Joinerville Texas History:
The town is located near a former Cherokee Indian village. The town was originally called Cyril and then Miller or Miller Schoolhouse until 1930 when C.M. “Dad” Joiner brought in the first oil well in the area. The town was then renamed Joinerville. The post office was established in 1931. During the boom years the town had as many as 1,500 residents, 35 businesses, and the post office. During the 1940s, the population declined to 350 residents and 4 businesses. Joinerville is located on SH 64 and CR 4105, 38.4 miles southeast of Chandler and Lake Palestine, 27.6 miles southeast of Tyler, 24 miles southeast of Whitehouse and Tyler Lake, 45 miles south of Gilmer, 18 miles south of Kilgore, 32.7 miles southwest of Longview, 26 miles southwest of Tatum, 16 miles southwest of Martin Creek Lake State Park, 33.6 miles west of Carthage and Lake Murvaul, 6.7 miles northwest of Henderson, 47 miles northwest of Nacogdoches, 50 miles northeast of Frankston, 39 miles northeast of Rusk, and 35.5 miles northeast of Lake Jacksonville and Jacksonville, Texas.
Daisy Bradford No. 3 Discovery Well, Joinerville, TX:
Oklahoma attorney and oil promoter Columbus M. “Dad” Joiner believed there was oil in Rusk County. At age 70, he had already won and lost two fortunes in oil. He began drilling on Daisy Bradford’s land, approximately 8 miles northwest of Henderson. All he could afford was inferior equipment. He abandoned the first will when he reached a depth of 1,098 feet. He also abandoned the second well. In January 1930, the third well was started by Joiner about 300 feet from his first attempt. On Oct. 3, 1930, the Daisy Bradford No. 3 blew in as a 300 barrel-a-day well at a depth of 3,592 feet, establishing the East Texas establishing the East Texas oil field, the largest oil field in the world at the time. From Henderson take SH 323 toward Overton; go left on CR 4136 and drive 1.6 miles to a white pipe fence on your right and the Texas Historical Marker for the Daisy Bradford No. 3 well and the original Discovery Well. From SH 64 just west of Joinerville, go northwest on CR 4105. Turn left on CR 4105/Miller Ranch Road. Go right on CR 4136. (903) 392-8232. (866) 650-5529.
1937 New London Texas School Explosion:
In 1932, the New London School District, one of the riches in the United States, built a large $1 dollar school of steel and concrete. Because the school was located on a hill, a large dead space of air was located beneath the building. Over the advice of the architect, the school board had elected to install 72 gas heaters throughout the building instead of building a boiler and steam distribution system. In early 1937, the school board cancelled their gas contract and had plumbers install a tap line to the Parade Gasoline Company’s gas line in order to save the school’s monthly $300 natural bill. This practice was not illegal and was widespread in the area. Natural gas is odorless, so teachers and students in the building were unaware that leaks had allowed gas to become trapped in the space underneath the building. At 3:05 P.M. on March 18, 1937, the school day had nearly ended, and the younger grades had been dismissed. Some of these children waited on school buses for older students to join them for the ride home. A PTA meeting was being held in the gymnasium located adjacent to the school. At approximately 3:20 pm, Industrial arts teacher Lemmie Butler turned on a sander in his shop and a spark ignited natural gas. The building was lifted in the explosion, and then crushed into rubble. Over 295 students, teachers, staff and visitors were killed. Of the approximately 600 students and 40 teachers in the building at the time, only about 130 escaped without serious injury. Within weeks of the disaster the Texas legislature began mandating that Thiols (mercaptans) be added to natural gas to give it an odor so leaks could be detected. From Henderson take SH 323 (6.8 miles) west of Henderson toward Overton. On the right you will see the modern brick building of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. The church cemetery located across the highway from the church is the burial site of 171 of those killed in the explosion. The New London (School) Museum and Cenotaph are located near the rebuilt school
New London Museum & Tea Room, New London, TX:
Located across from the rebuilt school, this small museum chronicles the horror of the March 18, 1937 school explosion that killed over 295 students, teachers, staff and visitors. The museum schoolroom is furnished with period pieces. Exhibits include clothing, books and photos. A tearoom serves light lunches on weekdays, and features an old time soda fountain. A cenotaph
commemorates the school explosion and lists the names all those who lost their lives. The museum is open daily, 9am-4pm. The Tea Room is open Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm, and after hours and on Saturdays by appointment. A museum admission fee applies. (903) 895-4602. The museum is located at 10690 Main Street (SH 42), across from school. Email New London Texas Map; Click to Enlarge New London Texas Area Map
Gaston Museum, Joinerville, TX:
C.M. “Dad” Joiner began drilling for oil on Daisy Bradford’s land near Joinerville, then called Cyril, in 1930.He abandoned the first two wells. On Oct. 3, 1930, the Daisy Bradford No. 3 blew in as a 300 barrel-a-day well at a depth of 3,592 feet, establishing the East Texas oil field, the largest oil field in the world at the time. This well is still producing today. Joiner’s well turned the town of Cyril into a boom town. The town was renamed Joinerville in honor of Dad Joiner. The museum features the 1930s Sid White
home which was once an oil field tent house converted to a permanent dwelling. The original tent is still visible inside the house. Exhibits include artifactsfrom the oil boom era, family history displays, an antique radio display, the original equipment from a 1930's radio repair shop, church and school history displays, and a veteran’s wall of honor.A 1930s Dixie Service Station
and the 1940s White's Snack Shop
, a roadside café, are located on the museum grounds. Each building contains original furnishings. A Texas Historical Marker for the Gaston School
is located on the grounds. The Gaston Wall of Honor
features photos and information on those Gaston school students who served in the military. Open Thu-Sat., 10am-4pm; Sat, 10am-1pm. Special tours are available by appointment. (903) 847-2205. Appointments: (903) 657-6348. (903) 759-9473. (903) 863-2108. The museum is located at 6562 SH 64 West, six miles west of Henderson. The Daily Bradford Well is located 2 miles from the museum. Email