Our History


Mildred Smyth and Lenoir Moody Josey were a prominent couple living in Beaumont, Texas not long after the famous Spindletop discovery. They owned the Josey-Miller Feed Store and a large ice plant. A hurricane blew through and destroyed the ice plant, but Lenoir rebuilt it right away with the latest equipment of the day. Soon after it was completed, Lenoir received “an offer he couldn’t refuse” from an investor passing through town and, gambler that he was, Lenoir put the proceeds from the sale into wildcatting, and founded what would would become Josey Oil Company. Not long after the end of WWII Lenoir died, leaving the business to his only child, Jack Smyth Josey. Jack had recently returned from the Pacific theatre a decorated naval officer. He took over, expanded his father’s interests, and concentrated on buying land for future drilling and development. Whenever Jack sold land, he kept the mineral rights. At one time Jack was one of the largest land owners in Texas, owning millions of acres. As an example of Jack's holdings, the Josey Ranch in Harris County was 8,500 acres, which at the time was the largest privately owned property in Harris County.

With his lawyer and partner, Bob Park, Jack bought more properties for drive-in movies theatres, which were very popular in the 1950s. Jack also bought a large parcel of land outside of Austin that would become Lakeway Inn and Country Club. So the story goes, after leaving a cocktail party with a friend who spoke of a beautiful piece of property for sale, Jack went to survey the land. After asking the price, Jack told his friend, “I’ll take it, call Bob at the office on Monday for a check, but don’t let the owners change the price.”

In later years, Jack’s older son, Lenoir Josey, became President of the company and was actively involved with its continued growth.

Donna Josey became President of Josey Oil after Jack died in 2002. She had worked closely with Jack at Josey Oil during the previous ten years as Jack was ill. During her tenure as President, Donna has reclaimed operation of several mature fields, augmented the company's portfolio and increased the company’s financial stability. Donna continues to increase Josey Oil's exploration footprint and is interested in participating in outside prospects, looking for opportunities to operate and/or work with other small oil and gas owners along the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast.