Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Historical Note

Scope and Contents Note

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series 1: Business files, 1941-1959

Series 2: Personal papers, 1937-1960

Series 3: Photographs, 1947-1954

Southern Methodist University

Charles Smith papers

A Guide



Collection Summary

Creator: Smith Jr., Charles Clinton
Title: Charles Smith papers
Dates: 1937-1960
Abstract: Charles Smith was an insurance investigator for the Texas City disaster that occurred on April 16-17, 1947. Many files in this collection document the aftermath of that disaster, as well as other insurance cases in the Southwest ranging from home fires to oil field lightning strikes. Materials include claims, appraisals, general correspondence, and photographs.
Identification: MSS 0147
Quantity: 9 boxes (7 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

Charles Clinton Smith Jr. was born on July 18, 1928 in San Angelo, Texas. Smith grew up in Dallas, Texas and attended Southern Methodist University before completing his undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 1941. During World War II he was a civilian instructor for aviation students in Lubbock, Texas. Later he was drafted by the Army and his various duties included planning European oil pipelines and teaching winter survival skills.

After the war, he worked as an engineer for Jay Alexander, a consulting engineer, in Dallas, Texas, when he was assigned to investigate the Texas City disaster that occurred on April 16, 1947. This event is considered the worst industrial accident in the history of the United States. A French ship loaded with ammonium nitrate caught fire at the docks, which led to other explosions at the docks and throughout Texas City. Smith later worked in the oil industry for twenty years before becoming a quality control engineer for LTV until his retirement in 1981.

He married Louise (Suzy) Garman and they had three daughters in Dallas, Texas. Charles Smith died in Marble Falls, Texas in 2004.

Sources:

Dallas Morning News. “Charles Clinton Smith Jr.” https://obits.dallasnews.com/obituaries/dallasmorningnews/obituary.aspx?n=charles-clinton-smith&pid=2207033

“Dallas students at university to get June degrees.” Dallas Morning News. May 18, 1941. NewsBank/Readex

Simnacher, Joe. “Charles Clinton Smith Jr. Helped investigate explosion of ships at Texas City in 1947.” Dallas Morning News, The (TX), May 7, 2004: 18B. NewsBank: America's News. https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=NewsBank&docref=news/102700E206002745.

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Scope and Contents Note

This collection mostly contains the business files of Charles Smith while he worked as an insurance investigator. The first series contains files arranged alphabetically by client and include claims, appraisals, general correspondence, and some photographs. Files range from home fires, oil field lightning strikes, commercial roof collapse, to an appraisal of a downtown city block. Researchers should note that the Texas City Terminal Railway [TCTR] and Monsanto Chemical Company files mostly deal with the Texas City disaster that occurred on April 16-17, 1947.

The second series contains college class notes and a few reference publications regarding drilling. The last series contains photographs, mostly of Texas City, Texas.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 3 series:
Series 1: Business files, 1941-1959
Series 2: Personal files, 1937-1960
Series 3: Photographs, 1947-1954

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Material Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which DeGolyer Library assumes no responsibility.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Subjects (Persons)
Smith Jr., Charles Clinton
Subjects (Organizations)
Texas City Terminal Railway Company
Monsanto Chemical Company
Subjects
Disasters -– Texas -– Texas City
Industrial accidents
Oil well drilling rigs
Petroleum industry and trade
Real property -- Valuation
Property insurance claims
Fire insurance claims
Places
Texas City (Tex.) –- History –- 20th century
Dallas (Tex.) –- History –- 20th century
Occupations
Insurance investigators -- Texas
Document Types
Correspondence.
Photographs.

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Related Material

Baker Hotel collection, Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas, http://dallaslibrary2.org/dallashistory/archives/07905.php

Texas City disaster records, 1947-2003, MS 529, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Charles Smith papers, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Acquisition Information

Gift, Charles and Suzy Smith, 2000.

Processing Information

This collection was originally accessioned as A2000.2255 with twelve boxes and two oversize folders. Duplicative and out of scope materials were removed when the collection was processed in 2020 by Cynthia Franco. A few books were cataloged and shelved in the DeGolyer Library. These books can be found by searching the online catalog with the search string "Part of the Charles Smith collection." In addition, two architectural drawings of the Baker Hotel were transferred to the Dallas Public Library to add to their collection on the hotel.

Cynthia Franco wrote and encoded the finding aid in 2020.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Business files, 1941-1959
8 boxes

This series contains files on insurance clients arranged alphabetically. The bulk of these files contain reports and notes about specific claims, and appraisals of inventory or real estate. Many of the drilling company files contain information about oil rigs. Researchers should note that the Texas City Terminal Railway [TCTR] and Monsanto Chemical Company files mostly deal with the Texas City disaster that occurred on April 16-17, 1947. Dates are provided when available.
Box Folder
1 1 Airforce School, Newport, Arkansas, 1942
2 Baker Brothers Auto Storage – fire, Jackson, Tennessee, 1953-1956
3 Baker Hotel – fire, Dallas, Texas, 1948-1949
4 J.W. Bateson, contractor – construction of Gibraltar Life Insurance building, damage claim to adjacent building housing Southwestern Optical Company and Texas School of Practical Nursing, Dallas, Texas, 1951-1953
5 Big Lake Oil Company – hail loss, Texon, Texas, 1949-1952
6 Big Lake Oil Company – fire at movie theatre, Texon, Texas, 1950
7 Big West Drilling Company, Fort Worth, Texas, 1955-1957
8 Bowie Well Service – loss, Bowie, Texas, 1957
9 M.T. Bowman – fire, 6000 Glendora Street, Dallas, Texas, 1949
10 Brannon and Murray Drilling Company, Coleman, Texas, 1953-1956
11-12 Brooks and Turner oil field, Coahoma, Texas, 1951
13 Brooks and Turner oil rigs to be appraised, 1951
14 Brooks and Turner oil field, Coahoma, Texas, 1952
15 Brooks and Turner oil field, Coahoma, Texas, 1954
16 C.E. Knight Drilling Company – explosion, Schleicher County, Texas, 1955-1958
17 Cities Service Gas Company – gas compressor station explosion, Pampa, Texas, 1954-1955
18 Coffeyville Cooperative Refinery – fire, Coffeyville, Kansas, 1949
19 Coltex Refining Company – fire, Colorado City, Texas, 1949-1953
20 Columbian Carbon Company – fire, Seagraves, Texas, 1954-1955
21 Community Public Service Company, Texas City, Texas, 1947-1948
22 Core Laboratories – building inspection, Dallas, Texas, 1956
23 Corbett Drilling Company – fire, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1952-1953
24 Dallas Transfer and Terminal Warehouse press room material and machinery, 1948
25 Davidson Drilling Company, 1948-1953
26 7700 block of Denton Drive, Dallas, Texas – valuation of buildings, 1952
27 Diamond Drilling Company, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1956-1957
28 Dickey Country Sausage – fire, Dallas, Texas, 1946
29-30 Dunlap Store – explosion, Hobbs, New Mexico, 1946-1951
31 Mildred Scott v. Ira Dunlap – partial transcript of testimony, 1949
32 Duval Gasoline Company – windstorm, Benavides, Texas, 1950
33 Eastern State Refinery - fire, 1952
34 Exeter Drilling Company, Dallas, Texas, 1957
35 J. Howard Fitch, Adjusters Incorporated – fire at 3652 Ingleside, Dallas, Texas, 1956; Sanger Brothers department store doors at Lamar Street, 1952
36 Florence-Simms Furniture Company – water pipe rupture, Tyler, Texas, 1951
37 Foursom Cafeteria – roof collapse, Dallas, Texas, 1951
38 Frontier National Gasoline Company, Artesia, New Mexico, 1951
39 Frontier Refining Company – explosion, Cheyenne Wyoming, 1946
Box Folder
2 1 Robert Germany v. Crow Drilling Company, 1956 [contractor on oil derrick in Magnolia, Arkansas]
2 Gibson Drilling Company, Kilgore, Texas, 1956
3 Glen Rose Gasoline Company – fire, Rodessa, Louisiana, 1953
4 F.A. Glenn – buildings on Pacific Avenue, Federal Street, and Ervay, Dallas, Texas, 1951
5 C.L. Gregory – notes about fire, blueprints of La Gloria Oil & Gas refinery in Tyler, Texas, 1959
6 Hart Furniture Company appraisal, Dallas, Texas, 1951
7 Henderson Trust – no.2 gasoline plant explosion, Sanford, Texas, 1948-1949
8 William S. Henson – advertising printing appraisal, Dallas, Texas, 1949
9 H.L. Green Company – fire, Dallas, Texas, 1950
10 George Hofmeister residence, Fort Worth, Texas – fire, Brannon Butane Company, 1949
11 M.I. Honeycutt residence, Oak Cliff, Texas – explosion, 1953
12 Humble Oil and Refining Company filling station – gas explosion, Dallas, Texas, 1953-1954
13 Fred Hyer v. Empire Southern Gas Company, Big Spring, Texas, 1951
14 Kassell Aircraft Service – White Rock Airport explosion, Dallas, Texas, 1946-1948
15 Kirkpatrick Oil Company – drilling rig appraisal, Garvin County, Oklahoma, 1951-1952
16 La Gloria Butane Company, Falfurrias, Texas, 1951
17 L.B. Jackson Company – rotary drilling rigs, 1952-1953
18 Lee Drilling Company, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1951-1957
19 Lisle Drilling Company, Olney, Texas, 1953
20 Lynn Drilling Company, Oklahoma, 1952-1957
21-22 Makin Drilling Company – losses, Hobbs, New Mexico, 1947-1948
23-24 Makin Drilling Company – loss, inspections, Hobbs, New Mexico, 1951
25 Marcum Drilling Company, 1949-1952
26-28 McConnell Drilling Corporation, 1951
29 McConnell Drilling Corporation – fire, 1951
30 Thomas and Lois McJilton – windstorm loss, Johnson County, Texas, 1955
31 Norma McKay, Tallulah, Louisiana, 1949
32 Mohawk Drilling Company, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1955
33 Monsanto Chemical Company – general correspondence, 1947-1948
34 Monsanto Chemical Company – correspondence with Ford, Bacon and Davis Inc., 1947
35 Monsanto Chemical Company – correspondence, 1950
36 Monsanto Chemical Company – office memos from Francis Niven and Associates, 1947
37 Monsanto Chemical Company – Jay Alexander, 1947
38-39 Monsanto Chemical Company – inspection reports in Texas City, Texas, 1947
Box Folder
3 1 Monsanto Chemical Company – legal matters including debris removal, 1947
2-3 Monsanto Chemical Company – reports by Francis Niven, 1947
4 Monsanto Chemical Company – schedule of losses, 1947
5 James F. Morse Company – fire, Chambers County, Texas, 1948
6 Natural Gasoline Corporation – hail loss, Hawkins, Texas, 1953
7 New Mexico Asphalt and Refining Company, Artesia, New Mexico, 1947
8-9 Odessa Natural Gas Company – explosions, Odessa, Texas, 1949-1950
10 Olsen-Blount Drilling Company, New Mexico, 1954
11 Onyx Refinery – fire, Abilene, Texas, 1949-1951
12 Orlando Fuel Oil Company – explosion, Orlando, Florida, 1955-1956
13 Perkins Brothers Drilling Company, Olney, Texas, 1953
14-15 Petrol Refining Inc. – turbo-compressor breakdown, Texas City, Texas, 1949-1950
16 Petrolite Corp. – refinery electrical loss, Kilgore, Texas, 1950
17 Paul Phillips v. Central Freight Lines – accident, Greenville, Texas, 1950
18 Plymouth Oil Company – lightning damage and fire, Sterling County, Texas, 1950
19 Portable Drilling Company, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1952
20 Premier Petroleum Company – tank collapse, Longview Texas, 1952-1953
21 Preston Carter Drilling Company, Oklahoma, 1952
22 Republic Oil Refining Company – fire, Texas City, Texas, 1948-1949
23 Republic Oil Refining Company – wind loss, Texas City, Texas, 1949-1950
24 Republic Oil Refining Company – fire, 1951
25 Republic Oil Refining Company – lightning damage, 1951
26 Reynolds-Penland Company, Dallas, Texas, 1941
27 H.W. Roberts estate – fire, Wichita County, Texas, 1953
28 Robinson Brothers Oil Producers, Borger, Texas, 1952-1953
29 Rogers-Briscoe Drilling Company, Oklahoma, 1953
30 Saturn Drilling Company, Nolan County, Texas, 1956
31 Schafer Drilling Company, Scannell, Oklahoma, 1952
32 Shamrock Oil and Gas Company – mogul cable tool rig Huff 1, Moore County, Texas, 1948
33 Shamrock Oil and Gas Company – fire, Amarillo, Texas, 1951
34 Shell-Coltexo-Wasson – gasoline plant explosion, Denver City, Texas, 1949
35 Shell Oil Company – gasoline plant fire, Iowa, Louisiana, 1949-1950
36 Shovel Supply Company, 1950
37 Carl Short Inc., Dallas, Texas, 1958
38 Skelly Gasoline Plants – explosion, Eunice, New Mexico, 1949
39 Slatts Honeyman Drilling Company, 1953
40 Southwestern General Hospital – anesthetic explosion, El Paso, Texas, 1954-1955
41 Sparkman-Brand Inc. Funeral Home, Dallas, Texas, 1951
42 Stone Oil Company – fire, Texas City, Texas, 1948-1949
43 Survey Drilling Company – drilling rig loss, Eddy County, New Mexico, 1957
44 S.W. & H. Drilling Company, Midland County, Texas, 1952-1953
Box Folder
4 1 Taber and Coleman Drilling Company, 1948-1950
2 Talco Asphalt and Refining Company – fire, Mount Pleasant, Texas, 1948
3 Talco Refinery [American Liberty Oil Company], Mount Pleasant, Texas, 1951
4 Texas City Terminal Railway [TCTR], 1947
5 TCTR - correspondence about meetings, 1947
6 TCTR – correspondence, 1947-1955
7 TCTR – expenses, 1948-1955
8-9 TCTR – Ford, Bacon 7 Davis inspection report, 1947
10 TCTR – Francis J. Niven and Associates agreement, 1947
11 TCTR – grain elevator, 1947
12 TCTR – notes on railroad tracks
13 TCTR – notes on locomotives
14 TCTR – Seatrain Lines, 1947
15-16 TCTR – loss figures, 1947-1954
17-18 TCTR – calculation sheets and estimates, 1954
19 TCTR – allocation of loss and damage due to physical cause, 1954
20 TCTR – debris removal, 1947
21-22 TCTR – wharf and bulkheads debris removal, 1954
23 TCTR – notes
24 TCTR – trial notes
25 TCTR – conference notes
Box Item
7 TCTR – Preliminary Report and Estimate, 1947 June 21
TCTR – Final Report Survey of Properties volume 1, 1947 July 26
Box Item
8 TCTR – Final Report Survey of Properties volumes 2-3, 1947 July 26
Box Item
9 TCTR – Stipulated, 1947 [report]
TCTR - final trial figures corrected, 1954
TCTR – [untitled notebook about trial including Analysis of plaintiffs’ exhibits other than pictures, Negligence of TCTR, witness list, evidence, excerpts from oral testimony], 1954
Box Folder
5 1-2 TCTR – blueprints
3 TCTR – newspaper clippings
4 Texas Miller Products Company – fire, Corsicana, Texas, 1951
5 Texas Natural Gasoline Corporation – heater fire, Rankin, Texas, 1953
6 Texas Public Service Company – Eugene Lloyd, 1948-1949 [explosion at West Sixth Street Barbecue and Market, Austin, Texas]
7 Thompson and Boaz Well Servicing Company – fire, 1953
8 Three States Natural Gas Company – fire, Carbon County, Utah, 1953; McConnell Drilling Corporation rig
9 Transit Corporation – drilling rigs, 1953
10 Transit Corporation – drilling rigs, 1948-1953 [various companies including L.B. Jackson, G & K Drilling & Exploration Company, Blount Drilling, etc.]
11 Travis Drillers, Wichita Falls, Texas, 1951
12 Specifications for Valcar Enterprises, Dallas, Texas by Richard Vander Straten, architect
13 Valcar Enterprises rendering plants
14 G.H. Vaughn – garage fire, Rusk County, Texas, 1954
15 Ward S. Merrick and J.H. Harrell – drilling rig, Oklahoma, 1947
16 Well Inc. – oil derrick collapse, Farmington, New Mexico, 1952
17 Western Company, Midland, Texas, 1957
18 Western Cottonoil Company – leakage policy, Abilene, Texas, 1953-1954
19 Western Drilling Company, Lubbock, Texas, 1950
20 White-Webb Drilling Company/Snowden Oil and Gas Company, 1947
21 Jess M. Williams v. Raymond Concrete Pile Company – photographs and letter, 1951
22 Williams-Copeland Inc., Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1948
23 Wilshire Oil Company, 1948
24 Wood County Electric Cooperative, Wood County, 1952
25 Yeatman Drilling Company, Coleman, Texas, 1949
26 Zach Brooks Drilling Company, Eldorado, Arkansas, 1952
27 Zephyr Drilling Company, Logan County, Oklahoma, 1952-1957

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Series 2: Personal papers, 1937-1960
6 folders

These folders contain Charles Smith’s class notes while he was a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and various reference reading materials regarding his profession.
Box Folder
5 28 Charles Smith papers, 1938 [includes physics, calculus, and geology class notes from University of Texas at Austin]
29 Air and gas drilling, 1960
30 “Costimating” by W.L. Nelson from Oil and Gas Journal, 1949
31 Sprinkler job, Bureau of Mines – publications, 1937-1957
32 Various reference material and publications, 1937-1955

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Series 3: Photographs, 1947-1954
2 boxes

Most of this series contains photographs of the aftermath of the Texas City disaster in 1947. Dates are provided when available.
Box Folder
5 33 Cities Service Gas Company – Pampa, Texas, 1954
34 Monsanto Chemical Company, 1947
35 Monsanto Chemical Company – ship debris in plant, 1947
40 Monsanto Chemical Company oversize photographs
36-37 Republic Oil Refining Company tanks, Texas City, Texas, 1948
38 Republic Oil Refining Company docks, south slip lines, Texas City, Texas, 1948
39 Republic Oil Refining Company, 1949
Box Folder
6 1 Texas Public Service – small copper gas line to steam table and others, Austin, Texas
2-3 TCTR, Texas City, Texas, 1947
4 TCTR, Texas City, Texas, 1948
5 TCTR
6 Texas City, Texas, 1954
7 Texas City, Texas
8 Unidentified Texas fire
9 Unidentified

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