I, J.H. Swansbury, have never met my mother. Though most individuals would go to great lengths to hide such a shameful fact from the prying eyes and fickle temperament of the general public, I do not hesitate to speak candidly of my humble beginnings. My earliest memory is not of gently rocking cradles or of softly whispered bedtime stories, but of oil. At the tender age of four - when most children spend their days eating candies and running gaily through the streets, drinking heartily of the pungent elixir that is youth - my shiftless father, J.B. Swansbury, cast me headfirst into an oil well.

I recall falling downward through the darkness of the well for what seemed like an eternity, my journey coming to an abrupt halt the moment my small head plunged into the inky and bituminous depths at the bottom of the well. By the grace of God I managed to survive the impact, retaining control of my faculties and suffering no grievous harm to my bodily extremities. For five days I managed to remain afloat at the bottom of the grotto, flailing my arms and legs about in a desperate frenzy. For five long, dreadful days I dwelled in the bosom of the earth, alone and terrified, comforted and nurtured only by the aromatic vapors of the sweet, black lifeblood of Terra. It was this formative experience that would shape me into the oilman I am today.

Some time later a passing Samaritan by the name of Mr. F.R. Franklin, upon hearing my pitiful cries for help, managed to extract me from the bottom of the well with the aid of a most ingenious pulley system of his own manufacture. A lifelong bachelor, he took me into his home and nursed me back to health, in time adopting me as his own God-given son.


Under the watchful eye and nurturing hand of Mr. Franklin my health improved at an astonishing rate. My appetite grew greater by leaps and bounds each day, and in time my skin, once tainted a dark black by the insidious dermatological influence of the oil, returned to its natural pallor, much to the effect that I was no longer mistaken for a wayward Negro-child when about town.

I thereafter enrolled in an expensive and prestigious boarding-school, where I soon distinguished myself as - and I admit this without hesitation - a most horrendous student. I confess that I rarely turned in any of my assignments on time, and that I skipped my classes almost as often as I slept through them. Far from a common buffoon, the subpar scholastic performance of my youth stemmed not from feeblemindedness but from an intense, unbridled genius. Discarding Descartes and shunning Shakespeare, I devoted my intellectual pursuits towards but one endeavor - the pursuit and procurement of petroleum.

By the age of sixteen, having thoroughly probed my immediate surroundings for evidence of oil deposits and filled the margins of all my learning-books with images of novel steam-powered drilling machinery, I left school to seek out my destiny in the petroleum business. I traveled to New York City, where within a few short years I managed to obtain a small fortune through a number of lucrative investments involving margin loans and penny-stock speculation. In 1854, aged twenty-one, I moved to Oklahoma and formed the Swansbury Oil Company on a plot of disused farmland purchased for four cents an acre. I was the sole employee of the Swansbury Oil Company at the time.


Now, thirty years later, the Swansbury Oil Company employs over fifteen-thousand fine individuals, spread over thirteen states and one-hundred and twenty-seven active drill sites. I have in my employ the best and brightest workers that can be found anywhere on this planet. According to my personal mathematician and estimator F. G. Kongisburg, to fully describe every one of them in necessary detail on a freely-distributed pamphlet of this nature would require the deforestation of a region of lumberwoods roughly equivalent in size to Rhode Island for the sole purpose of manufacturing the paper necessary. For this reason, I list below only a handful of my many trusted and competent employees, all of whom are entirely devoted to the forceful extraction of oil from beneath the earth’s crust:

- H. R. Abramovikz

My right-hand man and trusted adviser on all matters pertaining to economics. A financier of the greatest magnitude and a Jew of the highest order, Mr. Abramovikz makes sure that I am able to pay each and every one of my workers the most generous salary possible whilst simultaneously depriving the Tax Collector of every penny I am lawfully enabled to.

- K. L. O’Keegan

I believe Mr. O’Keegan to be the most formidable and efficient foreman and labor manager alive today in North America. A short and powerful man hailing from the infamous Five Points district of New York City, he suffers not from that intemperance so often found amongst the Irish, and is instead a most reliable and trustworthy individual. He is additionally a pugilist and bare-knuckle boxer of some renown.

- C. Bartlett

A most mysterious and enigmatic individual of indeterminate Caucasian origin, Mr. Bartlett is a investigator, gunman, and bodyguard of unparalleled skill and ability. An expert in the judicious use of revolver, rifle, scattergun, tomahawk, cutlass, blackjack, billy club, knuckleduster, brickbat, and slung-shot, it is the sole responsibility of Mr. Bartlett to safeguard both my person and the operations of my corporation. He has yet to fail me in either of these capacities.

In addition to the notables listed above, I have in my employ an additional fourteen-thousand nine-hundred and ninety-seven individuals, among them four-hundred and fifty clerks and accountants, three-hundred engineers, one-hundred and nine general contractors, ninety-four geologists, fifty bricklayers, forty-five master carpenters, thirteen master stonemasons, twelve mathematicians, five actuaries, three magicians, and one Priest of the Roman Catholic faith trained in the delivery of Exorcisms. It is a fact that there is no corporation, conglomerate, or trust in the United States that can stake claim to a more talented and productive workforce than that of the Swansbury Oil Company.


Having presented to the Reader a brief history of myself and a short appraisal of the capabilities of the Swansbury Oil Company, I would now like to use the remainder of the space available on this pamphlet to make public a proposition:

“Should you, the Reader, own a plot of land directly above untapped oil reserves, I will happily purchase this land from you at the highest price commercially feasible, so as not to drive my company and estate into financial ruin.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth. I love nothing more than oil; for this reason I have never been married and will upon my death leave behind no children. Indeed, my love for oil knows no bounds. I find it an impossible task to begin the day if I do not mix a teaspoon or two of sweet crude in with my morning coffee, and I find that falling asleep after a long and hard day of work in the oilfields is greatly aided by adding a measure of oil to my nightcap of laudanum. I want nothing more than to purchase your land and extract all available oil from it, and that is the God-given truth. Should you wish to assist me in this endeavor, please direct all real-estate and employment enquiries to:

Swansbury Oil Co. Gen. Office
1900 Main St.
Marfa, TX, 79843

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