Within the next month, the Steve and Shirley Parker Co. plans to file 20 intents to drill on the Lucy Harjo Lease in Pontotoc County, which could bring the number of wells on the multi-zone, productive, 73-year-old lease to 110.
"We were supposed to stake 10 of the new ones last week, but the ground was too wet," said Jess Moore, supervisor on the lease for Compression Systems Inc. Moore said he believes the Harjo lease is one of the oldest state leases still producing oil.
"The No. 12 Lucy Harjo is still producing and it was drilled back in 1917 or 1920," the 10-year veteran of the lease said.
"We don't drill dry holes here, we've got four or five pay sands within 1,150 feet."
The Allen District, which covers the Harjo lease, is one of the state's orginal multiple-zone producing areas with the First, Second and Third Allen sand zones as well as Senora, Earlsboro and Booch production.
Moore explained the lease has been waterflooded since the 1950's, which makes production different than other state areas.
"You could start with 1 barrel per day, but after the water starts bringing it in, it could be up to 50 barrels of oil per day, " he said.
Orginally, Lucy Harjo first leased her Chickasha homestead to what is now the Sun Oil Co. in 1908, shortly after she received her 160 acre allottment from the federal government.
"This is one of the few Indian leases that is still in the family," Guy L. McElroy, Mrs. Harjo's grandson, said.
"Its divided between my mother (Lucy Harjo's daughter), a cousin and myself. We own both the surface and the mineral rights."
At one time, the lease made Lucy Harjo one of the wealthiest Indians in Oklahoma, McElroy recalled fingering the orginal deed granting the land.
"She signed everything by thumbprint," he said displaying his grandmother's print on the 1908 deed, "although she could speak pretty good English.
"She could handle herself pretty good though . . . she had to to hold onto her property."
Lucy Harjo died in December 1938, roughly 30 years after receiving the allottment and is buried on the lease.
Each well drilled on the property has always been called the Lucy Harjo, never named after another member of the family.
"Lucy used to tramp all over these grounds" McElroy said walking up to her gravesite.
"They could drill closer to the cemetery, but there are some things I can still control," indicating that he will not allow leasing companies to drill too close to the burial plot.
"She was such a warm person," McElroy's wife, Melba, said.
"She never turned anyone away from her place. She practically supported an entire tribe all by herself."
McElroy said that as was his mother, he was born and raised on the lease. He said he didn't know if it was living on the lease as a child or the fact his father was a driller, but he worked until his retirement at the Sinclair (now Atlantic Richfield) refinery in Houston.
Keeping the business in the family, he said his son is a crude oil buyer for a Denver-based oil firm.
There is still a lot more left to drill on the Harjo lease, Moore said, especially since there is no spacing ordered by the state Corporation Commission and, like Osage County, wells can be placed closer than in many other parts of the state. "We work with the Department of the Interior since it is an Indian lease," Moore said.
"We also work with the state Corporation Commission, but more with Interior."
Moore said although he works for Compression Systems of Tulsa, his company is the agent for Steve and Shirley Parker of California.
"Steve and Shirely Parker are Shirley MacLain and her husband," McElroy points with pride.
"They have a continuous lease with us, as long as they are producing oil, they have the lease." BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 54322