Houston History For Sale: $5

The estate sale from the residence of the late Mildred Yount Manion II, an heiress from an "Important Texas Oil Family," proved too hard to resist.
Mon February 25, 2013 9:45 pm
A portrait of Mildred Jr., an heiress to the Spindletop oil fortune.
Courtesy of Greg Riley

I don’t usually respond to email invitations from people I don’t know, but the invite from Judy Robinson, who runs one of Houston’s A-list estate sale companies, was hard to resist: “Estate Sale from the Houston Residence of the late Mildred Yount Manion II, Heiress from an Important Texas Oil Family and Kentucky’s Famous Spindletop Horse Farm.”

As a student of Houston social history, I’m addicted to estate sales, certain that among the flotsam of the rich I’ll find some irresistible treasure to illuminate the past, and this one seemed particularly promising.

Mildred Jr. (as she was called, to avoid confusion with her mother Mildred Frank Yount Manion, also known as Mildred 1) wasn’t just any rich lady. In 1915, Mildred Jr.’s grandfather, Miles Frank Yount, had founded the Yount-Lee Oil Company, a Beaumont enterprise that almost singlehandedly launched the second Spindletop boom and would thereafter become one

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