While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Karen Collins
William Farish
William Stamps Farish. Courtesy of Rice Univeristy. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Humble Oil Logo
Humble Oil Logo. Courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

FARISH, WILLIAM STAMPS (1881–1942). William Stamps Farish, pioneer in East Texas oilfield development, was born in Mayersville, Mississippi, on February 23, 1881, the grandnephew of Jefferson Davis and son of William Stamps and Katherine (Power) Farish. He attended school at St. Thomas Hall, an Episcopal preparatory school at Holly Springs, Mississippi. After receiving a law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1900, he practiced law for three months at Clarksdale, Mississippi, before moving to Beaumont, Texas, when oil was discovered at the Spindletop oilfield. He became supervisor of wells for Texas Oil Fields, Limited, an English syndicate. The next year he organized the Brown-Farish Oil Company, which did contract drilling and traded in oil. The firm became bankrupt at Brown's death, but Farish succeeded in borrowing money to pay creditors. By 1904 Farish and Robert Lee Blaffer had formed a partnership to do contract drilling and lease trading. The next year Blaffer and Farish moved to Houston to be nearer the Humble field. In 1915 Farish became president of the Gulf Coast Producers Association and subsequently was named president of the Texas-Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. In March 1917 he and others organized the Humble Oil and Refining Company (later Exxon Company, U.S.A.). Farish served as vice president for five years and in 1922 became president. In 1933 he became chairman of the board of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, which held substantial stock interest in Humble, and in 1937 he became president of Standard. He was one of the founders of the American Petroleum Institute and served as its president in 1926. At the beginning of World War II Farish was a member of the National Petroleum Industry War Council. He was married to Libbie Randon Rice in Houston on June 1, 1911; they had a son and a daughter. Farish died on November 29, 1942, in Millbrook, New York, while visiting friends; he was buried in Houston.


Dallas Morning News, November 30, 1942. Henrietta M. Larson and Kenneth Wiggins Porter, History of Humble Oil and Refining Company (New York: Harper, 1959). Who's Who in America, 1934–35.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Karen Collins, "FARISH, WILLIAM STAMPS," accessed August 05, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffa07.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on February 13, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...