During the 1920’s, E. S. Pritchard was the County Judge, in Eastland County, one of the early oil and gas producing areas in the State of Texas. As the County Judge, he acted as Chairman of the Board of Equalization for property tax purposes. He became involved in the development of laws, procedures, and methods for taxing oil and gas producing leases and associated properties. Word of his interest and involvement in these matters got around to other county officials, some of whom reached out to him for assistance. In time, it became apparent that taxing jurisdictions needed the services he was able to perform so he decided not to run for re-election but to go into business for himself as a consultant to taxing jurisdictions, which he did in 1926, calling his firm the E. S. Pritchard Company.
John Abbott grew up in Canada; one of seven children of a Methodist Minister. He worked his way through college at Manitoba, Canada and later took courses toward a master’s degree, in Petroleum Geology, at the University of Chicago. Then he decided to go to the oil fields of Texas and landed in Eastland County. He worked for Pacific Coal & Oil Company and Amerada Oil Company before being employed by the E. S. Pritchard Company, in 1930.
The discovery of the East Texas Oil Field in the fall of 1931 was a big event for Texas and the firm which soon thereafter became the Pritchard & Abbott Company, the two principals having decided to enter into a joint and equal partnership business arrangement that continued until the death of Mr. Abbott on April 28, 1977.