Tag Archives: Upton Sinclair

Fiction Meets Reality: Daniel Plainview






Edward Laurence Doheny (August 10, 1856September 8, 1935) was an Irish American oil tycoon, who in 1892, along with partner Charles A. Canfield, drilled the first successful well in the Los Angeles City oil field, setting off the petroleum boom in southern California. Formerly an unsuccessful prospector in New Mexico and the American Southwest, the Wisconsin-born Doheny became wealthy through his California oil interests, and was later also successful in the oil fields of Tampico, Mexico. During the administration of President Warren G. Harding, Doheny was implicated in the Teapot Dome Scandal and was accused of offering a $100,000 bribe to Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall in order to secure drilling rights without competitive bidding to the Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve in central California. He was twice acquitted of offering the bribe that Fall was convicted of accepting. Doheny and his second wife and widow, Carrie Estelle, were noted philanthropists in Los Angeles. The character Vern Roscoe in Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil! (the inspiration for the 2007 film There Will Be Blood) is loosely based on Doheny.

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