[RKW worked up this file years ago.]...
James Buchanan Lantz was born at Blacksville, West Virginia, on September 12, 1880. His father was John Lantz and his mother was Victoria Marsh Lantz. Both his father and mother were born and raised in West Virginia. He had five brothers: William, Marsh, John, Benjamin, and Max. He had one sister, Sarah.
Linnie Jacobs Lantz was born in Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania, on February 19, 1880. She was named Linnie Pearl Jacobs. Her maternal grandfather was Benjamin Durbin and her maternal grandmother was Mary Dinsmore Durbin.
Her father was Warren Daniel Jacobs and her mother was Ackie Durbin Jacobs. They were both born in Greene County, Pennsylvania. They were married September 12, 1878, in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. She died October 14, 1927, in Marietta, Ohio. He died July 26, 1932, in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, but his home was still in Marietta, Ohio. Their only child was Linnie Pearl Jacobs Lantz.
James Buchanan Lantz and Linnie Pearl Jacobs were married at the home of her parents in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, on June 25, 1907.
The young couple lived in various towns in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Texas as they “wildcatted” all over the country. In those days Lantz would lease the ground, drill the well, bring it in, hook it up to the tanks, and make arrangements to sell it to some refinery. They would go into new places where there were no wells and lease large blocks (sometimes as large as 15,000 acres) of land to be drilled, moving frequently and living in small hotels or private homes. Mr. Lantz made the oil business his life work. That was the one thing which he knew from the ground up.
Jim Lantz’s sister, Sarah, married Mike Benedum in Pennsylvania. Mike Benedum was in the oil exploration and exploitation business. He went into the oil business in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia as a land man for one of the Standard Oil of New Jersey subsidiaries.
Joe Trees graduated from the Indiana Normal school in 1892 and from the University of Pittsburgh in 1895, and began oil production in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Indiana oil fields during his vacations.
Both Mike Benedum and Joe Trees were indefatigable wildcatters. Both worked independently doing wildcatting for the Standard Oil of Indiana. They became partners and formed the Benedum Trees Oil Company. They continued wildcatting for their own company. Their wildcatting trail led through Texas, Oklahoma, the Northwest, Mexico, Romania, Russia, and the Pacific Coast; but it was in West Texas that they made their richest strikes. They were very successful as the Benedum Trees oil company.
Benedum Trees Oil Co. controlled the Trans-Continental oil pool. Later they sold it to a group of speculators who consolidated it with the Ohio Oil Company. The Ohio Oil Company then purchased the Mid-Kansas Oil and Gas Company and entered the Mid-Continent area in 1916. Mid-Kansas had held important leases in the Augusta pool, in Butler County; and later, additional leases in Butler, Greenwood, and Cowley Counties. The Ohio Oil Company later became a part of the Continental Oil Company.
Fred Clark (of Winfield) worked with the Benedum Trees oil company and leased over 8,000 acres of land, which included his farm. In January of 1916 they started drilling. They brought in a very large oil well, which spurred the oil activity in Cowley County. This brought the remaining three Trees brothers, Paul, Clyde, and Charles to Winfield. They soon formed the Trees Drilling company and in 1924 the Trees Oil company. The Trees Oil company is still in existence in Winfield. The first president was Paul Trees. Upon his death he was succeeded as president by his daughter, Lucy, who had married Richard Gentry. Upon her death in 1990 she was succeeded by her daughter, Gayle Gentry Bishop.
Apparently, because of the success of the Fred Clark well, Jim Lantz came to Cowley County in 1916. He leased and started drilling a well, in December of 1916, on the Greene farm northeast of Arkansas City. This well was promoted by the Benedum Trees oil com-pany. It proved to be a duster after being drilled to a depth of 3,250 feet. The well was abandoned April 26, 1917, after having over $40,000 spent on it. But Mr. Lantz was so favorably impressed with this country and with Arkansas City that he remained here.
He made his big strike January 16, 1919, in the Ranger field in Comanche County, Texas, where he possessed leases on which valuable development was made. Almost overnight the oil prospector and operator woke up to find himself a millionaire and one of the big oil magnates of this county. He also had oil interests in the east which proved valuable. Immediately after realizing upon his big oil strike in Texas, he invested his money largely in Liberty Bonds. In 1921 he protested paying Kansas tax on these bonds. The case went through the courts to the Kansas Supreme Court, where in 1922 the assessment law was declared unconstitutional.
When Jim was asked why he didn’t prefer to live in California or the east after his big strike in oil, he replied that he had become attached to Arkansas City and its people and that his large number of friends here brought him more pleasure than in living elsewhere.
In Oct. of 1921 J. B. Lantz went into partnership with Carl Kinslow and purchased the Ford agency in Wellington. Carl moved to Wellington to manage the business.
In Nov. of 1921 J. B. Lantz was on a business trip to Atlantic City on the east coast. During his absence, workmen were busily engaged remodeling his residence at 405 North C street. This work was in charge of Contractor T. A. Houston, who had a considerable force of men in his employ. The work required taking off the roof in order to make three living rooms and a bath out of the attic. A new room was added to the building; also a new porch was built on the rear. When completed it contained twelve rooms and was one of the finest residences in the city.
In June of 1922, J. B. Lantz purchased Carthage stone from a company in Joplin for his new residence. J. O. Brown was the contractor for the new home.
At the same time, he purchased the A. C. Dairy Company’s property at 400 North C street. This property was across the street from his residence property. He had recently purchased the residence property north of him. The Traveler reported “According to the agreement between Mr. Lantz and the A. C. Dairy company, the latter is to vacate the property by September. It is understood Mr. Lantz did not buy the creamery buildings, but that the company will move them off and build a new creamery in a location not yet announced.
Mr. Lantz’s purchase, however, included the residence north of him to this land, and he planned to convert the two houses into fine residence properties costing approximately $75,000. On the lot from which he removed the house north of him, he built a $20,000 private garage. This improvement was in keeping with his fine residence on these premises. The total cost of Mr. Lantz’s improvements amounted approximately to $125,000.”
On August 25, 1922, it was announced that J. B. Lantz purchased the residence property of H. D. Baylis, located at 411 North C Street, and which joined the lots already owned by Mr. Lantz, upon which he erected a fine new home. The Baylis property had two and one half lots. The house which was located there was moved across the street, onto the lots known as the A. V. Franklin property. Mr. Lantz then built on the lots which adjoined his other property and in all, he had one quarter of a block of ground there. Work on the new home of Mr. and Mrs. Lantz, built by contractor J. O. Brown, progressed very nicely. It was stated in 1921 that when completed, it would be one of the finest residences in the city.
J. B. Lantz started suffering from high blood pressure in 1921. He got his recreation and amusement principally through the country club and the A. C. Athletic Association.
On Saturday night, March 16, 1923, he went to the A. C. Athletic Association to watch the boxing matches while Mrs. Lantz went to the motion picture show. Jim Lantz was at ringside and cheering the local boy when he was suddenly partially overcome with a cerebral hemorrhage. Friends assisted him to a car and he was taken to the Lantz suite at the Osage hotel. Mrs. Lantz was called from the movie and came to his bedside. A second attack occurred the following morning about 6 a. m. and he lapsed into unconsciousness. He died about 3 p. m. the same day. He was buried in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Following Mr. Lantz’s death on March 17, 1923, Mrs. Lantz continued to make her home in Arkansas City. She also continued the investment business that her husband had founded at their office in the Home National Bank building. She was assisted in that business by Mrs. Ruth Grow.
When they first came to Arkansas City, Mr. and Mrs. Lantz lived at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. After the Osage Hotel was built in 1920, they moved into a suite of rooms there. After her husband’s death she moved into the Cary Apartments in the 100 block of East Madison. Their home at 406 North C street was only partially built at the time of Mr. Lantz’s death, but she completed it and made it her home.
One more notable memory of Mrs. Lantz is that she did not drive. She, however, always had a new black limousine, driven by William Kemp in uniform. Both William Kemp and his wife Dorothy worked for Mrs. Lantz the last sixteen years of her life. In the early years the automobiles were LaSalle, and in later years they were Cadillacs.
Mrs. Linnie Lantz died May 18, 1962, of cancer, and was buried beside her husband in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They had no children; and by way of her will, Mrs. Lantz made many generous bequests to Arkansas Citians.