When Oil Gushed at Petrolia
oeewar- oeewar- wen mo BY HERBERT t. WRIT IN the early sixties the traveler that round himscll in the swamps of I .amnion county. Ontario, near where Petrolia now stands, was. indeed, a very unfortunate person, and out' that was not envied his position by those who knew. Tin; country at this time was one vast swamp, on which a dense forest ol oak and elm thrived, and which was dotted with a tew nido httls or the farmers that were Irving Irving to get a living from the sodden hut fortiic soil. At this lime I'otrolia consisted of one hoard -iriK -iriK house, a few retinitis stills, a little gathering gathering of log houses and a very strong smell ol crude oil. The oil excitement had just started. The hip wells at Oil Springs had not as yet been struck, anil in 1S1 several surface wells were ting on the flats at Pelroiia. Mile later the famous Knnlin well was put down with drive pipe, and is still in operation In the summer of llils year a retinery was limit, the supply of oil being brought from Oil springs in harrels, as I'etrolia at this time "us producing hut little. A small postoflic.-was postoflic.-was postoflic.-was liullt near the present, silo; or WoodleVs ridge, the mail being brought in on horseback horseback from the Ureal Western trains at Wvom- Wvom- II1L. Gradually, however, a few advonluioii.- advonluioii.- splr-11 splr-11 splr-11 i arrived from England and the Kiates. and a new horn-dint; horn-dint; horn-dint; house was put up. the liiinish "its and supplies being purchase. I at linn, t Here the wealthier speculators look t.ir meals and spent, what lime thnv did not occupy occupy in wading through the endless iiuuitmir. - "tie John Smith. wi;h two other partners "as operating on the Hats east of Petto li Hoouming dissatisfied with the arrnngeinom Hie partners olTcro.d him an acre of .,, Oil Springs if lie would quit, lie accepted the offer and early in drilled in a .veil , , , , his acre to the depth of I ox feel. where . ;-lriick ;-lriick ;-lriick oil at lite rate or U.ilnh iutrrels per din Hi.' news or Hi,, giisher spread like wildfire '"d within a few days mniiv oniric ,:-, ,:-, ,:-, u "orli as close to the acru as thev couhl scour.. '! was " slari of Oil Springs boom and ended I'etrolia s pro, peril, ror some time. Oil a Foot Deep. As a result of this drilling, a new well was struck, which flowed at tile rale, of 7.01)11 bar-jels bar-jels bar-jels per day, the oil covering the land about 'o a depth or a loot or more. This wa the jigtial lor another big rush to put down wells " ithin a few montits 1 wells bad been drilled "ft nan ' lV,-l'fi lV,-l'fi lV,-l'fi '"'01'" '"p ' "" ''ill "'' r "."'l) barrels per day. The oil could not be oitainetl and hundreds f thousands r barrels barrels ran down Ihe crock-; crock-; crock-; 10 Lake St. Clair Many men laid tio- tio- foundation to their for-I'llies for-I'llies for-I'llies ,y gathering this nil Irom Ibe surfaces ;' Hie creeks. The ,,,1 named to tl'v,. g in barrels, altixmuh several refineries had Marled at Oil Sprincs ''raveling was the groin. -si -si obsiaole !M. HOW MUCH f - irn r tl mm r wreoi). vew of prPoi?9 01. mio kind of business. Tin- Tin- load from Uvnmiiig to Hie Springs was , ut througli virgin forest Willi Dunks and slumps piled on each side of the "ay. A contract was entered into in build " l,l:i"K r I. and alter several months of work Ihe road was finished, but lip. company failed, an. I to :: his money out of the deal the contractor contractor look over the job. built toll sales and l-.ept l-.ept l-.ept the irack in repair. Three hundred leatlls Kerr on the road all day long, jerking the oil to the railway at Wyoming. The company drawing Hie oil' pet lis own men 10 work repairing iln". road gratis so eager were the. 10 get uui their product ion. In the winter of f SC. I the oil business gathered gathered ttself together, and I'etrolia began to thrive as an oil town. nerons .veils being but down on ibe rials. Oil was now very scarce and the historic -'corner" -'corner" tool, place, ver, but r OU I MS' TO 8 COWED ihe prii c ,,r oil mounting up to the lotidullais-a-barrel lotidullais-a-barrel lotidullais-a-barrel lotidullais-a-barrel lotidullais-a-barrel 111. irk. This made many men rich and 11 corresponding number poor. Oil still re-limine. re-limine. re-limine. 1 scarce, and the teatnslers would go Horn one well to another until a barrel would lie lilled by the slow draining wells. Afler 1 Si..-. Si..-. Si..-. I'etrolia tuoed ahead rapictlv. while (i, SpriKS gradually tailed, the l-'enian l-'enian l-'enian raids of 'fin frightening- frightening- many Americans who loured that revenge might be iaken on tlicin Many of thcM. families moved to I'etrolia al this time from fill Springs. A Near Lynching. While Hie raids were going on at other points, a largo force of men i.niit a spur linn into IVn-olia IVn-olia IVn-olia from W. oming. where the Croat Western ran through from Sarnia lo London This line was buill as cheaply as possible, as lew believed that Potrnita would in.. -,s -,s oil producing field. The tow,, was vMted i)V. all classes, ye, it was always a place of law and order, although a man was nearlv Ivnehe.i for taking a Him of money. 11,, escaped after ,'jm','." "K "' " '":c '"r M,nB The year IS'lfl saw the a.,t of the Oil Springs belt until ihe time that the deep wells were drilled in a number of vears later Th,. f, n.ous "fiig still - was built h:. the Carbon (Ml compiitiy, and was a huge affair for that period taking al on,, charge about .-.in .-.in .-.in barrels of crude. .r,er ,)ne year s operation a bite.,' ,.. curreii In ihe still and it exploded. One year was wasted in repairs and the verv first trial 'hat was made it again lei go villi such fore-thai fore-thai fore-thai the compan;. also blew up. In l-7'i l-7'i l-7'i 11,,. ,,, was only a collection of scene r a9 oi f?f Mm log huts, but I.; ,i,e fall of the -a -a r foltnwing 11 had increased 10 a population of 2 :,im n, scleral stores, churches and lio'els Operators though, t,Ht thp, ,.(,ul. -et -et oil only 01, tl,o Hats. h. this theory was exploded whe , ap.ain King ent away back in the woods west of the town where he built a drill mg rig and afler much effort struck the ft-Ihe'lving'""' ft-Ihe'lving'""' ft-Ihe'lving'""' Th' 1"'"T,-V 1"'"T,-V 1"'"T,-V is 8,1,1 Many or ihe citizens of I'e.rolin t,lai- t,lai- are direct dose, ndants of the men that followed Kings p.an and got away fro,,, the (iat.s i, til- til- woods, where they obtained jl fron, cush. '71 ,'" ""an,i,i '"at Hie teams could not haul it away. Treacherous Going. At Ibis period the method of hauling the oil wh,c)!0,,"l"ir S"lPn" barrels a stoneboat. ..... ... ...,. ,,,. ove, , roads o crked along the rough pk ." KVrr. iltle way a turnout was built - ,(,. ,., teams could puss. If an outfit got rt ihe blanks 11 was indeed all off. as Ihe horse would sink a root or more in the soft clav The oil accumulated so fast that Hie retin ones could not supply barrels eniiush to hold it all. This caused the building 01 big wooden tanks on the surface of the ground, with the result that the whole territor, was soon ered with a vast array f these ,anks. filled in'5?W;mB 'hC lr,i'1" l""- l""- One Saturday night a fire started in one or the rigs, nnd when the ,-m ,-m ,-m was sounded 'very man In tow,, turned out to help fight Hie names. I remendnus efforts were mad.- mad.- t.. s o-the o-the o-the blaze from spreading, the oil being drawn off by p.pes to ave it and to check tile flames It as In vain, the tanks collapsed, the ,,,1 apreBtl over the land to other tanks, and -.v,ih-jn -.v,ih-jn -.v,ih-jn -.v,ih-jn an hour the entire patch of land, embracittL-1" embracittL-1" embracittL-1" acres, logethcr with tanks, rigs and buibt lugs, was a roaring blaze which reached l"l. feet into the air. The (ire raged for two weeks leaving nothing but a charred and l.la.-krur l.la.-krur l.la.-krur spot 111 the woods. The ground was buiu.-d buiu.-d buiu.-d 10 an ash to a depth of several feet. Marthaville District. In IS:.' wells were lirst put down 11, the Marthavtlle district, with the result that tl,.',e soon was a rush to this point, tnanv wells be mg struck that paid for themselve.'in a u.orl tune. Land before the strike was worth Ve. per acre, but mounted up until ii was valued The finding of so many big wr;c sent ihe price of oil down lo the low level of -n -n cuts l.cr barrel, but means were round for" storing ""' marl"-l marl"-l marl"-l oon steadied and has bee,, good pint since. Petrolia ail tin, time had been growing rap. illy, and was Incorporated s a town i js7, I-oilr I-oilr I-oilr years later ,,. Sarnia. Chatham Kri e railway hntlt a line ,to the town Krom then '.11 Ihe march of Ihe town was stead v although although III- III- removal of most of the ,-etinerics ,-etinerics ,-etinerics at later periods staggered tne growth for a h New- New- concerns have taken up the laud and he , , now abve im!usiria work I he ,l wells are still ,,. . . anxious to give up Hicir ,l. v.,i,h is .,oV Dumped out In steam Most .,r the ;,m ;,.,. the town i6 de,- de,- cultivation and rated 1. uh the best i ,,e prov inc.. Man: drillers .till live , retr-du,. retr-du,. retr-du,. ,; m.,-t m.,-t m.,-t o. the heads .,! f,B,, are ..altered Hie race Of the globe, where lhev go peh. lug holes in the ground and semJin- semJin- M,c-wages M,c-wages M,c-wages back t the loveil ones t lb ,,,, ,;,,.' Curious Photographs. Some euriotiH photographs recer.i'. ev hlblted at the Academy of Sciences in Pari-' Pari-' Pari-' show the effects of exploding moss ,,o a blOCk ft polished steel. The effect ,, l,e steel surface is similar lo the lj,,e. , , 'v fine engraving, the ,. i.-,,g i.-,,g i.-,,g i,.,n.-, i,.,n.-, , ihe track )t took and teavrng . ni.. ,..,' tracery.