Born in 1902, Sarah Rector the granddaughter of slaves and a member of the Creek Nation lived in present day Muskogee, Oklahoma. In 1907, her family like many other freed slaves of the Creek Nation were allotted land by the United States government prior to Oklahoma’s statehood. Sarah was given a $500 plot with a $30 annual tax; the land was sixty miles away from their family home in Taft, Oklahoma.
Her father Joseph Rector leased the land to Standard Oil. A contracted oiler hit a gusher and nothing was the same. Sarah’s land quickly began extracting over 2,500 barrels of oil a day, earning $300 a day, well over $112,000 dollars a year. The wells increased and the business flourished. By twelve years oil Sarah was a millionaire.
Word of her fortune grew around the globe. She was still black in a Jim Crow pre-depression south. However, Sarah did receive special treatment. Money took her places others weren’t invited.
Rumors circulated and so did the money. She persisted. In 1914, Sarah enrolled in Tuskegee and enjoyed the fruits of her investments. Later, Sarah moved her family to Kansas City, Missouri. Sarah married and had three sons. She had a lavish and philanthropic life entertaining artists, athletes, and the big socialites of the day.
The great depression hit Sarah Rector and her family hard however she retained her land. She died in 1967. The well on her land still pumps.