Remembering the past and showcasing the future is what the Chautauqua Assembly is all about. This year the assembly theme is Oil and Gas In Our Region and will take place Sept. 24.

One of the speakers for this year event is Dr. Tommy Stringer who is the vice president for institutional advancement and the director of the Navarro College Foundation. Stringer will be talking about the Navarro County and Corsicana’s connection with the beginnings of the oil and gas industry.

“I am going to be talking about the birth place of the Texas oil industry which is Corsicana. The first commercial oil field in Texas was here and the first refinery west of the Mississippi was here,” Stringer said.

“A lot of the early developments in the petroleum industry began here. When you think of Texas one of the icons and things that you think of that immediately comes to mind is oil. It is kind of synonymous with Texas and that whole industry began here in Corsicana.”

Stringer’s presentation will focus on the various contributions that Navarro County has made on the oil industry and it social impact on the community. Oil was first discovered in Navarro County in the city of Corsicana in 1894 by accident as workers drilled a water well.

By the end of the decade more then 500 wells were within the city limits and were producing more than 800,000 barrels of crude per year. Navarro County experienced a second oil boom in 1923 with the discovery of the Powell field 10 miles east of Corsicana, and a third and smaller boom occurred in the early 1950s.

Stringer said the discovery of oil in Corsicana created a large social impact in the community by creating jobs and creating wealth. The discovery of oil provided valuable experience to people who would later become important figures in the oil industry such as Joseph Stephen Cullian.

Cullian founded the Cullinan Oil Company that became a part of the Magnolia Oil Company. Magnolia later merged with Socony Mobil Oil Company in 1959 and is known as Exxon Mobil today.

The assembly program activities will take place starting at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 in the Chautauqua Auditorium located in Getzendaner Park and is open to the general public.

Along with Stringer there will be a speaker from Texas Christian University addressing the geology of Ellis and surrounding counties including the Barnett Shale gas field.

Producer Mark Bullard or editor Chris Lyon who worked on the documentary “Hanynesville: A Nations’s Hunt for an Energy Future” will make a presentation about the documentary and will show excerpts from the film. Along with the speakers a car that runs on compressed natural gas will be on display for visitors to view.

Members of the Waxahachie Band Boosters will be selling food in conjunction with Chick-fil-A throughout the day. A pie social event will be held in the evening hosted by members of Waxahachie CARE.

Music will be provided by the Waxahachie Jazz Band at 3:15 p.m. and will conclude with an evening performance by the Southwestern Assemblies of God University Jazz Band at 6:45 p.m. The Waxahachie Community Theater will present a short melodrama “Mischief in the Magnolias” at 4:30 p.m.

Admission to the melodrama is $5 and is included with an all-day ticket for the Chautauqua Assembly, which can be purchased at the door for $20.

All day student tickets to the assembly, with a valid student ID, are $2. Tickets can be purchased at Glenn’s Warehouse Carpets, located at 301 N College St in Waxahachie, or at the Ellis County Museum, located at 201 S. College St. For more information about the event, visit the website at

Contact Andrew at or 469-517-1451.