Discovery of Oil

   ‘Around 1920 Kishi discovered oil in the portion of his farm near Orangefield (see Kishi-Lang wells 1 & 2) and became “an oil millionaire overnight.”  He seized this opportunity to pay back “threefold” to the investors who helped start his rice colony in 1907.  He purchased one tract of land after another until his property reached some 9,000 acres.  He got a large investment from Count Kojiro Matsukata, the president of the Kawasaki Dock Company (now Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.), and organized the Orange Petroleum Company with Shunkichi Nomura as vice-president.  The largest purchase of land was 4,079.5 acres of land for $100,745 in 7/14 and 7/24/1919.  The land was leased to the Gulf Production Company, the Sun Company, and the Humble Oil and Refining Company.

  Based on the record of Kishi’s facilities and machines in 1923, it is estimated that his maximum oil production was about 400 barrels a day.  The Orange Petroleum Company was reorganized on 7/27/1923 with Kishi as president and Shunkichi Nomura as vice president.  Additional oil was not found and the board of Orange Petroleum Company decided to dissolve the company in 2/10/1925.’ (Orii, 1983)[2]  Other accounts claim that Kishi sold Orange Petroleum Company. (Walls,1987)[1] The Orange Petroleum Company was sold for $1.00 in 1942 after Pearl Harbor. The notes on the purchased land later became the downfall of the colony.

Orangefield, [Hana Hirasaki, 1967]
   Orangefield, 2004