Petrolia History

Petrolia, TX is at the crossing of State highways 79 and 148, fourteen miles north of Henrietta and fifteen miles east of Wichita Falls in northern Clay County. The establishment of the community dates from 1904, when the Wichita Falls and Oklahoma Railway was built through the area. The site was named Petrolia after a town in Pennsylvania because of the nearby oilfields. The original community in the area was called Oil City. In 1901 J. W. Lochridge, a farmer and rancher with land three miles southeast of the site of present Petrolia, hired Samuel McCord to dig a water well, but he was unable to find water and struck oil at a depth of 263 feet, thus opening the first oilfield in North Texas. Lochridge used the oil for dipping cattle to rid them of parasites, and on April 10, 1903, formed the Lochridge Oil Company. Speculators who had held the mineral rights to the area since the Civil War flooded the area.  Continue reading the history of Petrolia at

The History of Petrolia Schools includes the history of Charlie, Dean, and Byers communities. See the Clay County History Page of this site.

View many stories about Petrolia, Byers, and all of Clay County on the Clay County, TXGenWeb Project MUSEUM MEMORIES     at

The Petrolia & Byers School Districts Approve Consolidation

The Petrolia & Byers School Districts held a joint Board Meeting on Thursday January 26th 2012 @ 6:00pm at the Petrolia Elementary School. In May 2012, the Byers School District's voters and those of the Petrolia ISD voted to consolidate the two districts, with Petrolia remaining the surviving district after the merger.  The merger took effect May 25, 2012.

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Petrolia Movie House

In the 1920’s my grandparents (Manuel & Katerina Bitz) lived in Petrolia, raising their five young sons. Most of the time Manuel worked at a Petrolia filling station, owned by Bud Young who also, owned the Petrolia movie theater (in Photo to left).  Since granddad was mechanically talented, Bud had him operate the movie projector.  Movies were shown twice in the middle of the week, and on Saturday night, there were usually continual showings.  Before the movies began, a mechanical player piano entertained the patrons.  The piano had two rolls of perforated paper with holes on the sides.  Usually volunteers operated the piano’s two foot pedal mechanism and gained free admission for their efforts.  Grandmother and her five sons were allowed to attend for free.