Opened law practice here, 1884. Became an assistant attorney general of Texas, 1893. Won election, 1897, to Railroad Commission; served 26 years — 16 years as chairman. The commission had been created in 1891 to regulate shipping rates and practices.
In his term as chairman, oil and gas regulation — a major responsibility — began with jurisdiction over pipelines, 1917. In 1919 the Legislature made the commission responsible for conservation of oil and gas.
In the 1920s proration began. Complete regulation came in the 1930s with the 1,700,000-barrel-a-day production in East Texas. Backed by Texas Rangers, the commission closed the field until conservation rules could be revised.
Commission policies were acclaimed when in World War II Texas was able to supply the allies with great stores of oil necessary for victory.
The commission's goal is to prevent waste and protect oil and gas reserves by orderly regulation of exploration, production and transportation.
Such men as Chairman Mayfield set high ethical standards that have continued in the commission, causing it to merit the confidence of the people and of the petroleum industry.
[Incise in base reads] Commemorative series on Texas Railroad Commission; Erected in cooperation with Abell-Hanger Foundation.