Thomas Arthur O’Donnell (Thomas Arthur O'Donnell)

Thomas Arthur O’Donnell

Industrialist, Philantropist. He became known as one of the “big four” in the California oil industry, along with Edward L. Doheny, Charles A. Canfield and Max H. Whittier. Starting out as a newsboy in his native McKean, Pennsylvania, O’Donnell went to Colorado at age 12 and for seven years worked as a grocery store clerk and gold miner. After moving to California 1889, he learned the oil business through a position with the Union Oil Company in Ventura County, and as a field superintendent for Edward Doheny in Los Angeles (1893 to 1894). O’Donnell then went into business for himself, forming a partnership drilling oil wells with Max Whittier (1894 to 1899) and subsequently as an independent driller, operator and oil land speculator. By 1902 he had become one of the most successful oilmen in the country, organizing several companies and financing many of them himself, including the Whittier Consolidated Oil Company, Midland Oil Fields Company, Coalinga Four Oil Company, Section One Oil Company, Circle Oil Company, Maricopa Star Oil Company, California Star Oil Company, Buena Fe Petroleum and Salvia Oil Company. In the early 1920s, seeking relief from a respiratory condition, O’Donnell and his wife Winifred moved to Palm Springs, California, where he purchased 15 acres of land to build a home and the first golf course in the area. The O’Donnell Golf Club and Course still operates today.  He died of heart ailment at the Wilshire Hospital in Los Angeles at the age 74.   (bio by: Louis M.)  Family links:  Spouse:  Winifred Willis O’Donnell (1880 – 1969)* *Calculated relationship


  • June, 26, 1870
  • USA


  • February, 02, 1945
  • USA


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
  • California
  • USA

2057 profile views