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Manuscript - Oil Claim Documents with Large Coloured Map of "Father of Trinidad Oil", Randolph Rust
Trinidad, 1917. [Trinidad], 1917. Guayaguayare Oil Claim Documents involving "Trinidad's Father of Oil" Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust and two British companies. One (1) signed agreement for land purchase off Guayaguayare Bay 17 December 1917, and one (1) accompanying large colour survey plan of the parcels of land; together with one (1) signed letter rescinding the agreement in 1919. All three contained in the solicitor's original envelope annotated in manuscript. Documents are made in London; text is in English. Agreement: Qto. 3 pages, string-tied, featuring a ten-shilling revenue stamp, purchasing Directors' and Secretary's original signatures, and red seal. Map: Single leaf measuring approximately 47 x 41 cm, also signed by purchaser's Secretary, folded to fit the envelope. Very good, original condition. Guayaguayare Bay is prominent in the history of Trinidad's oil industry, being the site of the first commercially viable wells drilled in Trinidad, performed by Randolph Rust and Lee Lum in May 1902. Today it remains the primary center in the petroleum industry and is home to a significant portion of Trinidad and Tobago's gas and oil reserves. The present agreement, dated 17 December 1917, constitutes an agreement for the sale of land at Guayaguayare in Trinidad, the buyer being interested in drilling oil. The seller is Graham Wells & Co. Limited, the buyer Roper River Land & Minerals Co. The distribution of company shares is also outlined. The seller's Directors and Secretary have signed the agreement and the map, the latter of which delineates several plots of land for purchase along the bay, and also shows Trinidad leasehold regions. Interestingly, the purchaser is in fact entering into "a covenant with Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust - the original vendor of the said claims", so stated in Clause 2. An enclosed letter, dated 1 December 1919 states that the Roper River corporation withdrew from the agreement as they had not requested extraction rights in the allotted time frame. The company's interest in exploiting the region for oil had not waned, however, as evidence shows them pursuing an alternate method for staking a claim in Trinidad petrol. (Efforts made in 1918 for a take over of Trinidad Dominion Oil Ltd., by the Roper River Land and Mineral Co., are also revealed in a collection of documents held by The National Archives which contains original correspondence from the Colonial Board of Trade Office relating to Trinidad.) The accompanying large colour map of Guayaguayare Bay delineates 17 acres owned by Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust which formed part of the parcel intended for purchase by Roper River Land & Minerals Co.. It also shows land owned by Lee Lum, and other persons listed in the document. Trinidad's oil drilling pioneer Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust (1854-1930), known as "the father of the oil industry in Trinidad and Tobago," played a primary role in this transaction and is named several times. Herein Rust is guaranteed indemnity against all claims and demands, and also granted a fee of £1000 along with 500 shares and the title of Director in the purchasing company. Randolph Rust had been drilling for oil in the La Brea area since 1893. in Guayaguayare Rust discovered a generous 25 acres of land yielding pools of petroleum. At the same time oil was also discovered in the Guayaguayare region in 1895 by John Lee Lum who found seepage on his property and brought him a sample. Together Rust and Lee Lum founded the Guayaguyare Oil Company in 1902. Excerpts from the manuscript: [Article 1.] "The Vendor Company will if and when requested by the Purchaser Company grant or procure to be granted or assigned to the Purchaser Company certain prospecting or other rights and options... 'the said Claims'... in and over certain blocks of land at Guayaguayare in the Ward of Mayaro in the Island of Trinidad... indicated upon a plan marked C..." [Article 2.] "... the Purchaser Company which has a nominal capital of Two hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds divided into Five hundred thousand shares of Ten Shillings each." "... enter into a covenant with Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust the original vendor of the said claims..." "... to indemnify the said Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust from and against all claims and demands in respect thereof..." "... to pay the said Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust the sum of One Thousand Pounds... payable by the Purchaser..." "...Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust is the registered holder of five hundred shares in the Purchaser Company be appointed a Director of the Purchaser Company..." End excerpts. London born Randolph Thomas Hammond Rust (1854-1930), known as "the father of the oil industry in Trinidad and Tobago," first arrived in Trinidad in 1881, then employed in banking. His adventurous disposition led him in a different direction however, and he was soon off to British Guiana, journeying up the Mazaruni and Essequibo rivers in search of gold. Unfortunately, he contracted blackwater fever in the jungle while opening up the goldfields, and subsequently returned to Trinidad. Also in 1881, he met an American by the name of Henry Trowbridge, with whom he founded the firm, Rust Trowbridge and Company, their headquarters situated on Almond Walk in Port of Spain. They were general commission agents, merchants insurance and shipping agents, importers and exporters and wholesale dealers in provisions. Randolph Rust's interest in oil was triggered by the development of the industry in the United States. He was also encouraged by the early explorations of Walter Darwent, who in 1866 had drilled the first well on the Aripero estate in Oropouche. In 1893 Randolph Rust began drilling for oil in the La Brea area. In 1895, oil was discovered at Aripero, oil leaking onto the forest floor from a pipe which was piercing the ground surface. Investigations discovered that this was the old well of Walter Darwent. In Guayaguayare, after a difficult journey from Port of Spain by train, horseback and corial paddling up the Pilote river, he discovered to his amazement, the astonishing sight of 25 acres of land comprising puddles of asphalt and pools of petroleum. At around the same time, Rust met John Lee Lum who owned the adjoining property at Guayaguayare, and who showed him a sample of oil that he had found there on his property. The two soon decided to join forces for oil exploration. They acquired the Aripero estate, and obtained a concession over some 50 square miles at Mayaro/Guayaguayare, the early efforts being financed mainly by Lee Lum. After five unproductive, heart-breaking years, Rust finally found financial support in Canada with the firm Hiram Walker and Sons of Walkerville, Ontario and the Oil Exploration Company of Canada was created. Operations commenced at Guayaguayare on 30th May 1902, the first well drilled and oil struck one month later on 2nd July. The following years, their endeavours were met with some success but innumerable setbacks, from shipping issues to inaccessibility of terrain, lack of a proper geological guide and insufficient financing. Undaunted and ever-faithful to Trinidad and his vision for the island's potential oil revenue, Ralph Rust is nonetheless revered as the first oil pioneer of Trinidad, and also respected as a sage businessman, Councilor, Mayor of its capital city, founder of the Scout movement, and commissioned officer of the Trinidad Light Infantry Volunteers, which he commanded for the duration of the first World War. Years after his death, his unfaltering faith has finally been vindicated, and his vision finally realized. Roper River Land and Minerals Co., Ltd. was registered March 15th, 1903, to acquire the undertakings of The Empire Goldfields, Ltd., and the British South-West African Land and Mining Co., Ltd., both acquisitions being completed in 1906. The consideration was £3,000 cash and 100,000 fully-paid shares. The company's Directors were H. T. Walker, A. Matheson, and D. G. Macfie. Its properties comprised concessions covering 6,234 square miles with mineral lights over 5,890 miles in the Roper River Country, Northern Territory of South Australia, and the Subusubu (Tomento) concession, area 3,750 acres, on the Ankobra River, 45 miles from Axim, Wassau district, Gold Coast Colony. By 1910 the Australian Concessions were forfeited by the Australian Government. An interest was also held in an expedition to Northern Nigeria. The authorized capital is £250,000, in 500,000 shares of 103 each; 259,157 shares are issued, 100,000 credited as fully paid and 159,157 issued credited as 7s. 3d. pa : d and 2s. called, making 9s. 3d. paid. Shareholders were offered one share credited as 7s. 3d. paid for every old fully-paid share held. In May, 1906, 399,950 shares credited a3 7s. 3d. paid were offered for subscription on behalf of the R. R. Syndicate, Ltd. (the vendors and promoters); the subscription of 160,000 was guaranteed by the vendors. Bankers: Parrs Bank, Ltd. Auditors: Carnahy, Harrower, Barham & Co, Solicitors: Mayo, Elder & Co. Secretary and Offices: H. St. John Hodges, 2o, Copthall Avenue, E.C. . Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2016-08-31           Check availability:      Biblio    

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