Thomas Peter Lee

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Born on March 19, 1871, in Petroleum, West Virginia to Alexander and Martha Jane Mount Lee, Thomas Peter Lee left school at the age of sixteen and went to work in the oil fields, first in his native state and then in Ohio. In 1903 he moved to Saratoga, Texas, where he gained employment with the newly formed Texas Company, which eventually became Texaco, and when he left that organization ten years later, he had attained the rank of general superintendent of production. While there, however, he became friends with J.S. Cullinan, and the two, along with Emerson Francis Woodward, Will C. Hogg, and James L. Autry, joined in 1914 to form the Farmers Petroleum Company, of which Lee became president.

In 1916 Lee, along with Cullinan, Woodward, and other associates, organized the American Republics Corporation that later controlled twenty-one subsidiaries involved in all facets of the oil industry: prospecting, production, refining, and transportation, as well as manufacturing ships, tank cars, and oil tools. While serving on the board of directors, Lee also held the position of vice president in charge of production. But things would eventually sour between Lee and Cullinan, and several years later, they headed opposing forces bitterly engaged in a stock war for control of the corporation. Cullinan not only defeated Lee in the struggle, but he put his own son Craig into Lee’s position as vice president. More than he could bear, Lee resigned and began a lucrative career in the...
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