How We Got to Midland

By Betty Clarkson Conkling

My family moved to Midland between semesters in 1956. My father, Charles M. Clarkson, had been promoted to District Superintendent of
Amerada Petroleum Corporation. The district was the Permian Basin. The Clarkson family men were all employed by Amerada.  My grandfather, father, and 2 uncles each worked between 37 – 42 years  for Amerada. We had previously lived in Amerada Oil Camps in Texas since 1945 when Paula was born.

We lived in a camp about 10 miles north of Vernon and I came along the next year. We moved to a camp  in Coke, Tx, south of Winnsboro, Texas where Charlotte, 1948 and Richard, 1950 were born.


Seminole “family oil field squat”



Coke, Texas

In 1951 we moved to our last camp west of Seminole, Texas.


Easter, Seminole, Texas

We all started school in Seminole Elementary And we attended dance classes in Seminole until we moved to Midland.

Tiny cowgirls,  Santa Rosa
Roundup, Vernon, Texas, 1951.


Our first real home at 4317 Mercedes was not completed and we stayed in a motel. The “new” Jane Long Elementary was so modern compared to Seminole. Jane Long had a Cafetorium!! We started school, unfortunately, in the middle of the year. The 4th grade curriculum for math was mostly completed the first semester. I missed out on basic math. Paula was in 5th, 4th for me, and 2nd for Charlotte. Our neighborhood was so being built so fast and so many kids.  Paula, Charlotte and I all attended Bingham Dance Studio and continued through our graduation. Two programs are included in 1958 and 1963.



I started 7th grade at another new school, Alamo Junior High, “Scouts”. I made cheerleader in 7th and 8th grade. Always a year head, Carole and Shirley Dorff were cheerleaders from Alamo to Lee High School.

Everyone was in band and Paula played the flute and was a “twirler” along with Sondra Griffith and Sally Wright. In 7th grade I was to attend the Alamo Football Banquet but no one ask me, and I
had to go alone.

The next year, I did have a date, Bruce Smith!  I have included some pics of the Amerada camp girls during 1948-1952. I included a funny pic of the family minus my dad, doing the “oil field squat”. Except Paula, and she not squatting!
Robert E. Lee High School was finished and ready for my sophomore year. What a glorious time we all had the year we mixed with San Jacinto!  More and more new people to meet! My years at Lee are full of memories of pep rally’s on Friday, Lee Youth Center, 100 Club, and all the sports and high school activities.
In my sophomore year at Tech, my dad was transferred to Tioga, North Dakota at the beginning of the Hess/Amerada merger.

3 thoughts on “How We Got to Midland

  1. John McElligott May 18, 2020 / 6:06 am

    Betty that is an amazing story I hope you and your family are doing well. Hope to see you again soon and keep on refreshing our memories.

    • Anonymous May 18, 2020 / 10:15 pm

      Thanks, John!

  2. Lynda Danner Bethel May 26, 2020 / 7:26 pm

    Betty, I loved your story about how you lived in the oil camps before coming to Midland. I remember meeting you at Jane Long Elementary in the 4th grade. We always had so much fun at recess.

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