Thursday, June 23, 2016

Doc Grisso "Land Dealer"

Several sections in the biographical sketch of Doc Grisso illustrate his interests.  Land Dealer, Road Builder, Rancher and Conservationist are included in The Grisso Family book.  I am writing this directly from the book.

     During the years, 1913 to 1926 Doc became more of a land dealer than a doctor or merchant.  He no longer practiced because another doctor had come to town and there were not enough patients for both of them.  In 1913 he had sold out his interest in the drugstore.  From that time on, Doc dealt solely in the buying and selling of land, leases, and livestock.

     As regards land, he had a theory that was a guidepost for him the rest of his life.  He regarded land as the basis of all wealth, and this viewpoint influenced his behavior in almost every endeavor in which he was involved.  It was during these years that he began to amass holding of land.  One of the principle ways he acquired land was to buy up any land that the Indians could legally sell.  There were certain legal requirements concerning the sale of Indian lands, and Doc became an expert on the subject.  At that time an Indian could not sell land that was a homestead; however, if the land was inherited, he could sell it.  Doc knew this fact and kept a close watch over any Indian lands that could be sold.  He was honest and fair with the Indians in a time when all white men were not.

     He had six interpreters who worked for him for many years, and they aided Doc greatly in his dealing with the Indians.  They knew he would not do anything illegal to the Indians.  A familiar sight to many of the residents of the Seminole area was Doc Grisso in his buggy, being driven by one  of his interpreters on his way out to check some land in what is now Seminole County.

     He was always studying maps and charts and land surveys, and in this manner he came to know more about the area than any other person.  He worked up a book constituting  a complete land survey of the county, which showed the detailed thoroughness of his methods.

     He also amassed a considerable amount of debts during this time.  He would borrow whatever was needed to increase his land holdings.  His home farm was a money maker, but much of what he made there went back into more land.  In 1926 there were rumors that Doc was going broke.  Indeed his debts had accumulated to $120,000. His sons, Horton, Bill, and Wayne were going to school on borrowed money.  It looked as if the world was about to cave in on Doc Grisso, and it was then that the oil gushers of 1926 began to come in, many of which were on his land.

     Seminole became know as the "Miracle City" and the "Oil Capital of the World"  Needless to say, the resourceful Doc Grisso did not go broke; quite to the contrary, it is estimated that he made three to four million dollars from the oil that was discovered on his land. 

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