1890 was a good year for California oil baron Lyman Stewart.
His company had merged with Sespe Oil and the Mission Transfer Company to form Union Oil, said Paul Rood, adjunct professor of political science and history at Biola University. At the time it was the largest oil company in California, responsible for one third of the state’s oil production.
As cofounder and later president of the newly formed company, Stewart was well on his way to becoming known as “The Dean of the Western Oilmen,” Rood said.
But Stewart began noticing a troubling trend.