VERNON JONES and HUMBLE OIL
By Hilary Jones
My dad left an Alabama coal mine and came to a Texas oil refinery in about 1928. Where or how he got his job in Baytown, I never knew. But he now had a job at Humble Oil and Refining Company, and that’s all that mattered. His dad, step-mother and six siblings back in Alabama were so proud of Vernon Jones who had become successful in Texas. And he was away from the treachery of the coal mines.
We lived on Michigan Street in Baytown until 1939 and I suppose, while there, he walked to work. Maybe he drove his car but I never knew him to own one of those million or so bicycles which would be on the streets at shift change time. But in 1939 we moved to Highlands and now the Interurban was available for transportation---from our front door to that of the Humble refinery. I remember sitting on the front-yard grass early in the morning and watching my daddy get on that trolley, with a few other men, for the thirty-minute ride to their day-shift in Baytown. There was Mr. Yandell, Mr. Walker, Mr. Moore and Mr. Bankston. This was living. After the War, daddy bought a new 1948 Chevrolet and was in a car-pool from Highlands to the refinery. Now, just how much prestige could this kid handle? My dad never missed a day of work in his 34 years of work at the refinery and was late only once---a lady had a baby on the Interurban one morning as they were going to work.
My dad loved Humble and he took every opportunity to let me go with him to enjoy any Humble activity. I remember the Community House war-time celebration of the ‘high octane aviation fuel’ production milestone. He and Mother would take me with them to watch the square dancing. And there were baseball games at the Company ballpark next to the refinery. My memory of the players is limited to the outstanding brothers, Heinie and Tommie Schuble. I would give anything to watch one more game between the Humble Oilers and The House of David. Their beards had this kid captivated. Daddy would smile the entire game.
He took me to the Humble Hospital once to see a friend of his. When Dad would see a doctor and need to fill a prescription, do you think he would use the Highlands drug store right up the street? Heck no, because it was only ten miles to Humble’s MBA (Mutual Benefit Association) in Baytown. He would take me with him, too. When Dad needed gasoline, automobile tires or house paint he headed for the Humble service station for regular gas and Atlas tires. I never knew where the paint came from. But it was in an Humble can. During his tenure, Dad took advantage of the War Bond and the Humble/Exxon stock purchase programs. Both Vernon Jones and Humble prospered.
The United States was in the Great Depression until World War II started, but we kids never realized it---my daddy had a job with the Humble Oil and Refining Company at Baytown, Texas. We never missed a meal and we always wore good shoes. Vernon Jones was a good father and a good husband---and a good employee. He worked his way into an Operators position at the 1082 rubber plant after the war started and stayed there until he retired in 1962. RIP Vernon Jones.