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Jane Spraggins Wilson

RICKER, RUPERT PAUL (1889–1965). Rupert Ricker, attorney and oil speculator, was born in Navarro County, Texas, to William Augustus and Elmira Vanilla (Hall) Ricker on December 19, 1889. He attended Corsicana public schools. In 1906 the family moved by covered wagon to a ranch in Reagan County. Ranching proved unsuccessful, and the Rickers moved to Big Spring, where both father and son worked for the Texas and Pacific Railway. Ricker graduated from the University of Texas law school in 1915. During World War I he served in the army. Upon discharge with the rank of captain, he returned to Reagan County, opened a law office, and lived on the family ranch. From E. D. Shurter at the University of Texas, he learned of studies done by Johan A. Udden and R. A. Liddle of the university's geology department. Their findings suggested oil in the Marathon Fold, believed to underlie West Texas. Ricker and P. G. Stokes of Abilene then obtained leases to 431,360 acres of university lands in West Texas. Ricker had maps made, assembled all necessary data, and got the first permits to drill on university land, but could not attract investors to this remote area. While seeking financial backing in Fort Worth he met Frank Pickrell, a member of his company during the war, who, along with Haymon Krupp of El Paso, was looking for oil investments. For $2,500 Ricker sold all of his rights to Krupp and Pickrell, who went on to drill the first Santa Rita oil well, which led to the development of the Permian Basin oil industry. In 1925 Ricker entered a partnership with Floyd C. Dodson in San Angelo, and in 1926 the two joined Robert B. Campbell to form the El Capitan Oil Company. After these enterprises were dissolved, Ricker continued in the oil business. In the 1940s he moved to Big Spring, where he practiced law and conducted revival meetings as a lay preacher. In 1922 he married Maybelle Griffin; they had two children. In 1932 he married Ruby Ruth Rattan, and they also had two children. In 1945 he married Mary Ford. Ricker died on March 26, 1965, in Big Spring, where he was buried.

Dallas Morning News, March 27, 1965. Samuel D. Myres, The Permian Basin: Petroleum Empire of the Southwest (2 vols., El Paso: Permian, 1973, 1977). Saturday Evening Post, December 31, 1927. Martin W. Schwettmann, Santa Rita: The University of Texas Oil Discovery (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1943; rpt. 1958).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Jane Spraggins Wilson, "RICKER, RUPERT PAUL," accessed July 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fri30.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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