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Early Influencers: Haroldson Lafayette ‘H.L.’ Hunt Jr.

The oil tycoon struck it rich in Texas and fathered 15 children—several of whom went on to have a profound impact on Dallas.
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haroldson lafayette hunt oil co
Courtesy of Dallas History & Archives Division | Dallas Public Library
HAROLDSON LAFAYETTE “H.L.” HUNT JR. FEBRUARY 17, 1889—NOVEMBER 29, 1974

Oil tycoon Haroldson Lafa-Yette Hunt Jr. was born in Illinois in 1889, the youngest of eight children, and had no formal education. He made his way to Dallas in 1930 after using poker winnings to secure the title to the East Texas Oil Field, the largest and most prolific oil field in the contiguous United States.

He married Lyda Bunker and had seven children with her, and lived in a mansion on White Rock Lake, which was styled after George Washington’s Mount Vernon. He would go on to become one of the eight richest people in the country and father 15 children with three wives, one of whom was said to be a secret bigamous relationship. He was fiercely anti-Communist and once penned a Utopian novel in which he argued that votes should be apportioned by wealth.

Several of his children would go on to make names for themselves: Lamar created the Super Bowl, Caroline founded Rosewood Hotels and helped pioneer Uptown, Margaret became a major Dallas philanthropist, and Ray launched and continues to lead Hunt Oil Co.   

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Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the managing editor for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…

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Hunt Oil Company confirmed today that it has adjusted its corporate workforce by approximately 10 percent to conform to current conditions within the oil and gas industry. “While difficult for the Company and our people, Hunt Oil’s actions are consistent with what the vast majority of other oil and gas companies are doing at this time given the dramatically reduced level of activity within the industry,” said Jeanne Phillips, spokesperson for Hunt Oil Company and Hunt Consolidated, Inc.
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