William Frank Buckley, Sr.


William Frank Buckley, Sr.

William Frank Buckley, Sr. (11 July 1881 - 5 October 1958) was a Texan lawyer and oil developer who became influential in Mexican politics during the term of President Victoriano Huerta and was expelled from Mexico during the Presidency of Álvaro Obregón. He became wealthy due to his interests in oil exploration and speculation. Buckley was the father of ten children, including William F. Buckley, Jr., the author and founder of "National Review" magazine, and of James L. Buckley, a U.S. Senator from New York (1971-1977). He was the grandfather of Christopher Buckley, conservative author and humorist.

Early life, parents and siblings

Buckley was born the fourth of eight children in Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas to John C Buckley and Mary Anne Buckley (née Langford). They immigrated to Texas from Canada in 1874. (Both of their families had immigrated to Canada from Ireland. Langford is a name of English origin, as is Buckley, a habitational name that also has Irish variations, according to the "Oxford Dictionary of American Surnames".)

In 1882, the family relocated from the declining town to San Diego, Duval County, in southern Texas. There John Buckley was a businessman who worked in merchandising, politics and sheep raising. He was elected several times as Duval County Sheriff. After William Frank finished school, he taught Spanish-speaking pupils in a country school near Benavides. He retained a knowledge of and friendship with Spanish-speaking people his entire life.

Education

Buckley attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he received advanced credit for his Spanish language skills and acted as an assistant to a professor in the Romance languages department. He worked as a Spanish translator along with his sister, Priscilla Buckley, for the Texas General Land Office. He helped to found the University of Texas' Chapter of the fraternity Delta Tau Delta , [http://www.texasdtd.com/ Gamma Iota] As a devout Catholic, Buckley was part of an effort to purchase property near the University for the Newman Club.

After the death of his father in 1904, Buckley commissioned building a large house at Lavaca and Nineteenth street in Austin (now the site of the Cambridge Tower), where his mother lived until her death in 1930. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1904 from the University of Texas and his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Texas Law School. In 1905 he was elected editor of the University of Texas Yearbook "The Cactus". In 1909 Buckley received his license to practice law and was elected a member of the Texas Bar Association.

Personal life and family

In 1917 Buckley married Aloise Steiner of New Orleans (she was of Swiss-German ancestry). They had ten children. Buckley supervised his children's educations to ensure they learned Spanish and French as well as excellent English. After living in Mexico and South America, the family lived for years in London, Paris, and the United States. The children attended private English and French Catholic schools when they lived abroad. During the 1920s, the Buckleys purchased properties called Great Elm in Sharon, Connecticut, and Kamchatka in Camden, South Carolina, for homes when they lived in the United States.

Activities in Mexico

In 1908, Buckley moved to Mexico and established himself as a lawyer, founding the firm of Buckley & Buckley with his brother Claude Buckley to represent major American and European oil companies operating in Mexico. In 1912, he opened an office with his other brother Edmund Buckley in Tampico. In 1913 Buckley founded and became President of the Pantepec Oil Company based in Tampico. In 1914 during tensions with the United States (US), President Huerta appointed Buckley counsel for a convention organized by Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, who became known as the ABC Powers and were working to mediate between Mexico and the US. Buckley gave up his legal practice to speculate in real estate and leasing of oil lands. He refused an offer by President Woodrow Wilson to serve as acting civil governor of the Mexican State of Veracruz, following the US occupation of Veracruz in a 1914 incident related to importing illegal German arms.

In 1919 Buckley testified before the U.S. Senate Joint Subcommittee on Foreign Relations as an expert on conditions in Mexico. He then founded the American Association of Mexico, a lobby group working to amend Article 18 of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 to remove recent restrictions on American land and oil ownership. Mexico was trying to recover control of its resources. In 1921, Mexico expelled Buckley because of his AAM activity. Buckley reported on his expulsion to the U.S. Secretary of State in 1922. He donated his papers to the University of Texas in 1923. In 1924, Buckley was invited to return to Mexico by President Plutarco Elías Calles but instead transferred his Pantepec Oil Company to Venezuela.

Oil speculator

After he transferred his company to Venezuela, Buckley fully committed himself to oil exploration, where he was one of the first to use the "farm-out" system. This entailed Buckley's making agreements with some of the largest oil companies by which they would share profits on oil found on the land in return for sharing development costs. His first major deal was made with Standard Oil during the 1930s, when a large oilfield was discovered on Pantepec's Venezuelan lands. During his career, Buckley was primarily interested in unexplored territory. In 1946 he began developing his holdings into separate companies. His operations became international with holdings in Canada, Florida, Ecuador, Australia, the Philippines, Israel and Guatemala.

troke and death

While traveling between Paris and New York City in September 1958, Buckley suffered a stroke while aboard the S.S. United States, where he was given the "Viaticum" or Last Rites. He died in Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City on 5 October 1958 and was buried in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden, South Carolina.

ources

* [http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utlac/00009/lac-00009.html www.lib.utexas.edu]
* [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/BB/fbu8.html www.tsha.utexas.edu]


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