For those who have followed/tolerated my Model K stories, this one has taken several years to develop. It began with a few articles about a Model K in Texas. Over time the story developed to include four states, Detroit, Frank Kulick, a family of self made millionaires, and finally, the last Model K. Be patient with me, this ones still a work in progress.
It begins (at least where I choose to begin this story of many layers) in a little development town in far south Texas, just north of Brownsville, named San Benito. This photo is of an auto excursion setting out to show farm and home land developed with a canal system, converting thousands of acres from arid desert to farmland. The car in the center of the group appears to be a Ford Model K Roadster:
Over the next several days, I'll develop this, and anyone following along will have their opinions. There is still part of this story I can't pin down. However, there comes a time to get on with it...........
The Heywood brothers were a family of self made multi-millionaires who developed Spindle Top in western Louisiana. They went on to own mines and develop oil fields throughout the southwestern U.S. The brothers along with other concerns challenged Standard Oils monopoly of the oil trade:
I just love it when Model K story starts with a nice photo of a Maxwell. Of course, I do see a few examples of lesser makes in the background. . I look forward to the rest of the read.
You were up late......
Can you discern if that is a 1908, 09 Maxwell?
Let's begin at the beginning. The Heywood brothers were already a huge success as shown in this 1902 editions of "Successful American." This story will center on two of the brothers, Otho and Alba:
The brothers, originally actors who toured the country, are entrepreneurs with interests in oil, land and mining. This story begins with Otho and his wife residing in Crowley, Louisiana. Brother Alba is managing a new enterprise in far southern Texas, and canal and land enterprise. Otho's adventures include time in the Klondike gold rush as well as oil and land ventures. At the turn of the last century they are an American success story.
As recently ads 2010 their story appeared in a book by Jerry Frazee:
I'm always up late. I forgot how to sleep well back when I was a lowboy driver. But, that's ok. Now that I'm a psych RN, it plays well for my overnight shifts working in the ER.
Email me a better resolution copy of the photo and I'll see what I can learn.
Unfortunately that's the only photo I have, taken from a web photo. I'll get back to this soon...
In 1907 the Heywood's start a new company in Bessie, Texas. Joining resident and entrepreneur Sam Robertson, they rename the town San Bonito, and start the "San Benito Land and Water Company." Over the next several years they will construct miles of canal systems, and sell already purchased lots and ranches to investors from around the country:
Brother Alba is president and relocates to San Benito, while brother Otho stays in Louisiana to look after their oil interests.
Getting back to the story...... In 1907 the brothers interest shift to include land development in the far southern tip of Texas a their oil business continues bringing in wealth for the brothers:
This June 1907 article mentions the success the brothers have experienced, bringing in over 25 million barrels of oil since beginning the oil business in 1902. Also mentionsed is the new enterprise in Texas:
And the oil just keeps coming in......
Next, time for the wealthy brothers to buy automobiles. And time to introduce an auto tester in Detroit and Ford dealer in Indiana.
1907 was a big year for Ford Motor Company. After a slow start producing the Model N in 1906, by 1907 Models N, R and K production went at a record pace, as FMC became the largest automobile producer in the world. In early 1907, Ford was advertising for workers, including testers to run the cars in on the roads around the Piquette plant:
One of the new Ford employees, and eventual Model K tester, was Theodore Mallon, a 19 year old. Below are excerpts from his unpublished Ford Reminiscences (Acc. 65, Box 43, courtesy of THF, all rights apply):
In addition to testing and working on Model K production, Ted Mallon attended the 24 hour race in late June 1907, in which a Ford Model K set the world record, defeating a Thomas Flyer and Pope Toledo along with several other marquees. Mallon worked in the Ford race pit. I'll have a separate thread where he talks about driver Frank Kulick, and Henry Ford. Ted Mallon will make an important re-appearance in this story, but that's a while from now.
Next, a Ford dealer in Indianapolis
Ford dealers across the country were quick to add the 24 hour record race to their advertising. This included Gibson Automobile Co. of Indianapolis. Gibson was a large Ford dealer, selling over 100 Fords by the middle of the summer. They also handled Premier autos:
This article mentions a large shipment of Fords, including two Model K, to Gibson. One Model K purchaser is also listed:
Another Ford Six was sold a few days earlier:
Thanks to Trent Boggess research, Gibson Auto Co. is one of the remaining FMC ledgers recovered and documented. Turns out another Model K was sent to Gibson a day after the two mentioned in the article:
And, there was soon a buyer for the third Ford Six. A gentleman with the last name of "Heywood" from New Orleans. Turns out one of the Heywoods business associates, Frank Caldwell, was an Indianapolis resident and the Heywood brothers frequently visited the city. The first and middle initials were mistakenly listed, causing quite a long time for me to realize who this Heywood was..........
Next, Alba buys two automobiles as 1907 comes to a close.
I wrote earlier this one would get long. Eventually, we'll get to the last Model K sold by Ford Motor Company, according to Ford Six road tester Ted Mallon.
Meanwhile, O.W. Heyward bought his Ford "K" touring car, and the brothers newest venture, the San Benito Land and Water Company is off and running:
In late September 1907 brother Alba orders two cars, a Mitchell roadster and Rambler touring car:
Before the end of September, the Mitchell is in, and licensed:
And almost immediately, a local dog meets it's untimely demise:
Meanwhile, O.T. Heyward is back at the oilfields in Louisiana. The brothers are looking for investors to take over their substantial oil holdings. We learn that Otho's Model K touring is red, and nicknamed "red devil." John Gates is visiting as a potential investor/buyer, and the Heyward oil wells are located on what the article reads "the most famous oil field on earth."
Entering 1908, the brothers keep doing what they have been, drilling oil wells and bringing more and more barrels of oil to the market.
Finally, in mid 1908, after marketing their oil holdings for some time, the brothers sell their oil land, maintaining a share while relinquishing ownership. One article said their alliance with the buyer, Guffey oil, will equal the holdings of Standard Oil.
At the bottom of the article, Otho Heyward and his wife are heading to Detroit for a two month vacations. We'll pick this story up back in Detroit.
(Message edited by Rob on February 04, 2018)