Paul L. Davis, Sr., Midland, TX
1906 – 1988
Paul L. Davis, Sr. was born in 1906 in Ada, Indian Territory. He attended William Jewell College and began his career in 1926 as a geophysicist for Roxana Petroleum Corporation, a company founded by Royal Dutch Shell. He was a member of Roxana’s first American seismic crew, which had a great deal of success identifying salt domes along the Gulf Coast and in east Texas using seismic refraction methods called “fan shooting.” They were also instrumental in bringing the first geophysical crew to the Permian Basin using similar methods. Later, Davis formed a partnership with J. L. Greene and the two purchased minerals, royalties and leases throughout the Permian Basin. Davis was eventually elected to Midland’s city council and to the office of mayor pro tempore, where he recognized that Midland’s future growth would depend on securing adequate sources of water. He called on Ed Reed, a geologist and licensed hydrologist, and the two set out to search for sources of fresh water. The three-year study culminated in the successful purchase of the water rights on30,000 acres on behalf of the city and 3,000 more leased for water rights, an area known today as the Paul Davis Water Field.