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Her first Los Angeles oil well was drilled near today’s Dodger Stadium. By 1901, Miss Emma Summers will have fourteen oil wells and control the oil markets.

emma summers oil queen

Emma Summers’ business acumen put her in control of the Los Angeles City oil field’s production – and earned her oil queen title.

A woman with a genius for affairs – it may sound paradoxical, but the fact exists.

If Mrs. Emma A. Summers were less than a genius she could not, as she does today, control the Los Angeles oil markets. 

– July 21, 1901, San Francisco Call newspaper.

She would become a lady to be reckoned with in the rough and tumble world of the Los Angeles oil patch.

Emma A. (McCutchen) Summers, a refined southern lady who graduated from Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music, moved to Los Angeles in 1893 to teach piano.

Like many others, Summers was soon caught up in the excitement of California’s new petroleum exploration industry.

With her home not far from where Edward Doheny had discovered the Los Angeles City field just a year before.

A struggling prospector, Doheny had made his 1892 discovery near tar seeps after noticing black stains on wagon wheels passing by. See Discovering the Los Angeles Oil Field.

Summers invested $700 for half interest in a well just a few blocks from Doheny’s historic producer. Read the rest of this entry »


November 19, 1861 – American exports Oil for First Time

A merchant brig set sail from Philadelphia in 1861 with a cargo of Pennsylvania oil and refined kerosene.

America exports petroleum for the first time when a merchant brig departs Philadelphia’s dockyard.

The Elizabeth Watts is bound for London with a cargo of 901 barrels of Pennsylvania oil and 428 barrels of refined kerosene.

The shippers are the highly successful Philadelphia import-export firm of Peter Wright & Sons, which since its founding in 1818 has prospered transporting “china, glass, and Queensware” among other commodities.

The company hires the Elizabeth Watts and her captain, Charles Bryant, to ship the petroleum to three British companies: G. Crowshaw & Company, Coates & Company, and Herzog & Company. Read the rest of this entry »