Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Diamond T

Uncle Frank donated this cool old truck–a Diamond T–to the Mannford Museum. I’ve never seen the truck, but according to Dad, the tires are solid rubber. (Sounds expensive, but you’d never have a flat!) I think the spokes might be wooden.

If my sons are reading this, no, I didn’t drive it when I was a kid. LOL. The subject of this truck came up the other day at lunch.

“The hood ornament disappeared about as soon as it got to the museum and they turned their backs.” Makes me wonder what it looked like.

“We got that truck when we bought that shallow (five-hundred-foot) well from Lee Lunsford. He drilled it with that truck.”

An oil well, only five hundred feet deep? I knew North East Oklahoma was shallow hole country, but five hundred feet???

How’d they drill it with a truck? According to those close to me, “They used it as a power source to run the draw works and the walking beam (part of the drilliing mechanism) on an old cable tool rig.”

This is a picture of a cable tool rig that Marilyn Harvison Conrad posted on Facebook. (Thanks, Marilyn!) You can’t see much about it, but rather than rotating, a cable tool bit beats its way into the ground. And rather than have a string of drill pipe, the tools are on the end of a cable. It takes longer to drill with a cable tool than with a rotary.(In case you’re wondering, 1929 was before my dad was born.) 

The truck was also used to pump the well, so when the family bought the land and  the well, Diamond T came with it. One of those shallow-hole wells is still producing. Pretty good, after all these years!

Dad and Uncle Paul were hoeing corn on the Back Forty, about a half mile away, (as the crow flies) when Lee shot the well.

These are Ruby and Ray Spess’s boys–a few years later. 🙂 Dad, the youngest, is on the left (real men wear pink!) Uncle Paul, the middle boy, is in the middle, and Uncle Frank, who donated the truck, is on the right.  

The younger two brothers were working hard, hacking at those weeds, when all of a sudden, oil flew up into the sky and they heard a loud BOOM! The guys were probably still in their teens, and being normal, I figure they stopped and leaned on their hoes to discuss it. Before much time had passed another BOOM! Whoosh!

Back then, when they shot wells, they didn’t pack the and just let the oil go where it would. We know better than to do that these days, but then no one thought it was important.

See that board in front of the steering wheel? That’s the dash. Now I know why they called it a dash BOARD. Who knew? 🙂

I showed G Man a picture of the old truck (these were taken by Larry Lawrence. Thanks for letting me use them, Larry!) and he said, “Is that the old truck that was on the Back Forty?”

That’s the one.

This story was all new to me. Sometimes I’m amazed by how much I don’t know. Maybe by posting things like this, I can keep them from being lost in time.

Fingers crossed.