Oconee Well Drillers was founded in 1945 in Watkinsville, Ga. by Robert D. Elder, Sr., known as Jack since an early age when he demonstrated his abilities as a “jack-of-all-trades.” His first drilling rig was a military surplus cable tool rig acquired at the end of World War II.
Water systems weren’t new to Elder. He helped his father, Courtney Elder, to install the first water system in Watkinsville in the early part of the century. This system provided water to the courthouse and a few residences in the immediate proximity, drawing water from a nearby spring. The cost to residents was $1 per week.
In 1938, Jack Elder was on the Watkinsville City Council when it secured funding for the first surface water filter plant and managed the municipal water plant for a time after it opened. By 1945, he had founded his own water systems company – Oconee Well Drillers.
Elder’s three sons – Dan, Cokey and John – followed in their father’s footsteps and worked in the family business. At his retirement in 1976, Jack turned Oconee Well Drillers over to Dan and John.
Jack Elder passed away in 1997 at the age of 93.