Large cadastral map of Texas, annotated in a contemporary hand to show the location of the lands controlled by a number of different oil companies.
Oil Companies referenced on the map include (a number illegible):
- Texas Oil Company
In the northeast, the claims of a number of individuals are notes, along with a number of claims in neighboring Jackson County, which are added in manuscript.
Until oil was discovered in the 1930s, Victoria County's economy was primarily agrarian. The major industry remained the raising of cattle, horses, and cotton; other farming generally was for sustenance.
Victoria County has been a leader in the development of the Texas cattle industry since the Spanish and Mexican eras, but especially just after Reconstruction. The progress to 1930, when Victoria County held more cattle than any other county in Texas, was uneven, for the county ranked seventh in 1870, twelfth in 1880, and twenty-first in 1890 and was still eighth as late as 1920. In 1930, 93,997 head were counted.
The oldest industry other than agriculture and ranching was the manufacture of bricks from Guadalupe riverbottom clay; several plants were built before 1850, and the first large factory was completed in 1899. Although various ranchers discovered oil in the late nineteenth century when drilling for water, they considered it a nuisance and a hazard to valuable grazing lands. Nevertheless, the first mineral leases were contracted by Guffey Petroleum Company of Pittsburgh (later Gulf Oil Corporation) soon after the Spindletop discovery in 1900. Various drilling operations occurred, some by the local Victoria Oil and Gas and Guadalupe Valley Oil companies. The first commercial oil and gas wells were not struck until 1930, at McFaddin. Other fields followed but developed slowly because of the Great Depression and flooded oil markets.