in this Peace River area of Alberta,<br />

Canada, and resulted in a discovery that was designated “Dunvegan<br />

Field”. This first well, even though <strong>Dan</strong> did not realize at the time,<br />

discovered a gas field containing 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas<br />

condensate at a depth of approximately 6,000 feet. <strong>The</strong> field<br />

eventually became about 25 miles long and four miles wide. <strong>The</strong><br />

field was quite a distance from any gas pipeline, but due to the<br />

magnitude of the field, J. C. Anderson made a contract with Alberta<br />

Southern Gas Company to advance them money on the<br />

development of the field. This was to help the company determine<br />

the gas reserves of the field before building a pipeline into the<br />

remote area.<br />

<strong>The</strong> contract called for Alberta Southern to advance the group<br />

two-cents per thousand cubic feet of the calculated gas discovered<br />

as each well was drilled. <strong>The</strong> contract paid 24-cents per thousand<br />

cubic feet of gas when it was produced, and had an escalating price<br />

over a period of time. <strong>The</strong> interest free loan was paid back as the<br />

wells were produced out of 25 percent of the gas revenues after the<br />

pipeline was constructed. <strong>The</strong> gas was rich in liquids and a large<br />

plant was built to strip the liquids out of the gas which turned out<br />

to be most profitable. Following this discovery, Bob Gowdy and J. C.<br />


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Anderson drilled seven other prospects in which <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley<br />

participated, and all of which produced. Most of these were gas<br />

condensate but one was an oil discovery. None, however, were on<br />

the scale of the Dunvegan Field. <strong>Dan</strong> made frequent trips to Calgary<br />

during the development of the fields and had great times with his<br />

friends in Calgary.<br />


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Back home in Beeville, <strong>Dan</strong> worked on deeper and larger<br />

prospects. J. B. Storey, who had been his boss at Union Producing<br />

Company in New Orleans, resigned from that company and<br />

accepted a job as president of Southdown Sugar Co., which had<br />

thousands of acres of fee land in south Louisiana. <strong>The</strong>se lands<br />

became valuable because of the oil and gas production that was<br />

found beneath them. J. B. approached <strong>Dan</strong> about investing in some<br />

of <strong>Dan</strong>’s Texas prospects. Because <strong>Hughes</strong> was drilling deeper and<br />

more expensive programs, <strong>Dan</strong> invited him to invest along with his<br />

other group of Shearmans, Sears, and Bryan.<br />

Wallace McKinney, a director at Commercial National Bank,<br />

approached him about drilling a well on his ranch just north of<br />

Beeville. An old well had been drilled to approximately 8,000 feet<br />

on his ranch and had seven-inch casing set in it. His idea was to drill<br />

the well deeper and see what was below the depth that it had been<br />

abandoned. After studying the geology, it looked like a good idea.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> took the deal to his group of investors, and then deepened the<br />

well to a depth of 10,440 feet. A series of sands were encountered<br />

that had good oil and gas shows, but were still below the gas-water<br />

contacts. <strong>The</strong>se sands had not been discovered in the area and <strong>Dan</strong><br />

realized that these might be developed into a new series of possible<br />

producing zones. A second well was drilled that cut the trapping<br />

fault at a lower spot and got substantially higher structurally. <strong>The</strong><br />

well found a prolific 50-foot gas sand at about 9,000 feet. This was<br />

the first production that <strong>Dan</strong> was able to establish that was<br />

considered deep at the time. Following this success, he began<br />

drilling deeper and larger prospects and, with the investors, had a<br />

successful group of discoveries.<br />

When <strong>Dan</strong> moved to Beeville in 1954, the only thing that he<br />

owned at the time was an automobile which he had purchased<br />

following his army discharge. Shortly after arriving in Beeville, he<br />

purchased a 100-acre Veterans Land tract in Dimmit County, Texas.<br />

It was financed by the State of Texas with its new Veterans Land<br />


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Program for World War II and Korean Veterans. In 1970, after the<br />

successful oil activity that he had in Canada, South Texas and<br />

Mississippi, he decided to purchase additional land. <strong>The</strong> first<br />

purchase that he made was from <strong>Dan</strong> Fox in Bee County being 200<br />

acres out of Fox’s ranch bordering the Medio Creek. It was a good<br />

hunting area located about three miles off the main highway. He<br />

fenced the land, built a campsite where he and his family spent time<br />

hunting and enjoying the outdoors.<br />

As the company began to expand, <strong>Dan</strong> decided that he needed<br />

an office designed to his specific type of operation. He purchased a<br />

corner lot on East Houston Street, and with the aid of a local<br />

architect, built a small square office building. It was large enough<br />

to house his operations, and he was able to lease half of it to another<br />

local oil company. It was a convenient building and the company<br />

has occupied it since, making additions over the years to keep pace<br />

with the growing business. It is now 33,000 square feet.<br />

<strong>The</strong> development in Canada was going well at the time, and <strong>Dan</strong><br />

decided to give Bob Gowdy a present for getting him into such<br />

lucrative deals. He and his wife, Jody, invited Bob and his wife to go<br />

with them on a three-week vacation and tour in Europe. It was a<br />

well-organized trip with the tour through some of the same areas<br />

that he and Jody had visited three years earlier. <strong>The</strong>re were about<br />

15 members in the group and they quickly became good friends.<br />

Several future tours were taken with the Gowdys in Europe, Asia,<br />

and the South Seas. This exposure to foreign countries gave <strong>Dan</strong><br />

the desire to explore for oil outside of the U.S.<br />

Back home in Beeville, operations grew and he realized that in<br />

order to cover the large area, it would be advantageous to have an<br />

airplane. In 1971 <strong>Dan</strong> purchased the first airplane for Beeville which<br />

was a new Cessna 210. A young navy pilot by the name of Barry<br />

O’Neil, from Chase Field Naval Base, had just gotten out of the<br />

military and approached him for a job flying the plane. He was<br />

hired, and they began flying throughout South and West Texas<br />

scouting out oil prospects. <strong>The</strong> pilot was a little on the wild side and<br />

this led to some interesting adventures. About a year later, John<br />

Beasley, his lawyer friend, informed him that a mutual friend, <strong>Dan</strong><br />


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Orient Trip. <strong>Dan</strong> and Jody <strong>Hughes</strong> and Bob and Carol Gowdy on a trip to Bangkok,<br />

Thailand, 1972.<br />

Floeck, had bought a new Beechcraft Baron. Floeck had decided<br />

that he needed a smaller plane because of frequent trips to Mexico<br />

where there were small landing strips. He flew the Baron to Beeville<br />

and the two inspected each other’s planes. Floeck made the trade<br />

of his Beechcraft Baron twin-engine plane for <strong>Dan</strong>’s single-engine<br />

210, plus a little additional money. <strong>The</strong> plane proved to be an<br />

enhancement to the <strong>Hughes</strong>’ South Texas operations.<br />

Raymond Welder’s family had a surface grazing lease on the<br />

5,000-acre Chesnutt Ranch located on the Refugio Highway<br />

bordering the Fox tract that he had purchased a year or so earlier.<br />

He leased <strong>Dan</strong> the hunting rights on 1,700 acres of the ranch for<br />

several years. In 1972 he informed <strong>Dan</strong> that Bill Chesnutt wanted<br />

to sell his one-quarter undivided interest in the entire 5,000-acre<br />

ranch. <strong>Dan</strong> agreed to purchase it for $225 per acre. It was a beautiful<br />

ranch and bordered 200 acres that he owned on the Fox tract across<br />

the Medio Creek. <strong>The</strong> quarter interest was undivided under the<br />

entire ranch, but he made a deal with the rest of the Chesnutt family<br />

to use the 1,700-acre pasture offsetting his Fox tract and it was<br />

considered <strong>Dan</strong>’s ranch. It was a great hunting place which he<br />


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enjoyed for many years, taking many of his oil investors and friends<br />

there for shooting excursions.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley were approached by Edwards Bates & Co., an<br />

English banking company, to purchase all of Dudley’s producing<br />

wells in Mississippi and <strong>Dan</strong>’s in South Texas. After an evaluation of<br />

all the wells, the company preferred the deeper Mississippi oil wells<br />

to the shallow wells in South Texas. <strong>The</strong> offer to buy was too low in<br />

South Texas, but they agreed to sell the Mississippi production. With<br />

the cash in hand, <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley paid off all debts.<br />

Following that venture, <strong>Dan</strong> continued exploration in South<br />

Texas and discovered many fields including the SE Pettus Field on<br />

McKinney land, belonging to a cousin of his first W. E. McKinney<br />

discovery. It turned out to be a lucrative 30 billion cubic foot gas<br />

condensate field and produced for many years. Following that, Sam<br />

Bass and <strong>Dan</strong> began a program working seismic in the bay area<br />

between Padre Island and the mainland in Kenedy County, near the<br />

King Ranch. A series of structures were defined in the shallow bay<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> in front of Guadalupe Peak near the Apache Ranch purchase.<br />


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water. After dredging canals, three gas condensate fields were<br />

discovered in the Potrero Lopeno and Port Mansfield areas. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

proved to be profitable and added significantly to the <strong>Hughes</strong>’<br />

Company. Other sizeable gas fields discovered during this period<br />

were the Berry R. Cox Wilcox Field in Zapata and Jim Hogg<br />

Counties and the Tom M. Shearman Wilcox Field in Webb County.<br />

In 1975 he purchased the 33,000-acre Apache Ranch in<br />

Culberson County, Texas, located about 120 miles east of El Paso<br />

for $29 per deeded acre. While stationed in the Army in El Paso,<br />

he had become fond of that semi-arid land. Dudley agreed to take<br />

an interest in the ranch with him. Tony Kunitz, a pipeline<br />

contractor and friend from Sinton, Texas, agreed to buy an interest,<br />

as did L. D. Hunter, his quail hunting Beeville friend. Final<br />

ownership was 45 percent to Tony Kunitz, 22.5 percent to <strong>Dan</strong>, 22.5<br />

percent to Dudley, and 10 percent to L. D. Hunter. After a few<br />

years, <strong>Dan</strong> succeeded in buying out all the partners including<br />

Dudley, so that he owned 100 percent of the entire ranch.<br />


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For many years, his eastern friends and investors, Henry Sears<br />

and Joe Bryan, had been going to England on shooting trips. In<br />

1976, they invited <strong>Dan</strong> and his wife to join them on an English<br />

shoot. It was a formal, outdoor occasion in which the men wore<br />

shooting suits and ties. Dinner at night consisted of a formal, blacktie<br />

dinner. On the first trip, they lodged with Lord Kenneth Keith<br />

on his estate in the Norfolk area of England. He was the chairman<br />

of the Rolls Royce aviation division of that English corporation. He<br />

had been appointed by England’s Prime Minister Margaret<br />

Thatcher to help privatize that corporation after it being<br />

nationalized by the former socialized government. Most of the<br />

shooting occurred on the Earl of Lichester’s Estate of<br />

approximately 25,000 acres and a large mansion called Holkham<br />

Hall surrounded by gardens. This grand house was built in the<br />

1700s. This estate was originally owned by the Duke of Norfolk, but<br />

was repossessed by King Henry VIII in the sixteenth century<br />

because the Duke refused to renounce the Catholic Religion and<br />

accept the new Church of England.<br />

Ironically, after shooting at Holkham and other English-Scottish<br />

estates, <strong>Dan</strong> met Eddy (Howard) Arundel, whose father was the<br />

present Duke of Norfolk. He invited <strong>Dan</strong>’s group to shoot at his<br />

father’s estate on the grounds of Arundel Castle, located about 100<br />

miles southwest of London. He was a young man, just out of college,<br />

and was trying to take over the management of the estate. After the<br />

family lost its Norfolk Estate in the 1500s, a later king had awarded<br />

the Duke the large coastal estate which included Arundel Castle.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s group accepted his invitation and spent a week shooting there<br />

for the next 25 years.<br />

During that time, <strong>Dan</strong> watched Lord Eddy get married, have<br />

children and become the Duke of Norfolk when his father died. He<br />

is now leader of the House of Lords in Parliament and heir to the<br />

throne of England if something should happen to the present<br />

Windsor heirs. Through the years, he and <strong>Dan</strong> have become good<br />


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<strong>The</strong> rear entrance and courtyard to Amberley Castle with the shooting group.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Duke of Norfolk (at the head of the table) and shooting group at dinner at<br />

Arundel Castle<br />


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<strong>The</strong> Duke of Norfolk with his young son,<br />

c. 1995<br />

<strong>The</strong> Duke of Norfolk with a retrieving dog.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> with a gun loader.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and David Hooker enjoying a<br />

midmorning break from shooting.<br />


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Arundel Castle.<br />

<strong>The</strong> courtyard of Arundel Castle.<br />

friends and had many grand lunches in the castle during the shoots.<br />

A day’s shooting consisted of seven or eight stands or drives<br />

around the estate in which a series of young beaters would beat the<br />

fields and forest driving the pheasants and partridges over their line<br />

of guns. That was repeated in different areas so that there would be<br />

new birds in each drive. A late lunch was served out in the field in a<br />

grand manner in smaller outlying buildings. After the shooting was<br />

over, there was an elaborate dinner back at Lord Kenneth Keith’s<br />


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<strong>The</strong> main gate Amberley Castle<br />

<strong>The</strong> courtyard of Amberley Castle, an outpost castle to Arundel, which houses<br />

shooting guests.<br />

estate. This was the beginning of <strong>Dan</strong>’s England and Scotland<br />

shootings. He pursued shoots every fall and winter for the next 30<br />

years or more.<br />

During that period, <strong>Dan</strong> made many trips to Canada representing<br />


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<strong>Hughes</strong>’ oil and gas development there. Several fishing trips were<br />

taken in that country during the years that his gas fields were being<br />

developed. One in particular, was taken with Alan Smith, Bill<br />

Harwood and <strong>Dan</strong>’s son, Hilton. From Calgary, they flew as far north<br />

as they could in their Mitsubishi. From there, they took float planes<br />

and traveled into the Arctic Circle to the Great Bear Lake. That lake<br />

is frozen over during most of the winter, but thaws out for a few<br />

weeks during the summer. <strong>The</strong> group stayed at a lodge, there, and<br />

fished on the lake which is about 200 miles long with granite knobs<br />

protruding above water. Lake trout was the primary fish caught.<br />

After catching many lake fish, the group then took float planes up<br />

to the Copper Mine River which flows into the Arctic Sea, and<br />

caught Arctic char.<br />

Following the sale of the Mississippi <strong>Hughes</strong> and <strong>Hughes</strong><br />

operations to the English company, Dudley joined Chesley Pruet to<br />

form a company called Pruet & <strong>Hughes</strong> in which Chesley would<br />

have half interest and <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley jointly held ownership of the<br />

other half. This company was successful in finding several<br />

Smackover oil fields and various other fields in Mississippi and<br />

Alabama. <strong>The</strong> original purpose of this company was to build a<br />

corporation which would go public when a certain amount of<br />

production was developed. However in 1975, this company was<br />

offered $25 million for its production by the French oil company<br />

Elf Acquataine and the two accepted the deal. After the sale was<br />

completed and the debts of the company paid off, their share of the<br />

proceeds amounted to about $12 million. Dudley kept<br />

approximately $8.5 million in Mississippi and sent $3.5 million to<br />

Beeville. Hindsight shows that this was a bad deal due to rapid<br />

escalation of oil and gas prices after the sale. Within the two or three<br />

years, oil and gas prices doubled and continued escalating so that<br />

the purchaser paid its investment back much quicker than originally<br />

calculated. Also, the petroleum reserves in the fields proved to be<br />

much larger than the engineers had determined at the time of the<br />

sale. Some of the fields, in their stripper stages, are producing today,<br />

40 years later.<br />


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While on a shooting trip to England in 1978, <strong>Dan</strong> visited David<br />

Hooker, a friend and consulting geologist in London who had been<br />

involved in the sale of the <strong>Hughes</strong> production to the British Edwards,<br />

Bates & Co. He told <strong>Dan</strong> about a geologist who had just moved to<br />

London from Australia and who had several oil and gas prospects in<br />

that country. <strong>The</strong> following day, <strong>Dan</strong> reviewed the prospects and<br />

selected one in Western Australia located 175 miles north of the city<br />

of Perth. It was agreed that Hooker and his associate would obtain<br />

all of the available seismic and data on the permit and that <strong>Dan</strong><br />

would return to London in two weeks to examine it. After returning<br />

to Texas, <strong>Dan</strong> was able to persuade Sam Bass to fly back to London<br />

with him to work the geophysical data. It was almost Christmas so it<br />

was agreed to travel over and back on the Concord. After reviewing<br />

the seismic, several prospective areas were located and a proposal<br />

was made. <strong>The</strong> Exploration Permit appeared to have a good<br />

potential for gas production and the city of Perth was short on its gas<br />

supply at the time. Only one gas field was supplying the Perth area<br />

and it was beginning to deplete. <strong>The</strong> permit contained 2.8 million<br />

Woodada Gas Field, West Australia, 1979.<br />


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Discover well #1, Woodada, Woodada Gas Field,<br />

175 miles north of Perth, Australia, flowing<br />

thirty million mcf/day, 1979.<br />

119<br />

acres and its entire length<br />

was crossed by the pipeline<br />

that supplied Perth 175 miles<br />

to the south. After doing one<br />

summer of geophysical work,<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley selected a<br />

location to drill a wildcat well<br />

on the permit. His deal with<br />

the Australians, which<br />

consisted of several small<br />

independents who owned<br />

the permit, was to do the<br />

required seismic and drill the<br />

initial test well to earn 65 percent interest in the entire block. After<br />

a tedious learning experience on how to operate in the remote area<br />

of outback Australia, <strong>Dan</strong> finally moved in a rig and began drilling<br />

the first well.<br />

Meanwhile, his company had signed up for a commitment to buy<br />

a Japanese jet airplane that was being developed in that country.<br />

<strong>The</strong> jet was to replace the Japanese Mitsubishi turboprop, which it<br />

currently owned. <strong>The</strong> Japanese aviation company gave <strong>Dan</strong> and Jody<br />

a free, first class trip to Japan to inspect the factory and all of the<br />

Mitsubishi operations. After completing the tour, he boarded a<br />

plane going to Perth, Australia, and while enroute, read a current<br />

Australian newspaper. One of the headlines was “New Gas Discovery<br />

in Perth Basin”. It turned out to be his well.<br />

This exploration was operated out of the Beeville office as was<br />

the Canadian venture, but in order to develop the field, it became<br />

necessary to set up an office in Perth. A consultant geologist named<br />

Keith Norland was hired as manager. He set up an elaborate office<br />

and hired approximately 15 people, including geophysicists and a<br />

field engineer named Bevan Cook. <strong>The</strong> first well had been drilled<br />

to the Permian formation at about 8,200 feet and flowed gas on a<br />

drill stem test. After casing was set and the well perforated and<br />

acidized, it tested 32 million cubic feet of gas a day on a one-inch<br />

choke. That test created a large flare which was shown on the

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Australian television stations and created quite a bit of excitement<br />

among the petroleum companies in Australia and was named the<br />

Woodada Field. As it happened, it was the first Permian reef<br />

production found in Australia. After that discovery, two<br />

development wells were drilled, and each well tested similar to the<br />

first well. A twelve-mile pipeline was built to tie the wells into the<br />

main gas line going to Perth.<br />

At that point, the <strong>Hughes</strong> had earned a 65 percent interest in the<br />

permit. As the pipeline was being constructed, <strong>Dan</strong> received a call<br />

while in Beeville from Canberra, Australia, the national capital. One<br />

of the ministers in the oil and gas division asked if he was a U.S.<br />

citizen to which he answered, “yes”. He also asked if his brother was<br />

a U.S. citizen to which also responded, “yes”. <strong>The</strong> man stated that<br />

Australia could only allow foreigners to own 50 percent in the<br />

permit whereas the records indicated they owned 65 percent.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley protested, but it did no good and they were<br />

forced to put 15 percent of their interest up for sale to an<br />

Australian company. At that point, they had already invested about<br />

$3 million. He and Dudley had no partners in the deal except the<br />

Australians from which they had acquired the exploration permit.<br />

After a short period, they sold the 15 percent interest for<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong>, termite mounds near Broome, Australia, 2000.<br />


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approximately $25 million. <strong>The</strong>re was no capital gain tax in<br />

Australia but they had to pay a small capital gains tax in the United<br />

States. While developing and producing the field, <strong>Dan</strong> became<br />

aware that the large Keith Norland staff in the Australia office<br />

was doing little work. <strong>Dan</strong>’s son, <strong>Dan</strong> Allen, graduated from Texas<br />

A&M University in 1980, and was assigned to the Australian office<br />

to work for a few months to determine what was going on. As it<br />

turned out there was only one person doing any real work and it<br />

was Bevan Cook, the field engineer. Duane Baker, the general<br />

manager from Beeville, was sent to Perth where he fired everyone<br />

in the office except Bevan and his secretary. It turned out that as<br />

much work was done without the big staff as with it without any<br />

serious problems.<br />

Perth, Australia, is one of the most outstanding and beautiful<br />

cities in the world. It has an excellent climate and the people are<br />

very friendly. <strong>The</strong> area is very prosperous and extends down to the<br />

industrialized sea port of Fremantle. It is also remote, being on the<br />

opposite side of the globe from Beeville. During the company’s five<br />

years of operations there, <strong>Dan</strong> traveled to the city many times.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se trips would go around the world since it was the same<br />

distance either way. Also, a person gets a 40% discount on the first<br />

class fare if you go around the world. Stops were made on the way<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong>, Sydney Harbor, Australia, 2000.<br />


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back in Italy or England, to<br />

check on the Perchem company<br />

and the Wyck Hill Hotel. Many<br />

friends were made along the<br />

way.<br />

Several gas discoveries were<br />

made in the northwestern shelf<br />

of Australia by other companies<br />

in its shallow water offshore<br />

province. Perth was still short<br />

on gas even with their discovery<br />

which had delivered gas to the<br />

city for four years. <strong>The</strong> Australia<br />

government built a 1,500-mile<br />

pipeline from Perth north to<br />

these offshore gas fields. In<br />

doing so, the state committed to<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong> Australia, PTY LTD,<br />

c. 2000.<br />

buy more gas than the city could use. As a result, the Mines<br />

Department required <strong>Hughes</strong> to cut the production on its wells to<br />

just enough to pay the overhead where this offshore gas could<br />

replace theirs.<br />

That move hurt <strong>Hughes</strong>’ profitable operation. Midland Brick<br />

Co. had a factory in Perth that used ten million cubic feet of gas a<br />

day. <strong>Dan</strong> entertained the company’s owner, Rick New and his<br />

wife at his Quemado Ranch in Texas and made a deal. If an<br />

Australian company owned its own gas, the government could not<br />

stop them from using it. So the <strong>Hughes</strong>, in turn, sold their interest<br />

in the field to Midland Brick Co. for another $25 million. This<br />

Australian Woodada Gas Field venture was an exciting<br />

accomplishment and resulted in another grand payday.<br />

Upon completion of this transaction, the <strong>Hughes</strong> greatly<br />

reduced the size of the Perth office and temporarily suspended<br />

operations in Australia.<br />

Several years later, <strong>Dan</strong> took another project in Australia and<br />

drilled three rank wildcat wells in the northwestern sand dune area,<br />

east of Broome in the Canning Basin. <strong>The</strong>y were dry holes but<br />


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<strong>Hughes</strong> gained valuable experience, particularly in drilling and<br />

building about 180 miles of roads through the sand dunes. Later<br />

the Beeville office acquired exploration permits in the Cooper<br />

Basin and drilled a well which tested some oil and gas but in noncommercial<br />

quantities. <strong>The</strong>y have since sold that permit and<br />

retained an override on it.<br />

Continuing the exploration back in Beeville, they acquired a<br />

lease on the 23,000-acre Parkey Ranch in north Texas in Archer<br />

County. After an extensive seismic program, a number of small<br />

prospects were located. Several producing oil wells were drilled on<br />

these structures but most of those went to water quickly. One field<br />

proved to be a commercial discovery. <strong>The</strong> price of oil was going up<br />

and a company from San Antonio became interested in the ranch.<br />

This lease was sold to them for $5 million, which cleared their<br />

investment and they made a nice profit.<br />

By 1982, <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley’s children were grown, and in order<br />

to get them involved in their respective businesses, the brothers<br />

dissolved the <strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong> Partnership. From that date on,<br />

they each operated individually. At times they would still participate<br />

in one another’s prospects, however, they have no joint interests<br />

automatically as it was originally.<br />


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Operations were going well in the Beeville office, and he had an<br />

opportunity to buy another ranch in West Texas in Culberson County<br />

located about 150 miles southeast of El Paso. <strong>The</strong> 44,000-acre ranch<br />

which he called the Kent Ranch was located in the southern edge of<br />

the Delaware Basin. He purchased it for $40 per acre with friends Tony<br />

Kunitz and L. D. Hunter who were co-owners in the Apache Ranch.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ownership was divided so that he owned 45 percent, Tony, 45<br />

percent and L. D., 10 percent. All the lands provided great hunting<br />

for blue quail and mule deer and they enjoyed hunting there for many<br />

years. That particular ranch received a lot of oil and gas activity<br />

consisting primarily of seismic and oil and gas leases. <strong>The</strong> income from<br />

that activity eventually paid for the land even though it never produced<br />

commercially. <strong>The</strong> partners eventually sold all of their interests to <strong>Dan</strong>.<br />

In Bee County, <strong>Dan</strong> was able to purchase several tracts of land<br />

from Dickie Scott near the north end of the Beeville area. One tract<br />

<strong>The</strong> Quemado Ranch in Maverick and Kinney Counties, Texas.<br />


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was 130 acres which is what is now called the pipe yard and a series<br />

of pipe racks were constructed there to store pipe and other oilfield<br />

equipment. Another of the tracts was cut off from the main Scott<br />

Ranch by the by-pass that was built around Beeville. <strong>The</strong> tract<br />

consisted approximately of 120 acres located west of the highway<br />

and bordered on the east end by several subdivisions. In 1978 he<br />

and his wife built a large house on a hill on a portion of the land<br />

that contained beautiful oak trees. <strong>The</strong> family then moved from<br />

the original house on Quail Trail to the new estate at the end of<br />

Kessler Lane. He also purchased the Dryden Ranch, which was<br />

approximately 6,000 acres in West Texas near the town of Dryden<br />

and the Agua Grande Ranch of 14,000 acres located in the Davis<br />

Mountains above the town of Balmorhea. In far West Texas, he<br />

purchased the Apache II Ranch which adjoins his original Apache<br />

Ranch and consists of approximately 8,000 acres.<br />

At the end of 1981, <strong>Dan</strong> traded the Agua Grande Ranch in the<br />

Davis Mountains for the Quemado Ranch located in Maverick<br />

County between the towns of Del Rio and Eagle Pass. This ranch,<br />

Quicksilver #3H <strong>Hughes</strong> Kent Ranch, Kent Ranch, Culberson County, Texas, 2007.<br />


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Quemado Ranch, 1985. (Left to right) <strong>Dan</strong>, Jim Turnbow, Mary Jane Turnbow, Jody<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong>, Billie Carl, Barbara Chiles, Lucy Bass, Clay Chiles, Sam Bass, and Bill Carl.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> with George W. Bush in mid-1980s during Bush’s time in Midland.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 14_Layout 1 2/16/2016 11:27 AM Page 127<br />

owned by Joe Brown, consisted of 12,000 acres, 10,000 of which were<br />

under a high deer proof fence. It had a beautiful house and the<br />

most remarkable part about the ranch was that it had a running<br />

creek fed by an Edwards Aquifer spring near Bracketville, Texas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> creek runs through five miles of the ranch, and it is one of the<br />

few ranches in south and west Texas that has running water most of<br />

the year. He paid additional money in the trade but it turned out to<br />

be a very good deal. <strong>The</strong> Quemado Ranch also had a mile-long<br />

airstrip to which he could fly directly from Beeville and land on the<br />

ranch, making it convenient.<br />


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During their operation in Australia, <strong>Dan</strong>’s wife and two friends<br />

purchased an old 30-acre estate in England. His wife, Jody, along<br />

with Polly New of Beeville and Estelle Yates Holmes of San Antonio,<br />

remodeled an old manor house built in 1720 and made it into a<br />

hotel with 30 guest rooms. It was elaborately-decorated and included<br />

a five-star kitchen. <strong>The</strong> hotel was located in the Cotswold’s near<br />

Stow-on-the-Wold and was an attractive, first-class operation.<br />

Unfortunately, the three women who put the hotel together became<br />

disenchanted with the project, and his oil company took over<br />

operations for a period of time. One of the women approached him<br />

and indicated she wanted to sell her interest in the estate and hotel.<br />

As a result, he offered her half of what she had invested, and she<br />

accepted the offer. This gave the <strong>Hughes</strong> two-thirds interest in the<br />

project. Eventually, the other partner found a buyer for the hotel<br />

and the <strong>Hughes</strong> made a good profit on the transaction. When they<br />

purchased and remodeled the hotel, the British pound exchange<br />

<strong>The</strong> bar at Wyck Hill House.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 15_Layout 1 2/16/2016 11:30 AM Page 130<br />

<strong>The</strong> library at Wyck Hill House.<br />

was approximately $1.08 to the U.S. dollar. When the hotel was sold,<br />

the pound had gained to $1.50 to the U.S. dollar, so there was quite<br />

a bit of appreciation in the pound.<br />

In that same period, Trudeaux, the prime minister of Canada, had<br />

passed some tough tax laws pertaining to foreign investors in Canada<br />

and, particularly in the oil business. That more or less forced the<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> to sell their interest in the Dunvegan Field and other properties<br />

in Canada. After some bargaining, they were sold to a Canadian company<br />

for approximately $33 million. Again, there were no partners. <strong>The</strong><br />

sale contained a provision whereby after 10 years, the <strong>Hughes</strong>’ were to<br />

come back for a 20 percent overriding royalty interest in the properties.<br />

<strong>The</strong> price of gas dropped to a new low for several years, and 10 years<br />

after the sale, the<br />

field still contained<br />

60 percent of its<br />

original reserves.<br />

When their override<br />

kicked in in<br />

1992, they started<br />

receiving substantial<br />

checks again<br />

from the Canadian<br />

production.<br />

<strong>The</strong> reception lounge at Wyck Hill House.<br />


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In 1986 the price of oil crashed and it became almost noncommercial<br />

to even produce a well. Due to various problems, <strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

marriage fell apart. While on a trip to Palm Springs during this<br />

period, he met John and Finn Moller from Los Angeles. John had<br />

a series of filling stations throughout the western states, which was<br />

a profitable business. Because of industry interests, they forged a<br />

friendship that continues.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> married Carolyn Smallwood with a ceremony at his Quemado<br />

Ranch and, once again, settled down in Beeville. Unfortunately at that<br />

time, the price of oil had crashed and it was hard to keep the company<br />

going, particularly with him having only half-interest in everything,<br />

including income. From his office of 72 employees, he was forced to<br />

take all the production men that were on regular salaries and put them<br />

( From left to right) Sam Bass, <strong>Dan</strong> and Carolyn, a local vendor, Dianne <strong>Dan</strong>iels, and<br />

Linda Haas; Istanbul, 2000. <strong>The</strong> party was enjoying a yacht cruise of Greek Islands.<br />


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Isle Reaux, an island in the St. Lawrence Seaway.<br />

A 200-year-old French farmhouse on Isle Reaux, c. 1985.<br />

on a contract basis. <strong>The</strong>re was not enough income to sustain the big<br />

operation so it was downsized to stay within budget.<br />

Many hunting trips were made with friends at the Quemado<br />

Ranch in Texas, the Florence Club Duck Camp in Louisiana, and<br />

shooting at Rolling Rock in Pennsylvania. Other trips were made to<br />

Quebec, Canada, where they shot pheasant on Isle Reaux with Alan<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> and Hugh Shearman in a waterfowl shooting pit.<br />

Smith and the shooting trips to England and Scotland for grouse,<br />

pheasant and partridge.<br />

He and Carolyn had a great time for the first few years. <strong>The</strong>y spent<br />

a lot of time traveling and going on cruises in the Mediterranean and<br />

other areas. <strong>The</strong> couple attended a week-long tennis camp in Carmel,<br />

California, and, while there, met Mark McCormick and his wife, Betsey<br />

Nagelsen. Mark owned IMG, a company that managed sportsmen and<br />

A day’s bounty of pheasants.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> shooting quail in South Texas with L.D. Hunter and Clay Chiles, 1991.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Carolyn with Mark McCormack at the Paris Open Tennis Tournament in<br />

Paris, France.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> with Michel Eyssautier, geologist who represented ELF Aquitane for sale of Pruet &<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong>, and Eyssautier’s wife during Paris Open Tennis Tournament in Paris, France.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> with Betsey Nagelsen ,wife of Mark McCormack (far right), at the annual Pro-am<br />

Tennis Tournament in Maui, Hawaii.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong>, Marianne Rogers and Finn Moller, Beverly Hills, California 2001.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and Pat Moller, Beverly Hills, California, 2001.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 16_Layout 1 2/16/2016 11:41 AM Page 137<br />

other celebrities around the world. Betsey was a professional tennis<br />

player. Mark invited them to come to their annual Pro-Am Tennis<br />

Tournament in Maui, Hawaii which was a week of intense tennis with<br />

pros and amateurs. <strong>The</strong>y attended this for the next several years.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> bought a townhouse in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and spent<br />

quite a bit of time in the mountains skiing and hiking. <strong>The</strong> couple<br />

also built a large home in Houston, but eventually the marriage<br />

was dissolved.<br />

Due to the depression in the oil business during that period,<br />

there had been only a small amount of properties acquired, so the<br />

marriage settlement with his second wife was not difficult.<br />

Henry Sears died in 1980, and that is when <strong>Dan</strong> purchased a<br />

Westwind 1, his first jet airplane. Its first trip was to Maryland to<br />

Henry’s wake. A few years later, Tom Shearman died, but his son<br />

Hugh Shearman continued to invest with the company. Joe Bryan<br />

also continued participating in <strong>Dan</strong>’s drilling, but gradually his<br />

investment group fell apart.<br />

After Carolyn, <strong>Dan</strong> had an active social life in his travels, but he<br />

eventually met Brenda Wehmeyer, whom he married in 2003.<br />

Brenda was a charming, younger girl and a companion to <strong>Dan</strong> in his<br />

outdoor hunting, fishing and ranch activities. <strong>The</strong>y also took many<br />

trips and cruises, mostly in America and Europe.<br />

Years earlier, he had purchased six acres on what is called Ku Klux<br />

Hill on Business 181 North. It is a beautiful piece of land, one of the<br />

highest points in Beeville, and covered with large oak trees. He also<br />

purchased the adjoining lot on the north, that added another five<br />

acres and made a nice estate on which was built an Italian-style<br />

manor house.<br />

Unfortunately, the marriage developed problems after twelve years<br />

and eventually ended.<br />


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Brenda & <strong>Dan</strong> in Beaver Creek, Colorado – 2003.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Italian Style manor house built on Ku Klux Hill by <strong>Dan</strong> and Brenda in 2003.<br />


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In 1996, with the oil business still in the doldrums, <strong>Dan</strong> decided<br />

to explore the oil possibilities in South America due to the success<br />

of the other foreign operations. An investment group was put<br />

together to finance the operation and the initial focus was on<br />

Bolivia. <strong>Dan</strong> Allen, Jr., was sent there, but after several months, was<br />

unable to find any drillable prospects.<br />

A study was made of other countries in South America and finally<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> and <strong>Dan</strong> Jr. settled upon Colombia as being the best area for oil<br />

exploration. Along with John Saunders and son, <strong>Dan</strong> Allen, he formed<br />

an operating company named Hupecol, derived from “<strong>Hughes</strong><br />

Petroleum Colombia”. When the company first entered Colombia, its<br />

consulting geophysicist, Redge Greenburg, worked all of the 2D<br />

seismic that was available in the Llanos Basin. Hupecol’s first venture<br />

was on a concession where a wildcat well was drilled looking for a sand<br />

truncating up on a basement plug. <strong>The</strong> well was a dry hole mainly due<br />

HUPECOL – Jaguar #1, Llanos Basin, CaraCara Contract, Colombia, 2008.<br />


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to the sand pinching out before reaching his location. <strong>The</strong> second<br />

venture was on the Tambaqui concession which consisted of a small<br />

fault closure structure and resulted in three producing wells. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

were mediocre wells that eventually proved to be non-commercial, but<br />

it was the first oil his group had discovered in Colombia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s first successful venture involved getting a farm-in<br />

from some Colombian citizens who had a concession called Cara Cara,<br />

issued by the Colombian government. Two consulting geologists from<br />

California, who had worked with Unocal on drilling some wells on this<br />

block many years before, were engaged. Some of the wells had good<br />

oil shows and tested some oil. <strong>The</strong> current owners of the permit had<br />

drilled three wells, but due to lack of skills in the trade, were unable to<br />

successfully complete them. <strong>The</strong> electric logs on the wells led <strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

team to believe they could be productive. His investment group<br />

originally organized for Bolivia joined him and it was agreed to buy<br />

half-interest in the acreage for $2 million. <strong>The</strong> agreement required the<br />

Colombian operators to drill a well to satisfy the concession’s drilling<br />

obligation. His group advanced the $2 million required in the deal.<br />

Jack Stanley, of Good Hope Refineries, agreed to invest the $2 million<br />

to earn half of the groups' interest which would be a quarter interest<br />

in the concession. <strong>The</strong> Colombian operators put up a performance<br />

bond which appeared to be authentic, with the obligation to drill the<br />

compulsory well. A few weeks later <strong>Dan</strong> learned the operator had<br />

disappeared with the money and the well was not drilled. <strong>The</strong><br />

concession expired and reverted to Ecopetrol, the national oil<br />

company of Colombia. He attempted to recover the $2 million, from<br />

the Colombian Performance Bond, but received only a few thousand<br />

dollars of it after many hassles with lawyers. This was discouraging and<br />

Jack Stanley, Dudley, and many others in the investment group dropped<br />

out of the Colombian deal, forfeiting the funds they had invested in<br />

the project. <strong>The</strong> remaining partners continued the exploration with<br />

the help of a Spanish-Mexican lawyer, Joe Vivas of San Antonio, and<br />

continued pursuing the prospects. <strong>The</strong> national oil company of<br />

Colombia, Ecopetrol, realized that the Colombian operators had<br />

absconded with the money. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong>’ representative in Colombia<br />

continued meeting with Ecopetrol and after a few months, were<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 17_Layout 1 2/16/2016 11:47 AM Page 141<br />

surprised by its issuing Hupecol a new permit on the Cara Cara<br />

concession. <strong>The</strong> company would have 100 percent of the revenue until<br />

payout of all operations. At that point Ecopetrol was to receive 30<br />

percent interest and Hupecol would retain 70 percent. That was a<br />

much better deal than they originally had from the Colombian outlaws.<br />

Redge worked the 2D seismic that was available on this Cara Cara<br />

permit and <strong>Dan</strong> attempted to do subsurface geology from the<br />

available wells and data. <strong>The</strong>y both agreed that one of the plugged<br />

wells had several good oil shows and elected to shoot a short seismic<br />

line in an effort to get structurally high to that well. <strong>The</strong> line proved<br />

to be successful and a structurally higher well was drilled. <strong>The</strong> test<br />

well had several thick oil sands with an initial production of about<br />

1,000 barrels per day. With that success, it was decided to conduct a<br />

3D seismic survey of the possible producing area of the permit. That<br />

proved to be effective and the group had a high discovery ratio on<br />

future wells resulting in the drilling of approximately 40 wells in this<br />

general area. As the development progressed, transporting the oil by<br />

trucks proved to be a real burden. A 40-mile, eight-inch pipeline was<br />

built by Hupecol from the field to a terminal on a main pipeline to<br />

move the oil. This pipeline had a capacity of 22,000 barrels of oil a<br />

day, but after developing the field, production reached 26,000 barrels<br />

a day so it was necessary to continue trucking some of the oil. That<br />

proved to be a lucrative venture.<br />

After the theft of the group’s original investment in that concession<br />

in which a majority of partners had dropped out, the interest was<br />

redistributed among those remaining. <strong>Dan</strong>, <strong>Dan</strong> Allen Jr., and John<br />

Saunders, ended up with the largest interests based on their original<br />

holdings and divided up percentage according to their original<br />

investments. During the development phase of the prospect, John<br />

Saunders found it difficult to keep up with drilling and sold some of<br />

his interests to several different partners, some of which later proved<br />

to be a problem.<br />

With this success, Hupecol applied for other concessions from the<br />

Colombian government and were favorably awarded several of these.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company continues shooting 3D seismic surveys over these areas<br />

and many discovery wells have been made.<br />


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Meanwhile, <strong>Dan</strong> became interested in the Texas area north of<br />

Dallas and Fort Worth, in which his sister Jane Christian, a geologist<br />

from Oklahoma University, had worked for many years. He had<br />

drilled and participated in several wells of different types in the area,<br />

but failed to get any commercial production. <strong>The</strong> Barnett Shale<br />

appeared to cover a large part of the area and several mediocre or<br />

non-commercial gas wells had been completed in earlier years.<br />

George Mitchell, a prominent independent operator from Houston,<br />

had a large amount of shallow production in that area and eventually<br />

drilled a horizontal well in the Barnett Shale. This proved to be a<br />

commercial producer after sand fracing.<br />

After observing this development for a while, <strong>Dan</strong> took a series of<br />

leases in a venture with Bill Sudderth of Tyler, Texas. <strong>The</strong>y initially<br />

purchased some federal leases that were up for bid in the area; and<br />

followed by buying all of the leases that were available around and<br />

A frac job being performed on the City of Denton Airport well in the Barnett Shale, 2004.<br />


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south of the city of Denton. <strong>The</strong> group eventually began drilling the<br />

Barnett Shale wells and <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Co. got its first taste of<br />

horizontal drilling. Approximately 20 wells were drilled, some more<br />

successful than others, particularly, the horizontal ones. One of the<br />

best wells was drilled under the City of Denton airport.<br />

After several months of production, <strong>Dan</strong> decided to sell the<br />

properties because the operations were difficult in such a<br />

highly populated area. Also, they had acquired one partner that<br />

proved to be unreliable and was trading leases to other parties that<br />

were supposed to belong to his group. <strong>The</strong> production listed for sale<br />

and was eventually sold to Dunes Petroleum Company for $30<br />

million. This was a good return on the investment, and the group<br />

was happy to have made the deal. <strong>The</strong> partner that had acquired<br />

other acreage that was in their “area of interest” was sued and,<br />

eventually, the company collected another $13 million, making the<br />

sale a total of $43 million. This proved to be an informative<br />

adventure and propelled <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Company into the<br />

horizontal drilling business.<br />


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During this same period, <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Company put some older<br />

marginal South Texas gas wells up for sale, which were purchased by<br />

a Korean company by the name of Woolim. <strong>The</strong> company sent a group<br />

of Koreans to visit the Beeville office, and they were impressed by the<br />

operation. <strong>The</strong> company wanted to invest with <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong><br />

Company, and it joined in the local deep Wilcox drilling program,<br />

which was generated be a large 3-D seismic program shot over the old<br />

shallow Wilcox trend in South Texas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> president of Woolim, Chairman Shim, came to Beeville to visit<br />

and the <strong>Hughes</strong> entertained him at the Quemado Ranch. <strong>Dan</strong><br />

presented him with a copy of brother Dudley’s book entitled Wall of<br />

Fire which was written about the twins’ service in the Korean War. He<br />

was intrigued by the book and invited them to Korea. After several<br />

trips there, he introduced <strong>Dan</strong>, Dudley, Brenda, and Robbie to many<br />

of the old Korean generals. He had the book translated into Korean<br />

and held a big ceremony presenting it to them. <strong>The</strong> Korean people<br />

A letter of appreciation from the Republic of Korea to <strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong>.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 20_Layout 1 2/16/2016 1:30 PM Page 145<br />

<strong>The</strong> Han River in Modern day Seoul, Republic of Korea<br />

are still very friendly and appreciative of what the United States did<br />

for them during and after the war.<br />

Prior to that event, the entourage had taken a military tour of Korea<br />

with some members of the 45th Division from the Korean War. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

visited the old front line (MLR) trenches which were still occupied by<br />

South Korean troops with guns pointed towards the North Korean<br />

trenches across no-man’s-land. That had not changed since <strong>Dan</strong> and<br />

Dudley left in 1953.<br />

(From left to right) Brenda, <strong>Dan</strong>, Chairman Shim, Dudley, and Robbie at ceremony in<br />

Korea presenting Dudley J. <strong>Hughes</strong>’ book Wall of Fire translated into Korean.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 21_Layout 1 2/16/2016 1:41 PM Page 146<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>, <strong>Dan</strong> Allen, and Dudley at <strong>Dan</strong> Allen’s induction into All American Wildcatters<br />

in 2001.<br />


Back on American soil and following the success in the Barnett<br />

Shale, <strong>Dan</strong> began working other areas with the idea of finding other<br />

formations that might be a source bed for horizontal drilling as the<br />

Barnett Shale had been. In the Arkhoma Basin, <strong>Hughes</strong> & <strong>Hughes</strong><br />

had drilled a shallow well on a large lease block acquired with Ken<br />

McClain in the 1970s. <strong>The</strong>re was an indication of some activity in the<br />

area on a formation called the Fayetteville Shale, which was the same<br />

age geologically as the Barnett Shale production. Several companies<br />

were leasing in the area and horizontal wells were being drilled on<br />

the play.<br />

He hired Gary Hart, an old friend and geologist from Oklahoma<br />

City to work on the trend for him. Gary mapped the Fayetteville<br />

trend, extended it into Arkansas about 40 miles ahead of the area<br />

that was active. Most of the land men in that area were busy, but <strong>Dan</strong><br />

found Whit Porter, a landman from Mansfield, Louisiana and leased<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 21_Layout 1 2/16/2016 1:41 PM Page 147<br />

approximately 5,000 acres. <strong>The</strong> drilling eventually caught up with<br />

his area and the leases became so expensive that he quit buying. <strong>The</strong><br />

exploration activity soon reached the area and some good gas wells<br />

were made. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> were preparing to drill their block when<br />

Chesapeake Production approached them to purchase their leases.<br />

Aubrey McClendon was the head of Chesapeake, also one of the All<br />

American Wildcatters, and he approached the <strong>Hughes</strong> at a<br />

Wildcatter Convention in California. He bargained with <strong>Dan</strong> Allen<br />

and a deal was made to sell their acreage block for $14.5 million.<br />

Since <strong>Hughes</strong> had invested only $500,000 in the leases, they decided<br />

that was the best course to take, having received a great return on<br />

the investment.<br />


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Operations in Colombia continued to be successful. At that point,<br />

it was decided to put the Cara Cara production up for sale and the<br />

concession was listed to be sold with Scotia Waterous. That company<br />

has worldwide offices in which to advertise the sale and after several<br />

weeks of negotiation, their production was sold to CEPSA, an oil<br />

company in Spain. <strong>The</strong> sale was for $925 million, but there was also<br />

a clause that adjusted the final sale price based on crude prices<br />

during the six months as the deal was being closed. Hupecol was to<br />

receive any additional price increase between an $85 per barrel base<br />

line to whatever the price might be until the deal was closed.<br />

During that period the price of oil reached $140 a barrel, so<br />

the group picked up another $70 million when the deal was<br />

finally closed.<br />

This proved to be one of the largest paydays that <strong>Dan</strong> was<br />

fortunate to achieve. Following this sale, several other permits were<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>, <strong>Dan</strong> Allen, and D.A. with the Challenger 300 at Chase Field Hangar.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 22_Layout 1 2/16/2016 1:44 PM Page 149<br />

acquired in Colombia and Hupecol begans its 3D seismic surveys<br />

on these permits.<br />

Following this sale, the aircraft position in <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong><br />

Company was upgraded by purchasing a Challenger 300 long-range<br />

airplane. This plane was able to fly non-stop from Beeville to Bogota,<br />

Colombia. Also, it traded in the old King Air and purchased two<br />

newer King Air 200 planes, one of which operated part-time out of<br />

San Antonio. <strong>The</strong>se planes were shared by <strong>Dan</strong>, <strong>Dan</strong> Allen Jr., <strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

son-in-law Stuart Sasser, and occasional personnel from the office.<br />

With these larger aircraft, a better airport was needed from which<br />

to operate out of Beeville. By negotiating with local officials, a deal<br />

was made with Bee County to open an 8,000-foot runway at the old<br />

Navy Chase Field. <strong>The</strong> runway was resurfaced and runway lights<br />

restored. For this, <strong>Dan</strong> contributed $1.25 million and, in return, was<br />

granted a 10-year tax-free period on the aircraft to help offset this<br />

cost.<br />

A hangar was also constructed that was sufficient to house four<br />

airplanes.<br />

An aerial view of Chase Field after the runway restoration.<br />


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Another oil play was being developed in South Texas which involved<br />

horizontal drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale. <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Company<br />

had drilled a well back in the 90s to test the Edwards formation located<br />

near Falls City in Karnes County. <strong>The</strong> Edwards completion proved<br />

non-commercial, so the well was perforated in the Eagle Ford Shale,<br />

which had a good oil show while drilling through that formation. <strong>The</strong><br />

well initially produced approximately 80 barrels a day from the Eagle<br />

Ford but quit flowing. <strong>The</strong> well was treated with an acid job and finally<br />

settled down to produce about 10 barrels of oil per day. By pumping<br />

from 10,000 feet, it was not a commercial well due to the low price of<br />

oil and having to produce it from that depth. <strong>The</strong> well was eventually<br />

sold to the company’s pumper in that area.<br />

In 2007 <strong>Hughes</strong> became interested in the Eagle Ford play and<br />

found that the old well had made 17,000 barrels and was still<br />

producing. It looked like an ideal place to begin purchasing leases.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Company purchased about 15,000 acres around the<br />

well and began competing with EOG who was also in the area. A deal<br />

was made with EOG to jointly merge with <strong>Hughes</strong>’ acreage and,<br />

together, they formed a 30,000-acre drilling unit. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong><br />

Company continued acquiring leases on each end of the play outside<br />

of that unit and, eventually, had an interest in a gross of 60,000 acres.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Company drilled the first well on that unit in 2009.<br />

It operated wells on its original leases and EOG operated wells on its<br />

original leases. <strong>The</strong> first well on the joint unit was completed for 400<br />

bbls of 42 gr. per day. Eighteen wells were drilled and completed in<br />

which <strong>Hughes</strong> and EOG each had a one-half interest. <strong>The</strong> cost was<br />

expensive, averaging about $7 million per well.<br />

Unfortunately <strong>Dan</strong>’s head petroleum engineer had used some<br />

substandard casing and collars on several wells which burst when<br />

fraced. With the loss of these wells, the company was forced to put<br />

its acreage up for sale. Plains Exploration and Production Company<br />

made an offer to buy all of the company’s Eagle Ford holdings,<br />

eventually the figure of $585 million was agreed upon for the wells<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> Allen, Jr., and <strong>Dan</strong> Sr., after a successful duck hunt at Jim Flores’s camp on Little<br />

Pecan Island in Louisiana, 2012. Flores is the CEO of Plains Exploration.<br />

and the leases. <strong>The</strong> president of Plains Exploration was Jim Flores, a<br />

member of the All-American Wildcatters, which gave <strong>Dan</strong> and his<br />

son a personal relationship in dealing directly with him on the sale.<br />

All of <strong>Hughes</strong>’ partners involved in the Eagle Ford were, again,<br />

happy. Later development proved the leases were some of the best<br />

in the Eagle Ford trend.<br />


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Part of the proceeds of the sale was on new leases that had been<br />

purchased and were less than a year old. In order to avoid paying the<br />

35 percent tax, <strong>Hughes</strong>’ portion of the short term sale money was put<br />

into the IRS 1031 Form which allows a person to trade properties<br />

without paying a tax. With these funds, he was able to purchase tax-free<br />

a 7,000-acre ranch in Frio County west of the town of Pearsall, a 6,000-<br />

acre ranch in Brooks County, and a 2,200-acre portion of the Farish<br />

Ranch in Bee County, and two or three smaller tracts. Five horizontal<br />

Eagle Ford wells have now been drilled on this Frio County ranch.<br />


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Meanwhile, Hupecol continued drilling on new concessions in<br />

Colombia. In 2011, two of the concessions had production of<br />

approximately 3,000 barrels a day. It was decided to put these properties<br />

up for sale as they were not as lucrative as the company’s original Cara<br />

Cara project. <strong>The</strong> properties were again listed with Scotia for sale and<br />

advertised around the world. Eventually the properties were sold to<br />

Sinopec, a Chinese company for $281 million.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sale proved not to be as smart for the <strong>Hughes</strong> group as the<br />

Chinese company began drilling horizontal wells on the block and<br />

increased the production to 20,000 barrels of oil per day. Hupecol<br />

continued drilling in Colombia and it began developing the La Cuerva<br />

Prospect which was a new concession. After a year of development, the<br />

concession was sold in 2012 for $85 million. That was a low profit<br />

venture and <strong>Hughes</strong> was delighted to be able to sell it to Geopark, a<br />

company with production in Peru.<br />

HUPECOL (<strong>Hughes</strong> Petroleum), Jaguar #T 5 development well, oilfield, Llano<br />

Basin, 2005.<br />


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Since the loss of the original investment group from the 1960s, <strong>Dan</strong><br />

A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Company has developed a new team of investors. Walter<br />

Umphrey, who purchased and developed a ranch near Quemado in<br />

the late 1980s, became its first across-the-board investor. He also<br />

introduced <strong>Dan</strong> to John Eddie Williams and Cary Patterson. <strong>The</strong>y are<br />

all wealthy trial lawyers and have opposite political views from <strong>Dan</strong> and<br />

his son, but the group has a cordial relationship. <strong>The</strong> three were all<br />

part of the team of lawyers representing the State of Texas vs. the<br />

tobacco companies which netted Texas 15 billion dollars plus their<br />

additional fee of 15 percent. <strong>The</strong>y are great business partners and a<br />

deep source of capital. <strong>The</strong> investors are all in the Colombia<br />

operations and the horizontal developments in the U.S. <strong>The</strong>y have<br />

also participated in the large sales of these properties.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> with Sheila and Walter Umphrey, Weil Lease, Jim Hogg County, Texas, 1993.<br />


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With that influx of cash, <strong>Dan</strong> began making some charitable<br />

contributions. One such contribution was to Texas A&M University<br />

for the restoration of the Military Walk through the center of<br />

the old campus. With a gift of $4 million, this walk was<br />

reconstructed and has turned out to be the centerpiece of Texas<br />

A&M University. Also, <strong>Dan</strong>, Dudley, and <strong>Dan</strong> Allen made a $1-<br />

million donation to the Department of Geology to form a school<br />

which would coordinate geophysics, geology, and petroleum<br />

engineering. <strong>The</strong> combined courses are all necessary for present<br />

day exploration and horizontal drilling in the oil business. <strong>The</strong><br />

school is named <strong>The</strong> Berg-<strong>Hughes</strong> Center. It has turned out to be<br />

a popular school and is being supported by major companies and<br />

oil-related companies.<br />

Most of the conventional oil fields of the world have been<br />

found and world oil production began to decline during the<br />

beginning of the twenty-first century. <strong>The</strong> demand for oil is<br />

continually increasing due to the rapid escalation of living<br />

standards and use of automobiles in third world countries such<br />

as China and India. <strong>The</strong> only large conventional oil reserves<br />

unexplored at this time appear to be in the deep waters offshore<br />

at ocean depths of 1,000 feet to 10,000 feet. <strong>The</strong> new horizontal<br />

drilling and fracing technologies have opened up millions of<br />

acres of oil and gas producing shales in the U.S. and around<br />

the world. <strong>The</strong>se new techniques have made it possible to<br />

make excellent producing wells from formations that before<br />

could not be produced. <strong>The</strong> onshore production in the U.S.<br />

has increased by 40% in the last five years by using these methods.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Berg-<strong>Hughes</strong> center is designed to prepare students to enter<br />

into this new concept of petroleum exploration. At present, these<br />

courses can be part of a geology, geophysical, or petroleum<br />

engineering degree.<br />


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<strong>The</strong> grand Reopening of Military walk, <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> addressing audience.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> & Brenda <strong>Hughes</strong> greeting Clayton Williams, A&M Alumnus, longtime Aggie supporter<br />

and former gubernatorial candidate at Dedication of Military Walk.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong>, with family members, contributed $1 million to the<br />

Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi for the installation of its<br />

Hybrid Suite and the biplane imaging system. He also gave this<br />

hospital a modern hyperbaric chamber to update its older models<br />

at a cost of $250,000.<br />

<strong>The</strong> dedication of Berg-<strong>Hughes</strong> Center: (l-r) <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> ’51, Dudley J. <strong>Hughes</strong> ’51,<br />

Diane Barron, Director of Development, College of Geosciences, <strong>Dan</strong> Allen <strong>Hughes</strong>, Jr. ’80.<br />


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<strong>The</strong> Military Walk at Texas A&M University in 1923.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Military Walk at Texas A&M University, after the 2009 restoration and dedication.<br />


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In 2010, <strong>Dan</strong> Allen <strong>Hughes</strong>, Jr. led a key group of individuals in raising more than $10<br />

million in private donations toward the purchase of 17,000 acres along the Devils River in<br />

Val Verde County. <strong>The</strong> donations also helped cover initial operating expenses as well as development<br />

of a master plan for joint public use of the property and the 20,000-acre Del<br />

Norte Unit of the Devils River State Natural Area about 13 miles upstream. This acreage<br />

was renamed the <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Unit in 2015 and has 10 miles of frontage on the Devils<br />

River and Amistad Reservoir with spectacular views from mesas and canyons, and a variety<br />

of wildlife habitats.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> continues to purchase ranches which produce a small income<br />

but are primarily acquired as a hedge against inflation and with<br />

possible future oil and gas production in mind. Land has been added<br />

to the Quemado Ranch so now it totals approximately 17,000 acres.<br />

A 3D seismic survey was made over the area which provided many<br />

possible drilling locations. <strong>The</strong> first well drilled there was a discovery<br />

that produced 80 barrels of oil per day at a depth of 1,900-feet. Some<br />

dry holes have been drilled, but he anticipates many future wells.<br />

In 2011, he purchased the Canadian River Ranch in the panhandle<br />

of Texas which was 71,059 acres and <strong>The</strong> Trail Creek Ranch in<br />

Montana which was approximately 4720 acres. Land was acquired<br />

adjoining the Trail Creek Ranch in 2013 containing 2711 acres.<br />

Another 640 acres was added in 2014. That ranch now totals 8,071<br />

acres, which is in a beautiful mountain location. <strong>The</strong> ranch has an<br />

abundance of wild game, including a large elk herd and trout fishing.<br />

A hunting lodge complex was restored and enlarged on the property<br />

<strong>The</strong> Boner Ranch was purchased in Wyoming in 2012 and consists<br />

of 40,200 acres, 33,900 of which were deeded. <strong>The</strong> Crossed Arrows<br />

Ranch was purchased in Wyoming in 2013 being 16,100 acres, 14,900<br />

of which are deeded, and located about 60 miles south of the Boner<br />

Ranch. Both ranches have good mineral possibilities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 2013 Land Report<br />

Magazine listed the <strong>Hughes</strong><br />

Family as being the 20th<br />

largest land owner in the<br />

United States with 390,000<br />

acres. In the history of the<br />

world, land has always been<br />

the basis of all wealth. <strong>Dan</strong><br />

hopes that his family’s land<br />

holdings will prove it. He<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong>-Ashbrook A2, producing 80 bopd,<br />

spudded on August 31, 2011.<br />

plans adding land as funds and<br />

good purchases are available.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> and Rick Perry, Governor of Texas at Apache Ranch, 2010.<br />

(Left to right) <strong>Dan</strong> Allen <strong>Hughes</strong>, Jr., Peggy <strong>Hughes</strong>, Stuart Sasser, Keleigh Sasser, <strong>Dan</strong>,<br />

Christina Sasser and Michael Sasser at Trail Creek Ranch in Montana, October, 2015.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 28_Layout 1 2/16/2016 2:05 PM Page 163<br />


As of 2015, the <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> Company, L.P. with <strong>Dan</strong>’s support<br />

and <strong>Dan</strong> Allen, as president, remains active with many new wildcat<br />

exploration projects. <strong>The</strong> company has been changed from a general<br />

partnership to a limited partnership on its attorney’s suggestions.<br />

Also, <strong>Dan</strong>’s daughter, Keleigh Sasser, who has a degree in business<br />

and geology, is beginning to take an active role in the oil company.<br />

In the United States, DAHC has explored several large projects, most<br />

of which are horizontal drilling ventures. <strong>The</strong> most developed of these<br />

is in South Texas, and are horizontal wells producing from the Buda<br />

limestone formation which is located below the Eagle Ford Shale. <strong>The</strong><br />

better wells have initial production of about 500 barrels of oil per day<br />

and do not require fracing. <strong>The</strong> company’s present production in the<br />

trend is approximately 2,500 barrels per day.<br />

Not all ventures end with a payday. Another horizontal play that<br />

the company participated in was a Navarro gas-condensate reservoir<br />

in Webb County in which DAHC had acquired 45,000 acres. This<br />

prospect was tested with two horizontal wells but proved to be noncommercial.<br />

A project in northern Louisiana and Mississippi was explored for<br />

oil production from the Lower Smackover, Brown-Dense<br />

formation. DAHC leased approximately 50,000 acres on that idea.<br />

A horizontal well was drilled into the Brown-Dense, topped at 7,000<br />

feet, but proved to be non-commercial. Other operators have made<br />

some commercial wells in this trend and hopefully future wells will<br />

prove up some of the scattered tracts of <strong>Hughes</strong> leases.<br />

In South Florida the company leased approximately 100,000 acres<br />

with an option to acquire another 100,000. A well was drilled vertically<br />

to 13,800 feet where excellent oil zones were cored in several<br />

limestones. <strong>The</strong> well was then plugged back and drilled horizontally<br />

to 16,250 feet. <strong>The</strong> well tested 70 barrels of oil per day after a small<br />

acid frac but was non-commercial at this depth. Environmentalists<br />

have made it very difficult to operate in Florida and have caused the<br />

company to get involved in environmental lawsuits.<br />


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DAHC also has several conventional prospects under lease. One<br />

of the larger and most promising of these is the Smackover Lime<br />

trend in Alabama. In 2008, <strong>Dan</strong> joined his brother Dudley in<br />

drilling four Smackover wells in southwest Alabama. <strong>The</strong>se were<br />

located in an area thirty miles northwest of the prolific Little Cedar<br />

Creek and Brookland Smackover fields which are being developed<br />

and are proving to be the largest oil fields in Alabama. Two of<br />

Dudley’s wells were completed as marginal oil wells in the<br />

Smackover formation. At this time, Dudley had some severe<br />

medical problems and was unable to continue the project. <strong>The</strong><br />

Beeville office took over the operation and began an extensive<br />

reevaluation of the area. After a detailed study of the tectonics,<br />

seismic, and well data in the area, <strong>Dan</strong> concluded that the prospect<br />

was much larger than originally envisioned. He purchased most of<br />

the interest from the original investors in the 7,000-acre lease block<br />

who were planning to abandon the project. Another 6,000 acres<br />

was leased over the anticipated extension of the area.<br />

Left: DAHCo Kelly-Johnson<br />

1-11 -#1 Well in Monroe<br />

County, Alabama<br />


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A horizontal well has recently been drilled to a depth of 15,252<br />

feet east of the initial <strong>Hughes</strong> vertical wells. This well tested 300<br />

barrels of oil per day plus 300 barrels of saltwater. Mechanical<br />

problems were encountered in drilling the well and the horizontal<br />

leg ended up much lower structurally than planned. A vertical well<br />

recently completed one mile east of the horizontal test is flowing<br />

160 barrels of 48 degree gravity oil per day from the Smackover.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>’s interpretation of the leases indicates that there are many<br />

favorable locations to be drilled.<br />

DAHC, in partnership with Red McCombs from San Antonio,<br />

purchased Mediterranean Resources, an Italian oil company having<br />

approximately 3,000 barrels of oil per day in Sicily, and gas<br />

production on the mainland of Italy. <strong>The</strong> company has four<br />

concessions in Sicily and seven on the Italian Peninsula. <strong>The</strong> sale<br />

price was $95 million with an agreement to spend an additional<br />

$60 million on developing the production. A new limited liability<br />

company was formed, designated Hupecol Italia, to operate the<br />

company. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> group has 48 percent, McCombs has 32<br />

percent, and GSO, the loan company, has 20 percent in the<br />

venture. <strong>The</strong> operation is returning its investment as anticipated,<br />

and many <strong>Hughes</strong> employees have volunteered to go to Rome.<br />

In Colombia, Hupecol presently has several concessions, two of<br />

which are in the Llanos Basin. Seismic has been completed and<br />

defined some large, favorable geologic structures. Drilling on one<br />

of those concessions has been delayed due to guerilla activity in the<br />

area. <strong>The</strong> Colombian government has been extending the time<br />

limit of this permit until it is considered safe to drill.<br />

Another of the concessions, Llanos 58, containing 48,000 acres,<br />

has been drilled, resulting in a significant discovery. Nine wells have<br />

been drilled and completed in the Mirador sand at an approximate<br />

depth of 5,300 feet. <strong>The</strong>se wells together are producing 4,100<br />

barrels of oil per day. <strong>The</strong> ideal situation in exploring these areas<br />

is to develop enough cash flow on a concession to finance the<br />

drilling and testing of all of the prospects without having to put up<br />

additional capital. This development seems to have reached that<br />

stage, and more wells are planned. <strong>The</strong>re are several other<br />


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favorable seismic structures on Llanos 58 to be drilled.<br />

Hupecol’s past exploration in Colombia has been in the Llanos<br />

Basin, but two concessions have been acquired in the Magdalena<br />

Valley area for which the 3-D seismic has been completed. <strong>The</strong><br />

geophysics have developed three structures that have a high<br />

potential for shallow oil production.<br />

As of this date, Hupecol has drilled 157 wells in Columbia.<br />

In other foreign operations, the company has completed a<br />

seismic program in Belize and several favorable seismic structures<br />

were located. <strong>The</strong>re are numerous oil seeps in the area. <strong>The</strong> first<br />

test well has been drilled to a depth of 10,354 feet, had oil shows,<br />

but was a dry hole.<br />

DAHC has recently purchased the production from Exxon on<br />

the Santa Fe Ranch, in Texas, which is owned by the East family and<br />

is part of the original old King Ranch oil & gas lease. This<br />

acquisition contains approximately 88,000 acres and has<br />

production from three gas condensate fields. Geological and<br />

engineering reports indicate a large undeveloped potential for the<br />

project. <strong>The</strong> purchase price was approximately $39 million.<br />

DAHC has completed a 3-D seismic survey on the Damon<br />

Mound salt dome in Brazoria County, Texas. This old oil field was<br />

discovered in 1915 and produced 23.6 million barrels of oil from<br />

shallow Miocene and Frio sands. Seismic surveys of these old<br />

producing structures usually find untested areas. <strong>Dan</strong>’s old friend<br />

from his time at Union Producing, Bill Darsey, brought this<br />

prospect to the company.<br />

In deep South Texas, DAHC has deals pending with the Jones<br />

ranches on approximately 60,000 acres to rework existing 3-D<br />

seismic with options to lease and drill any prospects that are<br />

developed.<br />


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<strong>Dan</strong> with family and friends fishing in the Gulf of Mexico on the Wildcatter, 2012.<br />


At the age of 86, <strong>Dan</strong> A. <strong>Hughes</strong> reflects on his life and career and<br />

realizes that he has enjoyed the tough years, as well as the good.<br />

Although appearing to work hard, long hours, it was satisfying more<br />

than anything else he could have done. He has had many paydays. His<br />

social life has been gratifying, and he has made many friends around<br />

the world. Now, he enjoys life—hunting, fishing, taking trips and<br />

cruises, and relaxing with family and friends on various ranches.<br />

He views his greatest accomplishment as raising three<br />

outstanding children with his first wife (deceased). <strong>The</strong> three grew<br />

to adulthood without any major problems and they are poised to<br />

take over the oil, ranches, and investment business and expand<br />

those interests to unknown heights. He is also proud of his nine<br />

grandchildren (three from each family) who are all outstanding<br />

boys and girls, following in their parents’, grandfather’s, and great<br />

grandfather’s footsteps.<br />


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For him, it is a great life. He says he may have lived through the<br />

most interesting period in history of mankind. He was born at the<br />

beginning of <strong>The</strong> Great Depression when farms were still worked with<br />

horses, and automobiles were in their early development. After that,<br />

came super highways, television, the atomic bomb, jet airplanes, and<br />

trips to the moon, satellites, space stations, computers, the Internet,<br />

and cell phones. Who knows what else is on the horizon?<br />

Also during this period, the country has experienced World War II,<br />

the Korean War in which he and many of his classmates served,<br />

Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.<br />

History has recorded that nations of the past ruled by democracies<br />

have reached the peak of their civilization in approximately 200 years<br />

and then declined. <strong>The</strong> United States may have reached its peak<br />

during this period. Only history will tell in the future.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011 from Texas A & M University.<br />


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1978 Awarded membership in exclusive All<br />

American Wildcatters<br />

1978 Citizen of the Year – Bee County<br />

Chamber of Commerce<br />

1997 Halbouty Geosciences Medal –<br />

Texas A&M University<br />

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award –<br />

Texas A&M University<br />

2011 Brenda & <strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> –<br />

Citizens of the Year Award<br />

Bee County Chamber of Commerce<br />

2011 Outstanding Explorer Award –<br />

American Association of Petroleum Geologists<br />

2012 Sterling C. Evans Medal –<br />

Texas A&M University<br />

2013 Outstanding Independent Award–<br />

Society of Independent Professional<br />

Earth Scientists, Houston Chapter<br />


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This <strong>Hughes</strong> family history was researched and presented to the<br />

family by Dale Critz from Savannah, Georgia. Dale is president of an<br />

organization specializing in the history of the state of Georgia. Dale<br />

was on a shooting trip in England with <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley <strong>Hughes</strong> when<br />

he associated their names with those of past citizens of the area around<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>ville, Georgia. This was approximately in the year 2000 and was<br />

the first time the family had detailed knowledge of this past history.<br />

Date Unknown: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> family originally came from Wales.<br />

(Congressman Dudley Mays <strong>Hughes</strong> had visited relatives in Wales<br />

and had several family antiquities from Wales in his Magnolia<br />

Plantation home.<br />

Hayden <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1811± -1880±<br />

(great-great grandfather of <strong>Dan</strong> Allen and Dudley <strong>Hughes</strong>)<br />

Sept. 30, 1835:<br />

Feb. 4, 1836:<br />

Postmaster of Higgsville, Twiggs County, Georgia.<br />

Hayden <strong>Hughes</strong>, Cormt. Twiggs County Cavalry,<br />

attached to the 137th Regiment, Seminole Indian<br />

War. Twiggs County Cavalry joined other<br />

companies to form a horse battalion for service<br />

in Florida during the Seminole uprising.<br />

Following the war, the Seminoles were moved to<br />

a reservation in Oklahoma.<br />

May 17, 1880 Will of Hayden <strong>Hughes</strong> dated May 17, 1880,<br />

Fulton County, Georgia. Changed in Bibb<br />

County, May 18, 1880. Probated in Twiggs<br />

County.<br />

Grants:<br />

Heirs: Son <strong>Dan</strong>iel Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong>, daughterin-law<br />

Mary H. <strong>Hughes</strong>, grandchildren Dudley M.<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong>, Carrie H. Hill, Fannie H. Dennard, and<br />

Lucy <strong>Hughes</strong> (land and money);<br />

Mercer University, Macon: $5,000 to be used for<br />


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geological and mineralogical cabinet. (This gift<br />

was unknown until this history was acquired.<br />

Dudley and <strong>Dan</strong> must have inherited his aptitude<br />

for geology.)<br />

In trust to Jackson <strong>Hughes</strong>, Jordan <strong>Hughes</strong>, and<br />

Eloise <strong>Hughes</strong>—minor children of Georgia Ann<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> (black), the house where I now live in<br />

Atlanta, Georgia, and $24,000. (After the death<br />

of Hayden <strong>Hughes</strong>’ first wife, he moved to his<br />

plantation and had this family.)<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>iel Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong>, dates unknown<br />

(great grandfather of <strong>Dan</strong> Allen and Dudley <strong>Hughes</strong>)<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is no will on record for <strong>Dan</strong>iel Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong>. He was<br />

apparently married prior to 1847 based on the 1846 Census (wife<br />

unknown). He had one son, John Wesley <strong>Hughes</strong> (<strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

grandfather), born about 1845. His wife died according to accounts<br />

of John Wesley’s heirs.<br />

1847: University of Georgia, class 1847<br />

1847: Married Mary Henrietta Cary Moore (second<br />

wife), August 30, 1847. Four children: Dudley<br />

Mays <strong>Hughes</strong>, born 1848; Carrie <strong>Hughes</strong>, Fannie<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong>, and Lucy C. <strong>Hughes</strong> (half-brother and<br />

sisters to <strong>Dan</strong>’s grandfather)<br />

1892: City of <strong>Dan</strong>ville, Georgia, named for <strong>Dan</strong>iel G.<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> in 1892.<br />

Dudley Mays <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1848-1927 (<strong>Dan</strong>’s<br />

grandfather’s famous half-brother): Educated in<br />

Oakland Academy and the University of Georgia.<br />

Abandoned education to manage his father’s<br />

plantation in 1868. On November 27, 1873, Dudley<br />

married Mary Frances Dennard. Three children:<br />

<strong>Dan</strong>iel Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong> (Jr.), Hugh Lawson<br />

Dennard <strong>Hughes</strong>, and Henrietta Louise <strong>Hughes</strong>.<br />

Dudley created a large farming complex, known<br />

as the Magnolia Plantation, served as president<br />

of the Georgia State Agricultural Society,<br />


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1904-1906; was an original incorporator of the<br />

Macon-Dublin-Savannah Railroad in 1885 and<br />

served as its president until 1891.<br />

In politics, he was a Georgia state senator, 1882-<br />

1883, but is mostly known for his service in the<br />

U.S. House of Representatives, 1909-1917. He<br />

then ran his plantation until his death in 1927.<br />

His eldest son, <strong>Dan</strong>iel G. <strong>Hughes</strong>, Jr., entered<br />

politics but died in 1916. His son Hugh L.D.<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> then became an important merchant<br />

in <strong>Dan</strong>ville, Georgia, and became a state senator<br />

in 1925.<br />

Henrietta Louise <strong>Hughes</strong> was never married and<br />

lived in the old family home until her death at an<br />

age near 100. She furnished almost all of the<br />

information concerning her famous brother,<br />

Dudley, to reporters and historians, included in<br />

the History of Twiggs County, Georgia, published in<br />

1960. She wrote, “Mr. <strong>Hughes</strong>, only son of <strong>Dan</strong>iel<br />

Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong> and Henrietta Clay Moore<br />

was born in Jeffersonville on Oct. 10, 1848.” It is<br />

believed she purposefully deleted all references<br />

to John Wesley from the records furnished.<br />

John Wesley <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1845± - 1914)<br />

(grandfather of <strong>Dan</strong> and Dudley <strong>Hughes</strong>)<br />

John Wesley <strong>Hughes</strong> was raised with his half-brother, Dudley Mays<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong>, and Dudley’s sisters. However, he was not treated as an equal<br />

to Mary’s children. When he became of age, he left home in the<br />

1860s and made it on his own.<br />

No record has been found to establish his activities from the time he<br />

left home in the 1860s until the early 1900s. <strong>The</strong> Oklahoma oil<br />

booms began about the turn of the century. Oklahoma was Indian<br />

Territory when oil was found in large quantities beginning just before<br />

1900. All of the land had been held by some 60 Indian tribes, many<br />

of which had been forcibly removed there from other states. In 1889,<br />

some land was open to non-Indians, and initiated the Oklahoma<br />

land rush. <strong>The</strong> first rail line was built to Bartlesville in 1899 to begin<br />


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to haul oil. Oklahoma became a state in 1907.<br />

Cordelia Merriott was the mother to June Dean Ivie, born November<br />

18, 1898, in Versailles, Missouri; father Elijah Lee Ivie. <strong>The</strong> census of<br />

1900 taken at Tulsa indicates the family to be in Creek Nation, Indian<br />

Territory, Oklahoma. Elijah Lee Ivie died around 1903.<br />

John Wesley apparently went to Oklahoma to work in the oil fields.<br />

He married the widow Cordelia Jane Merriott Ivie around 1905<br />

(<strong>Dan</strong>’s grandmother). (Cordelia had a twin sister, Cordelia June<br />

Merriott.) Twin sons were born January 20, 1907, in what was then<br />

Indian Territory, believed to be near what is now Tulsa. He named<br />

one son <strong>Dan</strong> Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong>, after his father, and the other<br />

Dudley Mays <strong>Hughes</strong>, after his half-brother. June Dean Ivie, then 9<br />

years old, was their half-sister.<br />

During World War I, John Wesley <strong>Hughes</strong> moved his family to<br />

Orange, Texas, where he obtained work in the shipyards building<br />

ships. A daughter, Vivian <strong>Hughes</strong>, was born to him and Cordelia in<br />

Orange, Texas, in 1912.<br />

An accident in the shipyard occurred around 1914 which rendered<br />

a severe blow to John Wesley’s head, leaving him incoherent. He was<br />

moved to an asylum in Austin, texas, where he died around 1914.<br />

Having no government assistance available in those days, his widow,<br />

Cordelia, moved her family to Dallas, Texas. <strong>The</strong>re she supported<br />

the family by taking in laundry and her twin sons began selling<br />

papers at age 7. She had never met her husband’s Georgia relatives<br />

and made no attempt to contact them. John Wesley had been absent<br />

some 40 years or more. Few living family members even knew he had<br />

existed other than <strong>Dan</strong>iel Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong>, Sr.’s three other<br />

children.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1907-1985<br />

(<strong>Dan</strong>’s father)<br />

Married Winnie B. Williams (1907-1993) in 1928. Children: <strong>Dan</strong><br />

Allen and Dudley Joe <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1929 (twins); and Beverly June and<br />

Barbara Jane <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1934 (twins).<br />

<strong>The</strong> middle name for <strong>Dan</strong> (Allen) was selected from his father’s boss<br />

at United Gas Company, and Dudley’s middle name (Joe) was from<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 30_Layout 1 2/16/2016 2:18 PM Page 174<br />

his mother’s employer.<br />

<strong>Dan</strong> Allen <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1929-<br />

Married Juanita Joe Wentz (1934-199) in 1956. Children: <strong>Dan</strong> Allen<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong>, Jr., 1957; Keleigh Dianne <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1959; and William Hilton<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong>, 1962.<br />


<strong>Dan</strong> <strong>Hughes</strong> biography-chapter 30_Layout 1 2/16/2016 2:18 PM Page 175<br />



(Mother of <strong>Dan</strong> Allen <strong>Hughes</strong>)<br />

Major John Williams, ?-1794<br />

(<strong>Dan</strong>’s great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side)<br />

Married Mary Atwood-Laurens in Edgefield, South Carolina. Had a<br />

son, James Atwood Williams. Col. James Williams, 1740-1780. Killed<br />

in the battle of King Mountain, North Carolina (War of<br />

Independence with England). Married Mary Wallace. Had<br />

daughter Mary Williams (1769-1828).<br />

James Atwood Williams, 1767-1816<br />

(<strong>Dan</strong>’s great-great grandfather)<br />

Married cousin Mary Williams (1769-1828). Had son Elisha Duke<br />

<strong>Hughes</strong> Williams from Kentucky. (Source of <strong>Hughes</strong> name<br />

unknown.)<br />

Elisha Duke <strong>Hughes</strong> Williams, 1809-?<br />

(<strong>Dan</strong>’s great grandfather)<br />

Married Sarah J. Chambers (1817-?) from Georgia. Had son James<br />

Chambers Williams, plus 8 other sons and daughters.<br />

James Chambers Williams, 1852-1925<br />

(<strong>Dan</strong>’s grandfather)<br />

He or his father apparently established a plantation near<br />

Keithville, Louisiana, of about 15,000 acres. During the Civil War, it<br />

was reported that the family heard the gunfire from the Battle of<br />

Mansfield approximately 20 miles to the south. Married first wife<br />

(name unknown). Had 8 children. First wife died. Married second<br />

wife Luella A. Minch, a German orphan (<strong>Dan</strong>’s grandmother).<br />

Children: Oscar B. Williams, Vardeman Williams, Winnie B.<br />

Williams (<strong>Dan</strong>’s mother), and Myrtis Williams.<br />


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Winnie B. Williams, 1907-1993<br />

(<strong>Dan</strong>’s mother)<br />

Married <strong>Dan</strong> Greenwood <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1907-1985 (<strong>Dan</strong>’s father) in<br />

1928. Children: <strong>Dan</strong> Allen <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1929; Dudley Joe <strong>Hughes</strong>,<br />

1929-2015; Beverly June <strong>Hughes</strong>, 1934; and Barbara Jane <strong>Hughes</strong>,<br />

1934.<br />


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