Skip Navigation

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Nebraska Well Drillers Association Archives

Courtesy of the School of Natural Resources

Minutes of the 1936 Annual Convention

February 6-7, 1936
Nebraska Hall, University of Nebraska

The convention was called to order at 10 A.M. by President Jay Webb of Hastings, Nebraska. About 100 were in attendance.

In the absence of Chancellor E. A. Burnett of the University, who, being ill was unable to appear on the program, Dr. G. E. Condra welcomed the drillers on behalf of the University and pointed out that the purpose of the convention and its members is the development of the natural resources of the state.

President Webb responded by saying that the members were sorry that Chancellor Burnett could not be present, but that Dr. Condra was responsible for the birth of the Well Drillers Association in Nebraska and felt duty bound to support the association. President Webb thanked the University and Dr. Condra, on behalf of the well drillers, jobbers and manufacturers, for the fine cooperation they receive.

Director Andrew Olson of Oakland, Nebraska spoke on the "Origin and Purpose of the Nebraska Well Drillers Association. He said that the first of the fourteen associations now existing was established in North Dakota in 1915 to meet need for better conditions in the well drilling business.

Mr. Olson said "The possibility to organize in Nebraska grew out of the work the Nebraska Geological Survey with the well drillers of the state. Dr. G. E. Condra, Dean and Director of this Survey, worked unceasingly for some time, that the Nebraska drillers would also unite in an effort to cooperate for the improvement of their own interest. In 1928, invitations were sent to all known drillers of the State, to meet at the University of Nebraska. The majority responded favorably and the Nebraska water well drillers association, now in its 8th session, was organized at this meeting. The Nebraska Geological Survey co-operating with the United States Geological Survey, conducted the first short course for drillers. The officers elected were: H. H. Brown, Blair, President; A. F. Gardels, Battle Creek, Vice President; S. C. Mook, Walton, Secretary; J. F. Sears, Calloway, Treasurer." The first short course and organization of the well drillers association was hold February 28 and March 1, 1929 at the University of Nebraska.

Well drillers must know the relation of water-bearing formations to geological formations. The aim of the meetings is to study geological conditions, to raise the standards of quality and quantity of water and to improve and standardize well drilling service. Drillers discuss problems and solutions confronting them. Valuable lectures on every phase of the well drilling business are given by the University faculty, the U. S. and Nebraska Geological Surveys and by leading Nebraska well drillers.

F. D. Salmon of Concord, Nebraska gave a report of the 1935 National Well Drillers Association Convention in Des Moines, Iowa. He gave a brief resume of the program. He pointed out that nothing had been done by neither the state associations nor the National Association on the Well Drillers Code. He praised the fine entertaining and instructive program.

F. W. Salmon of Wakefield. Nebraska read the speech "Well Drilling in Relation to Water Supply Problems" by Mr. A. G. Fielder, U. S. Geological Survey, Washington, D. C. which was given before the National Convention.

Members who attended the National Convention at Des Moines were: Andrew Olson, Oakland; H. H. Brown, Blair; F. D. Salmon, Concord; Dr. G. E. Condra, Director of Short Course; and E. C. Reed, Assistant State Geologist of Nebraska. Dr. Condra pointed out that a movement was in progress to reorganize the National Well Drillers Association and make more cooperative with the different state associations.

The tour of inspection through the College of Engineering and through the University Museum under the guidance of Professor H. W. Haney, Dr. A. L. Lugn, E. C. Reed and Herbert Waite, scheduled for 4:45 p. m. was changed to 1:15.

President Webb thanked the manufacturers and jobbers for furnishing the entertainment and Dutch lunch Thursday evening at the Hotel Lincoln.

The next schedule on the program consisted of the appointment of committees by President Webb. Dr. Condra suggested that a condolence committee be appointed to report upon deceased members. The committee on condolence appointed was: I. N. Downs, Dempster Mill Manufacturing Co., Beatrice, President-elect (Frank Cole) for 1937, and Secretary-elect (Herbert Waite) for 1937. The next committee appointed was the Committee on Resolutions consisting of B. H. Rickard, National Tube Co., Chicago, Frank Cole, Loomis, Nebraska, and W. T. Hutchins, North Loup, Nebraska.

Pictures of the 1935 convention were shown and pictures of the 1936 convention were taken after which the group went to the Chamber of Commerce for lunch.

At 1:15 the exhibits were viewed in Nebraska Hall.

Mr. Morris Speir of Fairbury spoke on "Jobbers View of the Well Drillers Association." He said that the Nebraska Well Drillers Association represents a body of men who drill wells. The association promotes better things for the driller and attempts to understand the other fellow and his method of doing business and that they are fortunate in having Dean Condra, who is not only versed in well drilling but in understanding them and their problems, as a guide.

Mr. Speir said the drillers should get ideas from the meetings of the association, should be able to sell themselves and their work, should keep records for future reference. He should have methods of working and doing his business as to the expense of equipment, operating expenses so as to give reliable service and reap a reasonable profit. Since 1932 the trend of production and business has turned and 1936 has many opportunities; one of them mentioned was the tremendous field for electric pumps in rural communities on which the well drillers are first called.

Professor M. I. Evinger of the College of Engineering talked on "Our Sons, Their Training for Future Work" and gave some wholesome advice in regard to their full development and the opportunity they have to become trained along the line of effective well drillers.

Dr. Condra spoke on the "Well Water Regions of Nebraska and Their Drilling Problems. He insisted that the drillers know the formations in their section of the state and be able to identify them. His lecture was illustrated by the use of a groundwater regions map, mantle rock formations of Nebraska, and Nebraska geologic bedrock map.

"The Formations Drilled in Nebraska and How to Identify Them" was discussed and illustrated with cuttings and specimens of outcrops of formations by Dr. A. L. Lugn of the Department of Geology.

A wire was read -"Herbert Waite, Secretary, Nebraska Well Drillers Association, Lincoln Hotel, Lincoln, Nebraska. Greetings from United States Geological Survey and best wishes successful convention. A. G. Fiedler, O. E. Meinzer"

It was moved, seconded, and approved that the following message be sent in answer (which was done by a night letter): "A. G. Fiedler and O. E, Meinzer, U. S. Geological Survey, Washington, D. C. Well drillers convention good attendance regardess of heavy snows Stop we thank you for your wire and extend to you both our thanks for assistance received from U. S. Geological Survey through you Stop with best wishes for success of U. S. G. S. and its personnel, we are Nebraska Well Drillers Association, Jay Webb, President.

The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p. m.

The Feed and Entertainment, through the courtesy of the Jobbers and Manufacturers, were held at the Lincoln Hotel at 6:30 p. m. Governor R. L. Cochran a special guest spoke briefly about the advantages to be gained by associations in discussing problems. Senator John S. Callen of Odell, the other special guest stressed the importance of selecting capable men with business ability to public offices. The ladies were given a special banquet room but were permitted to step in the men's fun fest and were introduced.

The Friday morning meeting was called to order by President Webb.

Mr. Downs of the Dempster Mills Manufacturing Company spoke briefly on the history of "Hydraulic Drilling".

Professor O. R. Martin of the College of Business Administration spoke on "Accounting and Keeping Records". It was moved and seconded that the Secretary send an abstract of Professor Martin's speech to the various well drilling magazines, such as the "Driller", "The Johnson National Drillers Journal" and others. The motion carried.

The next topic "The Water Survey Program of Nebraska and its Relation to Water Well Drillers" was discussed by Dr. Condra in the absence of L. K. Wenzel of the U. S. Geological Survey, Washington, D. C. Dr. Condra outlined the different water survey work that has been completed and described the work in that connection now in progress.

President Webb closed the morning session and announced that the afternoon session would be given over to the business of the Association and election of officers.

The drillers had lunch at the Chamber of Commerce.

The afternoon meeting convened at 2 p.m.

The problem given most consideration during the period devoted to "Questions, Discussion and Answers relating to the convention and the problems of drillers" was that of collections. The drillers discussed the possibility of having legislative measures brought about to take care of the situation.

A brief discussion followed of how the drillers could be influenced to stay for the business meeting. It was suggested by two representatives of jobbers and manufacturers that a drawing take place at the end of the meeting. Another suggestion was that a committee be appointed to work on the program for the purpose of arranging it so that the business meeting would be fully attended.

It was moved and seconded that the officers take into consideration the situation confronting the drillers and take steps to recommend improvements. It was further suggested that the drillers, jobbers, and manufacturers get together a list of every man in the well drilling business in Nebraska and write each one a letter in regard to their becoming a member of the organization. This letter would be followed by a personal visit by a member of the Conservation and Survey Division. Only qualified drillers should be allowed membership in the Association. Their qualifications should be judged by present members of the Association.

The following men were recommended to attend the National Well Drillers Association Convention, St. Louis, Missouri, February 19 and 20, 1936: Dr. G. E. Condra, Andrew Olson, Oakland, Nebraska; H. H. Brown (Treasurer of the National Association), Blair, Nebraska; and either President Webb, Hastings; or President-elect Frank Cole, Loomis, Nebr.

The minutes of the 1935 Convention were read by Miss Anderson, adopted as read and approved. The treasurer's report was accepted as read. The secretary's report was accepted as read.

The following resolutions were passed:

Resolved that a letter of condolence be sent to Frank Williams, Belvidere who was unable to attend the convention, because of sickness, and a letter be sent to George Johnson's family. Mr. Johnson was killed while at work drilling a well.

Resolved that all outstanding bills be paid by the Treasurer. This included the following bills: Jay Webb, telephone to Lincoln ($1.00) postage (.96) total $1.96, Miss Anderson, $25,00.

Resolved that the funds of the Association be invested after thorough investigation of the company to which the funds are to be entrusted.

The Committee on Resolutions submitted the following report:

Resolved: That we extend a vote of thanks to the University of Nebraska for the valuable assistance rendered the Well Drillers Association.

Resolved: That we extend a vote of thanks to the Manufacturers and Jobbers for the banquet given to the Well Drillers, and for their interesting exhibits.

Resolved: That we extend a vote of thanks to Governor R. L. Cochran and the other state officials for their attendance at the banquet and the other services of the Association.

Resolved: That we extend a vote of thanks to our President, Mr. Jay Webb and the other officers for the efficient service they have rendered the Association.

Resolved: That the Association extend a vote of thanks to the Press for the publicity they have given the Association.

Resolved: That we extend a vote of thanks to the Members of the Well Drillers Association for their attendance and attention, and hope that they will go back to their work capable of rendering better service to their customers. They are all urged to come again next year and bring as many new members as possible.

Resolved: (Moved and seconded that this resolution be )


B. H. Rickard
Frank Cole
W. T. Hutchins

The following officers were elected:

President - Frank Cole, Loomis, Nebraska.

Vice-President - Roy Cox, North Loup, Nebraska.

Secretary - Herbert A. Waite, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Treasurer - Ed Cook, Davey, Nebraska.

Director H. H. Brown, Blair, Nebraska was retired this year. Mr. Jay Webb, Hastings was elected to fill the vacancy.

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p. m.

Note: A special bulletin prepared by the Nebraska Geological Survey "Water-Bearing Formations of Nebraska" by G. E. Condra and E. C. Reed, was distributed free to the members of the association.