Foster Family (2012)


The H.V. Foster Family arrived in Bartlesville, Indian Territory in 1904. His desire to live a private, quiet life left the legendary oilman a mystery to many historians. He began to revolutionize the nation’s energy industry by taking over development of the Osage reservation oil and natural gas leases which was then controlled by the family-owned business the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil company (ITIO). Later, Foster established the major Seminole and Oklahoma City oil fields, which became the nation’s second largest field by 1935.

Despite success in the oil industry, H.V.’s greatest joys were his wife Marie and two daughters. As a family they gave much to the developing community of Bartlesville. His and wife Marie’s vast philanthropic efforts were carried on largely in private. After the economic crash of 1929, H.V. and Marie built two large homes, La Quinta, now home to Oklahoma Wesleyan University, and El Rancho de la Codomiz, home of the Foster Ranch. H.V. felt that by building the homes when he did, he could provide work for people who did not have jobs and would otherwise have to depend on handouts for their sustenance. Foster descendants carry on his legacy with a commitment to making a better, stronger Bartlesville.