Amos L. Beaty

Portrait of Amos L. Beaty from waist up, sitting in chair, circa 1931

Publication date 1931

American Petroluem Institute--Presidents
Beaty, Amos Leonidas, 1870-1939--Portraits
Businessmen--United States
Los Angeles (Calif.)

Posted by
Anita Beaty Kearney L-405, [email protected]


Born: September 1, 1870 in Red River County Texas, United States
Died: April 29, 1939
Occupation: Lawyer, Oil Company Executive

Source Database: Dictionary of American Biography

Table of Contents

Biographical Essay | Further Readings | Source Citation


Beaty, Amos Leonidas (Sept. 1, 1870 - Apr. 29, 1939), lawyer and oil executive, was born of Scotch-Irish ancestry in Red River County, Texas, the eldest of seven children (three sons and four daughters) of William Alexander Beaty, a farmer of moderate means, and Annie Eleanor (Rogers) Beaty. Educated at a rural school in Coleman Springs, Texas, and at Honey Grove Academy, Fannin County, he then read law in the office of Chambers & Doak in Clarksville. At twenty-one he was admitted to the Texas bar and a year later became the junior member of Wilkins & Beaty in Sherman. The important "Snow Case" (Higgins Oil & Fuel Co. et al. vs. Snow et al.), involving life tenancy in mineral rights and growing out of the discovery of oil in the Spindletop field (1901), marked his rise. By 1906 he had become president of the Texas Bar Association.

The next year found him as an attorney for the Texas Company (Texaco), a vigorous young oil concern headed by Joseph S. Cullinan [q.v.]. A large and impressive figure, with a keen mind and outstanding personality, Beaty soon became associate general attorney, and in 1913 he moved with the company's executive headquarters to New York. On Nov. 25 of that year he was elected general counsel, a director, and member of the executive committee. His legal ability greatly helped the growing company in adjusting to its rather restrictive charter. Under his leadership new laws were secured, in 1915 and 1917, broadening the company's scope of operations. He also smoothed the way for its entry into the Oklahoma oil fields.

Beaty likewise served as general counsel for the Producers Oil Company and president of the Texas Petroleum Company, two Texaco subsidiaries. On Mar. 23, 1920, he was elected president of the parent company, a position he held for six years. An able administrator, Beaty concentrated on expansion of gasoline production and marketing outlets. He successfully defended his organization in a federal suit for unlawful combination growing out of the pooling of "oil cracking" patents. As president, Beaty took the position that the growing menace of overproduction could be solved by the industry in a "sportsmanlike manner." He became chairman of the board of the Texas Company on Mar. 16, 1926, and it became his responsibility to guide, explain, and justify the company's reorganization under a new Delaware charter. A disagreement over company policy led to his sudden resignation on Dec. 21, 1927.

Beaty returned to the practice of law but maintained his industrial connections. He resumed active participation in 1929 as chairman of the board of Transcontinental Oil Company and as a director of the Freeport Texas Company. In 1931 he became a member of the executive committee and a director of Phillips Petroleum Company.

Almost from its origin, he was active in the American Petroleum Institute. A director in 1924, Beaty in the following year headed a committee to cooperate with the Oil Conservation Board in eliminating waste. Here he propounded his belief that the only desirable legislation would be to regulate drilling and storage practices and permit agreements between operators to suspend competitive drilling for given periods. In 1926 Beaty headed the important committee on agreements, which favored producer compacts to curtail output, and became treasurer of the Institute. After five years as treasurer, he was honored by being chosen the first full-time, salaried president of the Institute, a step viewed by many as a move to make him unofficial czar of the industry. Beaty's preeminent problem was massive overproduction, which he sought to solve by cutting output to fit demand. His experiences slowly led him to the conclusion that voluntary action was insufficient, and he took a stand for limited government control, a conviction he advocated fearlessly. This move, and the belief of some that he was overly pessimistic about the situation, probably was the reason he was not reelected, though he remained prominent in the organization.

Beaty played an active role in formulating the NRA code for the industry, and on Aug. 30, 1933, he was appointed to the petroleum planning and coordination committee under this agency. He became vice-chairman and head of the important adjustment and interpretation subcommittee, which was the first court of appeal in field disputes growing out of the code. An advocate of federal control of production, he became chairman of the main committee in March 1934. Probably his most important contribution to the philosophy of control was his "Quotas in Commerce" theory, which held that the government should limit production by denying the admission of petroleum or its products, in excess of need, into the channels of interstate commerce. On Dec. 17, 1934, he resigned to devote more time to personal interests and his position as counsel for Phillips Petroleum Company. He later organized the Amos L. Beaty Oil Company, serving as president until his death.

Beaty was a Methodist and a Democrat and belonged to numerous social organizations. On Oct. 25, 1893, he married Swan Donoho, who died in an automobile accident in 1930. Mrs. Martha Wilhelmina MacNamara became his second wife on Mar. 5, 1932. He had no children. He died of a heart attack and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City.

-- John S. Ezell


[Published sources include Marquis James, The Texaco Story (1953); Who's Who in America, various issues, 1906-39; Who's Who in Finance and Banking, 1920-22; N. Y. Times, various issues, 1919-39; and promotion and obit. notices in oil trade journals and N. Y. newspapers. Articles by Beaty include: "Opportunities for State Laws in Aid of Conservation," Nat. Petroleum News, Feb. 17, 1926; "Crude Output Will Determine Profits," Oil Weekly, Feb. 26, 1932; "Quotas in Commerce," Nat. Petroleum News, Feb. 28, 1934; "Federal Control of Petroleum Production," Am. Bar Asso. Jour., June 1934; and "The President's Page," Am. Petroleum Inst. Quart., issues of 1932. See also Nat. Petroleum News, Nov. 16, 1932; and Time, Nov. 23, 1931. Information concerning Beaty's early life and family was furnished by Robert P. Kelly, his brother-in-law, Miss Era Boswell, a niece, and W. A. Beaty, a nephew.]

Source Citation: "Amos Leonidas Beaty."Dictionary of American Biography, Supplements 1-2: To 1940. American Council of Learned Societies, 1944-1958. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.

Document Number: BT2310018035


From BGMI:

Name: Beaty, Amos Leonidas

Birth - Death: 1870-1939

Accession Number: 287872

Source Citation:

Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders. By John N. Ingham. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983. Use the Index to locate biographies. (BiDAmBL)

Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 4: September, 1955-August, 1958. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1960. (BioIn 4)

Dictionary of American Biography. Supplement 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958. (DcAmB S2)

Who Was Who in America. A component volume of Who's Who in American History. Volume 1, 1897-1942. Chicago: A.N. Marquis Co., 1943. (WhAm 1)

Name of second wife found by Anita Kearney in notes made by Laura Ellen Bankhead, just scribbled on the margin. The second marriage and name are also in his bio above.

Listed in 1930 NY City, Manhattan, Dist 566, age 59; married at age 20 TN TN TX; Trader of Stocks with wife D. Betty 58 TX NM England; Living in Hotel Plaza on W. 58th Street.

From the Concise Dictionary of American Biography, Fifth Edition, Vol. I;
Amos Leonidas Beaty born, Red River County, Texas 1870; died NY, NY 1939
Lawyer, oil executive, President of Texas Co., 1920-1926 and American
Petroleum Institute.

First known as "Camp Beaty", TCC is almost an institution around Houston (TX). It was built in 1924 and named in honor of Amos Beaty, then President of the Texas Company. Rob't A. John in his words at the dedication of the club on August 30th, 1924, highly touted "...the camp's chief promoter... Dan Moran, whose zeal, energy, and enthusiasm has made this beautiful sylvan home possible." . Six years later a nine-hole golf course was built. The 1st hole of which is No. 13 today. The name was changed to Texaco Country Club in 1937, and the golf course expanded to 18 holes in 1940.

From the Chicago Tribune (found by Anita Kearney)

New York, April 29. - (AP)- Amos L. Beaty, 68 years old, oil company president and chairman of the petroleum code under the NRA, died tonight. A former president of the Texas Bar association, Beaty was head of the Texas Oil company from 1920 to 1926. He formed the Amos L Beaty Oil company after his service in the NRA. (Petroleum Code under the National Recovery Administration)

Copyright 1939, Chicago Tribune. For permission to reprint, contact Chicago Tribune Record Number: 19390430ob032

Found searching on Google

Time Magazine Archives

Posted August 11, 1930

Died. Mrs. Swan Donoho Beaty of Manhattan, wife of Board Chairman Amos Leonidas Beaty of Transcontinental Oil Co.; at St. Andr´┐Ż-de-Cubzac, a village near Bordeaux on the Paris-Biarritz road, immediately after an auto accident in which her husband was also injured.