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On A Handshake: Humble Beginnings to Global Impact: Ohio's Oil & Gas Industry

An illustrated history of Ohio's oil and gas industry paired with the histories of companies that have helped shape the industry.

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ON A HANDSHAKE<br />

<strong>Humble</strong> <strong>Beginnings</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>Global</strong> <strong>Impact</strong>:<br />

Ohio’s <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

by Mark J. Camp, Ph.D.<br />

A publication of the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> Association<br />

HPNbooks<br />

A division of Lammert Incorporated<br />

San An<strong>to</strong>nio, Texas


Derricks constructed in a shallow former canal reservoir .<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2016 HPNbooks<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including pho<strong>to</strong>copying, without permission in writing<br />

from the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed <strong>to</strong> HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San An<strong>to</strong>nio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790, www.hpnbooks.com.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-944891-00-8<br />

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 2016932414<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

2<br />

<strong>On</strong> a <strong>Handshake</strong>: <strong>Humble</strong> <strong>Beginnings</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>Global</strong> <strong>Impact</strong>—Ohio’s <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

author: Mark J. Camp, Ph.D.<br />

contributing writer for “Sharing the Heritage”: Garnette Bane<br />

Eric Dabney<br />

HPNbooks<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Mary Hanley<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata<br />

Melissa G. Quinn<br />

book sales: Dee Steidle<br />

production: Colin Hart<br />

Glenda Tarazon Krouse<br />

Evelyn Hart<br />

Tim Lippard<br />

Tony Quinn<br />

Chris<strong>to</strong>pher D. Sturdevant<br />

PRINTED IN MALAYSIA


CONTENTS<br />

4 LEGACY SPONSORS<br />

6 INTRODUCTION<br />

7 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS<br />

9 CHAPTER 1 In the Beginning There was Shale...<br />

13 CHAPTER 2 Ohio’s Subsurface<br />

17 CHAPTER 3 Significant <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong>-Bearing Rocks of Ohio<br />

21 CHAPTER 4 The First Discoveries of <strong>Gas</strong> and <strong>Oil</strong><br />

31 CHAPTER 5 The Search Spreads<br />

55 CHAPTER 6 Tren<strong>to</strong>n Plays<br />

89 CHAPTER 7 Even Deeper Plays<br />

93 CHAPTER 8 From Discovery <strong>to</strong> Final Product<br />

117 CHAPTER 9 The Marcellus and Utica - 21st Century Boom<br />

121 CHAPTER 10 The Human Side of the <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> <strong>Industry</strong><br />

During the Boom Years<br />

146 OHIO OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY TIMELINE<br />

148 SOME GAS AND OIL FIELD TERMS AND PHRASES<br />

150 BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />

153 DATA FROM THE GAS AND OIL FIELDS<br />

163 SHARING THE HERITAGE<br />

165 SHARING THE HERITAGE: EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION<br />

234 SHARING THE HERITAGE: A STRONG FOUNDATION<br />

263 SPONSORS<br />

264 ABOUT THE AUTHOR<br />

C O N T E N T S<br />

3


LEGACY SPONSORS<br />

Through their generous support, these companies helped <strong>to</strong> make this project possible.<br />

Ariel Corporation<br />

35 Blackjack Road Extension<br />

Mount Vernon, OH 43050<br />

740-397-0311 • Fax 740-397-3856<br />

www.arielcorp.com<br />

Bass Energy, Inc.<br />

130 Merz Boulevard<br />

Fairlawn, OH 44333<br />

330-869-8070 • Fax 330-869-6313<br />

www.bassenergyco.com<br />

Dearing Compressor & Pump Co.<br />

3974 Simon Road<br />

Youngs<strong>to</strong>wn, OH 44501<br />

330-599-5720 • Fax 330-599-5724<br />

www.dearingcomp.com<br />

Dominion East Ohio<br />

Dominion Energy Resources<br />

120 Tredegar Street<br />

Richmond, VA 23219<br />

888-366-8280<br />

www.dominionenergy.com<br />

International Union of Operating<br />

Engineers, Local 18<br />

3515 Prospect Avenue<br />

Cleveland, OH 44115<br />

216-432-3138 • Fax 216-432-0370<br />

www.iuoelocal18.org<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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J. D. <strong>Gas</strong> & <strong>Oil</strong>, Inc.<br />

J. D. <strong>Gas</strong> & <strong>Oil</strong>, Inc.<br />

6995 Sweetheart Drive<br />

Zanesville, OH 43701-8607<br />

740-796-3305<br />

Moore Well Services, Inc.<br />

246 North Cleveland Avenue<br />

Mogadore, OH 44260<br />

330-628-4443 • Fax 330-628-4449<br />

www.moorewellservices.com<br />

Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Gathering, LLC<br />

EnLink Midstream<br />

9320 Blackrun Road<br />

Nashport, OH 43830<br />

740-828-2892 • Fax 740-828-3660<br />

www.enlink.com<br />

Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP<br />

52 East Gay Street<br />

Columbus, OH 43215<br />

614-464-6400 • Fax 614-464-6350<br />

www.vorys.com<br />

Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Company<br />

100 East First Street<br />

Brewster, OH 44613<br />

330-767-3401<br />

www.wlerwy.com<br />

L E G A C Y S P O N S O R S<br />

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INTRODUCTION<br />

Ohio ranked 17th in oil and gas production in the United States in 2014. Before the Texas and<br />

Oklahoma booms of the early 1900s, Ohio was a leader in national production from 1895 <strong>to</strong> 1903.<br />

This was due <strong>to</strong> the Tren<strong>to</strong>n plays of the Lima-Indiana field which produced over 380 million<br />

barrels of oil and 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. A glance at the <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> Map of Ohio clearly<br />

shows the his<strong>to</strong>ric binary bands of production—the Lima-Indiana belt in the northwest and the<br />

eastern belt covering the eastern half of the state. The gas fields of eastern Ohio are currently<br />

expanding due <strong>to</strong> the exploration in the Utica shale. Standing out between these two his<strong>to</strong>ric areas<br />

of production are the oil fields of Morrow County.<br />

The following will present a his<strong>to</strong>ry of the development of the oil and gas industry in the<br />

Buckeye state, from the early 1800s <strong>to</strong> present day. The his<strong>to</strong>ry is an erratic one, with one play<br />

following another with no particular relationship <strong>to</strong> age of rock, stratigraphic position, or<br />

geographic location. The plan is <strong>to</strong> present this his<strong>to</strong>ry based on these plays with the addition of<br />

the earliest plays in northeast and southeast Ohio and the current Marcellus and Utica activity. The<br />

state has been divided in<strong>to</strong> regional areas for this discussion, but the boundaries are arbitrary and<br />

sometimes overlap.<br />

Right: A well burns somewhere in<br />

northwestern Ohio.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS<br />

This work, like many his<strong>to</strong>ries, is based on the work of many others who collected and<br />

assembled the data, physically witnessed the described events, <strong>to</strong>ok the pho<strong>to</strong>graphs, wrote the<br />

reports and papers, and made the interpretations. To these folks I am sincerely indebted. Thank<br />

you for making sure this information was recorded and preserved for future generations. Finding<br />

this information involved many trips, both physical and virtual, <strong>to</strong> Ohio libraries, museums, and<br />

his<strong>to</strong>rical societies. Through the years my personal library has grown <strong>to</strong> hold considerable geologic<br />

resources, so much data was already on hand. I spent numerous hours at the Toledo Lucas County<br />

Public Library Local His<strong>to</strong>ry room combing through their extensive collections of Ohio his<strong>to</strong>ry<br />

books, journals, newspapers, scrapbooks, and pho<strong>to</strong>s. I revisited the Wood County His<strong>to</strong>rical<br />

Center in Bowling Green <strong>to</strong> scan more pho<strong>to</strong>graphs and documents from the Max Schaffer<br />

collection. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Geological Survey provided<br />

his<strong>to</strong>ric pho<strong>to</strong>graphs from their collections. Of course, their publications were a major source of<br />

early data on oil and gas. I traveled throughout the Lima-Indiana field visiting many of the ghost<br />

<strong>to</strong>wns and recording what remained. Thanks are also extended <strong>to</strong> the Allen County His<strong>to</strong>rical<br />

Museum, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, American <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> His<strong>to</strong>rical<br />

Society, Bremen Area His<strong>to</strong>rical Society, Center for Archival Collections–Bowling Green State<br />

University, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University, Fairfield County District Library,<br />

Hancock His<strong>to</strong>rical Museum, Little Cities of Black Diamonds, Marietta College, Monroe County<br />

District Library, Monroe County His<strong>to</strong>rical Society, Morgan County Library, New Straitsville<br />

His<strong>to</strong>ry Center, North Baltimore His<strong>to</strong>rical Society, Ohio His<strong>to</strong>rical Society, Perry County Public<br />

Library, Puskarich Harrison County Public Library, Scio His<strong>to</strong>rical Museum, the Southeastern Ohio<br />

Digital Shoebox Project, Tuscarawas County His<strong>to</strong>rical Society, the U.S. Geological Survey, the<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n County Public Library, and Wood County District Public Library for maintaining<br />

collections and websites used during this study. Ben Eckart’s website, “His<strong>to</strong>ry of the National<br />

Refining Company” (www.enarco.com) and Samuel T. Pees’ website, “<strong>Oil</strong> His<strong>to</strong>ry”<br />

(http://www.petroleumhis<strong>to</strong>ry.org/<strong>Oil</strong>His<strong>to</strong>ry/OHindex.html), were also valuable resources.<br />

Thanks go <strong>to</strong> my co-author of Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong>, Jeff A. Spencer, for sharing some newly acquired<br />

his<strong>to</strong>ric pho<strong>to</strong>graphs not used in our earlier work. I also extend thanks <strong>to</strong> former students—Julius<br />

Blanco of Marathon Petroleum and Kyle Tharp of the Ohio Division of <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> and employees<br />

of Chesapeake Energy for arranging field trips for my applied geology class <strong>to</strong> Marathon’s Oregon<br />

s<strong>to</strong>rage facility and a number of drilling sites in eastern Ohio. Mark Baranoski, another former UT<br />

student, of the ODNR Division of Geological Survey arranged for the use of his<strong>to</strong>ric pho<strong>to</strong>graphs.<br />

Thanks, Mark. Tom Boltz of the North Baltimore His<strong>to</strong>rical Society provided me with images from<br />

their fine collection as did Holly Hartlerode, Cura<strong>to</strong>r of the Wood County His<strong>to</strong>rical Center &<br />

Museum. I also thank the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> Association, for asking me <strong>to</strong> undertake this project.<br />

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S<br />

7


O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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CHAPTER ONE<br />

I N T H E B E G I N N I N G T H E R E W A S S H A L E<br />

Five hundred million years ago a shallow sea covered what was <strong>to</strong> become Ohio. The planet had<br />

already been evolving for over four billion years—-small land masses were forming, more<br />

interactions were taking place between the developing atmosphere, erupting volcanoes, and the<br />

land and sea. Rocks that had originally cooled and solidified <strong>to</strong> form the primordial crust were<br />

being broken down by chemicals in the air—often crumbling <strong>to</strong> sand and mud and eventually<br />

finding a way <strong>to</strong> the early oceans. The coarsest particles accumulated along the coastlines and finer<br />

ones clouded the seas. This sediment was the beginning of the vast sedimentary archives of<br />

Earth. The coarser particles were compressed and cemented <strong>to</strong> become conglomerates,<br />

breccias, sands<strong>to</strong>nes, and silts<strong>to</strong>nes; the finer particles became muds<strong>to</strong>nes and shales. In a short<br />

time, this sediment became mixed with the remains of simple micro-organisms—organic matter.<br />

Billions of years passed; year after year more sediment accumulated on <strong>to</strong>p of the previous year’s<br />

deposit. As the Earth evolved so did the organisms — from one-celled creatures <strong>to</strong> complex<br />

invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants. The remains of these organisms—fossils and organic<br />

chemicals – accumulated with the sediments. Thousands of feet of sedimentary rock built up in<br />

some places. In other locales the rocks buckled and broke and were pushed up in<strong>to</strong> mountains,<br />

sometimes accompanied by volcanic eruptions and lava extrusion. The cycle continued as the<br />

uplifted areas were subjected <strong>to</strong> even stronger erosion; resulting in even more sediments. Thus has<br />

been the his<strong>to</strong>ry of our planet. The seas come and go, mountains come and go, lands come and go,<br />

and so on. What nature builds up; nature takes away, but then rebuilds. This is<br />

our his<strong>to</strong>ry.<br />

The sediment that formed in the geologic past is now buried as sedimentary rocks below the<br />

surface of Ohio. We see it occasionally where a stream, river, Lake Erie, or glacial icesheet has cut<br />

in<strong>to</strong> it, underneath our soils. It also appears where we have quarried away the overburden, sunk a<br />

mine shaft, or drilled a well. Because the sediment is of different shapes and sizes, as it settles out<br />

of oceans and other water bodies, there is always pore space between the particles. The coarser the<br />

sediment; the more space between particles. Finer particles also settle with openings among the<br />

particles, but usually of small size. Water from the sea in which the sediment was deposited often<br />

fills many of the pore spaces, especially in sands<strong>to</strong>nes, something geologists call connate water. Of<br />

course, more recent water—freshwater—trickles down in<strong>to</strong> the rocks from the surface. This<br />

groundwater is an important resource and <strong>to</strong>tally saturates pore space at a certain depth called the<br />

water table. Early humans learned of groundwater from places where it rises <strong>to</strong> the surface as springs<br />

or seeps. They also learned that they could contact it by simply digging deep in<strong>to</strong> the ground.<br />

A few of these springs or seeps were salty, others stunk of sulfur, and still others had oily<br />

films or sticky black oozes—-all were evidence of what lay below. The salt came from<br />

ancient seawater and the solution of subsurface evaporite deposits. These lighter density<br />

compounds moved <strong>to</strong>ward the surface whenever given the opportunity. Water reacting with<br />

sulfurous minerals, like pyrite, generated hydrogen sulfide, a gas with a distinctive “rotten egg”<br />

smell. In some places, organic matter from the remains of once living organisms became trapped<br />

among the fine pores of shales and muds<strong>to</strong>nes. Continued compression and an increase in<br />

temperature due <strong>to</strong> deeper and deeper burial of the fine-grained sedimentary rocks eventually<br />

transformed the organics in<strong>to</strong> hydrocarbons—mainly natural gas and oil. Commonly the<br />

hydrocarbons were forced out of the source rock <strong>to</strong> eventually move <strong>to</strong> areas of lower pressure.<br />

This migration might occur over immense amounts of time and result in considerable relocation.<br />

Because of their lighter densities the hydrocarbons tend <strong>to</strong> move upward in the strata through time.<br />

Opposite: Some oil and gas traps displayed<br />

in an east-west cross section across Ohio.<br />

COURTESY OF JOHN WICKS EXPLORATION.<br />

C H A P T E R O N E<br />

9


Right: John Strong Newberry.<br />

All the time, the gas and oil are acquiring the<br />

various changes in chemical composition and<br />

viscosity that will define their future use as<br />

fuels, lubricants, medicine, etc. Migration<br />

ends when either the gas or oil reach the<br />

surface or they are trapped within the rock<br />

strata by changes in the lithology or geologic<br />

structure. If a suitable reservoir rock is<br />

present where conditions terminate the<br />

migration, an accumulation of hydrocarbons<br />

(a pool) may form. This is what petroleum<br />

geologists are looking for.<br />

In the mid-1800s geologists and other<br />

scientists were puzzled by the scattered<br />

occurrence of gas and oil. By the turn of the<br />

century, Ohio geologists were convinced the<br />

gas and oil had an organic origin rather than<br />

an inorganic one favored by certain chemists,<br />

but the details were lacking. By 1899 two<br />

noted Ohio geologists—John Strong<br />

Newberry and Edward J. Or<strong>to</strong>n had published<br />

their thoughts on this matter. In 1859<br />

Newberry reported:<br />

The precise process by which petroleum is<br />

evolved from the carbonaceous matter<br />

contained in the rocks which furnish it is<br />

not yet fully known, because we cannot<br />

in ordinary circumstances inspect it. We<br />

may fairly infer, however, that it is a<br />

distillation, though generally performed at a<br />

low temperature.<br />

He further reports in 1882:<br />

I have already referred <strong>to</strong> the Huron shale<br />

as a probable source of the greater part of the<br />

petroleum obtained in this country…. We<br />

have in the Huron shale a vast reposi<strong>to</strong>ry of<br />

solid hydro-carbonaceous matter which may<br />

be made <strong>to</strong> yield ten <strong>to</strong> twenty gallons of oil <strong>to</strong><br />

the <strong>to</strong>n by artificial distillation. Like all other<br />

organic matter this is constantly undergoing<br />

spontaneous distillation, except where hermetically<br />

sealed deep under rock and water.<br />

This results in the formation of oil and gas,<br />

closely resembling those which we make artificially<br />

from the same substance…. The rock<br />

itself is frequently found saturated with petroleum,<br />

and the overlying strata, if porous, are<br />

sure <strong>to</strong> be more or less impregnated with it.<br />

In 1890, Or<strong>to</strong>n summarized the ideas<br />

about the origin of petroleum:<br />

1. Most geologists hold that petroleum is derived<br />

from organic substances that were<br />

incorporated with the strata when the latter<br />

were formed. There is substantial harmony<br />

among the entire class of geologists as <strong>to</strong><br />

this point.<br />

2. The majority incline <strong>to</strong> the opinion that<br />

vegetable substances have supplied the chief<br />

sources, but some count animal remains as<br />

also an important source. There are a few<br />

authorities upon the subject, chiefly foreign,<br />

who consider animal remains the chief, or<br />

perhaps, the sole source of petroleum.<br />

3. Many hold that it is the result of destructive<br />

distillation of the organic matter of the rocks.<br />

They rely upon such facts as have been<br />

already adduced, that certain shales, for<br />

example, contain a considerable percentage of<br />

hydrocarbonaceous material that is easily<br />

transformed by heat in<strong>to</strong> several products of<br />

the bituminous theory.<br />

4. In accounting for the origin of oil and gas by<br />

destructive distillation of the shale, the<br />

advocates of the theory seem bound <strong>to</strong> furnish<br />

an adequate source of the heat required, and<br />

also <strong>to</strong> show what has become of the carbon<br />

residue that is inseparably connected with the<br />

process of destructive distillation. Real<br />

difficulties beset this theory in these regards.<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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The view that destructive distillation is<br />

accomplished at ordinary temperatures would<br />

relieve the first difficulty, if such a process<br />

could be substantiated, but at present it only<br />

stands as an entirely unsupported suggestion.<br />

5. According <strong>to</strong> one phase of this theory,<br />

petroleum is constantly forming in the rocks;<br />

of course, as the world is old, the great s<strong>to</strong>cks<br />

were formed thousands and millions of years<br />

ago. According <strong>to</strong> a second phase of the<br />

theory, the oil of the Allegheny field was<br />

formed at the time when the Appalachian [sic]<br />

mountains were elevated.<br />

6. A small number of geologists hold the view<br />

that petroleum results from the primary<br />

decomposition of organic matter; that the<br />

production is not a lost art of nature, but is in<br />

actual, though perhaps feeble operation at the<br />

present time, its chief seats being in tropical or<br />

subtropical regions. According <strong>to</strong> this view, the<br />

disseminated petroleum that the rocks contain<br />

was formed when the rocks themselves were<br />

formed. Organic matter which is no<strong>to</strong>riously<br />

unstable reaches in the bituminous series its<br />

stage of rest, and we may, therefore, truly<br />

speak of Silurian oil, Devonian oil, Tertiary oil<br />

and the like, the several s<strong>to</strong>cks really having<br />

the age of the beds that hold them.<br />

The<br />

process of oil formation, according <strong>to</strong> this<br />

theory, ceased long ago in the older rocks.<br />

7. The facts upon which the last theory must rest<br />

are not well enough substantiated <strong>to</strong> allow<br />

[sic] as <strong>to</strong> build upon them with full<br />

confidence, but we are justified in looking<br />

upon it with great interest [sic] us it furnishes<br />

on the whole the best explanation of the facts<br />

for which we are obliged <strong>to</strong> account.<br />

Adding <strong>to</strong> the ideas of Newberry and Or<strong>to</strong>n,<br />

Charles B. Morrey, an Ohio State University<br />

Professor of Bacteriology proposed around<br />

1902 that bacteria transformed organic matter<br />

in<strong>to</strong> gas and oil. To quote Dr. Morrey:<br />

In accounting for the origin of oil and gas<br />

from organic matter, geologists have been<br />

unable <strong>to</strong> furnish the agent which might have<br />

brought about the proper decomposition,<br />

since there is no evidence of the action of heat<br />

on the vegetable and animal remains in Ohio<br />

fields at least.<br />

Now the only other agent with which we<br />

are acquainted which can produce the same<br />

compounds as we have in destructive<br />

distillation of organic matter are Bacteria.<br />

So, the gas or oil begins in a source rock,<br />

but because of differing densities, begins <strong>to</strong><br />

move laterally or vertically from its birthplace,<br />

following fractures, pore spaces, and larger<br />

cavities or vugs. This migration continues<br />

until it reaches the surface or something<br />

impedes the movement. Since 1934, this<br />

impediment has been called a trap. A trap<br />

causes the hydrocarbons <strong>to</strong> concentrate and<br />

form a pool. In the mid-1800s geologists<br />

pinpointed the anticline as associated with<br />

oil and gas pools and thus most of the<br />

early searches involved drilling at known<br />

upward bends in the strata. It was soon found<br />

that this was just one of many different ways<br />

in which oil and gas could be caused <strong>to</strong><br />

accumulate. Traps within reservoir rocks are<br />

often divided in<strong>to</strong> structural, stratigraphic,<br />

and combination types.<br />

The hydrocarbons in Ohio reservoir<br />

rocks have been shown <strong>to</strong> be derived<br />

from shales of mainly the Devonian, Sunbury,<br />

Ohio, and Olentangy and Ordovician Point<br />

Pleasant formations, migrating along faults,<br />

fractures, unconformities, and extensive<br />

permeable beds from deep within the<br />

Appalachian basin.<br />

Left: Edward J. Or<strong>to</strong>n.<br />

C H A P T E R O N E<br />

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O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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CHAPTER TWO<br />

O H I O ’ S<br />

S U B S U R F A C E<br />

The Ordovician strata are covered unconformably by younger rocks <strong>to</strong> the north and east,<br />

beginning with sands<strong>to</strong>nes, shales, limes<strong>to</strong>nes, and dolos<strong>to</strong>nes dating <strong>to</strong> 420 <strong>to</strong> 445 million years<br />

old. This is the Silurian bedrock of western Ohio. It lies beneath the soil and spans from Day<strong>to</strong>n<br />

and Springfield, north <strong>to</strong> Toledo, west <strong>to</strong> the Indiana border, between Preble and Paulding<br />

Counties, and southwest <strong>to</strong> the Ohio River, in Adams County. The deepest Silurian strata contain<br />

the “Clin<strong>to</strong>n”sands<strong>to</strong>ne, which replaced the Tren<strong>to</strong>n as the main producing formation in the state<br />

in the early 1900s. The “Clin<strong>to</strong>n” unit formed in delta distributaries and as offshore bars as the<br />

former Taconic Mountains were being eroded away. The “Clin<strong>to</strong>n” appears as sands<strong>to</strong>ne lenses in<br />

central Ohio and as sheet deposits in the eastern counties. The Silurian rocks form the center of a<br />

series of north-south bands of bedrock in western Ohio. Bands <strong>to</strong> either the west or east of the<br />

Silurian show increasingly younger bedrock—from Devonian <strong>to</strong> Pennsylvanian age, 415- <strong>to</strong> 300-<br />

million- year-old rock. This is part of a gentle upward flexure of the sedimentary rock layers called<br />

the Cincinnati arch in the south and the Findlay Arch in the northern part of the state. This<br />

structure, along with associated fault systems, facies changes, and unconformities plays a role in<br />

the occurrence of oil and gas plays in Ohio, serving as traps for migrating petroleum. From a<br />

sedimentary section of 2,600 feet in northwestern Ohio, strata thickens <strong>to</strong> over 12,000 feet on the<br />

edge of the Appalachian basin in southeastern Ohio.<br />

Later in Silurian time, warm shallow seas returned <strong>to</strong> Ohio. By this time colonial corals<br />

flourished and led <strong>to</strong> the buildup of organic accumulations called reefs. Reef growth spread<br />

throughout the Silurian seas, often bordering areas where slow sinking of bot<strong>to</strong>m sediments were<br />

taking place. These reefs eventually were buried in sediment and covered by younger rock layers.<br />

Their resistance <strong>to</strong> compaction left pores and cavities that later filled with fluids including<br />

petroleum and brines. This is represented by the Newburg horizon of the subsurface, a rather<br />

porous dolos<strong>to</strong>ne which here and there yields natural gas. In late Silurian time, seas withdrew from<br />

Ohio exposing former sea bot<strong>to</strong>ms <strong>to</strong> erosion and leading <strong>to</strong> the evaporation of areas still covered<br />

by seas and the precipitation of dolomite, gypsum and rock salt.<br />

Shallow seas returned around four hundred million years ago during the Devonian Period. <strong>On</strong>ce<br />

again limey and clay-rich sediments accumulated, forming limes<strong>to</strong>nes and shales. In present day<br />

eastern Ohio, rivers flowing out of an upland landscape, carried sands and silts, depositing them<br />

in finger-like deltas reaching the central counties. The Berea Sands<strong>to</strong>ne, another oil producer, is<br />

typical of this deltaic deposition. Surrounding the deltas were subsiding basins where the finegrained<br />

sediments formed organic-rich shales. Late in Devonian time, the sea covering Ohio<br />

received a great influx of mud, forming a thick sequence of organic-rich shales. This led <strong>to</strong> the<br />

Olentangy and Ohio shales, source rock for hydrocarbons. The Devonian bedrock forms two<br />

bands. <strong>On</strong>e extends along the Lake Erie shoreline from Ashtabula <strong>to</strong> Sandusky, then south through<br />

Columbus <strong>to</strong> the Ohio River in Adams and Scio<strong>to</strong> Counties. The other one extends from west of<br />

Toledo <strong>to</strong> the Indiana border with Paulding County. There is also a small erosional remnant at the<br />

crest of the Cincinnati Arch around Bellefontaine in Logan County.<br />

More deltaic deposition—sands<strong>to</strong>nes, silts<strong>to</strong>nes, and shales—characterizes the younger bedrock<br />

of the eastern half of the state. Mississippian strata (318-359 million years old) form the bedrock<br />

just south of the Devonian bedrock from Trumbull <strong>to</strong> Huron Counties and south <strong>to</strong> the Ohio River<br />

and Portsmouth. These rocks form the upland landscape along the edge of the Allegheny Plateau—<br />

the hills of southeastern Ohio. They are best known for their scenic shelter caves, natural arches,<br />

and waterfalls such as seen in Hocking Hills and Mohican State Parks.<br />

Opposite: Ohio geologic map.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

C H A P T E R T W O<br />

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Streams and rivers continued <strong>to</strong> shape<br />

ancient Ohio on the far western edge of the<br />

rising Appalachian Mountains during<br />

Pennsylvanian time, some 310 million years<br />

ago. The meandering water courses<br />

periodically carved channels, depositing<br />

pebbles and sand, <strong>to</strong> later become<br />

conglomerates and sands<strong>to</strong>nes. Floodplains<br />

formed from accumulating silt and mud. Low<br />

spots became marshes and swamps where<br />

organic debris eventually led <strong>to</strong> peat and<br />

coal formation. Fluctuating sea levels led<br />

<strong>to</strong> shifting delta complexes which produced<br />

the cyclic depositional-erosional events<br />

recorded in the Pennsylvanian strata.<br />

Petroleum trapped in some of the<br />

Pennsylvanian channel sands led <strong>to</strong> some of<br />

the earliest discoveries in the state. The<br />

Pennsylvanian strata underlie most of the<br />

southeastern counties.<br />

The youngest strata in the state outcrop<br />

from Belmont <strong>to</strong> Washing<strong>to</strong>n Counties<br />

along the Ohio River. These are Permian in<br />

age (299-251 million years old) and are hard<br />

<strong>to</strong> distinguish from the underlying<br />

Pennsylvanian strata. Deltaic deposition<br />

continued until the end of the Paleozoic Era.<br />

Strata of Mesozoic and Cenozoic age are<br />

lacking in the state due <strong>to</strong> the withdrawal of<br />

the shallow seas and slow rise of the<br />

landscape, continuing after the Appalachian<br />

mountain building episode. The present day<br />

landscape owes its origin <strong>to</strong> the erosionaldepositional<br />

processes of great glacial ice<br />

lobes and the ever present modification by the<br />

current drainage systems and Lake Erie.<br />

Opposite: A typical pump jack at a well in<br />

Jackson Township, Knox County, in 1953.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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C H A P T E R T W O<br />

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CHAPTER THREE<br />

S I G N I F I C A N T O I L A N D G A S - B E A R I N G R O C K S O F O H I O<br />

The first Ohio strata discovered <strong>to</strong> contain hydrocarbons were shallow sands<strong>to</strong>nes from the<br />

Allegheny plateau of the southeastern counties. As settlers headed in<strong>to</strong> the hills bordering the Ohio<br />

and Muskingum Rivers they noted numerous oil and gas seeps or springs. With just a little shallow<br />

digging they saw that the fluids were coming from the bedrock and eventually using primitive<br />

methods drilled shallow wells. <strong>On</strong>e of the first tasks of the newly created State Geological Survey<br />

was <strong>to</strong> uncover the mineral resources of the state. By 1900, state geologists had reported on most<br />

of the gas- and oil- bearing strata of the state. The main producers are listed in stratigraphic order,<br />

that is from oldest <strong>to</strong> youngest.<br />

T H E R O S E R U N<br />

The Rose Run sands<strong>to</strong>ne has been an important source of gas and oil since its initial discovery<br />

in 1965. It is part of the much thicker Cambro-Ordovician Knox dolomite and stretches in the<br />

subsurface in a Northeast-Southwest band from Ashtabula <strong>to</strong> Pickaway County. It was named for<br />

a well site in Bath County, Kentucky. The sands<strong>to</strong>ne is medium <strong>to</strong> coarse grained, dolomitic in<br />

places, and poorly sorted. It is considered Late Cambrian in age.<br />

T H E<br />

T R E N T O N<br />

Named after outcrops first described in Tren<strong>to</strong>n Township, <strong>On</strong>eida County, New York, this<br />

Ordovician limes<strong>to</strong>ne-dolos<strong>to</strong>ne is in the subsurface of Ohio, but closest <strong>to</strong> the surface<br />

in northwestern Ohio. It led <strong>to</strong> the Findlay gas boom in 1884 and the discovery of oil at Lima,<br />

the next year. Around sixty thousand producing gas and oil wells were drilled <strong>to</strong> this<br />

horizon. Production from the Tren<strong>to</strong>n pushed Ohio <strong>to</strong> one of the <strong>to</strong>p producers in the country<br />

in the 1890s.<br />

A generalized column of bedrock units<br />

in Ohio.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

T H E U T I C A S H A L E<br />

This organic-rich Ordovician shale lies in the subsurface of much of Ohio. It is interbedded with<br />

thin beds of fossiliferous limes<strong>to</strong>ne. It varies in thickness from 0 <strong>to</strong> 340 feet, becoming thicker in<br />

the Appalachian basin. Upon stimulation the strata yields gas and some oil.<br />

T H E C L I N T O N S A N D<br />

The Clin<strong>to</strong>n sand has been a major source of natural gas in Ohio and ranks just behind the Tren<strong>to</strong>n<br />

in terms of oil production. Although the name suggests correlation with the Silurian Clin<strong>to</strong>n group—<br />

mainly carbonate strata of New York; it is instead equivalent <strong>to</strong> the older Silurian Medina group—<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>nes, silts<strong>to</strong>nes, and shales of New York. In Ohio’s subsurface the Medina is informally referred<br />

<strong>to</strong> as the Clin<strong>to</strong>n in the eastern counties and is correlative <strong>to</strong> the Brassfield formation in the western<br />

part of the state. Drillers recognize three parts of the Clin<strong>to</strong>n—the stray Clin<strong>to</strong>n, red Clin<strong>to</strong>n, and<br />

white Clin<strong>to</strong>n. In appearance perhaps it best compares <strong>to</strong> the Silurian Whirlpool sands<strong>to</strong>ne exposed<br />

in the Niagara gorge. Wells tap the Clin<strong>to</strong>n from Cuyahoga <strong>to</strong> Lawrence Counties, across the midsection<br />

of the state. Its value as a producer became recognized in 1887 when drilling below the Berea<br />

hit a strong gas flow in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n near Lancaster in Fairfield County.<br />

C H A P T E R T H R E E<br />

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The Clin<strong>to</strong>n sand varies from fine <strong>to</strong> coarse<br />

grained with generally good porosity, but<br />

because of a tendency <strong>to</strong> be well cemented,<br />

lacks the permeability of some other strata.<br />

Within the sands<strong>to</strong>ne are scattered thin beds<br />

of shale—known as breaks <strong>to</strong> the driller.<br />

Thickness ranges from 1 <strong>to</strong> 100 feet, but it<br />

averages 20 <strong>to</strong> 40 feet.<br />

By the late 1940s, the success rate of<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n wells had diminished, around fifty<br />

percent were recorded as dry holes. Much of<br />

the industry was convinced that the Clin<strong>to</strong>n<br />

was played out. In the early 1950s, hydraulic<br />

fracturing experiments showed that<br />

production rates could be greatly increased. A<br />

renewed interest in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n resulted. The<br />

year 2000 marked another increase in drilling<br />

<strong>to</strong> the Clin<strong>to</strong>n horizon. According <strong>to</strong> the Ohio<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> Association, the average depth <strong>to</strong><br />

the Clin<strong>to</strong>n was 4,792 feet and the average<br />

cost of completing a well was $175,000.<br />

T H E N E W B U R G S A N D<br />

This Silurian gas producer was first noted<br />

in a gas well drilled in Newburg in Cuyahoga<br />

County. The “sand’ is actually a sandy<br />

dolos<strong>to</strong>ne equivalent <strong>to</strong> the Guelph-<br />

Greenfield contact of western Ohio. Its<br />

thickness averages 8 <strong>to</strong> 15 feet. The Newburg<br />

often contains large volumes of saltwater and<br />

is also referred <strong>to</strong> by drillers as the Big Water.<br />

T H E O R I S K A N Y S A N D<br />

This Devonian gas producer is known only<br />

from the subsurface of northeastern Ohio as<br />

discontinuous patches bounded above and<br />

below by disconformities. It lies below the<br />

Columbus limes<strong>to</strong>ne and above the Bass<br />

Islands dolomite. The stratum averages<br />

between 10 and 30 feet thick. Wells producing<br />

from this horizon were mainly in Ashtabula,<br />

Guernsey, and Tuscarawas Counties.<br />

T H E O H I O S H A L E<br />

This Upper Devonian gas-bearer outcrops<br />

from Erie County south <strong>to</strong> Scio<strong>to</strong> County, east<br />

along Lake Erie from the Huron area <strong>to</strong><br />

Conneaut, and around Bellefontaine in Logan<br />

County. It is in the subsurface of eastern Ohio<br />

and is equivalent <strong>to</strong> the subsurface Antrim<br />

shale of northwestern Ohio. It occurs as thin<br />

organic-rich beds from 250 <strong>to</strong> greater than<br />

500 feet in outcrop. Known by drillers as Big<br />

and Little Cinnamon, the Ohio shale thickens<br />

in the subsurface <strong>to</strong> over 4,000 feet.<br />

T H E B E R E A S A N D O R<br />

B E R E A G R I T<br />

The Berea sand was the earliest stratum<br />

discovered <strong>to</strong> yield commercial quantities of oil<br />

in Ohio. It was named by John Strong Newberry<br />

for surface outcrops near Berea, Cuyahoga<br />

County in 1869. The Berea sands<strong>to</strong>ne outcrops<br />

from Cuyahoga County east along the Lake Erie<br />

shore and south across the middle counties <strong>to</strong><br />

Scio<strong>to</strong> County on the Ohio River. In the eastern<br />

counties, it lies in the subsurface.<br />

The Berea is characterized by fine <strong>to</strong><br />

medium grain size sands<strong>to</strong>nes with scattered<br />

layers of sandy shale. The strata vary from<br />

thin <strong>to</strong> thick, planar <strong>to</strong> lenticular beds. The<br />

unit varies in thickness from 1 <strong>to</strong> 155 feet.<br />

T H E B I G I N J U N S A N D<br />

This subsurface stratum of eastern Ohio is<br />

correlative with the Mississippian Cuyahoga<br />

Formation Black Hand Sands<strong>to</strong>ne. This<br />

member stretches from Cuyahoga County<br />

south <strong>to</strong> the Ohio River and Scio<strong>to</strong> County<br />

and inland from Lake Erie from Cuyahoga <strong>to</strong><br />

Ashtabula Counties. It contains beds of<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne, conglomerate, and shale. The<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne beds tend <strong>to</strong> be coarse-grained and<br />

mainly yield gas and saltwater. The general<br />

thickness is 70 <strong>to</strong> 120 feet. His<strong>to</strong>rically, the<br />

Big Injun has been a good producer in<br />

Monroe and Washing<strong>to</strong>n Counties and <strong>to</strong> a<br />

smaller extent in Athens, Belmont, Guernsey,<br />

Morgan, and Noble Counties.<br />

T H E K E E N E R S A N D<br />

This Middle Mississippian sands<strong>to</strong>ne lies<br />

above the Big Injun sand in the subsurface of<br />

eastern Ohio. It was named for farm property<br />

in the Sistersville, West Virginia pool. It is<br />

correlative with the Mississippian Logan<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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formation that crops out in south central Ohio.<br />

Its thickness averages 25 <strong>to</strong> 35 feet and consists<br />

of alternating layers of coarse- and fine-grained<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne. Most production has come from<br />

Athens, Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe, Morgan,<br />

Noble, and Washing<strong>to</strong>n Counties.<br />

T H E M A X T O N S A N D<br />

Found in the subsurface of eastern Ohio<br />

this oil-bearing sands<strong>to</strong>ne correlates with the<br />

Pennsylvanian Pottsville Group Sharon<br />

conglomerate/sands<strong>to</strong>ne. The Max<strong>to</strong>n was<br />

first encountered in the Sistersville pool of<br />

West Virginia. Outcrops of the Sharon occur<br />

in northeastern and southern Ohio. The<br />

Max<strong>to</strong>n consists of interbedded medium- <strong>to</strong><br />

coarse-grained sands<strong>to</strong>ne, pebbly sands<strong>to</strong>ne,<br />

and conglomerate. The stratum varies from 10<br />

<strong>to</strong> 200 feet in thickness.<br />

T H E M A C K S B U R G 7 0 0<br />

This subsurface stratum forms the <strong>to</strong>p of the<br />

Pennsylvanian Pottsville group in southeastern<br />

Ohio and is equivalent <strong>to</strong> the Homewood<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne. It is present as a discontinuous lens<br />

in the subsurface of Monroe, Morgan, Noble,<br />

and Washing<strong>to</strong>n Counties.<br />

T H E M A C K S B U R G<br />

5 0 0 - F O O T S A N D<br />

A major producer from the Pennsylvanian<br />

Allegheny group in southeastern Ohio, this<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne correlates with the Clarion<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne and is widespread in the subsurface.<br />

It ranges in thickness between 10 and 50 feet.<br />

It was part of the original explora<strong>to</strong>ry drilling<br />

in the Macksburg area in the early 1860s.<br />

S E C O N D C O W R U N S A N D /<br />

P E E K E R S A N D<br />

Discovered in drilling along Cow Run in<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n County, this subsurface<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne is equivalent <strong>to</strong> the Upper Freeport<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne of the Allegheny group. Although<br />

not a major source of gas or oil, production<br />

has come from Monroe, Morgan, Noble, and<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n Counties.<br />

T H E M A C K S B U R G<br />

3 0 0 - F O O T S A N D<br />

The base of the Conemaugh strata is<br />

marked by this lens of sands<strong>to</strong>ne, occasionally<br />

a minor producer of oil and gas. It was first<br />

discovered in drilling around Macksburg,<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n County. It is correlative with the<br />

Mahoning sands<strong>to</strong>ne and occurs sporadically<br />

in the southeastern counties.<br />

T H E F I R S T C O W R U N S A N D<br />

This Pennsylvanian Conemaugh Group<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne outcrops along the Muskingum<br />

River and its tributaries. It is in the shallow<br />

subsurface of eastern Ohio. It was named from<br />

drilling along Cow Run, Washing<strong>to</strong>n County.<br />

The unit is massive, coarse-grained <strong>to</strong> pebbly<br />

and ranges between 5 and 40 feet thick. It<br />

averages about 25 feet thick. It occurs in the<br />

subsurface of eastern Ohio, but is most<br />

prominent in Athens, Morgan, Muskingum,<br />

Noble, and Washing<strong>to</strong>n counties.<br />

C H A P T E R T H R E E<br />

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CHAPTER FOUR<br />

T H E F I R S T D I S C O V E R I E S O F G A S A N D O I L<br />

L O O K I N G F O R S A L T<br />

Settlement of the lands west of the Allegheny Mountains in the years after the Revolutionary<br />

War was a slow process and only for the most hardy. Among the many hardships was preserving<br />

foodstuffs in the wilderness. The pioneers were familiar with salt as a preservative from the old<br />

country and shortly discovered it could be found in the hills of what was <strong>to</strong> become southeast<br />

Ohio. They were helped by the fact that deer and bison had already discovered sites where brine<br />

came <strong>to</strong> the surface. Native Americans also pointed out places where salt was available. Salt licks<br />

and springs appear on early maps. It is without doubt that the discovery of salt in the bedrock of<br />

the Ohio and Muskingum River drainage and the development of the salt industry laid foundations<br />

for this part of the Northwest Terri<strong>to</strong>ry <strong>to</strong> become a state in 1803. Before these discoveries, most<br />

salt was laboriously hauled over the mountains by wagon and pack animal.<br />

Aside from springs along the major drainage courses, among the first lands <strong>to</strong> be developed for<br />

salt manufacture were the flats along Little Salt Creek near the present city of Jackson. This site was<br />

easily discovered following well-worn paths left by herds of bison that made frequent trips <strong>to</strong> the<br />

site up until about 1800. Native Indians were the first <strong>to</strong> evaporate the brines, crystalizing the salt.<br />

They hollowed out shallow pits in the Pennsylvanian sands<strong>to</strong>ne exposed along the creek bed<br />

during the dry season, dipped out the brine that filled the depressions, and boiled it.<br />

As the brine was generally a weak solution, enterprising settlers figured that the brine would be more<br />

concentrated at depth as it was in the old country. Thus, wells were first dug by hand, but this limited<br />

their depth and often did not yield the results wanted. The blacksmith became a valuable addition <strong>to</strong><br />

this developing landscape. Augers and drills allowed the deepening of the salt wells, but then another<br />

problem arose. Since most of the early drilling <strong>to</strong>ok place in valleys, bedrock was further down so<br />

digging was mainly in valley fill, but eventually the deeper wells hit resistant rock. A simple auger no<br />

longer worked and new ways of drilling had <strong>to</strong> be developed. Percussion drilling was the answer.<br />

The Scio<strong>to</strong> Saline, as the Jackson County salt plains became known, was the earliest recorded attempt<br />

at making salt in what was <strong>to</strong> become Ohio, around 1795. Later on, attempts by the state legislature <strong>to</strong><br />

control development of salt mining encouraged deeper drilling and exploring away from springs and<br />

licks. It was only a matter of time before more drillers were encountering petroleum and natural gas.<br />

The first salt wells bored in Columbiana County <strong>to</strong>ok place around a series of salt springs at a<br />

location that would become Salineville in 1839. The first wells produced more gas and water than<br />

salt, but by 1818 the production was finally satisfac<strong>to</strong>ry. The climax seems <strong>to</strong> have been around<br />

1835 when twenty wells were producing in the valley of Yellow Creek. Although salt production<br />

declined after 1835 the business still remained profitable until around 1865. Inves<strong>to</strong>rs looking for<br />

oil in 1866, revived the industry when they struck high pressure gas and saltwater, rather than oil.<br />

The last salt production in Columbiana County was 1880.<br />

The early salt industry lives on in the names of creeks and villages across the state—places like the<br />

many Salt Creeks, Salt Forks, Salt Runs, and Salineville, but after the success of the 1859 Drake well<br />

in nearby Pennsylvania, drillers shifted their focus <strong>to</strong> the black smelly contaminant of many salt wells.<br />

Opposite: <strong>Oil</strong> still fills the hollowed-out log<br />

casing of one of the 1814 Thorla-McKee<br />

wells near Caldwell.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

F R O M N U I S A N C E T O A U S E A B L E P R O D U C T<br />

Perhaps among the earliest references <strong>to</strong> an oil spring in what was <strong>to</strong> become Ohio is one by early<br />

explorers of the Ohio Valley near Macksburg, Washing<strong>to</strong>n County in 1787. Later in 1814, Robert<br />

C H A P T E R F O U R<br />

2 1


Above: Dr. Samuel P. Hildreth of Marietta,<br />

McKee and Silas Thorla drilled for salt at a<br />

deer lick along Salt Run near present day<br />

Caldwell, Noble County. Using the spring pole<br />

drilling method, the well struck salt, oil, and<br />

natural gas a couple hundred feet down. A<br />

second, somewhat deeper, well was drilled in<br />

1816 with the same results. Due <strong>to</strong> lack of<br />

competition in the area the saltworks thrived<br />

for about ten years. To get good saleable salt,<br />

the oil had <strong>to</strong> be separated from the brine;<br />

initially it was considered a great nuisance.<br />

Perhaps learning from the native population,<br />

the owners began marketing the oil as a<br />

cure-all.<br />

Dr. Samuel P. Hildreth, a Marietta<br />

physician, was also well versed in the sciences<br />

and wrote numerous articles about the natural<br />

his<strong>to</strong>ry of southeastern Ohio and surrounding<br />

Virginia (now West Virginia). In 1826, he<br />

reported on the McKee well in a letter <strong>to</strong><br />

Caleb Atwater of Circleville, another early<br />

investiga<strong>to</strong>r of Ohio geology and natural<br />

his<strong>to</strong>ry. The letter was published in Benjamin<br />

Silliman’s American Journal of Science out of<br />

Yale University. Hildreth also reported that oil<br />

and natural gas was found commonly in the<br />

Muskingum Valley:<br />

“They have sunk two wells which are now<br />

more than 400 feet in depth. <strong>On</strong>e of them<br />

affords a very strong and pure water, but not<br />

in great quantity. The other discharges such<br />

vast quantities of petroleum, or as it is<br />

vulgarly called ‘Seneka oil’, and besides is<br />

subject <strong>to</strong> such tremendous explosions of gas<br />

for several days that they make but little or no<br />

salt. Nevertheless, the petroleum, affords<br />

considerable profit, and is beginning <strong>to</strong> be in<br />

demand for lamps, in workshops and<br />

manufac<strong>to</strong>ries. It affords a clean, brisk light<br />

when burnt this way, and will be a valuable<br />

article for lighting the street lamps in the<br />

future cities of Ohio.<br />

There is a continual discharge of<br />

carbonated hydrogen gas from the well; and<br />

also from the bed of the creek on which the<br />

well is situated at various places for the<br />

distance of half a mile. This gas is highly<br />

inflammable, and where there is a free<br />

discharge of it, will take fire on the surface of<br />

the water, on application of a lighted stick, or<br />

flash of a gun, and continue burning for days,<br />

unless put out by a heavy shower or a high<br />

wind. It was this discharge of gas that induced<br />

the present proprie<strong>to</strong>rs <strong>to</strong> search for saltwater.<br />

It being invariably found <strong>to</strong> accompany,<br />

all the salt-water, of any consequence, that has<br />

been discharged in this western country.”<br />

Dr. Hildreth traveled throughout<br />

southeastern Ohio and Virginia, making notes<br />

on the archaeology, botany, geology and other<br />

<strong>to</strong>pics of natural his<strong>to</strong>ry. By 1833 he found<br />

hydrocarbons being used for illumination,<br />

medicine, and lubrication throughout this<br />

region. Much of the early expertise in drilling<br />

salt wells, and later oil wells came from the<br />

Virginia side of the Ohio River between<br />

Charles<strong>to</strong>n and Parkersburg. The Ruffner<br />

Brothers are credited with developing a series<br />

of techniques that allowed them <strong>to</strong> drill wells<br />

in<strong>to</strong> the bedrock along the Kanawha River<br />

Valley at what is now Charles<strong>to</strong>n, West<br />

Virginia, in 1806. It appears they were familiar<br />

with methods of removing s<strong>to</strong>ne in quarries<br />

and applied those <strong>to</strong> the drilling of salt wells<br />

in<strong>to</strong> the bedrock. They also found a way <strong>to</strong><br />

incase the upper part of a well <strong>to</strong> prevent<br />

groundwater from diluting the brine and<br />

causing collapse of the well margins. Soon<br />

these techniques were applied throughout the<br />

salt industry.<br />

A brief description of Marietta and<br />

surrounding Washing<strong>to</strong>n County published<br />

in 1834 by John Delafield, Jr. mentioned<br />

spring oil or Seneca oil was familiar <strong>to</strong><br />

hunters and early inhabitants since the<br />

first settlement. Delafield reports, "It can<br />

be used in lamps as it affords a brilliant<br />

light. It is very useful and therefore much<br />

employed in curing the diseases of and<br />

injuries done <strong>to</strong> horses. It is perhaps the best<br />

substance known for the prevention of<br />

friction in machinery."<br />

Up north, settlers as early as the 1850s,<br />

wrote of gas and oil springs in what was <strong>to</strong><br />

become Lorain County. In 1857 reports came<br />

of flaming gas jets southwest of South<br />

Amherst. Similar areas of burning gas were<br />

observed in the Black River valley at Sheffield.<br />

Successful gas wells were put down at Avon,<br />

Lagrange, Pittsfield, and Russia. By 1915, 17<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

22


gas wells were producing about 10 million<br />

cubic feet per day. A single Avon well was<br />

responsible for about half this production.<br />

The gas was from the Ohio shale and would<br />

prove short-lived. Pits were dug where oil was<br />

seen on the surface at Belden so the oil could<br />

be collected and sold as a cure-all. Around<br />

1860 a salt well was drilled and, at a depth of<br />

120-140 feet, oil was struck in the Devonian<br />

Berea Sands<strong>to</strong>ne. This initial play drew<br />

wildcatters <strong>to</strong> the area and soon the area<br />

was riddled with holes. <strong>On</strong>e well yielded<br />

about 145 barrels the first day; a couple<br />

others also had good yields, but overall the<br />

average production was 3 <strong>to</strong> 5 barrels a day.<br />

Initially the oil was not highly regarded<br />

because of its viscosity. There was hope that it<br />

could be distilled <strong>to</strong> make kerosene. The oil<br />

was soon found <strong>to</strong> be a good lubricant, but<br />

after about twenty-five years the field was<br />

essentially abandoned.<br />

A pioneer in distributing petroleum was<br />

the firm of Bosworth Wells & Co. of Marietta.<br />

They purchased oil from men mining it in<br />

sand pits along the Hughes River in<br />

neighboring Virginia in the early 1840s. The<br />

firm started out buying it for twenty-five cents<br />

a gallon, marketing it as “Seneca <strong>Oil</strong>” for<br />

medicinal purposes and then selling it <strong>to</strong> a<br />

New York City drug company for ninety cents<br />

a gallon. The oil was shipped down the Ohio<br />

and Mississippi Rivers <strong>to</strong> New Orleans and up<br />

the Atlantic coast <strong>to</strong> New York. Bosworth &<br />

Wells continued dealing in the Virginia oil<br />

until the early 1850s shipping it across the<br />

continent <strong>to</strong> dealers making all kinds of<br />

medicinal oils and liniments. The Drake<br />

discovery in 1859 greatly impacted the<br />

company’s business, since now crude oil<br />

became much more available and cut in<strong>to</strong> the<br />

company’s profits.<br />

A N E A R L Y P L A Y I N<br />

T H E B E R E A S A N D S T O N E —<br />

T H E M E C C A F I E L D<br />

Aside from these scattered encounters at<br />

salt wells and furnaces, the first true oil play<br />

in Ohio <strong>to</strong>ok place at the small Trumbull<br />

County community of West Mecca in 1860.<br />

This area is underlain by glacial till and about<br />

forty feet of Devonian Berea Sands<strong>to</strong>ne which<br />

served as an aquifer for early settlers sinking<br />

water wells along Mosqui<strong>to</strong> Creek. However<br />

early residents were frustrated, as often<br />

retrieved water had an oily surface film. So,<br />

small quantities of oil were soaked up with<br />

rags and used as a cure-all.<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> seekers spreading in<strong>to</strong> Ohio after the<br />

Drake discovery were on the lookout for<br />

likely places <strong>to</strong> drill. News of the oily wells<br />

soon reached them. The first few wells yielded<br />

oil at depths of only 45 <strong>to</strong> 60 feet at rates of<br />

around 40 barrels a day. The early production<br />

far exceeded the market and the start of the<br />

Civil War in 1861 practically ended any<br />

further work in the field. Some time between<br />

1861-65, an attempt was made <strong>to</strong> mine the<br />

Berea for its oil (a technique that had been<br />

successful in the 1840s in Virginia). Three<br />

shafts were sunk <strong>to</strong> the Berea. Tunnels were<br />

then dug in the Berea with the hope of<br />

intersecting a nearby valley where it was<br />

expected the oil would flow out of the<br />

tunnels. The project became more challenging<br />

than expected and was never finished. A<br />

refinery or two operated in the region in the<br />

early years, but the operations were<br />

apparently unsuccessful as they were<br />

abandoned in a few years. After the Civil War,<br />

wildcatters eventually put down some 2,000<br />

<strong>to</strong> 2,500 wells in the area, most no deeper<br />

than 50 feet. In later years, a few wells were<br />

drilled as deep as the Ohio Shale, including<br />

one as deep as 1,135 feet, but none proved <strong>to</strong><br />

be productive. The field was a relatively small<br />

one, covering about fifteen square miles. Most<br />

of the production was from an area of a few<br />

hundred acres. The oil was a thick dense<br />

variety, quite different from that underlying<br />

the Pennsylvania <strong>Oil</strong> Creek field. It was<br />

marketed as lubricating oil, fetching prices<br />

as high as $50 per barrel in places like<br />

Pittsburgh and Cleveland. <strong>On</strong>ly minor<br />

amounts of gas were associated with the<br />

Mecca field. During the best year an estimated<br />

5,000 barrels of oil were pumped from this<br />

field. Most wells were short-lived, producing<br />

only trickles by the 1880s.<br />

In 1884, on the west side of the Mecca<br />

field, drillers once again attempted <strong>to</strong> mine the<br />

oil sand by excavating a shaft down <strong>to</strong><br />

C H A P T E R F O U R<br />

2 3


T H E M A C K S B U R G A N D C O W<br />

R U N F I E L D S : T H E S T A R T O F<br />

S O U T H E A S T E R N O H I O O I L<br />

A N D G A S P R O D U C T I O N<br />

Above: Although details are sketchy, this is<br />

thought <strong>to</strong> be a view in the Cow Run field of<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n County probably in the late<br />

1860s.. Note the spring pole rigs and open<br />

wooden s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Below: Another early view of probably the<br />

Cow Run field near Marietta. Note that the<br />

wells are all in the valley bot<strong>to</strong>m.<br />

COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE<br />

FOREST SERVICE.<br />

the Berea Sands<strong>to</strong>ne and then running<br />

tunnels through the bed. Although plentiful<br />

quantities of sand were removed, the mine was<br />

shortly abandoned. The community of West<br />

Mecca became a classic boom<strong>to</strong>wn in the<br />

1860s. Now most of the area lies at the bot<strong>to</strong>m<br />

of the Mosqui<strong>to</strong> Lake Reservoir, completed in<br />

April, 1944. Many of the structures were<br />

moved <strong>to</strong> Cortland and Warren. West Mecca<br />

and Mecca continue as small communities, but<br />

attention is now focused on the recreational<br />

activities created by the reservoir.<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> in the Duck Creek valley of Noble and<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n Counties was well known due <strong>to</strong><br />

the active salt industry, a couple of burning<br />

springs, and the 1814 Thorla and McKee well.<br />

It was only natural that the Drake discovery<br />

led locals <strong>to</strong> investigate the many oil seeps<br />

and gas springs north of Marietta. As Spring<br />

arrived in 1860, a well was drilled for the sole<br />

purpose of finding oil. Unfortunately it was a<br />

dry hole. Another well was put down in the<br />

fall on a farm just south of Macksburg in<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n County. The well was driven by a<br />

special type of hand lever, not the traditional<br />

spring pole. At 59 feet down oil was struck.<br />

It was a very viscous oil, unlike the<br />

Pennsylvania oil. Disappointment turned <strong>to</strong><br />

joy when the oil was found <strong>to</strong> be a valuable<br />

lubricant and garnered $28 per barrel. It was<br />

taken by wagon <strong>to</strong> the Muskingum River port<br />

of Lowell where it was shipped by boat <strong>to</strong><br />

Marietta and up the Ohio River <strong>to</strong> Pittsburgh.<br />

Another such investigation <strong>to</strong>ok place in 1861<br />

on the Uriah S. Dye and Samuel Dye farmsteads<br />

<strong>to</strong> the south at Cow Run by inves<strong>to</strong>rs<br />

led by John New<strong>to</strong>n of Marietta. <strong>Gas</strong> periodically<br />

bubbled <strong>to</strong> the surface along Cow Run<br />

and there had been unsuccessful attempts <strong>to</strong><br />

use the gas as a fuel by a nearby cooper. Hard<br />

work at the spring pole eventually led <strong>to</strong> a<br />

good play of oil at 137 feet, with wells averaging<br />

about 50 barrels per day. The oil was<br />

hauled by wagon <strong>to</strong> Marietta, then by packet<br />

boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi <strong>to</strong><br />

a refinery in St. Louis.<br />

The successes at Macksburg and Cow Run<br />

fields led <strong>to</strong> an oil boom. Stretching on both<br />

sides of the Ohio River around Marietta and<br />

Parkersburg, north <strong>to</strong> Caldwell, wooden<br />

derricks dotted the stream valleys. Then 1861<br />

brought the start of the Civil War and a<br />

slowdown <strong>to</strong> oilfield activity. The early boom<br />

was greatly speculative; the payout was less<br />

than expected, great expense was required <strong>to</strong><br />

get the oil <strong>to</strong> market, and, as more oil became<br />

available, the price per barrel decreased. The<br />

first Macksburg boom was short and not so<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

24


sweet. After the war, geology played a much<br />

more important role in the development of<br />

wells. George Rice’s gusher of 150 barrels in<br />

1874 rekindled interest in the Macksburg area.<br />

From 1872 <strong>to</strong> the mid-1880s much of Noble<br />

and Washing<strong>to</strong>n Counties were under lease <strong>to</strong><br />

various oil companies. These companies<br />

included Acme <strong>Oil</strong>, Archer’s Fork <strong>Oil</strong> of<br />

Marietta, Bergen <strong>Oil</strong> and Coal of New York,<br />

Bos<strong>to</strong>n Petroleum and Mining, Cincinnati<br />

Petroleum, Crescent Petroleum of Bos<strong>to</strong>n,<br />

Duck Creek Petroleum and Mining of<br />

Cincinnati, Eagle <strong>Oil</strong> Association of New York,<br />

Equitable Petroleum of New York, Exchange<br />

<strong>Oil</strong>, Germania <strong>Oil</strong>, Lowell <strong>Oil</strong>, “Madison <strong>Oil</strong>”,<br />

Marietta Mining of New York, Marietta <strong>Oil</strong><br />

of Bos<strong>to</strong>n, Moorehead <strong>Oil</strong>, New Jersey <strong>Oil</strong>,<br />

Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> and Mining of Marietta, Putnam<br />

Petroleum of Day<strong>to</strong>n, Union Coal of Marietta,<br />

Williamsport and Ohio Petroleum, and<br />

Willow Glen Petroleum of Philadelphia. These<br />

companies brought improved technology and<br />

equipment for drilling wells, including the<br />

first steam engines and new drilling bits.<br />

Exploration centered on the southern field<br />

around Cow Run and the northern or<br />

Macksburg field around Macksburg.<br />

Then in the 1880s, due <strong>to</strong> deep drilling<br />

plays in the Devonian Berea Sands<strong>to</strong>ne, the<br />

boom returned <strong>to</strong> Macksburg. By August,<br />

1883, monthly production was 4,600 barrels,<br />

now transported by pipeline <strong>to</strong> refineries in<br />

Parkersburg,West Virginia. A peak in monthly<br />

production of 79,737 barrels was reached in<br />

July, 1885. Production declined slowly<br />

around Macksburg. According <strong>to</strong> a March 31,<br />

1887 report, 466 wells were producing an<br />

average of 66 barrels a month in an area of<br />

roughly 4,000 acres. The oil plays came in at<br />

depths of 1,425 feet below the valleys and<br />

1,900 feet under the uplands. Unfortunately,<br />

by 1900, it was evident that the deeper plays<br />

were not as successful as anticipated. Drillers<br />

headed <strong>to</strong> greener pastures.<br />

The Macksburg area is unique among oil<br />

fields in having a large number of oil-saturated<br />

sands. The first oil was encountered in a thin<br />

discontinuous band of sand only 59 feet<br />

down. Drilling deeper brought a strong play in<br />

Above: Farm fields yield <strong>to</strong> derricks in the<br />

Marietta area.<br />

COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE<br />

FOREST SERVICE.<br />

Below: This map of the Cow Run and<br />

Macksburg fields was drafted for John<br />

Bownocker’s 1902 Bulletin 1 of the Ohio<br />

Geological Survey. Macksburg is at the very<br />

<strong>to</strong>p of the map, but is shown as an inset in<br />

the bot<strong>to</strong>m corner.<br />

C H A P T E R F O U R<br />

2 5


Above: Most of the development was south<br />

of Macksburg as shown by this c. 1887<br />

plat map.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Below: Derricks sprout from the lowlands of<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n County. Although this postcard<br />

is labeled for the Marietta area, similar<br />

views are labeled for nearby West Virginia.<br />

It was common for some postcard<br />

pho<strong>to</strong>graphers <strong>to</strong> label the same pho<strong>to</strong> for<br />

several different locations.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

what was called the 140-foot sand. It was<br />

equivalent <strong>to</strong> the First Cow Run sand<br />

encountered in the southerly Cow Run field.<br />

The best producers in this horizon yielded<br />

around 180 barrels, but most were in the 4- <strong>to</strong><br />

60-barrel range. Here and there, below the<br />

140-foot sand is another thin discontinuous<br />

stringer of sand—the Buell Run—which<br />

occasionally showed a minor amount of oil.<br />

The 300-foot sand is another stratum<br />

containing minor amounts of oil. Below the<br />

300-foot sand is the Peaker sand which has<br />

produced at rates of 40 barrels a day near<br />

Macksburg. These wells were short-lived. The<br />

500-foot sand, 10 <strong>to</strong> 30 feet thick near<br />

Macksburg, was another important horizon.<br />

An 1861 well on the Keith farm initially<br />

produced 100 barrels per day and continued<br />

<strong>to</strong> produce until 1899. Many other wells<br />

tapping this stratum were still producing in<br />

the early 1900s. Discontinuous strands of sand<br />

were also encountered at 700 and 800 feet,<br />

but generally were unproductive in the<br />

Macksburg region. The lowest sand is the<br />

Berea which is pretty continuous throughout<br />

the Macksburg and Cow Run area.<br />

The plays of the 1860s in Noble County<br />

came from Pennsylvanian sands<strong>to</strong>nes marking<br />

the site of former stream and distributary<br />

channels and offshore bars of the clastic delta<br />

complex stretching along the Ohio-<br />

Pennsylvania side of the rising Appalachian<br />

Mountains. These features were constantly<br />

shifting with the rise and fall of the<br />

Pennsylvanian seas and changes in stream<br />

dynamics. This led <strong>to</strong> short discontinuous sand<br />

lenses throughout the Pennsylvanian strata and<br />

the hit and miss potential of any well. Drillers<br />

named the plays based on depth below the<br />

surface. <strong>Oil</strong> horizons might be the Macksburg<br />

140, 300, 700, and 800, referring <strong>to</strong> feet below<br />

the Duck Creek valley. Because of the<br />

meandering of the water courses, Macksburg<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

26


As an example of costs of an early well, F.H. Newell of the Ohio Geological Survey provided the following synopsis in 1888.<br />

The <strong>to</strong>tal cost (of a rig) ranges from $350 <strong>to</strong> $400. To save expense, when the wells flow quite steadily, many of the producers in the Macksburg<br />

field, when one well is drilled and tubed, take down the rig and use it for the next well. The cost of taking down and putting up the rig again is<br />

about $75, <strong>to</strong> which must be added $25 for new lumber <strong>to</strong> replace that broken in cutting down. This is a considerable saving of outlay for rig-irons<br />

and timber <strong>to</strong> a person operating with small capital, but if the wells s<strong>to</strong>p flowing and need cleaning out, the rig must be, in part at least, put back.<br />

Sawed lumber, 10,000 feet, at $15 ..............................$150.00<br />

Rig timbers......................................................................30.00<br />

Rig irons..........................................................................65.00<br />

10 days’ labor at $3.50....................................................35.00<br />

20 days’ labor at $2.50....................................................50.00<br />

Teaming, grading, nails, etc. ............................................45.00<br />

Total $375.00<br />

A full set of drilling <strong>to</strong>ols consists of:<br />

1 temper-screw..............................................................$50.00<br />

1 rope socket, weighing 75 pounds .................................16.00<br />

1 sinker-bar, 16 feet long, weighing 600 pounds .............48.00<br />

1 set jars, weighing 300 pounds ...................................105.00<br />

1 auger –stem, 3 5/8 in. diam., 40 feet long,<br />

weighing 1,300 pounds................................................85.00<br />

2 bits for 5 3/8 in. hole, weighing 150 pounds each........70.00<br />

2 bits for 8 inch hole.......................................................90.00<br />

2 <strong>to</strong>ol-gauges.....................................................................2.00<br />

2 <strong>to</strong>ol wrenches...............................................................24.00<br />

1 wrench circle..................................................................5.50<br />

1 wrench-bar.....................................................................4.50<br />

Total $500.00<br />

Besides these, a contrac<strong>to</strong>r needs:<br />

1 cable, 1 7/8 in., say 1,600 feet long,<br />

weighing 2,000 pounds, at 14 cents.........................$280.00<br />

1 sand-line, 7/8 in., say 1,600 feet long,<br />

weighing 450 pounds, at 14 cents................................61.00<br />

Set blacksmith’s <strong>to</strong>ols, anvil, bellows, forge,<br />

sledges, etc...................................................................40.00<br />

Bailer, 30 feet long, at 85 cents per foot ..........................25.00<br />

Sand-pump .....................................................................25.00<br />

Incidentals ......................................................................19.00<br />

Total $950.00<br />

The above are list prices on which there is a discount for cash, so that a good outfit is estimated <strong>to</strong> be worth at Macksburg, $850.<br />

In addition <strong>to</strong> these necessary <strong>to</strong>ols, the contrac<strong>to</strong>r, especially if at a distance from a large machine shop, finds it economy <strong>to</strong> own a few of the<br />

commoner ”fishing” <strong>to</strong>ols, such as extra rope-socket, sinker-bar, jars, horn-socket, slip-socket, rope-pears and grabs, costing, say, $350.<br />

The <strong>to</strong>tal cost of a flowing-well, 1,600 feet deep, at Macksburg, is estimated as follows:<br />

Rig, complete .................................................................................................................................................................................$350<br />

Boiler, 20-horse-power .....................................................................................................................................................................450<br />

Engine, 15-horse-power ...................................................................................................................................................................210<br />

Drilling, 1,600 feet, at 75 cents per foot ........................................................................................................................................1,200<br />

Casing, head, etc. .............................................................................................................................................................................250<br />

Tubing and pipe <strong>to</strong> tank ...................................................................................................................................................................221<br />

Shot, 80 quarts, at $2.00 per quart...................................................................................................................................................160<br />

Tank, 250 barrels .............................................................................................................................................................................100<br />

Teaming, connections, tank-cover, etc. ...............................................................................................................................................59<br />

Total $3,000<br />

Engine and boiler can be sold at.......................................................................................................................................................500<br />

Net cost $2,500<br />

For a pumping-well, add about $100 for sucker-rods, pump, polished rod, stuffing box, etc. The boiler and engine must be left at well for<br />

pumping, or power obtained by some other means.<br />

C H A P T E R F O U R<br />

2 7


Right: Two typical steam boilers provide<br />

power for several rigs.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Opposite, <strong>to</strong>p: An oil barge at Marietta.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Opposite, bot<strong>to</strong>m: Production of Cow Run<br />

Field 1861-1885 (Minshall, 1888).<br />

140 at one location might mark a different<br />

stream at another well at the same depth. Most<br />

of the producing horizons in Duck Creek<br />

valley are at comparatively shallow depths;<br />

thus gas and oil commonly rose <strong>to</strong> the surface<br />

through fractures and joints causing the many<br />

seeps and springs. The oil plays at Cow Run are<br />

associated with a small anticline. Deeper<br />

drilling <strong>to</strong> the Berea sands<strong>to</strong>ne has not yielded<br />

economical quantities.<br />

As at other sites, oil mining was attempted<br />

at Macksburg in 1865. An initial oil well was<br />

drilled by the Moorehead <strong>Oil</strong> Company with<br />

a minor play. A shaft was then dug, but the<br />

amount of oil remained uneconomical and the<br />

project was abandoned. Similar findings were<br />

the result of a mining project by the Bos<strong>to</strong>n<br />

Petroleum Company in northern Newport<br />

Township, Washing<strong>to</strong>n County. Natural gas<br />

accompanied most of the productive wells in<br />

the Macksburg field. Most companies used<br />

the gas <strong>to</strong> fuel their drilling equipment. In<br />

some cases excess gas was piped <strong>to</strong> a nearby<br />

community and used for heating and lighting.<br />

Unfortunately this led <strong>to</strong> wastage of vast<br />

amounts of gas.<br />

A letter by Judge L. W. Chamberlain of<br />

Marietta, published in the June 15, 1899 issue<br />

of the Marietta Register reports on the School<br />

House well, a successful Cow Run oil well:<br />

In the summer of 1869 Moffit Dye and several<br />

others leased of the school board of<br />

Lawrence <strong>to</strong>wnship about one-fourth of an<br />

acre owned on Cow Run and occupied by a<br />

hewed log school house, situated within 20<br />

feet of the run.<br />

Wells had been drilled all around the old<br />

school house, and the leasers proceeded <strong>to</strong><br />

put down a well in front of the door of the old<br />

academy, and on the 21st day of Oc<strong>to</strong>ber,<br />

1869, the drill broke in<strong>to</strong> a crevice at a depth<br />

of 594 feet, and gas and oil immediately came<br />

<strong>to</strong> the surface and drove the drillers out of the<br />

derrick. In that early period few wells about<br />

the Run had been cased with artesian casing<br />

and this was one of the few. The well<br />

continued <strong>to</strong> flow for about one year, during<br />

which time it had put out about $63,000<br />

worth of oil which had <strong>to</strong> be hauled <strong>to</strong><br />

market, the school board securing one-third<br />

of this as royalty. At the end of one year the<br />

well was pumped and has continued <strong>to</strong><br />

produce ever since, now nearly thirty years.<br />

The production ran down for many, but for<br />

several years has produced the same for each<br />

year. Until recently the well has been pumped<br />

by steam, but during the past year has been<br />

fitted up with a gas engine which is being run<br />

by the gas from the well and plenty <strong>to</strong> spare.<br />

The old casing is still doing duty in the well,<br />

and the well promises <strong>to</strong> yield for many years<br />

<strong>to</strong> come.<br />

Production in the Cow Run field increased<br />

<strong>to</strong> the point where a pipeline could be<br />

justified. In the Spring of 1868, a 5.5-mile<br />

pipeline was laid <strong>to</strong> the Ohio River,<br />

downstream of Newport. Here, petroleum was<br />

transferred <strong>to</strong> boats for transport <strong>to</strong> refineries<br />

at Marietta and Parkersburg. By the 1870s<br />

only minor amounts of petroleum were being<br />

pumped from the Cow Run field. The opening<br />

of the railroad connecting Macksburg with<br />

both Lake Erie at Cleveland and the Ohio<br />

River at Marietta in 1883 made the Macksburg<br />

field even more economical. In the next three<br />

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found that the denser oil had uses, <strong>to</strong>o. In<br />

1866, the Glasgow <strong>Oil</strong> Company gained<br />

control of many of the St. Clair Township.<br />

wells and pumped a number until 1876.<br />

Production was up <strong>to</strong> 100 barrels per day.<br />

years some 34 wells were put down around<br />

Macksburg. Aside from the Rice well, only one<br />

significant producer was found—Marietta <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company’s No. 1—which came in at 500<br />

barrels for the first day. In the Winter of 1883,<br />

the Ohio Transit Company laid a pipeline, the<br />

first from the Macksburg field, from<br />

Macksburg <strong>to</strong> Marietta. It also arranged with<br />

the Cleveland & Marietta Railway <strong>to</strong> haul oil<br />

over its lines in tank cars leased or owned by<br />

OTC. In the Summer of 1884, the West<br />

Virginia Transportation Company of<br />

Parkersburg, West Virginia, laid a pipeline<br />

from Macksburg <strong>to</strong> Lowell on the Muskingum<br />

River. A year later both pipelines were taken<br />

over by the National Transit Company, a<br />

subsidiary of Standard <strong>Oil</strong>, which also added a<br />

pipeline from Macksburg <strong>to</strong> Parkersburg.<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> erected about 40 s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks<br />

near Elba, each having a capacity of 600,000<br />

barrels. A second pipeline <strong>to</strong> Lowell was<br />

completed by independent oil producer<br />

George Rice in 1885-86 for the exclusive<br />

movement of his crude <strong>to</strong> the chagrin of<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong>. Rice shipped his oil down the<br />

Muskingum River <strong>to</strong> his refinery in Marietta.<br />

Rice continued <strong>to</strong> have problems with<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> for they had reduced tariffs and<br />

rates for oil transport on most railroads.<br />

E A R L Y A C T I V I T Y I N<br />

C O L U M B I A N A C O U N T Y<br />

Inves<strong>to</strong>rs looking for oil in the area around<br />

Calcutta, Frederick<strong>to</strong>wn, and West Point in<br />

Columbiana County in the mid-1860s<br />

encountered oil plays of a heavy oil, quite<br />

different than that coming out of the<br />

Pennsylvania oil patch. As a result some wells<br />

were immediately abandoned, but it was soon<br />

C H A P T E R F O U R<br />

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CHAPTER FIVE<br />

T H E S E A R C H S P R E A D S<br />

C A R B O N I F E R O U S P L A Y S E L S E W H E R E I N S O U T H E A S T E R N O H I O<br />

Early residents of the Federal Creek drainage basin, northwest of Joy in Morgan County, were aware<br />

of the oil film covering portions of the local creeks in the early 1800s. Some also spoke of holes created<br />

from fallen trees that filled with strong smelling oil. The Drake discovery suggested that there might<br />

be significant oil under this region. Experienced drillers from the Pennsylvania oil fields spread in<strong>to</strong><br />

Ohio looking for places with conditions similar <strong>to</strong> the Titusville area. In 1860 a well was drilled 65<br />

feet down, striking oil in Pennsylvanian sands<strong>to</strong>nes. It initially produced 8 barrels. This was just the<br />

beginning; by the Summer of 1861 there were around 25 wells scattered across the 325 acre Bishop<br />

and 400 acre Joy farms. This brought at least 150 workers in<strong>to</strong> the area and the nearby <strong>to</strong>wns of Joy<br />

and Wrights<strong>to</strong>wn boomed. Shanties <strong>to</strong> house the workers lined the nearby roads, blacksmiths set up<br />

shop, while taverns and boarding houses were built. As the field was defined by prolific drilling in the<br />

1890s it became known as the Chesterhill oil field. It eventually stretched from about two miles north<br />

of Amesville in Athens County, northeast <strong>to</strong> Wrights<strong>to</strong>wn in Morgan County, then east passing south<br />

of Chesterhill, and continuing east <strong>to</strong> Browns Mills in Washing<strong>to</strong>n County. In the 1890s, wells were<br />

deepened as production from the First Cow Run sand diminished and deeper plays gave some of the<br />

wells new life. Some 250 new wells had punctured the area by 1902. The next producing horizon,<br />

about 400 feet below the First Cow Run, was dubbed the Second Cow Run sand. It was generally<br />

thicker than the upper sand, sometimes double the thickness at 60 feet.<br />

In the early days, oil from the Chesterhill field was hauled far across country <strong>to</strong> McConnellsville<br />

and S<strong>to</strong>ckport and shipped on the Muskingum River <strong>to</strong> refineries in Marietta. Later, much of it was<br />

hauled <strong>to</strong> Big Run, a station on the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad, and shipped <strong>to</strong> Marietta. The<br />

first pipeline <strong>to</strong> the field was opened in 1891, running <strong>to</strong> Sharpsburg with a connection <strong>to</strong> a branch<br />

of the Toledo & Ohio Central Extension Railroad; a second was added in 1893. Later the field was<br />

connected <strong>to</strong> Elba, a station on the Cleveland & Marietta Railway, by pipeline.<br />

The s<strong>to</strong>ry was the same in the northeast corner of Morgan County. Pioneers in the area noticed<br />

oil slicks at various points along Buck Run and Wolf Creek. In 1860, a well struck a thick oil in a<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne only 37 feet down. It was transported in barrels <strong>to</strong> McConnellsville, where an early<br />

refinery was located and marketed as a lubricant. The well was pumped until 1875, when it was<br />

abandoned. An unknown number of wells were drilled in this area, known as the Buck Run field,<br />

between 1861 and 1865. Production decreased, many wells were abandoned, and the nearby<br />

McConnellsville refinery closed around 1870, leading <strong>to</strong> near abandonment of the field in the early<br />

1870s. Like the Chesterhill field, a renaissance of oil drilling began in the 1890s. A new boom<br />

began in 1899; as of 1903, 8 companies were drilling in areas along Wolf Creek and in the uplands,<br />

left unexplored by the earlier workers.<br />

The western part of Washing<strong>to</strong>n County was also widely drilled in the early 1900s, but only<br />

minor production from the First Cow Run resulted. <strong>Gas</strong> was encountered around Barlow and gas<br />

wells at Vincent were sufficient <strong>to</strong> provide the community with gas service.<br />

A few miles southwest of Marietta, the Moore’s Junction oil field stretches across the Ohio Valley<br />

in<strong>to</strong> West Virginia. The first well was reportedly drilled here in June, 1894. <strong>Oil</strong> shows were poor,<br />

but encouraging. By 1903, some 220 wells had been drilled. Of the producers, most were small,<br />

averaging about 25 barrels a day; a few good ones produced from 100 <strong>to</strong> 300 barrels a day.<br />

Near Marietta were two small pools in Marietta Township—the Goose Run and Hendershot pools.<br />

<strong>On</strong>e of the first wells was drilled in January, 1886 in a brick yard on the east side of Marietta. It was<br />

Opposite: Near New Guilford in Perry<br />

Township, Coshoc<strong>to</strong>n County, oil and gas<br />

was struck in the early 1900s. This old<br />

wooden rig was still standing in 1953.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

3 1


Above: This stereo card image of a well in<br />

the Marietta area was pho<strong>to</strong>graphed by J.<br />

D. Cadwallader in the late 1800s.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

drilled <strong>to</strong> the Berea, but failed <strong>to</strong> yield gas or<br />

oil. Other wells met similar fates. A few started<br />

out strong, but all died out quickly, within a<br />

year or less. Further east and southeast in<br />

Newport Township were more productive<br />

pools. East of the Little Muskingum River an<br />

1895 well came in at 80 barrels, initiating a<br />

drilling frenzy. In five years, around 75 wells<br />

had been drilled within a one mile radius. Best<br />

production came from the First Cow Run. The<br />

Newell Run pool was the most important one<br />

in the <strong>to</strong>wnship with over 175 producing wells<br />

by 1903. The first producing well dates <strong>to</strong> the<br />

spring of 1890. This pool is essentially an<br />

extension of the Cow Run field <strong>to</strong> the west. The<br />

Berea contained a good supply of gas around<br />

Newell Run making the exploration for oil a<br />

<strong>to</strong>uch easier because of the ready fuel.<br />

E A R L Y G A S F I E L D S —<br />

O H I O A N D M O H I C A N<br />

V A L L E Y S<br />

The Ohio valley was full of oil seekers after<br />

the Drake discovery. East Liverpool was an<br />

established pottery <strong>to</strong>wn, and when a good<br />

supply of natural gas was found below the<br />

community, city fathers were eager <strong>to</strong> take<br />

advantage. By 1874, the city was piping the gas<br />

for domestic use and for street lighting.<br />

Unfortunately much of the gas was wasted (e.g.<br />

street lights were constantly burning), leading<br />

<strong>to</strong> low pressures by the 1880s. Steubenville<br />

wells also showed gas at the Berea horizon, but<br />

production was meager and lasted only a few<br />

months. <strong>Gas</strong> springs at Wellsburg, West<br />

Virginia, had been known since its settlement.<br />

It was no surprise when wells struck gas both<br />

here and across the river in Brilliant. The first<br />

well tapped gas in 1882. <strong>Gas</strong> was provided for<br />

all that needed it and tremendous volumes<br />

escaped or were ignited. By 1885 the gas was<br />

pretty much exhausted.<br />

Peter Neff (1827-1903) graduated from<br />

Kenyon College in 1849 where he became<br />

deeply interested in chemistry, influenced by<br />

Professor Hamil<strong>to</strong>n L. Smith. He continued<br />

his education at Bexley Hall Theological<br />

Seminary (affiliated with Kenyon College) in<br />

Bexley, Ohio, graduating in 1854. He served<br />

as a pas<strong>to</strong>r for a short time in Yellow Springs<br />

and then became reacquainted with Professor<br />

Smith who was by then interested in<br />

pho<strong>to</strong>graphic techniques. Neff also had a<br />

background in the geological sciences from<br />

his Kenyon days. While continuing research<br />

on pho<strong>to</strong>graphic methods he was drawn in<strong>to</strong><br />

the search for oil and gas.<br />

Near the juncture of the Kokosing and<br />

Mohican rivers, west of Walhonding,<br />

Coshoc<strong>to</strong>n County, two wells owned by Neff<br />

began producing gas from the Devonian Berea<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne in 1865. Neff had hoped they would<br />

strike oil, but instead they hit a major gas zone.<br />

This small gas field is also the birthplace of<br />

lamp black manufacturing, developed by Peter<br />

Neff. Lamp black is a sooty form of almost pure<br />

carbon produced by the incomplete<br />

combustion of organic compounds, in this<br />

case, natural gas. Neff eventually refined it <strong>to</strong><br />

be used in watercolors and ink.<br />

Neff’s first successful gas well, often<br />

referred <strong>to</strong> as the “geyser well” was allowed <strong>to</strong><br />

spout for a few years before it was brought<br />

under control and the gas collected. Measured<br />

in May, 1887 it was producing 65,000 <strong>to</strong><br />

70,000 cubic feet each day. Well No. 2 was<br />

also not controlled for several years. Also<br />

measured in 1887, it was releasing 164,376<br />

cubic feet per year. Wells No. 9 and 11,<br />

drilled in the early 1880s, produced 71,000<br />

and 104,000 cubic feet, respectively.<br />

E A R L Y P L A Y S I N<br />

N O R T H E A S T E R N O H I O<br />

Many communities throughout the eastern<br />

counties have drilled, hoping for gas from the<br />

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Berea or perhaps a play of oil. The list of<br />

failures is great, including Birmingham,<br />

Medina, Milan, Oberlin, and Olmsted Falls.<br />

The early wells that led <strong>to</strong> Cleveland<br />

becoming an early refinery center and the<br />

home of Standard <strong>Oil</strong> were mainly located in<br />

the Cuyahoga Valley in Newburg. The<br />

Cleveland Rolling Mill was behind the drilling<br />

of one of the deepest wells at the time when<br />

workers drilled 2,750 feet seeking a source of<br />

natural gas in 1886. Small plays of oil were<br />

found at 2,658 and 2,686 feet. At the bot<strong>to</strong>m<br />

of the hole where the drill bit became stuck,<br />

gas was struck in what was assumed <strong>to</strong> be the<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n (Later this stratum would be referred<br />

<strong>to</strong> as the Newburg sand). The well did not<br />

yield sufficient high pressure gas and<br />

suggested that such gas was not likely in the<br />

Cleveland area.<br />

Success would eventually come. A well at<br />

Elyria produced gas at several levels in<br />

Devonian shale. Shale gas was also prevalent<br />

in wells at Akron, Ashtabula, Berea, Brooklyn,<br />

Brownhelm, Cleveland, Conneaut, Geneva,<br />

Independence, Kingsville, Lorain, Painesville,<br />

Rocky River, Sheffield, Welling<strong>to</strong>n, and<br />

Willoughby. These shale wells had a<br />

tendency <strong>to</strong> be “blowers” where gas<br />

would explode from the hole, sometimes<br />

shooting water and/or oil from the well with<br />

extreme force for generally short periods of<br />

time. Well No. 2, drilled in 1887 at<br />

Welling<strong>to</strong>n, was unusual in that it produced a<br />

strong flow of gas from a bed of sand in the<br />

lacustrine clay capping the underlying<br />

Devonian shale. Edward Or<strong>to</strong>n described this<br />

well in 1888:<br />

When tapped by the drill, the gas broke<br />

out with great violence, first throwing all the<br />

water from the well, and when that was gone,<br />

sending out a s<strong>to</strong>rm of sand. It is computed<br />

that more than a <strong>to</strong>n of sand was thrown out<br />

in this way in the course of a few hours. When<br />

lighted, the flame blazed more than twenty<br />

feet high.<br />

Or<strong>to</strong>n felt the oil originated in the Berea<br />

shale which produced gas in Well No. 1.<br />

Or<strong>to</strong>n also described the use of gas from a<br />

well drilled at Kingsville, c. 1887:<br />

The supply, though small, is exceedingly<br />

useful. It was introduced at once in<strong>to</strong> the<br />

house, and serves for a cooking-s<strong>to</strong>ve and for<br />

heating, <strong>to</strong> some extent, and for lighting the<br />

house throughout, but it is insufficient for the<br />

entire supply. All <strong>to</strong>ld, it would keep about<br />

twenty burners in steady operation.<br />

The Ward well drilled in 1864 in Niles<br />

seeking oil, produced a strong gas flow<br />

instead. Reportedly it flared sixty feet in<strong>to</strong> the<br />

air. Although gas was encountered at<br />

Youngs<strong>to</strong>wn, saltwater intrusion rendered<br />

most of the gas wells unusable. Although<br />

wells were sunk, no major plays were found at<br />

Salem. In the late 1880s several wells were<br />

drilled around Peninsula tapping gas from the<br />

Ohio shale. For a short time the gas permitted<br />

some street lights and lit several residences<br />

before the supply disappeared.<br />

L A T E R D E V E L O P M E N T S I N<br />

N O R T H E A S T E R N O H I O<br />

The successful development of Clin<strong>to</strong>n gas<br />

and oil wells in the central Ohio counties in<br />

the early 1900s led <strong>to</strong> renewed interest in the<br />

northeastern counties. The East Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> and<br />

Logan <strong>Gas</strong> and Fuel companies leased<br />

thousands of acres west of Kamm’s Corners<br />

and Berea between 1905 and 1907. East Ohio<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> bought and deepened the Newburg wells<br />

<strong>to</strong> the Clin<strong>to</strong>n horizon, but production<br />

proved feeble and they were abandoned. A<br />

well drilled in North Ridgeville in 1908 made<br />

a showing of oil at the Newburg horizon and<br />

a strong flow of gas in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n. Interest<br />

diminished until 1911 when a well in South<br />

Newburg produced commercial quantities of<br />

gas and oil from the Newburg. The real boom<br />

began in 1914 when producing wells in the<br />

Newburg and Clin<strong>to</strong>n were drilled in<br />

Lakewood, South Brooklyn, and West Park.<br />

Fifty-five wells were in operation by April,<br />

1914; over 1,000 by June, 1916. The field<br />

developed with little regard <strong>to</strong> spacing of<br />

wells leading <strong>to</strong> diminished production by<br />

late 1915, particularly of the older wells, and<br />

an increase in dry holes. By 1915, wells were<br />

being drilled in Berea, Brook Park, and<br />

Middleburg Township, <strong>to</strong> the south of the<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

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original field. Reports from late 1914 indicate<br />

the <strong>to</strong>tal production of the field was 100<br />

million cubic feet per day. Most of the gas was<br />

purchased by the East Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> Company<br />

and distributed through its pipelines.<br />

Although exploration began shortly after<br />

the discovery of gas at Findlay, drilling failed <strong>to</strong><br />

uncover any significant gas pools in Wayne<br />

County. South and west of Wooster, several<br />

large flows of gas along with a good size pool<br />

of oil were struck in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n between 1911<br />

and 1913. By 1920 the Wooster oil field,<br />

Shreve oil and gas field, Wooster, Congress,<br />

Canaan Township, Chippewa Valley, Funk, and<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n Township gas fields were in operation.<br />

Thirteen gas wells produced from Clear Creek<br />

Township, Ashland County, in the 1930s, all<br />

within two miles of Savannah.<br />

A number of gas fields were opened in the<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n between Akron and Can<strong>to</strong>n in the<br />

1920s-30s. The Can<strong>to</strong>n gas pool was<br />

discovered with the drilling of a well in 1945<br />

on the Belden property. Much of the gas was<br />

purchased by the East Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> Company.<br />

The field was quite productive throughout the<br />

1950s, but production decreased after 1959.<br />

A notable oil well was completed in<br />

September, 1910 at Union Station, southwest<br />

of Newark. After shooting and tubing, this<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n well began flowing at 30 barrels per<br />

day. Another well, southeast of Fallsburg,<br />

began producing in Oc<strong>to</strong>ber, 1910.<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> was first encountered in Fairfield<br />

County in 1887 near North Berne. A promising<br />

well was sunk at nearby Lancaster, finding gas<br />

in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n strata some two thousand feet<br />

below the Hocking valley. In February, 1887,<br />

the flow was measured at 74,880 cubic feet per<br />

C E N T R A L<br />

O H I O<br />

Newark appears <strong>to</strong> have begun drilling for<br />

gas in 1885. The first well showed a small<br />

play in the Berea, but not a trace when sunk<br />

down <strong>to</strong>wards the Tren<strong>to</strong>n. The Everett Glass<br />

Company’s first well also tapped a small<br />

amount of gas in Oc<strong>to</strong>ber, 1886. The glass<br />

company drilled a second well in 1887 which<br />

provided the needed gas— an estimated<br />

300,000 cubic feet per day from the Clin<strong>to</strong>n.<br />

The success at the glass plant led <strong>to</strong> more<br />

drilling and a defining of the field. By 1889,<br />

local gas supplies began <strong>to</strong> dwindle. A<br />

number of new producing wells were found<br />

between Newark and Thurs<strong>to</strong>n. However,<br />

soon after, city fathers had <strong>to</strong> search for new<br />

suppliers. The Logan Natural <strong>Gas</strong> and Fuel<br />

Company provided gas from the Sugar Grove<br />

field some 20 miles <strong>to</strong> the south, then in 1902<br />

gas came from the Homer field, about 10-15<br />

miles <strong>to</strong> the north of Newark. Also in the<br />

Black Hand Gorge area near Toboso, a<br />

number of wells struck oil in the early 1900s.<br />

Left and Below: These rigs were tapping the<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n under Knox County.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

3 5


This map was drafted for Bownocker’s 1902<br />

Bulletin 1 of the Geological Survey of Ohio.<br />

It shows the Homer and Sugar Grove fields.<br />

day. After <strong>to</strong>rpedoing, the flow increased<br />

“several fold.” A second well was drilled at the<br />

base of Mount Pleasant, a prominent erosional<br />

outlier of Mississippian sands<strong>to</strong>ne, and began<br />

producing at 792,000 cubic feet per day. A<br />

third, even more productive well, was drilled<br />

about the same time about a mile southeast of<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn, coming in at an estimated one million<br />

cfd. Each of these wells were drilled by a<br />

different company. In 1887, these companies<br />

were merged as the Lancaster <strong>Gas</strong> and <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company No. 1. This company received<br />

authorization <strong>to</strong> deliver gas <strong>to</strong> Lancaster<br />

citizens. Within a year, the demand was greater<br />

than the supply. Problems continued even after<br />

the city <strong>to</strong>ok over the operation until a well<br />

came in at the Mithoff machine shop in<br />

Lancaster in February 1889. This well<br />

produced 12 million cubic feet the first day<br />

and showed little evidence of slowing down.<br />

Another major producer was drilled on the<br />

Fairfield County fairgrounds, just west of<br />

Mount Pleasant. Lancaster became confident<br />

their supply of gas was inexhaustible and<br />

looked for ways <strong>to</strong> use it. The fairgrounds<br />

became the first <strong>to</strong> have a race track lit by<br />

gas lights. A lighted arch advertised free<br />

gas <strong>to</strong> manufacturers. A lack of gas meters<br />

led <strong>to</strong> more wastage. Lancaster was not alone;<br />

this was the case in most <strong>to</strong>wns with a local<br />

gas source.<br />

It was only natural that the Thurs<strong>to</strong>n area<br />

would be drilled for gas, since it lay midway<br />

between Newark and Lancaster. The first<br />

attempt was in the spring of 1888. A well in<br />

Thurs<strong>to</strong>n showed a small play of gas. A second<br />

well drilled <strong>to</strong> the east of <strong>to</strong>wn produced 7<br />

million cubic feet the first day. By the winter of<br />

1889, production had increased <strong>to</strong> the point<br />

where a pipeline was laid in<strong>to</strong> Columbus. The<br />

demands of the big city were <strong>to</strong>o great and, by<br />

1902, the field was essentially exhausted.<br />

The Lancaster wells were on the northern<br />

edge of the Sugar Grove field which stretches<br />

from just east of Lancaster <strong>to</strong> west of Logan in<br />

Hocking County. By 1900, this was the most<br />

productive of the natural gas fields in central<br />

Ohio. Its’ importance is evidenced in the eight<br />

companies piping gas from the field <strong>to</strong> various<br />

communities throughout the state in 1901.<br />

West of Utica, centered on the community<br />

of Homer, was a prominent Licking County<br />

field. The first well in the Homer field<br />

was drilled in July, 1900 and reportedly<br />

produced some one million cubic feet per day.<br />

This production paled with the drilling of later<br />

wells which produced up <strong>to</strong> 12 million cubic<br />

feet per day.<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> was found in the Berea at several wells<br />

around Zanesville in the 1880s. The Blue<br />

Rock <strong>Oil</strong> Field was developed in 1866-67 in<br />

southern Muskingum County where shallow<br />

wells tap a Pennsylvanian sands<strong>to</strong>ne. The<br />

wells were all low producers but yielded an<br />

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oil that was quite effective as a lubricant. Two<br />

oil wells and one gas well in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n were<br />

developed near Ful<strong>to</strong>nham around 1910.<br />

Three wells drilled in Cambridge produced a<br />

strong gas play in the Mississippian sands of<br />

the Logan formation. At Kimbol<strong>to</strong>n, an 1887<br />

well struck a good flow of gas in the Berea. At<br />

Quaker City, gas was also encountered in the<br />

Berea. Malta, on the Muskingum River, was<br />

discovered at an early time <strong>to</strong> overlie a<br />

significant source of natural gas and from the<br />

1860s-80s was also heavily investigated for<br />

oil. <strong>Gas</strong> came from the Mississippian Logan<br />

formation. Since its discovery, the gas has<br />

been used locally in a minor way. <strong>Oil</strong> was<br />

struck in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n at a well just west of<br />

Gore in 1910. Soon the small community was<br />

dotted with derricks with no regard <strong>to</strong><br />

spacing. Derricks also sprouted <strong>to</strong> the west in<br />

Webb Summit. Activity continued in<strong>to</strong> the<br />

1920s and early 1930s. An 1888 well at<br />

Haydenville produced a flow of gas from the<br />

Berea, but not sufficient for the extensive clay<br />

plant. Another deeper well failed entirely. A<br />

well at Buchtel in neighboring Athens County<br />

also was a <strong>to</strong>tal failure.<br />

Well drilling in Carroll, Dresden, and Joy<br />

yielded minor amounts of oil. Wells at<br />

Eagleport turned out dry. An 1887 well at<br />

Logan suddenly burst with a gas flow that,<br />

when ignited, shot thirty feet in<strong>to</strong> the air. It<br />

was unfortunately short-lived. About the<br />

same time, three wells were drilled at South<br />

Bloomingville, <strong>to</strong> the same Berea horizon,<br />

striking oil. The South Bloomingville wells<br />

and those at Logan produced about a barrel<br />

per month of good quality lubricating oil.<br />

Other wells at Canal Winchester, Sunbury,<br />

and Westerville showed strong, but short<br />

plays in Devonian shales.<br />

A large oil and gas field developed around<br />

Corning, Perry County, and then spread in<strong>to</strong><br />

neighboring Athens and Morgan Counties,<br />

beginning in the 1890s. Records appear<br />

missing, but the first deep well appears <strong>to</strong> have<br />

been drilled near Burr Oak, south of Corning in<br />

the 1860s. This pioneer well produced a flow of<br />

saltwater and gas. As was usual at the time, the<br />

gas was ignited and the well was considered a<br />

failure as an oil well. Other early wells also<br />

produced little trace of oil. In August, 1891, the<br />

Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad drilled a water<br />

well at their roundhouse in the yards south of<br />

Corning. About 630 feet down, the drillers<br />

struck a flow of saltwater so the well was cased<br />

and drilling continued with the hope of finding<br />

a source of freshwater at a greater depth. The<br />

drilling was terminated at a depth of 1,507 feet<br />

as no water was found. A few days later oil<br />

gushed from <strong>to</strong>p of the derrick. The oil came<br />

from the Berea, forced <strong>to</strong> the surface by gas<br />

from the same horizon. The drilling company<br />

closed the well and the railroad continued <strong>to</strong><br />

search for a better water source. The gusher did<br />

not go unnoticed and soon land was being<br />

leased by oil seekers. The Sunday Creek <strong>Oil</strong> and<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> Company was hastily organized by Corning<br />

residents <strong>to</strong> oversee the field’s development and<br />

hopefully keep it out of the hands of Standard<br />

<strong>Oil</strong>, who they feared might hold up its<br />

development. Early production of crude was<br />

shipped out in tank cars on the Toledo & Ohio<br />

Central Railroad. The importance of the field<br />

was evident when the Buckeye Pipe Line began<br />

<strong>to</strong> service the area in 1893. The Buckeye<br />

company used gravity and suction <strong>to</strong> pump the<br />

oil <strong>to</strong> two iron s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks. From there it was<br />

pumped down the pipeline <strong>to</strong> Elba. The year<br />

1896 marked the peak of production (469,258<br />

barrels) of the Corning field. The field spread<br />

out from Corning with important pools<br />

discovered around Glouster, Oakfield, and<br />

Porterville. The Oakfield pool, discovered in<br />

This postcard was mailed from Gore in June<br />

1912. At least four derricks are producing<br />

from the Clin<strong>to</strong>n. Hocking Valley tracks are<br />

in the foreground.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

3 7


Top: Corning was the business center for<br />

nearby coal lands and a railroad terminal<br />

on the Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad. <strong>On</strong><br />

Main Street, many of these businesses had<br />

gas service by the late 1890s. This postcard<br />

views dates <strong>to</strong> around 1907.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Middle: Bennet No. 2 well gushed<br />

uncontrollably around 1907 near New<br />

Lexing<strong>to</strong>n. Note the steam boiler in the dog<br />

house and the wooden s<strong>to</strong>rage tank.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m: Derricks dot the eastern hills<br />

surrounding down<strong>to</strong>wn New Straitsville<br />

in 1907. The Hocking Valley depot is in<br />

the foreground.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Opposite, <strong>to</strong>p: Derricks are everywhere<br />

around New Straitsville.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Opposite, middle: A lone wooden derrick<br />

pumps oil at one of New Straitsville’s<br />

brick plants.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Opposite, bot<strong>to</strong>m, left: This wooden derrick<br />

was located at Luding<strong>to</strong>n about half way<br />

between Corning and Shawnee.<br />

1900, proved <strong>to</strong> be the most valuable with a<br />

number of wells initially producing 45 <strong>to</strong> 125<br />

barrels a day. However, the field was on an<br />

overall decline by this time. Some forty<br />

companies had investments in this field. It is<br />

estimated that at least 900 oil wells were drilled<br />

by 1902, with some 688 still producing at that<br />

time. The best gas production was from the<br />

Muddy Fork area of Trimble Township in<br />

Athens County. An 1897 well ranks as the<br />

number one producer at three million cubic<br />

feet. The Oakfield area also produced<br />

significant gas, but it was the oil that was more<br />

marketable. The gas wells were originally<br />

owned by the Corning Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company,<br />

then transferred <strong>to</strong> the Ohio Fuel Supply<br />

Company around 1902. The gas was put <strong>to</strong><br />

domestic use in places like Corning, Glouster,<br />

Hemlock, Jacksonville, Moxahala, Murray City,<br />

Nelsonville, New Lexing<strong>to</strong>n, New Straitsville,<br />

Rendville, Shawnee, and Trimble.<br />

A small gas spring in Blue Rock Township<br />

in the headwaters of Mann’s Fork seemed a<br />

logical place <strong>to</strong> drill. Two wells put down<br />

in the 1860s encountered oil at 75 <strong>to</strong> 80 feet.<br />

The production of 40 <strong>to</strong> 50 barrels per day<br />

led <strong>to</strong> a drilling boom. Within a year some<br />

100 wells had been drilled. A small<br />

community called <strong>Oil</strong> City arose out of the<br />

farmland. Unfortunately by 1900 it was<br />

realized the pool was small and the<br />

production short-lived. By 1903, the oil<br />

workers had moved elsewhere. Scattered<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Opposite, bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: This postcard shows<br />

the site of the former <strong>Oil</strong> City around 1913.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

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around the county, a few wells showed minor<br />

plays of gas and oil; most, however, were<br />

abandoned because of saltwater.<br />

Around 1895 the Rush Creek <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company was formed and drilled a well in<br />

1896 just north of Bremen, Fairfield County.<br />

A heavy flow of gas was struck 1,700 feet<br />

down and the gas was piped <strong>to</strong> Bremen,<br />

Rushville, and West Rushville. The villages<br />

made good use of the fuel for about a year<br />

and a half, but then saltwater displaced the<br />

gas and destroyed the production. Two other<br />

wells were drilled with unsuccessful results<br />

forcing the company out of business. In the<br />

spring of 1907, oil was struck in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n<br />

between Pleasantville and West Rushville,<br />

several miles northwest of Bremen. The well<br />

initially flowed at a rate of seventy-five barrels<br />

per day. The Bremen <strong>Gas</strong> & <strong>Oil</strong> Company<br />

formed about this time and their initial well<br />

also hit oil in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n. This well,<br />

unfortunately, was soon ruined by saltwater<br />

inflow. These two wells were the first of many<br />

in what became known as the Bremen oil<br />

field. After drilling a dry hole, the Bremen<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> & <strong>Oil</strong> Company hit pay dirt with their<br />

third well, drilled near their first in Rush<br />

Creek Township. Initial production was<br />

around 140 barrels a day. More producers<br />

followed and by 1909 the company’s 70 wells<br />

were yielding some 1,000 barrels daily.<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

3 9


Right: Another map from Bownocker’s<br />

Bulletin 1 of the Geological Survey of Ohio<br />

shows the several pools within the Bremen<br />

field around 1901.<br />

Below: This postcard of Bremen was taken<br />

around 1910-12, looking north. The<br />

Pennsylvania Railroad depot and block<br />

station are located on the south side of the<br />

village (<strong>to</strong> the right or east side of this<br />

view). Note that derricks dot the farm land<br />

and also extend in<strong>to</strong> the village.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Opposite, <strong>to</strong>p: This pho<strong>to</strong>graph shows the<br />

southwest edge of Bremen (It slightly<br />

overlaps the view above <strong>to</strong> the left or west).<br />

Down<strong>to</strong>wn buildings rise among some 24<br />

derricks. In the immediate foreground is a<br />

“dog house”, small oil tank, and a one holer.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Opposite, middle: This derrick in the<br />

Bremen area was a favorite spot of a local<br />

pho<strong>to</strong>grapher <strong>to</strong> create group pho<strong>to</strong>s. A<br />

number of cards showing different groups of<br />

all ages in Sunday dress and/or everyday<br />

clothes are in the collection. The postcard<br />

came from the Martin Studio in Logan.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Opposite, bot<strong>to</strong>m: Looking west down the<br />

Pennsylvania Railroad, derricks rise beyond<br />

the depot. The Toledo & Ohio Central<br />

Railroad which curves <strong>to</strong> the right (north) at<br />

the depot shares the “Pennsy” tracks from<br />

Bremen east <strong>to</strong> Junction City.<br />

During 1908-09, four other companies<br />

<strong>to</strong>ok out leases in the Bremen area—Avalon<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong>, David Rodafer <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong>, Great<br />

Expectation <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong>, and Planet <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong>.<br />

The greatest well produced 500 barrels per<br />

day. Exploration spread out in all directions<br />

from the initial pool northeast of Bremen, but<br />

the most successful drilling was <strong>to</strong> the south<br />

and southeast. Drilling proceeded in the<br />

valleys of Rush Creek and Little Rush Creek<br />

and in<strong>to</strong> Bremen proper. By July, 1910, 30<br />

wells had been drilled on Bremen <strong>to</strong>wn lots.<br />

Little regard was made of proper spacing<br />

which would doom the <strong>to</strong>wn wells <strong>to</strong> short<br />

production runs. The Pennsylvania Railroad<br />

(former Cincinnati & Muskingum Valley) and<br />

Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad carried the oil<br />

away in tank cars. In 1908, Bremen was<br />

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40


connected <strong>to</strong> the Buckeye Pipe Line when a<br />

pumping station was built.<br />

The Rushville <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> Company drilled<br />

three wells just south of Rushville in 1909,<br />

hitting plentiful gas in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n and the gas<br />

was sold <strong>to</strong> the Logan <strong>Gas</strong> & Fuel Company. A<br />

small pool of oil was also found near Rushville,<br />

and the Alberta <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> Company opened<br />

drilling in the Junction City area in March<br />

1909. Successful Clin<strong>to</strong>n oil wells brought<br />

many oil firms <strong>to</strong> the area and soon the <strong>to</strong>wn<br />

and surrounding countryside was peppered<br />

with derricks. Successful companies drilling<br />

the Junction City pool included Alberta <strong>Oil</strong> &<br />

<strong>Gas</strong>, Capi<strong>to</strong>l <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong>, Electric <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong>,<br />

Holiday <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong>, and Shamrock <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong>.<br />

By the end of 1910 over one million barrels<br />

had been pumped from the Clin<strong>to</strong>n sands.<br />

A well near Butler in Richland County was<br />

unique among the many thousands drilled in<br />

Ohio up <strong>to</strong> this time. It was completed in<br />

December 1905 by the Butler <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company. The well flowed uncontrollably at the<br />

start, pouring out an estimated 200 barrels of<br />

“water white” oil. Other wells drilled also<br />

yielded this same clear oil, much like kerosene,<br />

but all evolved in<strong>to</strong> gas wells. By 1909 around<br />

1,600 barrels of this rare oil had been produced.<br />

Local folks once used it in lanterns and lamps.<br />

B E R E A W E L L S I N E A S T<br />

C E N T R A L O H I O<br />

Deep wells were put down at Bellaire and<br />

Martins Ferry, but with only minor showings<br />

of gas. The Cadiz area was first drilled in 1887<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

4 1


S O M E G A S A N D O I L F I E L D S O F C E N T R A L A N D E A S T - C E N T R A L O H I O<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

42


C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

4 3


Closely spaced derricks rise from farms on<br />

the south edge of Bremen around 1909.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

by the Cadiz <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> Company, but after<br />

two wells, the company had little <strong>to</strong> show for its<br />

work. After a careful geologic survey of the area,<br />

two more wells were drilled in the summer of<br />

1888, both producing gas, but little oil. After<br />

considerable wastage of gas, one of the wells was<br />

brought under control and the gas was used in<br />

Cadiz. The well was reported <strong>to</strong> be producing<br />

twenty-five thousand cubic feet in 1900.<br />

The Cambridge Light and Fuel Company<br />

drilled three productive gas wells in the late<br />

1880s. In 1893 the company purchased the<br />

wells in the Harmony gas field, south of<br />

Cambridge <strong>to</strong> fuel Cambridge’s growing glass<br />

industry. Eighteen producers were present in<br />

1902, and only one company piped gas <strong>to</strong> a<br />

glass plant in Byesville. The Guernsey County<br />

communities of Kimbol<strong>to</strong>n, Quaker City, and<br />

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The discovery of oil in Jewett led <strong>to</strong> the<br />

chartering of the Scio <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> Company in<br />

March 1898. All that remained <strong>to</strong> be done was<br />

<strong>to</strong> drill deeper. The first well <strong>to</strong> reach the Berea<br />

was completed in June 1898 just north of the<br />

village. An unfortunate fire at the second well<br />

made the news and turned the once quiet<br />

college and farming community in<strong>to</strong> a raging<br />

boom<strong>to</strong>wn. The population jumped from<br />

around 900 <strong>to</strong> an estimated 5,000 by early<br />

1899. Within the village, at least two hundred<br />

derricks popped up in open lots and<br />

backyards. The hills and valleys surrounding<br />

the <strong>to</strong>wn were dotted with another eight<br />

hundred or so derricks. A small refinery<br />

opened in <strong>to</strong>wn in 1899, but it was soon<br />

bought out by Standard <strong>Oil</strong>. There were 850<br />

producing wells in January 1900.<br />

Unfortunately most of the village wells were<br />

short-lived because little regard was given <strong>to</strong><br />

maintaining adequate spacing. By 1903, the<br />

oil was being shipped by the Buckeye Pipeline<br />

Company (<strong>to</strong> Brice, West Virginia), National<br />

Pipeline Company (<strong>to</strong> Cleveland, Findlay,<br />

Newburg, and Toledo), and the Sun <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company (<strong>to</strong> their refinery in Toledo).<br />

Top, left: This postcard shows a distant<br />

view of Junction City as a horizon of<br />

derricks, c. 1970.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, left: The Crown <strong>Oil</strong> Company of<br />

Columbus owned at least one of these<br />

closely spaced wells in the Junction<br />

City field.<br />

SHAWNEE ART CO. PHOTO, COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Below: The Appalachian plateau landscape<br />

of the Jewett and Scio area is well shown on<br />

this 1904 USGS <strong>to</strong>pographic quadrangle.<br />

Senecaville tapped the Berea for small<br />

showings of oil and gas in the 1880s and ’90s.<br />

A successful Berea gas well initiated<br />

exploration around Jewett in 1895. Until<br />

1899 this pioneer well provided gas for<br />

nearby Jewett. The work started with the<br />

locally organized Jewett <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company, but by the spring of 1896 the Ohio<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> Company operated a good portion of the<br />

field. Later development led <strong>to</strong> gas being<br />

piped <strong>to</strong> Jewett, Cadiz, and Scio. By 1901, 67<br />

oil wells and 8 gas wells defined the field.<br />

Nearby Scio was the best known Harrison<br />

County oil field covering about fifteen square<br />

miles. The Scio field had its beginnings in the<br />

late 1860s with several drillings in<strong>to</strong> the Big<br />

Injun. Disappointment reigned as most of<br />

these early attempts produced only saltwater.<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

4 5


Above: This map was drafted for Bulletin 1<br />

of the Geological Survey of Ohio. Note the<br />

Scio field dominates the Harrison County<br />

production in 1902.<br />

Below: In 1899, derricks popped up all over<br />

the hills north of <strong>to</strong>wn.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

The Bowers<strong>to</strong>n field opened with the<br />

drilling of a gas well in Fall 1899. The first oil<br />

was encountered in a Spring 1900 Berea well;<br />

coming in at 10 barrels. The greatest<br />

production was in Fall 1900 when 950 barrels<br />

were produced. The Buckeye Pipeline<br />

Company pumped the oil <strong>to</strong> its facility in<br />

Brice, West Virginia.<br />

A gas field was developed near Toron<strong>to</strong> in<br />

1891-92 by the Toron<strong>to</strong> <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company. The gas was piped <strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>wn from<br />

some six still producing wells in 1902.<br />

Empire was also supplied with gas from three<br />

local wells.<br />

The East Liverpool <strong>Gas</strong> Company drilled<br />

its first well in 1859, striking gas at 450 feet.<br />

The reason for this well has apparently not<br />

been recorded. It may have been a typical salt<br />

well or perhaps it was an attempt <strong>to</strong> repeat the<br />

Drake discovery. The natural gas, as<br />

elsewhere, was viewed as a curiosity. East<br />

Liverpool was chartered in 1870 <strong>to</strong><br />

manufacture artificial gas for illumination<br />

purposes. By the 1870s a number of gas wells<br />

were producing plentiful gas causing the<br />

company <strong>to</strong> soon abandon making gas and<br />

turn <strong>to</strong> piping natural gas. In 1874, the <strong>to</strong>wn<br />

became the first <strong>to</strong> use it in a large scale for<br />

street lighting and <strong>to</strong> heat residences.<br />

As quoted from the 1880 edition of The<br />

Encyclopedia Britannica:<br />

The city of East Liverpool, Ohio, is entirely<br />

illuminated, and <strong>to</strong> a large extent heated, by<br />

gas-wells which exist in and around the <strong>to</strong>wn.<br />

The light is of extraordinary brilliancy, and is<br />

so abundant and free that the street lamps are<br />

never extinguished, and much of the<br />

manufacturing and steam power of the <strong>to</strong>wn,<br />

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which embraces 22 potteries, giving<br />

employment <strong>to</strong> 2,000 hands, is derived from<br />

the gas.<br />

Unfortunately the gas was short-lived,<br />

lasting only about ten years. A discovery of a<br />

new gas field near Fairview, West Virginia,<br />

about seven miles east of East Liverpool, led <strong>to</strong><br />

the organization of the Ohio Valley <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company which laid a pipeline <strong>to</strong> the city. Since<br />

technology had not yet developed <strong>to</strong> control the<br />

pressure of the gas in the pipeline a good<br />

quantity of it was flared off before crossing the<br />

Ohio River. The standpipe reportedly often<br />

flared fifty feet in<strong>to</strong> the air. The Ohio Valley <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company laid a second pipeline <strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>wn in<br />

1886 from a new field near Harshaville,<br />

Pennsylvania, and began servicing nearby<br />

Wellsville. The Bridgewater <strong>Gas</strong> Company<br />

added a line from the Shannopin, Pennsylvania,<br />

field in 1887.<br />

In 1900, two wells were sunk in<strong>to</strong> the<br />

Ohio Valley—the object being <strong>to</strong> locate a<br />

nearby gas source for East Liverpool potteries.<br />

Unfortunately, the wells failed <strong>to</strong> meet<br />

expectations. East Liverpool turned <strong>to</strong><br />

supplying equipment <strong>to</strong> the oilfields. The<br />

C.A. Smith Drilling Company located there in<br />

the 1890s, along with other firms looking <strong>to</strong><br />

ship machinery throughout the Ohio Valley.<br />

Charles A. Smith was introduced <strong>to</strong> the<br />

oil business when he was 17 and working as<br />

a water boy for a gas pipe line crew in<br />

West Virginia. He owned the Ohio Valley<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> Company until 1898. Later Smith laid<br />

out Chester, West Virginia, and became<br />

involved with the Ohio Valley pottery<br />

industry, an interurban line, bus line, raising<br />

lives<strong>to</strong>ck, and growing apples.<br />

Sometime before 1870, five wells were<br />

drilled along Little Yellow Creek, north of<br />

Wellsville. Two wells yielded 3-5 barrels per<br />

day, but soon slowed and were abandoned.<br />

Through the years, thick oil continued <strong>to</strong> seep<br />

from the site of the old wells. Locals<br />

occasionally used it for greasing wagon<br />

wheels. In Fall 1899, a number of wells were<br />

sunk near the old wells and yielded good<br />

amounts of oil. However, just like the pioneer<br />

wells, the production diminished. By 1905,<br />

one of the wells that started at around 150<br />

barrels per day, was only yielding 5 barrels per<br />

day. Some 20 oil wells were in place by 1902.<br />

<strong>On</strong> the north side of this field a few gas wells<br />

were drilled in 1902. The pool was eventually<br />

found <strong>to</strong> be limited and it was soon exhausted.<br />

Drilling in the Lisbon area, beginning in<br />

the 1860s, was not very successful. In 1901,<br />

three wells were producing gas. In a number<br />

of cases, strong saltwater inflow ruined the<br />

wells. Similarly, in the early 1860s, a small<br />

producer was drilled near Homeworth, but<br />

never developed. Then in 1898, a series of<br />

test wells were bored near the old well,<br />

bringing a greenish oil <strong>to</strong> the surface. The<br />

Renner & Diebel <strong>Oil</strong> Company of Akron and<br />

Youngs<strong>to</strong>wn put in more than 50 producers<br />

just north and northeast of <strong>to</strong>wn in the next<br />

five years. East of Homeworth, the field<br />

yielded natural gas, much of which was piped<br />

<strong>to</strong> Alliance. The community of Homeworth<br />

received their gas for lighting and heating<br />

from the Weaver <strong>Oil</strong> Company’s gas well on<br />

an adjacent farm. By 1904, the village and<br />

nearby farms were dotted with derricks.<br />

The Scio boom has slowed by 1906. Many<br />

wells were short-lived because of the<br />

disregard for suitable spacing.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

4 7


This well at Crooksville began as a strong<br />

producer in 1909, but the production waned<br />

and flooding problems eventually led <strong>to</strong> its<br />

abandonment.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

In 1903, a number of gas producers were<br />

brought in south of Lee<strong>to</strong>nia, in Columbiana<br />

County. In 1904, the Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company of<br />

West Virginia piped gas <strong>to</strong> nearby Lee<strong>to</strong>nia and<br />

Salem where it was used for lighting, heating,<br />

and small scale manufacturing purposes. In<br />

1905, gas service was extended <strong>to</strong> Columbiana.<br />

New discoveries in 1902 led <strong>to</strong> the formation<br />

of the Columbiana <strong>Gas</strong> Company and the<br />

construction of a pipeline <strong>to</strong> Lisbon.<br />

A circa 1886 well near Millersburg struck<br />

viscous oil in the Berea. It was used for<br />

lubricating purposes. <strong>Gas</strong> from this well was<br />

sufficient <strong>to</strong> light and heat the owner’s farm.<br />

Showings of Berea gas and oil followed drilling<br />

around 1900 at Cumberland, Dennison,<br />

Gilmore, Newport, Port Washing<strong>to</strong>n, Post Boy,<br />

Tuscarawas, Uhrichsville, and Zoar. In 1909,<br />

the area just east of Sugar Creek yielded<br />

several shallow but strong gas wells. At one<br />

time, seven different companies were drilling,<br />

and gas was piped <strong>to</strong> Dover, Shanesville, and<br />

Sugar Creek by 1910 where it was used for<br />

heating and lighting. Unfortunately the gas<br />

was nearly gone by 1916. The gas boom<br />

returned in the 1970s, when drillers sought<br />

out deeper oil and gas bearing stratas.<br />

About a mile west of Wooster, a Clin<strong>to</strong>n<br />

well was shot in July 1910, starting a flow of<br />

1.44 million cubic feet per day. The gas was<br />

used by a local brick plant. Four wells drilled<br />

in Vermilion Township of Ashland County also<br />

produced from the Clin<strong>to</strong>n. A well brought in<br />

at Crooksville in Oc<strong>to</strong>ber 1909 had an initial<br />

flow of two million cubic feet. Located on the<br />

floodplain of Moxahala Creek, the well was<br />

periodically covered by floodwaters and<br />

eventually abandoned. Nearby, a couple miles<br />

southwest of Roseville, oil was struck in the<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n. The well, completed in March, 1910,<br />

was the deepest well in the state at 3,476 feet,<br />

for that time. The well initially yielded 15-25<br />

barrels a day, but production was short-lived.<br />

S O U T H C E N T R A L O H I O<br />

A well drilled near Ruraldale, Muskingum<br />

County around 1864, showed oil at a shallow<br />

depth. Deeper drilling led <strong>to</strong> small oil pools<br />

being worked near Black Run, Bloomfield,<br />

Cannelville, Ful<strong>to</strong>nham, Gratiot, Nashport,<br />

Otsego, and Roseville by 1917. Across the<br />

county, more than 800 wells were producing in<br />

the early 1900s. Yields were approximately<br />

2,000 barrels of oil and 5 million cfd of gas from<br />

the Clin<strong>to</strong>n, Berea, and Cow Run horizons.<br />

McConnellsville began searching for<br />

nearby natural gas in 1889. Persistent<br />

explora<strong>to</strong>ry drilling eventually came up with<br />

producers just east of <strong>to</strong>wn in 1896. The gas<br />

came from the Devonian Berea sands<strong>to</strong>ne.<br />

By 1888 only one well seeking oil had been<br />

drilled in Vin<strong>to</strong>n County. In 1867, workers were<br />

surprised when their <strong>to</strong>ols hit a high pressure<br />

gas zone in the Big Injun (Cuyahoga formation).<br />

In 1870, Andrews of the Ohio Geological<br />

Survey reported on this pioneer well:<br />

An oil well was bored in 1867 on the land<br />

of John Calvin (now owned by L.A. Arbaugh)<br />

in Section 10, Vin<strong>to</strong>n Township. At a depth of<br />

95 feet a seam of coal was reported measuring<br />

5 feet in thickness. At a depth of 490 feet a fissure<br />

containing gas was struck. The gas<br />

rushed up with great force and <strong>to</strong>ok fire from<br />

the engine fire, 40 feet distant, and burned <strong>to</strong><br />

a height variously estimated from 75 <strong>to</strong> 200<br />

feet. The burning continued for a fortnight,<br />

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and caused no little consternation among the<br />

people of the neighborhood. The gas is still<br />

(1870) emitted with great force. It seems a<br />

great pity that so much heating and illuminating<br />

power should go <strong>to</strong> waste.<br />

Around 1877 the well was prepared so that<br />

the gas could be used in lampblack<br />

manufacturing but shortly disappeared.<br />

Wells at Jackson in the former Scio<strong>to</strong> Saline<br />

area tapped minor amounts of gas in the<br />

Devonian Berea. Wells in Gallipolis (1887),<br />

Nelsonville (1887), Scio<strong>to</strong>ville (1875),<br />

Iron<strong>to</strong>n (1885), and Portsmouth (1885)<br />

exhibited no major plays of gas or oil.<br />

In eastern Washing<strong>to</strong>n County in the Ohio<br />

Valley were two related pools in the Berea<br />

sand—the Archers Fork and Elk Run. An<br />

1898 well started at 800 barrels, but had<br />

declined <strong>to</strong> 40 in a year. About 65 wells were<br />

producing around 1900.<br />

Several gas wells drilled in 1899 near<br />

Dudley, Washing<strong>to</strong>n County, became major<br />

suppliers of energy <strong>to</strong> nearby communities<br />

including Caldwell, Dexter City, Elba, and<br />

South Olive. <strong>Gas</strong> was also piped <strong>to</strong><br />

Barnesville, Byesville, Cambridge, Pleasant<br />

City, and Quaker City. Another large gas well<br />

struck gas around 1900 in the Berea at<br />

Moundsville. Several wells produced oil from<br />

the Berea near Belle Valley in the late 1890s.<br />

It was not until 1898 that commercial<br />

quantities of gas were discovered in Vin<strong>to</strong>n<br />

County, An immense gas field in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n<br />

was opened through the central <strong>to</strong>wnships,<br />

stretching from the Hocking <strong>to</strong> Jackson county<br />

lines, west of the Hocking Valley Railroad.<br />

From 1901 <strong>to</strong> 1926 some 67 wells were<br />

producing either gas or oil across this field.<br />

Small pools of oil were struck in the Berea at<br />

Bolin’s Mills (1900) and Zaleski (1916).<br />

D E V O N I A N A N D<br />

M I S S I S S I P P I A N W E L L S O F<br />

S O U T H E A S T O H I O<br />

By far the most important oil producing area<br />

in late Paleozoic strata, is the Sistersville field.<br />

This pool extends across the Ohio River from<br />

Sistersville, West Virginia, across most of<br />

Jackson Township in Monroe County, and<br />

north <strong>to</strong> Mechanicsburg in Perry Township. A<br />

well drilled near Fly in April 1891 struck oil in<br />

Mississippian sands<strong>to</strong>nes, known <strong>to</strong> drillers as<br />

the Keener and Big Injun sands. Upon<br />

pumping, 10-15 barrels was the production.<br />

Other wells matched this production, but all<br />

were plagued with saltwater inflow. In 1892,<br />

saltwater was pumped from a well near<br />

Sistersville with the hope of initiating oil flow. It<br />

worked and soon wells were being put down on<br />

both sides of the Ohio River. The best wells in<br />

Ohio produced 1,200-1,500 barrels per day.<br />

Drilling spread away from the river, following<br />

valleys was the cus<strong>to</strong>m at the time. The<br />

northern part of the field was opened with an<br />

1895 producer. Later wells included a major<br />

gusher and one that averaged 700-800 barrels<br />

for the first month. Wells on the northerly edges<br />

of this pool were not associated with excessive<br />

brine. During the boom years, streams flowing<br />

through this region were saltwater and made<br />

the Ohio brackish at their mouths. A Sistersville<br />

newspaper proclaimed in 1894 that the West<br />

Virginia <strong>to</strong>wn would be the ”New <strong>Oil</strong> City, the<br />

thriving and growing center of the greatest oil<br />

field on earth.”<br />

Monroe County came in late, but still has<br />

ranked as one of southeast Ohio’s most<br />

productive oil regions. Besides the Sistersville<br />

field several other areas of production<br />

developed in the late 1890s. South of<br />

Woodsfield, centered around Griffith and<br />

Graysville, were the Jackson Ridge and<br />

Graysville pools, both starting in 1896 and<br />

getting oil from the Keener sand. Drilling in<br />

1898 slightly northwest of these pools began<br />

the Moose Ridge pool. Drilling has taken<br />

place in all <strong>to</strong>wnships of the county,<br />

producers are scattered; here and there gas<br />

was also encountered.<br />

The early his<strong>to</strong>ry of Noble County gas and<br />

oil exploration has been <strong>to</strong>ld, especially<br />

concerning the Macksburg area. Deeper<br />

drilling at first was unsuccessful, but in Fall<br />

1897 a well near Dudley came in at 14<br />

barrels. Some 40 gas and oil wells were drilled<br />

around Dudley between then and 1903. At<br />

least eight high pressure gas wells were<br />

serving the fuel needs of Noble County <strong>to</strong>wns<br />

by 1903. Pipelines radiated out from the<br />

Dudley field bringing gas <strong>to</strong> Barnesville,<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

4 9


Above: This map was drawn for Bulletin 1<br />

of the Geological Survey of Ohio. It shows<br />

the major pools of Monroe County in 1902.<br />

Below: The Bishop oil field near Woodsfield<br />

was a good producer around 1900.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Byesville, Caldwell, Cambridge, Pleasant City,<br />

and Quaker City. <strong>Gas</strong> was found at<br />

Moundsville in the late 1890s and oil showed<br />

up at Belle Valley around the same time.<br />

The first deep well around Barnesville in<br />

Belmont County was reportedly drilled in<br />

early 1887 with the hope of striking a major<br />

gas flow in the Berea. Unfortunately the well<br />

only produced a minor amount of oil and<br />

considerably more saltwater. The citizens of<br />

Barnesville organized the Warren <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company in late March. From 1889 <strong>to</strong> 1891<br />

the company drilled four successful gas wells<br />

southwest of <strong>to</strong>wn. The largest initially<br />

produced 750,000 cubic feet per day. <strong>Gas</strong> was<br />

supplied <strong>to</strong> the <strong>to</strong>wn in 1890. Later drilling<br />

led <strong>to</strong> some producing oil wells. By 1903,<br />

there were 25 producing oil wells.<br />

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S O M E G A S A N D O I L F I E L D S O F E A S T - C E N T R A L A N D S O U T H E A S T O H I O<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

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Southwest of Barnesville, another field was<br />

discovered in December 1899, just north of<br />

Temperanceville. By mid-1901, 21 wells were<br />

producing; the best initially providing 35<br />

barrels a day. The oil was pumped <strong>to</strong><br />

Sistersville, West Virginia. In the northeastern<br />

corner of Belmont County there was a small<br />

Berea oil pool within the village of Colerain.<br />

Although the productive area was small and<br />

production short-lived, the field made the<br />

news because strong gas pressure made the<br />

wells look like black geysers. Most of the<br />

Berea activity in Belmont County climaxed<br />

between 1890 and 1920.<br />

The first deep well drilled in Vin<strong>to</strong>n<br />

County struck a good flow of gas in the<br />

Mississippian sands<strong>to</strong>ne in 1867. As was<br />

usual in those days, the gas was ignited and<br />

flared 75 <strong>to</strong> 200 feet in<strong>to</strong> the air. The gas was<br />

never utilized and after about 10 years the<br />

well was exhausted. Other wells were put<br />

down throughout Vin<strong>to</strong>n County in the<br />

1880s-90s; many showed some oil but<br />

saltwater dominated. The only oil of<br />

significance came from a small area of Jackson<br />

Township beginning in August 1899. Five<br />

wells were producing 109 barrels a day. Two<br />

wells drilled by the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company near<br />

Orland in 1901-02 produced a good flow of<br />

gas from the Clin<strong>to</strong>n.<br />

Meigs County was another place where the<br />

presence of oil and gas was known at least by<br />

1840. Salt was the sought quantity and thus<br />

the oil and gas was initially a nuisance. The<br />

first well encountering a small play of gas and<br />

oil was near Rutland. A salt well drilled in<br />

Pomeroy in 1852 flowed oil in<strong>to</strong> a nearby<br />

ravine where it eventually reached the Ohio<br />

River. The <strong>to</strong>wn, fearing a fire would destroy<br />

the boats at their docks, dammed the ravine.<br />

Some hundred barrels of this oil were shipped<br />

<strong>to</strong> St. Louis and sold as a liniment. The same<br />

happened in salt wells near Minersville,<br />

however, casing was added <strong>to</strong> save the salt. An<br />

oil well drilled in the 1860s near Enterprise<br />

hit considerable gas, but no oil. Wells in the<br />

New Lima area made a showing of oil but not<br />

enough <strong>to</strong> pay expenses.<br />

An early attempt at producing oil by<br />

horizontal drilling <strong>to</strong>ok place in 1937,<br />

northwest of McConnelsville, in Morgan<br />

County. Along the bank of a stream oil seeped<br />

in the exposed Cow Run sands<strong>to</strong>ne. Just<br />

upstream a 30 foot diameter concrete-lined<br />

shaft was put down <strong>to</strong> a depth of 30 feet.<br />

Drilling equipment was installed at the<br />

bot<strong>to</strong>m of the shaft. Four wells were drilled<br />

in<strong>to</strong> the Cow Run, inclined in such a manner<br />

<strong>to</strong> allow oil <strong>to</strong> flow back in<strong>to</strong> a sump below<br />

the floor of the shaft. Within 12 years the<br />

project had been abandoned since the amount<br />

of oil produced was insignificant. Another<br />

attempt was made in the Buck Run field near<br />

Morganville in 1940. Initially, drilling <strong>to</strong>ok<br />

place in a stream exposure of the Cow Run,<br />

then later a shaft was constructed and six<br />

wells were drilled. Production was also low<br />

and soon this experiment was also<br />

terminated. Thus, the foundation was set for<br />

twenty-first century hydrofracturing.<br />

C H A P T E R F I V E<br />

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CHAPTER SIX<br />

T R E N T O N<br />

P L A Y S<br />

F I N D L A Y - G A S I N T H E T R E N T O N<br />

What appears <strong>to</strong> be the first recorded evidence of natural gas beneath the Findlay area is<br />

described by state geologist, Edward Or<strong>to</strong>n, in 1888:<br />

The first discovery of gas in excavations in and around the <strong>to</strong>wn seems <strong>to</strong> have been made in Oc<strong>to</strong>ber<br />

1836. At a point three-and-one-half miles south of the court-house, in the northwest quarter of section five,<br />

Jackson <strong>to</strong>wnship, a man named Wade was digging a well on the farm of his brother-in-law, Aaron<br />

Williamson. The digging had been carried down ten feet and water was found in sufficient quantity. The<br />

workmen were ready <strong>to</strong> wall the well when they were called <strong>to</strong> supper. Coming back at the edge of the<br />

evening <strong>to</strong> complete the work, a lighted bark <strong>to</strong>rch ignited the gas in the well, giving rise <strong>to</strong> a slight explosion.<br />

The gas appeared in quantity enough <strong>to</strong> maintain a flame which burned, as the s<strong>to</strong>ry goes, for three months,<br />

when the snow and rain got the better of it and extinguished it. The well was never walled or used.<br />

Or<strong>to</strong>n goes on <strong>to</strong> explain another early encounter:<br />

In 1838, Mr. Daniel Foster dug a well on his premises, at the corner of Main and Hardin streets, Findlay.<br />

The gas appeared in quantity and the water was <strong>to</strong>o sulphurous for use. It occurred <strong>to</strong> Mr. Foster <strong>to</strong> get<br />

some good from his labor, though as a source of water the well was a failure. Placing an inverted sugarkettle<br />

in the well, he collected the gas that rose beneath it, conveying it by means of a wooden pipe under<br />

his house <strong>to</strong> the fireplace of one of the rooms. Here he burned it in an old gun-barrel, turning the heat <strong>to</strong><br />

some economic account. The gas has been burning in this house from that day <strong>to</strong> the present (1888).<br />

Cygnet in 1885. This pho<strong>to</strong> shows derricks<br />

on <strong>to</strong>wn lots. The close spacing led <strong>to</strong><br />

short productions.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

As is evident from these accounts, early Findlay residents viewed the gas as a nuisance. The city<br />

also had problems when digging the sewer on the main street—gas fumes produced quite a stink.<br />

In 1864, Dr. Charles Oesterlen, a Findlay physician, tried <strong>to</strong> convince <strong>to</strong>wnsfolk that the gas was<br />

useful and should be s<strong>to</strong>red and used for illumination. Unfortunately, Dr. Oesterlen’s ideas received<br />

little support at the time. The deeper drilling plays of gas in the 1880s and developments in western<br />

Pennsylvania led <strong>to</strong> the formation of the Findlay Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company in March 1884. Dr.<br />

Oesterlen was elected as its president. A well was begun near the site of a gas spring along Eagle<br />

Creek, in the southeastern part of <strong>to</strong>wn in Fall 1884. <strong>Gas</strong> flowed in<strong>to</strong> the well beginning at 310 feet,<br />

but a strong flow was struck at 1,092 feet. The well was lit and a flame reached 20-30 feet above<br />

the standpipe. The ignited well could be seen for 10 miles or so and attracted the curious <strong>to</strong> view<br />

the spectacle. Daily production was estimated by the Ohio Geological Survey <strong>to</strong> be between 200,000<br />

and 300,000 cubic feet. Small amounts of black oil were also encountered in the 1884 well.<br />

Thus Findlay became the first Ohio <strong>to</strong>wn <strong>to</strong> tap the deeper gas and oil riches below the western<br />

part of the state. This was the Ordovician Tren<strong>to</strong>n limes<strong>to</strong>ne. Findlay already had a plant furnishing<br />

gas, but it was artificial gas, not natural gas. Natural gas is hard <strong>to</strong> define because it is widely<br />

variable. An analysis of the Findlay gas performed for the Ohio Geological Survey in 1886 follows:<br />

Marsh gas (methane)......................................92.61<br />

Olefiant gas (ethylene) .....................................0.30<br />

Hydrogen .........................................................2.18<br />

Nitrogen...........................................................3.61<br />

Oxygen.............................................................0.34<br />

Carbonic acid...................................................0.26<br />

Carbonic oxide (Carbon monoxide) ................0.50<br />

Sulphuretted hydrogen (Hydrogen sulfide) ....0.20<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

5 5


S O M E S I G N I F I C A N T W E L L S I N T H E F I N D L A Y F I E L D ( F R O M O R T O N , 1 8 8 8 )<br />

The <strong>Gas</strong>-Light & Coke Company was the<br />

pioneer firm that provided early Findlay with<br />

gas fuel, however this was made from the<br />

distillation of coal. After the Oesterlen<br />

discovery well proved the existence of a<br />

natural gas pool under Findlay, the <strong>Gas</strong>-Light<br />

& Coke Company drilled Well No. 2 at its gas<br />

works. Although not as strong a producer as<br />

the Oestelen well, the company immediately<br />

began pumping this through the line down<br />

Main Street. The Findlay Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company entered direct competition with the<br />

GL&C when it laid a second gas line through<br />

the community. The Findlay Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

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Company was bought out by the GL&C<br />

which was now known as the Findlay <strong>Gas</strong>-<br />

Light Company. Citizens approved legislation<br />

permitting the <strong>to</strong>wn <strong>to</strong> own and operate its<br />

own gas wells. The first was drilled in<br />

November 1886; others were put down<br />

quickly and the city soon had an adequate<br />

supply. The Findlay <strong>Gas</strong>-Light Company was<br />

bought by the municipal system, thus ending<br />

a period of rate wars.<br />

By 1886 <strong>to</strong>tal gas production was around<br />

25 million cubic feet per day. No matter how<br />

the production rates were calculated the<br />

production far exceeded all demands from the<br />

community. To many the supply was endless.<br />

Throughout the city gas flares became<br />

common—the Karg was the largest of all.<br />

The Karg well erupted January 20, 1886,<br />

when the bore reached 1,144 feet and the<br />

Tren<strong>to</strong>n limes<strong>to</strong>ne. A six-inch-diameter stand<br />

pipe rose above the well allowing the ignited<br />

gas <strong>to</strong> soar 60 feet in<strong>to</strong> the air with a pressure<br />

of 400 pounds per square inch, enough <strong>to</strong><br />

lift a three-<strong>to</strong>n piece of iron more than 100 feet<br />

in<strong>to</strong> the air. Forty million cubic feet of gas<br />

escaped daily, waisting tremendous volumes.<br />

Professor George Frederick Wright, a professor<br />

at Oberlin Theological Seminary (later<br />

Oberlin College) and a geologist working with<br />

the U.S. Geological Survey, visited the Karg<br />

well one evening in February 1886 and colorfully<br />

described the local conditions.<br />

The Karg well was pho<strong>to</strong>graphed by many<br />

and used in advertisements of Findlay.<br />

Here is a stereo card that allowed viewers<br />

<strong>to</strong> see a 3-D image. <strong>On</strong> the back was<br />

some information on other Findlay gas<br />

and oil wells.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Although the snow had covered the<br />

ground <strong>to</strong> a depth of several inches, in every<br />

direction for a distance of 200 yards in<br />

circumference the heat of the flame had<br />

melted the snow from the ground and the<br />

grass and weeds had grown two or three<br />

inches in height. The crickets also seemed <strong>to</strong><br />

have mistaken the season of the year, for they<br />

were enlivening the night with their cheerful<br />

song. The neighborhood of the well seemed<br />

also a paradise for tramps. I noticed one who<br />

lay soundly sleeping with his head in a barrel,<br />

with the rest of his body lying outside on the<br />

green turf, <strong>to</strong> receive the genial warmth from<br />

the flame so high up in the air.” Cold as it was<br />

he slept in perfect comfort, with no danger of<br />

suffering so long as he was within the<br />

charmed circle.<br />

The daily amount of heat from this single<br />

well is said <strong>to</strong> equal that from the burning of<br />

one thousand <strong>to</strong>ns of soft coal.<br />

The cost of drilling a well is about $1,500,<br />

but gas is supplied so cheaply <strong>to</strong> consumers<br />

that no one thinks of drilling a well except for<br />

a fac<strong>to</strong>ry or mill. The city owns a number of<br />

fine wells and has pipes under all the streets.<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> is furnished <strong>to</strong> consumers for fifteen cents<br />

a month for each grate or s<strong>to</strong>ve, and the<br />

consumer is permitted <strong>to</strong> burn as much or as<br />

little as he chooses.<br />

The gas has a distinct and penetrating<br />

sulphuric odor, so that it (is) safer for<br />

household use than manufactured gas, as it<br />

cannot escape without being quickly detected.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

5 7


Findlay’s 1887 <strong>Gas</strong> Jubilee ex<strong>to</strong>lled the<br />

advantages of locating businesses and<br />

residences in Findlay.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY AND THE<br />

MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD COUNTY HISTORICAL<br />

CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> is a great luxury as a fuel, with no smoke,<br />

dirt or expensive manipulation connected<br />

with it. It is easily managed and burns with a<br />

beautiful blue flame that emits an intense heat<br />

which never varies in degree.<br />

There was a great deal of speculation in<br />

farms in the gas belt, and one agent <strong>to</strong>ld me he<br />

had sold the same farm ten times. Hundreds<br />

of farmers have been made rich, but I cannot<br />

think they have gained as much in<br />

contentment as they have in wealth. <strong>On</strong>e odd<br />

character sold his farm for $75,000 and came<br />

<strong>to</strong> the <strong>to</strong>wn <strong>to</strong> live. He brought with him three<br />

strapping daughters, and this strange quartet,<br />

in garments cut in styles that were popular a<br />

quarter of a century ago, wander about the<br />

streets in a helpless and hopeless sort of way,<br />

wondering what <strong>to</strong> do with their money now<br />

that they have got it. The land which Sena<strong>to</strong>r<br />

Sherman paid $30,000 for has advanced in<br />

three months <strong>to</strong> $150,000 in value. The<br />

population of Findlay has grown from 5,000<br />

<strong>to</strong> 15,000 in a year.<br />

The Karg well spectacle drew thousands <strong>to</strong><br />

Findlay. Excursion trains brought the curious<br />

throughout the Midwest, and Findlay’s depots<br />

were alive with visi<strong>to</strong>rs. The roar of escaping<br />

gas carried several miles, with the flame being<br />

visible for 40 miles. The city advertised widely<br />

its excellent gas supply, attracting all kinds<br />

of manufacturers and plants that could prosper<br />

with the readily available fuel for power<br />

and lighting.<br />

Several other huge gas strikes were made in<br />

the Findlay field in the late 1880s. Two miles<br />

north of the Hancock County Courthouse was<br />

the Tippecanoe well. This well was <strong>to</strong>rpedoed,<br />

initiating one of the greatest gas emissions in<br />

Ohio. The first day 32 million cubic feet<br />

escaped, followed by 24 million and 19<br />

million the next two days.<br />

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In June 1887 the newly incorporated city of<br />

Findlay put on a three-day gas jubilee,<br />

celebrating the first anniversary of “the<br />

practical application of natural gas <strong>to</strong> the<br />

mechanical arts in Findlay”. It was June 1886,<br />

that the Biggs Iron and Tool Company, the first<br />

new firm enticed <strong>to</strong> locate in the city and use<br />

the cheap supply of natural gas, beginning its<br />

production of various iron and steel <strong>to</strong>ols.<br />

Forty thousand visi<strong>to</strong>rs poured in<strong>to</strong> the<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn <strong>to</strong> participate in the natural gas jubilee.<br />

The bustling city was ablaze with light and<br />

decorations, radiant in all the glory of flags,<br />

evergreens, bunting, and flowers. The main<br />

street was spanned by fifty-eight arches,<br />

bearing jubilant mot<strong>to</strong>es illuminated by the<br />

flame of thousands of gas jets. Thirty<br />

thousand such jets were burning all over the<br />

city and turning night in<strong>to</strong> day. The first day<br />

(Wednesday) was devoted chiefly <strong>to</strong> the<br />

reception of distinguished guests. <strong>On</strong><br />

Thursday morning the exercises consisted of<br />

the laying of the corner-s<strong>to</strong>nes for four new<br />

manufacturing establishments, in addition <strong>to</strong><br />

those which had been laid the day before.<br />

Early in the day Sena<strong>to</strong>r John Sherman and<br />

other dignitaries arrived, and in the afternoon<br />

Gov. Foraker, accompanied by Adjutant-<br />

General Axline and staff, and the regular<br />

army officers who were <strong>to</strong> act as judges<br />

of the military contest, reached the city,<br />

and were accorded a most hearty reception.<br />

Other arrivals were about 1,000 uniformed<br />

members of the Knights of Pythias from<br />

Springfield, Toledo, Day<strong>to</strong>n, Cleveland,<br />

Sandusky, Bluff<strong>to</strong>n, and other points, all<br />

accompanied by bands of music. The<br />

$1,000 prize drill, later in the day, attracted<br />

5,000 specta<strong>to</strong>rs.<br />

All day long the burning gas on the street<br />

arches flared in the light rains. It was cheaper<br />

<strong>to</strong> let it burn than <strong>to</strong> employ men <strong>to</strong> put it out<br />

and light it again. In the evening there was a<br />

grand banquet, at which appropriate<br />

addresses were made by Sena<strong>to</strong>r Sherman,<br />

Gov. Foraker, Charles Foster, Murat Halstead,<br />

Gen. Thomas Powell and others. The evening’s<br />

illumination was a grand success. Hundreds<br />

of sheets of flame leaped from the arches, and<br />

the brilliancy of the burning gas flooded the<br />

Top: Tremendous volumes of natural<br />

gas was wasted as gas flares lined<br />

down<strong>to</strong>wn Findlay.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Middle: As seen in this early 1900 postcard<br />

image oil wells replaced the gas wells<br />

around Findlay. The Huffman well is shown<br />

after being shot.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m: A pump station is under<br />

construction near Findlay. Note older<br />

wooden tank in background.<br />

WILLIS A. LEITER PHOTOGRAPH, COURTESY OF THE MAX<br />

SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD COUNTY HISTORICAL<br />

CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

5 9


O I L W E L L S D R I L L E D I N H A N C O C K A N D<br />

W O O D C O U N T I E S , 1 8 9 1 - 1 8 9 9<br />

city in a blaze of light. A continuous display of<br />

fireworks was made from seven o’clock until<br />

midnight, while 70,000 people packed<br />

roadway, walks, windows and roofs, and<br />

manifested in repeated applause their<br />

admiration of the spectacle. Friday, the last<br />

day, was occupied with processions, military<br />

parades, prize drills, band contests at the<br />

Wigwam, the laying of various corner-s<strong>to</strong>nes,<br />

and of the first rails of the belt and electric<br />

railroads; the festivities concluding in the<br />

evening with the awarding of prizes and a<br />

display of fireworks. In the drill the first prize<br />

of $1,000 was won by the Toledo Cadets,<br />

while the State University Cadets won the<br />

second prize of $500, and the Wooster Guards<br />

the third prize of $250.<br />

The Jubilee ex<strong>to</strong>lled the virtues of the new<br />

city, particularly the plentiful energy supply.<br />

The city offered free fuel, sometimes guaranteed<br />

for five years and often land for the construction<br />

of fac<strong>to</strong>ries. Findlay was a medium<br />

size <strong>to</strong>wn covering about four square miles<br />

when the Oesterlen well came in; by 1889 the<br />

city covered the entire <strong>to</strong>wnship and twenty<br />

thousand more folks called the place home.<br />

The seemingly endless supply of fuel was<br />

used by brick and tile concerns, glass plants,<br />

iron foundries, lime kilns, <strong>to</strong> name just a few<br />

of the new industries that set up in Findlay.<br />

Businesses and manufacturing firms used the<br />

gas in generally wasteful ways. They were not<br />

alone, as home owners often found it easier <strong>to</strong><br />

open a window or door rather than turning<br />

down the gas. The Winter of 1888 was a harbinger<br />

of what was <strong>to</strong> come. As the gas supply<br />

could not keep up with demand, businesses<br />

were forced <strong>to</strong> reduce hours of operation. Part<br />

of the problem was salty groundwater entering<br />

the wells and s<strong>to</strong>pping the flow of gas. It<br />

soon became evident that the city would have<br />

<strong>to</strong> expand the gas field and hopefully bring in<br />

gas from elsewhere. In 1889 the municipal<br />

gas company sunk new wells in leased property<br />

in northern Hancock County.<br />

With the demise of the gas, many former gas<br />

wells were transformed <strong>to</strong> oil wells. <strong>Oil</strong> seekers<br />

first concentrated on Liberty Township, west of<br />

Findlay, where the first oil wells were drilled in<br />

Spring 1886. Allen Township, north of Findlay<br />

was not only a pioneer gas field, but beginning<br />

in late 1886, it also became one of the earliest<br />

areas of oil production. <strong>Oil</strong> exploration also<br />

spread westward in<strong>to</strong> neighboring Portage<br />

Township (Hancock County). Drilling spread<br />

<strong>to</strong> outlying <strong>to</strong>wnships about 1890 and continued<br />

until about 1905.<br />

By the 1890s and after geologists had studied<br />

data from hundreds of wells, it had<br />

become evident that the Tren<strong>to</strong>n varied from<br />

one area <strong>to</strong> another and sometimes within 50<br />

feet. It was common for the <strong>to</strong>p of the Tren<strong>to</strong>n<br />

<strong>to</strong> be devoid of gas and oil in many places and<br />

show plays just below this cap. The exact<br />

depth at which oil or gas was struck however<br />

was not definite. In Bloom Township, particularly<br />

around Bairds<strong>to</strong>wn, there were often two<br />

or three plays separated by 30-150 feet.<br />

Companies often deepened original Tren<strong>to</strong>n<br />

wells, hoping <strong>to</strong> revitalize the production.<br />

In 1896 the gas supply had dwindled <strong>to</strong> the<br />

point that Findlay cut off gas <strong>to</strong> most industrial<br />

concerns and instituted a meter system for<br />

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domestic use. Many plants moved <strong>to</strong> newer gas<br />

fields where cheap energy was still available.<br />

This was the end of the glass industry in Findlay<br />

(and also many other Ohio <strong>to</strong>wns)—out of a<br />

dozen fac<strong>to</strong>ries only one remained (It had converted<br />

<strong>to</strong> coal). In February 1899, the municipal<br />

gas plant was sold.<br />

B O W L I N G G R E E N A N D<br />

L I M A F I E L D S<br />

The s<strong>to</strong>ry of gas exploration in other northwestern<br />

Ohio communities parallels that of<br />

Findlay, except for the lack of the gigantic<br />

plays. The first two communities <strong>to</strong> tap in<strong>to</strong><br />

the subsurface gas were Bowling Green, Wood<br />

County, and Lima, Allen County. The Bowling<br />

Green field connects with the Hancock County<br />

field <strong>to</strong> the south by two bands, one <strong>to</strong> the west<br />

and the other <strong>to</strong> the east of North Baltimore.<br />

The Bowling Green Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company was<br />

chartered in January 1885 <strong>to</strong> investigate the<br />

subsurface of this county seat <strong>to</strong>wn. The first<br />

well drilled in Portage Township, <strong>to</strong> the southeast<br />

of <strong>to</strong>wn, produced a strong flow of gas 330<br />

feet down at what was the Silurian Medina<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne, but it was exhausted after two-anda-half<br />

days. After reaching the depth of the<br />

Tren<strong>to</strong>n and still not showing significant gas, it<br />

was <strong>to</strong>rpedoed and a decent flow of gas began.<br />

By January 1886 the company had put down<br />

six wells, three of which were producers.<br />

Production, however didn’t exceed 150,000<br />

cubic feet per day and proved inadequate during<br />

the winter heating season. Later wells<br />

tapped other parts of Portage Township and<br />

Bloom Township near Cygnet and produced<br />

enough gas <strong>to</strong> allow the <strong>to</strong>wn <strong>to</strong> provide free<br />

gas <strong>to</strong> any industries that would erect facilities<br />

in Bowling Green. Soon, Bowling Green was<br />

another center of glass manufacture, and<br />

industrial use led <strong>to</strong> a rapid depletion of the<br />

reserves, by 1890 the fields depleted.<br />

Southwest of <strong>to</strong>wn in Liberty Township,<br />

just south of Rudolph, was the Ducat Well.<br />

Dr. John Adams Bownocker, a geology<br />

professor at Ohio State University wrote<br />

about this well in 1903:<br />

Above: A map from the Geological Survey of<br />

Ohio Bulletin 1 showing oil and gas fields<br />

mainly north of Hancock County.<br />

Left: A portion of a USGS <strong>to</strong>pographic map<br />

from 1903 shows many of the communities<br />

directly south of Bowling Green that were<br />

platted and experienced prosperity during<br />

the boom years. Many are now ghost <strong>to</strong>wns.<br />

Also note the railroads that served the oil<br />

and gas fields. Today, I-75 passes along the<br />

right border of the image.<br />

A poor German had secured a twenty-acre<br />

lease in what was regarded “wild-cat terri<strong>to</strong>ry.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

6 1


He had a very poor string of <strong>to</strong>ols, putting in<br />

these and the lease every dollar that he could<br />

command. When he reached the Tren<strong>to</strong>n<br />

rock, it yielded no oil, and the driller became<br />

greatly discouraged. However, he had staked<br />

all—and consequently was compelled <strong>to</strong> drill<br />

deeper, hoping for the best. At 50 feet a strong<br />

flow of gas was found, but no oil. The outlook<br />

now was practically hopeless, in view of the<br />

results in other fields. At this stage a representative<br />

of the Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Company, who<br />

had furnished these data, chanced <strong>to</strong> be driving<br />

by. Hitching his horse he walked <strong>to</strong> the<br />

derrick, and found the facts as just related.<br />

The driller was still at work, but with so little<br />

hope that he offered <strong>to</strong> sell the lease and well<br />

at cost, about $2,500. Not caring <strong>to</strong> add <strong>to</strong> the<br />

discouragement by refusing, the visi<strong>to</strong>r promised<br />

<strong>to</strong> consider the proposition and drove<br />

away. A few minutes later, when only a fraction<br />

of a mile from the well, he heard a loud<br />

report, and looking back saw a solid stream of<br />

oil flowing from the well, and rising higher<br />

than the derrick. He at once returned <strong>to</strong> the<br />

well, offering <strong>to</strong> purchase it on the terms<br />

which the driller had proposed a half hour<br />

before, but now it was the latter’s opportunity<br />

<strong>to</strong> decline.<br />

The Ducat well was one of the first <strong>to</strong><br />

demonstrate a pay below the first fifty feet of<br />

the Tren<strong>to</strong>n. The flow of the well could not be<br />

measured until several days passed. It was<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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Opposite, <strong>to</strong>p: The Bowling Green area was<br />

an important part of the Lima-Indiana field.<br />

This stereo-optican view was taken by N. W.<br />

Low, a professional pho<strong>to</strong>grapher from<br />

Bowling Green in the 1880s-1890s. A<br />

gusher such as this one usually attracted the<br />

curious. Mr. Low probably sold quite of few<br />

of these cards.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

gauged at 10,000 barrels per day, but was<br />

certainly higher when it first came in.<br />

Flora Carnicom, who lived in Ducat most of<br />

her life described the well in a 1960s interview:<br />

I remember the first well, the gusher that<br />

come in here was out here on the Defiance<br />

Pike, now it’s called Route 281. And Clarence<br />

Potter drilled the well. And it come in as a<br />

gusher. And it was a gusher, let me tell you!<br />

And I know it drawed people from far and<br />

near. You could hear that well roar! And they<br />

couldn’t get it, uh, shut in, you know, for the<br />

gas. Oh, it was just a fog of gas! It was just a<br />

wonderful well…. Now I don’t know how<br />

many barrels that made, but it flowed out<br />

before they got it shut in <strong>to</strong> go in the tanks. It<br />

flowed until the men had <strong>to</strong> put hip boots on.<br />

To wade <strong>to</strong> do it. I remember seeing that.<br />

Fred W. Meeker who lived in Jerry City in<br />

the 1900’s shared the following s<strong>to</strong>ry about<br />

the Ducat well:<br />

I’ve heard the Potter well was terrific. The<br />

s<strong>to</strong>ry that’s <strong>to</strong>ld of that is that Mr. Potter had run<br />

out of money. He contracted the well <strong>to</strong> go so<br />

deep for so much. And he run out of money and<br />

they hadn’t hit anything and he pulled his gold<br />

watch out of his pocket and he <strong>to</strong>ld the drillers,<br />

he said, “Here, I’ll give you this watch if you’ll<br />

drill six more feet.” And before they had drilled<br />

six feet they had hit the jackpot. I guess you<br />

would call it. And whether that’s true or not, I<br />

don’t know, but that’s the s<strong>to</strong>ry that’s been <strong>to</strong>ld.<br />

The Ducat well gushed for two days before<br />

it was brought under control. The oil ran in<strong>to</strong><br />

the Portage River. Trees glistened with oil.<br />

Supposedly there was a stream of fire stretching<br />

for four miles and reaching 30 feet in<strong>to</strong><br />

the sky. It later was measured at 10,000<br />

barrels per day. Six months later the owner<br />

sold it for $10,000; ironically it eventually<br />

ended up Standard <strong>Oil</strong> property.<br />

The first gas well bored in Lima was on the<br />

grounds of the Lima Straw Board Works, a paper<br />

mill owned by Benjamin C. Faurot in the Spring<br />

of 1885. The mill, located along the Ottawa<br />

River, was seeking a source of groundwater as<br />

much as it was seeking natural gas. Faurot was<br />

disappointed when oil was struck instead of gas<br />

at the Tren<strong>to</strong>n horizon, however he made the<br />

best of the situation. It was a little puzzling <strong>to</strong><br />

drillers because many who were familiar with<br />

the Pennsylvania oil fields expected strong oil<br />

plays <strong>to</strong> come from sands (sands<strong>to</strong>nes), not the<br />

limes<strong>to</strong>nes and dolos<strong>to</strong>nes of the Tren<strong>to</strong>n.<br />

Torpedoing the well brought a good flow of<br />

oil—more than 200 barrels daily for the first six<br />

days and set the stage for the development of the<br />

Lima <strong>Oil</strong> Field. W. M. Rusler explained the<br />

shooting of this well in 1921:<br />

When the material arrived from Toledo <strong>to</strong><br />

be used in shooting the paper mill oil well, the<br />

Opposite, middle: This scene was repeated<br />

in many of the oil fields of northwestern<br />

Ohio.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Opposite, bot<strong>to</strong>m: These wells located near<br />

Portage are in the pumping stage. They are<br />

connected by rods <strong>to</strong> a powerhouse.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Left: These two views show a well near<br />

Rudolph. A crowd has gathered for a<br />

demonstration. Note the distance of the<br />

boiler from the rig <strong>to</strong> help prevent fires<br />

should the oil gush.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

6 3


Above: Derricks and early tanks at<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> Center.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: Two unidentified men enjoy<br />

a break in the oil field somewhere in<br />

northwest Ohio.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

men <strong>to</strong> do it were not on hand and the operatives<br />

at the mill would take no chances on<br />

explosives being left there. The consignment<br />

was taken back <strong>to</strong> the depot and remained<br />

there overnight. It was a reddish looking stuff<br />

comprising sixteen ingredients, and the unsophisticated<br />

would take no chances with it.<br />

When ready <strong>to</strong> shoot the well, it was placed in<br />

two tin cans about three feet long, each weighing<br />

about 200 pounds; the men were careful,<br />

handling it like it were eggs. Part of it was<br />

burned outside making a beautiful light.<br />

Those in charge of the explosive objected <strong>to</strong><br />

any one coming near who had a cigar in his<br />

mouth. Two hours before the time announced<br />

an immense crowd had gathered <strong>to</strong> witness<br />

the shooting of the oil well, the railroad<br />

embankment being lined with people interested<br />

in the success or failure of the undertaking.<br />

All available standing room was filled with<br />

men, women and children who patiently<br />

awaited developments.<br />

The workmen lowered one can of the<br />

explosive <strong>to</strong> the bot<strong>to</strong>m with a cable wire, its<br />

weight being sufficient <strong>to</strong> sink it through the<br />

accumulated oil. The second can was lowered<br />

and a workman carefully produced a small<br />

package which proved <strong>to</strong> be small oil cans<br />

filled with glycerine. When the glycerine was<br />

lowered the plunger followed, the drill was let<br />

down and the explosion was the result,<br />

although no jar was felt and the first intimation<br />

was the appearance of oil at the surface.<br />

The concussion caused the oil <strong>to</strong> shoot seventy-five<br />

feet in the air, but after about one<br />

minute it subsided and there was a flow of<br />

natural gas. The oil was stronger than the gas<br />

and soon only oil was in evidence, and while<br />

the workmen were reticent the result was<br />

thought <strong>to</strong> be satisfac<strong>to</strong>ry. The Ottawa River<br />

was covered with oil, and those familiar with<br />

the oil industry said it was a good quality.<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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Left: In 1885 Cygnet was dotted with<br />

wooden derricks seeking oil deep below in<br />

the Tren<strong>to</strong>n formation.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Below: Derricks south of Cygnet.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

The Citizens’ <strong>Gas</strong> Company of Lima<br />

drilled the next well, completing it in the<br />

Fall of 1885 also along the Ottawa River. It<br />

began as a 40-45-barrel pumping well and<br />

ended, yielding about 15 barrels. The Lima<br />

oil was a low density oil with a strong<br />

sulfurous odor. Owners of the Citizens’ well<br />

sent samples of it <strong>to</strong> refineries across the continent<br />

for analysis and recommendations for<br />

purification. It was shortly determined that<br />

Lima oil could be deodorized and refined<br />

<strong>to</strong> make an excellent illuminating oil. In<br />

the meantime, Faurot organized the Tren<strong>to</strong>n<br />

Rock <strong>Oil</strong> Company which purchased oil<br />

leases from farm owners of northwestern<br />

Ohio and northeastern Indiana. By 1886, the<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

6 5


Above: This 1903 Findlay quadrangle<br />

shows more <strong>to</strong>wns that flourished during the<br />

boom years.<br />

Below: A worker pours nitro in<strong>to</strong> a <strong>to</strong>rpedo<br />

as a well is readied for shooting.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

company had 250 wells from Lima <strong>to</strong> St.<br />

Marys and in<strong>to</strong> Indiana.<br />

The Lima Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company was officially<br />

organized in August 1886 and charged<br />

with laying gas lines throughout the village.<br />

Since a suitable source of natural gas was not<br />

found locally, gas was piped 25 miles from the<br />

Longsworth well in the St. Marys field beginning<br />

in Oc<strong>to</strong>ber 1887. This source was<br />

exhausted by 1902, so the city turned <strong>to</strong> other<br />

gas fields—first around Red Key, Indiana;<br />

then in Licking County, Ohio; followed by<br />

Medina County. In the early 1920s, natural<br />

gas was supplemented by manufactured gas<br />

produced by the Lima <strong>Gas</strong> Light Company, an<br />

artificial gas company subsidiary <strong>to</strong> the Lima<br />

Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company. The West Ohio <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company, located at 319 West Market Street,<br />

was formed from the merger of five other<br />

firms including Lima Natural <strong>Gas</strong> in 1924. By<br />

1929 the company was serving Celina,<br />

Cridersville, Ken<strong>to</strong>n, Lima, St. Marys, and<br />

Wapakoneta. By 1958 West Ohio <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company was also providing service <strong>to</strong><br />

Bluff<strong>to</strong>n, Cairo, Coldwater, Columbus Grove,<br />

Delphos, Elida, Glandorf, Leipsic,<br />

Middlepoint, Ottawa, and Van Wert.<br />

By April 1887, the Lima field boasted 424<br />

oil wells and was Ohio’s number one ranking<br />

field by far, and thought by the Ohio<br />

Geological Survey’s Edward Or<strong>to</strong>n <strong>to</strong> be the<br />

second best in the world. Unfortunately problems<br />

developed with the Citizens’ well and it<br />

was abandoned by 1888. The problem with<br />

the Citizens’ well and with most of the wells<br />

in the Lima field was brine replacing the oil<br />

when pumping was s<strong>to</strong>pped. The disregard<br />

for proper spacing of wells in these early years<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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led <strong>to</strong> the failure of many wells after just a<br />

short period of production.<br />

It was rumored in the early 1880s that<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> was looking for a site in northwestern<br />

Ohio for a second refinery—word was<br />

that it would be either Findlay or Toledo.<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> officials, upon visiting Lima in<br />

1886, indicated that a site on the large Shawnee<br />

Township farm of James A. Hover was an ideal<br />

location especially since two railroad lines bordered<br />

it. Mr. Hover eventually sold 151 acres <strong>to</strong><br />

the Solar Refinery Company (a Standard <strong>Oil</strong><br />

subsidiary). The refinery was faced with the task<br />

of sweetening the crude oil of the northwestern<br />

counties. In 1905 the plant had 600 employees<br />

and manufactured benzene, illuminating oils,<br />

lubricating oils, and paraffine wax.<br />

When the refinery was built Standard <strong>Oil</strong><br />

had already purchased and s<strong>to</strong>red large quantities<br />

of the Tren<strong>to</strong>n crude attempting <strong>to</strong><br />

monopolize the market. Standard dropped<br />

the price of crude from over 60 cents a barrel<br />

<strong>to</strong> 40 cents and eventually <strong>to</strong> 15 cents. This<br />

hurt the small Lima producers who joined<br />

<strong>to</strong>gether <strong>to</strong> form the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company in<br />

1887, a company whose task was drilling for<br />

oil, not marketing or refining it. From 1887<br />

<strong>to</strong> 1905 Lima was a major pipeline center—<br />

lines reached out like an oc<strong>to</strong>pus from the<br />

Allen County seat. The Buckeye Pipe Line<br />

Company had its offices at 137 West North<br />

Street in 1905. Since Lima was also a railroad<br />

center, trains of tank cars carried the petroleum<br />

products <strong>to</strong> all parts of the states.<br />

Above: The Lima area oil and gas fields are<br />

depicted on this map from Bownocker’s<br />

1902 Geological Survey of Ohio bulletin.<br />

Left: <strong>Oil</strong> derricks dotted the Lima<br />

countryside after Faurot’s discovery of oil<br />

deep below the <strong>to</strong>wn (Van Tassel, 1902.)<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

6 7


1886 a well was drilled for the Hancock <strong>Oil</strong> &<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> Company on the former Simons’ farm about<br />

a mile north of Bairds<strong>to</strong>wn. State Geologist,<br />

Edward Or<strong>to</strong>n, described this site in 1888:<br />

Above: This postcard shows a powerhouse<br />

which was connected <strong>to</strong> several<br />

earby derricks.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A SPENCER.<br />

Below: his view of the Solar Refinery around<br />

1900 shows the platform for loading tank<br />

cars. (Van Tassel, 1902).<br />

Production reached its peak in 1904; by 1910<br />

the field was nearly depleted.<br />

The Manhattan <strong>Oil</strong> Company also maintained<br />

headquarters in Lima. In 1905 they<br />

had over 600 miles of pipelines, 24 pumping<br />

stations, and 200 s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks throughout<br />

the Ohio-Indiana Tren<strong>to</strong>n field.<br />

B L O O M T O W N S H I P<br />

G A S F I E L D<br />

This Wood County field extended along the<br />

B&O Railroad from North Baltimore east <strong>to</strong><br />

Godsend, a water s<strong>to</strong>p on the railroad. In July<br />

The (Simons) farm is a lonely one, and is<br />

not only not located on any public road, but is<br />

not in sight of any road, and the nearest houses<br />

are nearly a mile distant from it. In much of<br />

the land of the farm, the underlying rock is so<br />

near the surface that it is laid bare whenever a<br />

forest tree is uprooted. Thirty or forty acres<br />

were here cut out of the original black swamp<br />

in a little block, and a small farm was set in<br />

order, upon which the cheapest possible<br />

equipment of necessary buildings was placed,<br />

a house on which $100 or $200 might have<br />

been expended, and a log barn that would not<br />

cost half as much in money outlay. Fields were<br />

fenced and an orchard was set. A narrow living<br />

was secured for a household by unremitting<br />

<strong>to</strong>il, and by the reduction of all demands <strong>to</strong> the<br />

bare necessities of life. A well sunk a few feet<br />

in<strong>to</strong> the limes<strong>to</strong>ne rock furnished an abundant<br />

supply of water, rank with sulphuretted<br />

hydrogen, for farm and s<strong>to</strong>ck. <strong>Gas</strong>, bubbling<br />

up through the pools left by overturned trees,<br />

tainted the air and it was long ago found that a<br />

hollow corn-stalk or reed, thrust in<strong>to</strong> the black<br />

mud at the bot<strong>to</strong>m of these pools, would bring<br />

up gas enough <strong>to</strong> maintain a flame for some<br />

time. The owner seems <strong>to</strong> have had a<br />

presentiment that his little farm contained<br />

something out of the usual order, as he sought<br />

advice in matters geological as his grade of<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

68


intelligence led him <strong>to</strong> trust, viz., the location<br />

of mineral wealth as indicated by the witchhazel<br />

branch and also by clairvoyant<br />

revelations. From one or both of these sources<br />

of information, he learned that his farm<br />

contained valuable deposits of silver ore, and<br />

also two veins of oil. <strong>Gas</strong> was not known at<br />

that time either <strong>to</strong> the geologist or the divining<br />

rod expert, and this accounts for its omission<br />

from these witch-hazel treasures. Enriched by<br />

the consciousness of these unusual sources of<br />

wealth, and doubtless happier than if he had<br />

sought <strong>to</strong> develop them, he pursued the even<br />

tenor of his way, and died, leaving the little<br />

farm <strong>to</strong> his natural heirs.<br />

It was no surprise when a tremendous flow<br />

of gas was struck in early August. A week after<br />

the first gas was struck the well was emitting<br />

12,421,968 cubic feet per day, the greatest <strong>to</strong><br />

this point (The flow of the Karg well was<br />

measured through 4 inch piping; the Simons<br />

through 5.25 inch casing. Thus, if the measurements<br />

were made in the same way, the flow<br />

of the Karg well would have exceeded the<br />

Simons.) Just like the Karg well, the Simons<br />

well burned out of control for some time.<br />

Eventually it was taken over by the<br />

Northwestern Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> Company.<br />

As gas flow decreased, oil began <strong>to</strong> rise in<br />

many wells and the former gas field became<br />

an oil field around 1890. By 1902, Bloom<br />

Township was producing significant oil.<br />

Bairds<strong>to</strong>wn and Welker (later, Galatea) were<br />

the centers of this oil patch. A large refinery<br />

was erected at Welker.<br />

A well drilled on the Weyrick farm at Jerry<br />

City by the Hancock <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> Company in<br />

1886 produced flowing oil at the Clin<strong>to</strong>n<br />

level—about 30-40 barrels for several months.<br />

Later, around 1899 a well was drilled on Main<br />

Street in Jerry City. As the s<strong>to</strong>ry goes a little<br />

boy was gazing down the hole when the<br />

drillers had pulled the drill stem. Suddenly he<br />

was knocked off his feet as oil gushed above<br />

the derrick. It was four days before they got<br />

the gusher under control. The well filled a<br />

250-barrel tank in less than a day. More tanks<br />

were added, but still a lot of oil was wasted. By<br />

1900, 122 producing wells were located within<br />

the Jerry City <strong>to</strong>wn limits. Bloomdale<br />

received its gas supply when a Hancock <strong>Oil</strong> &<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> Company well struck gas in the Tren<strong>to</strong>n in<br />

June 1886. The flow ranged from 2.64 million<br />

<strong>to</strong> 3.24 million cubic feet per day.<br />

The Northwestern Ohio Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company drilled four wells at the Godsend<br />

water s<strong>to</strong>p, four miles west of Fos<strong>to</strong>ria on the<br />

B&O Railroad in 1886. All four tapped gas in<br />

the Tren<strong>to</strong>n on the Kelly farmstead. Kelly No. 1<br />

flowed at 3,187,000 cubic feet per day. The<br />

company laid a 10-inch diameter pipeline from<br />

Cass Township, Hancock County, through<br />

Bloom, Portage, Center, and Webster Townships<br />

in<strong>to</strong> Toledo in 1887. The Toledo Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company’s ten-inch pipeline was three miles<br />

Top: The Solar Refinery tank farm in Lima<br />

about 1912.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Above: This view shows the Standard <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company office building at Lima around<br />

1900 (Van Tassel, 1902).<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

6 9


Above: Buckeye Pipe Line operated this<br />

pump station at Lima. View dates <strong>to</strong> 1900.<br />

(Van Tassel, 1902).<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, left: Bicycles were the way <strong>to</strong> get<br />

around in Jerry City in the early days.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: This well at Bloomdale erupts<br />

after being shot in 1906.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

west and extended from the Hancock County<br />

line through Bloom Township and then north<br />

through Portage and Center <strong>to</strong>wnships <strong>to</strong><br />

Toledo. Pipelines also stretched from Bloom<br />

Township <strong>to</strong> Fos<strong>to</strong>ria, Fremont, and Tiffin.<br />

H E N R Y T O W N S H I P<br />

O I L F I E L D<br />

This field abuts the Bloom Township <strong>Gas</strong><br />

field on the west. The first well drilled in<br />

Summer 1886 in the North Baltimore area was<br />

seeking gas, and it produced oil. After a couple<br />

of other unsuccessful attempts, a well<br />

drilled on the Peters’ farm on East Broadway<br />

just east of <strong>to</strong>wn brought in an initial flow of<br />

three million daily cubic feet. The gas was<br />

piped <strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>wn with the hope of attracting<br />

industry. Between 1887 and 1888 the Central<br />

Pressed Brick, Enterprise Window Glass,<br />

North Baltimore Bottle Glass, and Zihlman<br />

Flint Glass companies opened up. Wasteful<br />

practices followed by all led <strong>to</strong> a rapid depletion<br />

of the gas. After being plugged for many<br />

years, the Peters well was reactivated in 1985<br />

<strong>to</strong> provide fuel for a new foundry.<br />

The first true gusher in the North<br />

Baltimore area <strong>to</strong>ok place on the Dave Ful<strong>to</strong>n<br />

farm about a mile south of Hammansburg in<br />

December 1886. The drillers were getting discouraged,<br />

but continued <strong>to</strong> drill deeper until,<br />

and at 1,194 feet they hit pay dirt. All the<br />

drainage ditches were carrying oil and the<br />

countryside was spotted with oil. Thousands<br />

of barrels were lost. It <strong>to</strong>ok a couple of days<br />

before they got the well under control.<br />

According <strong>to</strong> C. Ash who was in charge of the<br />

drilling crew at the pioneer Hammansburg well:<br />

We drilled in this (The Tren<strong>to</strong>n formation)<br />

a while and had about given up getting anything.<br />

We were living in hope every minute<br />

and Monday afternoon, the 6th, at 5 o’clock,<br />

we were just 30 feet in<strong>to</strong> the Tren<strong>to</strong>n when we<br />

heard a noise in the well which began <strong>to</strong> fill.<br />

We s<strong>to</strong>pped the drill and were hardly out of<br />

the way when the oil spouted up over the derrick<br />

and 85 feet in<strong>to</strong> the air. We quickly put<br />

the fire out under the boiler and withdrew<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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Above: Somewhere around Wood County.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

from the field. The flow was so continuous<br />

that we were (not) able <strong>to</strong> get our <strong>to</strong>ols out<br />

until Thursday.<br />

The second productive well was the nearby<br />

Henning well and completed in February<br />

1897. This one filled at least 15,000 barrels in<br />

the first day. By late 1887, the Henning well<br />

was producing 60-70 barrels each day. This<br />

strike filled 250 barrels in the first 12 hours.<br />

The best was yet <strong>to</strong> come. The Slaughterbeck<br />

well, the third drilled, gushed at least 5,000<br />

barrels in the first day. By 1898 over 50 successful<br />

wells had been drilled in this field.<br />

Most of the wells were flowing wells and most<br />

did not need <strong>to</strong> be shot. In 1891 the Hardy<br />

Machine Company opened in North<br />

Baltimore—both manufacturing and repairing<br />

parts for the local oil patch.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, left: The Cramer Company<br />

produced pho<strong>to</strong>s out of a shop in North<br />

Baltimore. This cabinet card shows a typical<br />

wooden rig in the North Baltimore area<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Below: The enclosing of most of the well<br />

operations protected workers and equipment<br />

from inclement weather. This winter scene is<br />

supposedly from northwest Ohio.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

7 1


Above: `The Eiting farm gusher was also<br />

made in<strong>to</strong> colored postcards and stereo<br />

cards. Please note the error in the<br />

postcard typography.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION<br />

Top, right: This stereo card shows gas being<br />

burned off at a well near North Baltimore.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION<br />

Below: The boiler house in the left<br />

background provided power for a well on<br />

the Davis farm. To the right are a pair of<br />

s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

M I D D L E T O N T O W N S H I P<br />

O I L F I E L D<br />

The pioneer wells drilled near Haskins in<br />

1890 suggested that the area might be a good<br />

source of petroleum and a northward extension<br />

of the oil fields around Bowling Green. In<br />

the eastern part of Middle<strong>to</strong>n Township, oil<br />

was struck near Dowling and Dunbridge in<br />

1894. The oil was of a poorer grade, but still<br />

the pool held promise. This area was riddled<br />

with 57 wells in 1896, producing 350 barrels<br />

per day <strong>to</strong>tal. By 1902, eighty-six wells were<br />

in use, but producing less than one barrel per<br />

well. By 1905 the field had been abandoned.<br />

O T H E R S M A L L E R<br />

N O R T H W E S T O H I O O I L A N D<br />

G A S F I E L D S<br />

East of the oil and gas fields at Bowling<br />

Green and North Baltimore was another producing<br />

area that stretched across eastern<br />

Wood County and western Sandusky County<br />

including the <strong>to</strong>wns of Bradner, Gibsonburg,<br />

Helena, Prairie Depot (now Wayne),<br />

Risingsun, and Woodville.<br />

The Bradner Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company drilled<br />

the first well in Bradner in early 1886, striking<br />

a small play of oil in the Tren<strong>to</strong>n. It was not<br />

until 1888 that the Bradner Refining Company<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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Top, left: Many of the wells around North<br />

Baltimore were gushers. Depending on how<br />

long it <strong>to</strong>ok for workers <strong>to</strong> get the well<br />

under control lots of oil was wasted.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY.<br />

Above: This pho<strong>to</strong>graph is typical of the well<br />

field around North Baltimore. Exact<br />

location unfortunately is unknown.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

Left: These pho<strong>to</strong>s were taken by Chas .S.<br />

Roberts about 1890-1900 in the vicinity of<br />

North Baltimore.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

shipped its first carload <strong>to</strong> Toledo on the<br />

Hocking Valley Railroad. The boom was on in<br />

1889. By the end of the year there were more<br />

than 400 wells in Montgomery Township. <strong>On</strong>e<br />

50-acre farm had 13 wells. <strong>On</strong>e person<br />

quipped “derricks were so thick in the north<br />

and west ends of the <strong>to</strong>wn that squirrels used<br />

them like trees.” Many of the wells were<br />

gushers. The village council passed an<br />

ordinance in 1890 <strong>to</strong> make it illegal <strong>to</strong> erect a<br />

derrick any closer than two hundred feet of<br />

any building. So much oil was being produced<br />

that additional refineries were erected <strong>to</strong> turn<br />

the crude in<strong>to</strong> marketable by-products. Even<br />

with the railroad, the supply of crude and byproducts<br />

well exceeded the capacity of the<br />

tank cars. The Craig <strong>Oil</strong> Company was the first<br />

<strong>to</strong> install a cracking plant. A Manhattan <strong>Oil</strong><br />

pumping station was located here in 1892.<br />

Also that year, Paragon Refining laid a pipeline<br />

connecting Bradner with its facilities in<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

7 3


Above: Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company employees pose<br />

for the pho<strong>to</strong>grapher at this North<br />

Baltimore area well.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

Top, right: Helena had a number of good<br />

producers from the Tren<strong>to</strong>n. Note the coalfired<br />

boiler and discarded bull wheel.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Below: By the early 1900s many of the<br />

North Baltimore area wells had passed<br />

their prime.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

Toledo. A well dubbed “Old Calamity” located<br />

near Bradner is still producing occasional oil<br />

and water. It was brought in December 1894<br />

and eventually produced 7,000 barrels over a<br />

three-year period. With exceptions of plugged<br />

wells and others like “Old Calamity”,<br />

unfortunately the supply was exhausted by<br />

around 1903.<br />

The Luckey area and Troy Township also<br />

had many good oil wells, with most drilled<br />

between 1906 and 1930. <strong>Oil</strong> was piped <strong>to</strong> the<br />

Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company in Findlay where it was<br />

eventually s<strong>to</strong>red in tank farms between there<br />

and Cygnet. To the west of Woodville a small<br />

field was opened in 1895. The original well<br />

began with a production of 250 barrels a day,<br />

but was abandoned in 1902. Gibsonburg, the<br />

home of several s<strong>to</strong>ne quarries, drilled five<br />

wells between August 1887 and February<br />

1888. A well completed in August 1887 near<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

74


Bownocker writes about this giant in 1903:<br />

When the Tren<strong>to</strong>n had been penetrated <strong>to</strong><br />

a depth of about ten feet a great pool of oil was<br />

liberated. The oil was thrown as a solid stream<br />

<strong>to</strong> the <strong>to</strong>p of the derrick where it was broken<br />

by the crown pulley, and the spray caught by<br />

a strong wind was carried a mile north. A halfmile<br />

from the well, farmers were obliged <strong>to</strong><br />

disconnect the spouting on their houses <strong>to</strong><br />

prevent the oil from running in<strong>to</strong> the cisterns.<br />

the local creamery produced a good flow of<br />

natural gas. Two others flowed oil—50 barrels<br />

and 600 barrels for the first few days. Others<br />

hit gas; soon the <strong>to</strong>wn had the fuel it wanted,<br />

at least for the next 10 years. <strong>Gas</strong> dwindled <strong>to</strong><br />

the point that in 1902 the demand exceeded<br />

the supply. The Paragon Refining Company<br />

once loaded barrels of crude on<strong>to</strong> railroad cars<br />

for shipment <strong>to</strong> its refinery in Toledo. The<br />

loading facility was replaced by a pipeline <strong>to</strong><br />

the Toledo refinery during the winter of 1891-<br />

92. Woodville, another quarrying center, was<br />

intent on finding natural gas <strong>to</strong> fuel the <strong>to</strong>wn’s<br />

many lime kilns. An 1886 attempt <strong>to</strong> drill a gas<br />

well unfortunately ended in great<br />

disappointment. No gas or oil appeared after<br />

drilling down <strong>to</strong> the Tren<strong>to</strong>n. A second<br />

attempt, probably generated by the success at<br />

nearby Gibsonburg, produced paying<br />

quantities of oil, but still no gas. More wells<br />

soon appeared around Woodville and<br />

Gibsonburg and among them were some major<br />

gushers. The Baker Well, drilled in 1892 about<br />

a mile west of <strong>to</strong>wn was estimated <strong>to</strong> produce<br />

at least 2,500 barrels a day. A well drilled on<br />

the Myers farm, west of Gibsonburg, poured<br />

out 2,000 barrels the first day after being<br />

<strong>to</strong>rpedoed. Even greater was the Kirkbride<br />

Well, located about half way between<br />

Gibsonburg and Pemberville.<br />

The drilling crew worked hard for several<br />

hours <strong>to</strong> get the <strong>to</strong>wering gusher under control.<br />

A dam was built in the nearby creek in<strong>to</strong><br />

which the oil flowed. In what was probably a<br />

gross underestimate, the Kirkbride well was<br />

thought <strong>to</strong> have flowed at a rate of 10,000 <strong>to</strong><br />

40,000 barrels the first day, November 17,<br />

1894. When measured in January 1901 it was<br />

producing four barrels daily.<br />

Wells were drilled at Risingsun and<br />

Pemberville during 1887, but only a minor<br />

play occurred at Risingsun and the other one<br />

was a dry hole. This was typical of the<br />

northwestern Ohio oil fields—oil production<br />

was sporadic, one location might be an active<br />

producer while nearby dry holes were<br />

common. Later the Sun <strong>Oil</strong> Company brought<br />

in a couple producers near Risingsun. <strong>Oil</strong> was<br />

discovered in the eastern part of Freedom<br />

Township in the late 1880s and by 1892 the<br />

Pemberville field was producing 8,000 barrels<br />

a day. Between Lindsey and Kingsway was a<br />

Top, left: <strong>Oil</strong> was discovered in the Bradner<br />

area in the late 1880s. This well, located<br />

near the Hocking Valley tracks, shows the<br />

typical wooden derrick and steam boiler. It’s<br />

a nice summer day and folks are visiting.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Below: H. M. Summers published this<br />

colored postcard which was sold in the<br />

North Baltimore area.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

7 5


This fifty-thousand-gallon tank of the<br />

Manhattan <strong>Oil</strong> Company in Bradner<br />

burned 3 days and 2 nights in early April<br />

1897 (left). At least two other fires are<br />

evident in the distance. Another tank<br />

exploded in May 1897 (right).<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

small isolated oil pool that produced in a small<br />

way from 1896 <strong>to</strong> about 1905. Burgoon and<br />

Kansas were among the smallest communities<br />

in northwest Ohio <strong>to</strong> have a natural gas supply.<br />

In 1890, the area around Prairie Depot<br />

(Wayne) and Mortimer created an oil rush. An<br />

average of 20 wells were completed each day.<br />

The Depression of the 1930s brought an end <strong>to</strong><br />

most of these wells.<br />

South and west of Lima in Allen and<br />

Auglaize Counties, were a number of<br />

significant oil producers and some steady<br />

performers. At Elida, wells drilled in search of<br />

gas in 1886 were considered failures and<br />

abandoned when they just showed little<br />

amounts of oil. Some of these were<br />

reinvestigated about 10 years later and one<br />

produced 40 barrels the first day. Southwest of<br />

the Elida pool is another producing area<br />

surrounding Spencerville. Spencerville drilled<br />

a successful gas well in 1886 and continued <strong>to</strong><br />

supply the village from 5 wells in 1902. These<br />

early gas wells also had a showing of oil,<br />

leading <strong>to</strong> the development of a small oil field<br />

as well. The first oil well drilled in the Ohio<br />

City area was put down in February 1902; in a<br />

short time the region was dotted with 200<br />

derricks. By 1902, many oil wells had been<br />

abandoned and those that were still pumped<br />

were on its last legs.<br />

Fremont, in Sandusky County, first sought<br />

gas in the Tren<strong>to</strong>n from May <strong>to</strong> July 1885, when<br />

a well was drilled by the local gas company. The<br />

main gas play was in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n, not the deeper<br />

Tren<strong>to</strong>n. A <strong>to</strong>tal of 9 deep wells were drilled in<br />

Fremont in the late 1880s by the gas company<br />

and a local quarry. The best of the gas company<br />

wells produced 18,760 cubic feet per day in<br />

June, 1886. It was connected <strong>to</strong> the company’s<br />

pipeline <strong>to</strong> serve the citizens of Fremont. By<br />

1887, six shallow wells were put down, deep<br />

enough <strong>to</strong> intersect the Clin<strong>to</strong>n horizon. A deep<br />

well drilled at Spiegel Grove, for then President<br />

Rutherford B. Hayes, was a failure, not<br />

producing enough gas <strong>to</strong> serve the residence.<br />

And many other dry holes were drilled.<br />

Between Fremont and Helena, the Wagoner<br />

well, struck gas in the Tren<strong>to</strong>n, at a flow of at<br />

least 200,000 cubic feet per day, by far the best<br />

in the Fremont gas field. The local gas company<br />

was taken over by the North-Western Ohio<br />

Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company (a Standard <strong>Oil</strong><br />

subsidiary) and gas was brought in from Bloom<br />

Township, Wood County, by 1888. Wells at<br />

Bellevue, Burgoon, Clyde, Gibsonburg, and<br />

Woodville were generally weak producers. The<br />

Seneca County community of Kansas was<br />

luckier. A well drilled in 1895 struck gas and<br />

the flow continued in<strong>to</strong> the early 1900s. The<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn also was connected <strong>to</strong> a number of gas<br />

wells in adjacent Sandusky County.<br />

Where Hancock, Seneca, and Wood<br />

Counties adjoin is Fos<strong>to</strong>ria, and the s<strong>to</strong>ry was<br />

similar. The community tried unsuccessfully <strong>to</strong><br />

obtain gas in the Summer of 1885. Eventually<br />

the <strong>to</strong>wn received its first natural gas from a<br />

pipeline of the North-Western Ohio Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company. By 1888 the Butler Art Glass, Fos<strong>to</strong>ria<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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Glass, and Mambourg Window Glass companies<br />

were taking advantage of the local gas supply.<br />

In Seneca County, the county seat of Tiffin<br />

began drilling for gas in December 1885,<br />

however the wells yielded more oil than gas.<br />

The city bought gas from the Northwestern<br />

Ohio Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company for a while,<br />

building a municipal gas plant and secured the<br />

gas rights <strong>to</strong> acreage in nearby Wood County.<br />

Free gas attracted the usual glass fac<strong>to</strong>ries,<br />

potteries, and other plants until the gas ran<br />

out. In 1892 during the oil boom, drilling<br />

began along the Sandusky River in down<strong>to</strong>wn<br />

Tiffin, all were reportedly producers of 30 <strong>to</strong><br />

120 barrels per day. In November 1894 and<br />

1899 Beatty Glass (by 1899 known as U.S.<br />

Glass) struck gas, but not enough <strong>to</strong> insure<br />

operations and so continued its use of crude oil<br />

as fuel. In 1900 the Van Natta well was<br />

described as a periodic flowing oil well. Two <strong>to</strong><br />

three times a day it would pour out 300 <strong>to</strong> 400<br />

barrels. During the oil and gas boom, the<br />

Loomis Machinery Company re<strong>to</strong>oled and<br />

began making drilling rigs. For many years the<br />

rigs could be found across the continent.<br />

Hopewell Township, west of Tiffin, sported<br />

many producing wells in the 1920s, with one<br />

farm producing, daily, some 6,000 barrels.<br />

Failure <strong>to</strong> follow a certain state law involving<br />

water inflow led <strong>to</strong> the abandonment of this<br />

field. The Sun <strong>Oil</strong> Company held many leases<br />

in Seneca County in the late 1930s and drilled<br />

a number of deep test wells.<br />

In Erie County the s<strong>to</strong>ry repeated at<br />

Sandusky. The Bay City Natural <strong>Gas</strong>, <strong>Oil</strong>, and<br />

Fuel Supply and Electric Light Company<br />

began business in Summer 1886; the title<br />

seems <strong>to</strong> cover all bases. A well was drilled<br />

near the Kuebler Brewery striking the Tren<strong>to</strong>n<br />

at 2,210 feet. Enough gas was obtained <strong>to</strong><br />

light and heat the brewery.<br />

Ottawa County had a similar his<strong>to</strong>ry. The<br />

Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company of Oak Harbor was<br />

successful in producing gas from both the<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n and Tren<strong>to</strong>n horizons in July 1886. It<br />

was immediately used <strong>to</strong> fuel an adjacent mill.<br />

A third well drilled in late 1886 was the<br />

strongest producer, coming in at an estimated<br />

200,000 cubic feet per day. Thus began gas<br />

lights and heating in the village. As the<br />

population rose, the gas supply could not<br />

keep pace. The year 1898 marked the first<br />

producing oil well around Oak Harbor,<br />

beginning with 14 barrels. Others came in the<br />

next two years. A number of vigorous gas<br />

wells were drilled between Trowbridge and<br />

Limes<strong>to</strong>ne; supposedly the roar of escaping<br />

gas could be heard all the way <strong>to</strong> Oak Harbor.<br />

Unfortunately saltwater shortly replaced the<br />

gas. Drilling attempts in Elmore, La Carne,<br />

Steam from the boiler house hides the<br />

lower part of this rig along the Sandusky<br />

River in Tiffin.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

7 7


This unidentified view may be of the<br />

Limes<strong>to</strong>ne area in Ottawa County.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Lindsey, and Port Clin<strong>to</strong>n yielded only meager<br />

showings of gas and oil. Genoa was luckier—<br />

enough gas was found in several wells drilled<br />

in 1891 just north of <strong>to</strong>wn <strong>to</strong> allow gas service<br />

<strong>to</strong> the community. A small pool of oil was also<br />

found east of Curtice.<br />

In Huron County a small gas field developed<br />

around Olena in the late 1930s. The<br />

Atlantic <strong>Oil</strong> Company had 25 wells in production<br />

in 1937. Twelve wells also had a<br />

showing of oil. Production ranged from<br />

20,000 <strong>to</strong> 2 million cubic feet per day.<br />

A number of wells were drilled around<br />

Carey in Wyandot County in 1886. None<br />

were great producers, but enough gas was<br />

made available <strong>to</strong> fuel local flour mills in 1886<br />

and later <strong>to</strong> provide some lighting and heating<br />

in the village. <strong>Oil</strong> flowed from a pioneer well<br />

in 1888 at a rate of 500 barrels a day.<br />

Unfortunately the pool was small and by<br />

1902, many of the wells were already<br />

abandoned.<br />

Bryan began drilling for gas in Summer<br />

1886. In Williams County and adjacent<br />

extreme northwest Ohio counties, an<br />

additional unit covered the Silurian and<br />

Devonian carbonates—the thick Antrim Shale.<br />

This organic-rich unit contained significant<br />

gas, but of a different type than the underlying<br />

limes<strong>to</strong>nes and dolos<strong>to</strong>nes. The digging of<br />

water wells often included shows of natural<br />

gas so the populace had some familiarity with<br />

its presence. A strong flow of gas was found<br />

about midway down in the Antrim Shale<br />

(about 250 feet below the surface); nothing<br />

was found in the Tren<strong>to</strong>n. Work continued<br />

until the drilling <strong>to</strong>ols hung up in the hard<br />

rock. Later the well was continued by a<br />

different contrac<strong>to</strong>r. Fifteen feet deeper and<br />

the well gushed above the derrick. The gas<br />

flow was estimated <strong>to</strong> be at least 500,000 <strong>to</strong><br />

700,000 cubic feet per day. The well produced<br />

a hundred barrels of oil the first day.<br />

Unfortunately within about ten days, the<br />

production of gas and oil ended. Two other<br />

wells, drilled in 1887, produced good gas<br />

plays, but again they were not long lasting.<br />

Small quantities of gas were encountered at<br />

Arcadia, Burgoon, Defiance, Delta, Deshler,<br />

Genoa, Gibsonburg, Ken<strong>to</strong>n, Lindsey,<br />

McComb, Mt. Blanchard, Sandusky, Vanlue,<br />

and Wauseon. Small quantities of oil were<br />

struck at Beaverdam, Bluff<strong>to</strong>n, Defiance,<br />

Elmore, Genoa, Hicksville, Lindsey, Risingsun,<br />

Sandusky, Wauseon, and Whar<strong>to</strong>n. By 1885<br />

the list of <strong>to</strong>wns that had drilled and not found<br />

a valuable production of oil and/or gas in<br />

northwest Ohio included Ada, Arling<strong>to</strong>n,<br />

Bellevue, Bloomville, Clyde, Columbus Grove,<br />

Delphos, Deweyville, Dunkirk, Forest, Green<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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S O M E S I G N I F I C A N T G A S A N D O I L W E L L S O F N O R T H W E S T O H I O<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

7 9


O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

80


Springs, Kalida, Ken<strong>to</strong>n, LaCarne, Lafayette,<br />

Leipsic, Mt. Cory, Napoleon, Nevada, Ottawa,<br />

Paulding, Pemberville, Perrysburg, Port<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n, Rawson, Rocky Ridge, Sylvania,<br />

Upper Sandusky, Van Wert, Waterville,<br />

Westminister, West New<strong>to</strong>n, and Woodville.<br />

Many abandoned wells that did not initially<br />

yield sufficient gas or oil were reopened in<br />

the late 1890s and early 1900s. Better<br />

understanding of oil and gas occurred in the<br />

Tren<strong>to</strong>n and led <strong>to</strong> some of these wells<br />

becoming producers. What was once<br />

considered worthless terri<strong>to</strong>ry became quite<br />

valuable. A good example is the Beaver Dam<br />

area which originally had only a small show of<br />

oil. A plugged 1885 well was reopened in<br />

1899, with new casing installed and<br />

production began. It became a 25 barrel per<br />

day well. Others were drilled in 1899, some<br />

producing up <strong>to</strong> a 100 barrels. By 1902 a<br />

number of wells were producing economic<br />

quantities about 2.5 miles east of Beaver Dam,<br />

and the area between Spencerville and<br />

Venedocia began producing oil in 1900.<br />

E A R L Y G A S A N D O I L<br />

P R O D U C T I O N I N T O L E D O<br />

Three wells drilled <strong>to</strong> the Tren<strong>to</strong>n in 1885<br />

were unproductive, another one drilled in 1887<br />

yielded some gas upon <strong>to</strong>rpedoing, but soon<br />

was claimed by saltwater inflow. The<br />

Northwestern Ohio Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company soon<br />

connected the city <strong>to</strong> Wood County’s Bloom<br />

Township gas field. The Toledo Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company followed suit, but shortly after<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> controlled both pipelines. In 1889<br />

the city approved legislation <strong>to</strong> operate its own<br />

natural gas plant. The city began leasing oil<br />

lands in Hancock and Wood Counties and contracted<br />

with the Stuartsville Land Association <strong>to</strong><br />

provide the city with 50 million cubic feet of<br />

gas per day. The Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Company, as elsewhere<br />

in the state, opposed this municipal<br />

operation and did its best <strong>to</strong> put it out of business.<br />

The big problem for Toledo became the<br />

supply of gas—during the winter, many plants<br />

were forced <strong>to</strong> do without. The city upgraded<br />

the facilities, but the gas supply problem continued.<br />

The operation continued <strong>to</strong> struggle<br />

in<strong>to</strong> the mid-1890s. A new gas field in Ottawa<br />

County was brought in<strong>to</strong> the system in 1896.<br />

By 1898 the supply and demand problems<br />

returned, and the city was forced <strong>to</strong> divest of its<br />

holdings outside the city limits in 1899. These<br />

were sold <strong>to</strong> the Kerlin Brothers who were then<br />

contracted <strong>to</strong> supply the city. The pipe lines<br />

within the city were leased <strong>to</strong> the Toledo <strong>Gas</strong>-<br />

Light & Coke Company, and the city was out of<br />

the gas business by 1900. By 1903, it had<br />

returned <strong>to</strong> being supplied by the Northwestern<br />

Ohio Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company. Initially the gas<br />

came from fields tapping the Clin<strong>to</strong>n in<br />

Fairfield and Hocking Counties.<br />

The year 1891 marks the beginning of significant<br />

oil production in Lucas County. Small<br />

pools were discovered in Monclova and<br />

Jerusalem <strong>to</strong>wnships, but the most notable<br />

wells were in Oregon Township. The Blodgett<br />

Farm well was the pioneer in this area. When<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> was struck in the Tren<strong>to</strong>n along the<br />

Miami & Erie canal near Waterville.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

8 1


Right: This is thought <strong>to</strong> be the Klondike<br />

well, located near Ironville and the present<br />

boundary of Toledo and Oregon.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, left: Typical of the oil wells in<br />

Oregon Township, east of Toledo, is the<br />

McCaskey well. Refineries eventually<br />

replaced the wells.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: The Wynn Smith well was<br />

another producer from the Tren<strong>to</strong>n in<br />

Oregon Township. This view dates <strong>to</strong><br />

September 1898.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

oil was struck in the Tren<strong>to</strong>n it flowed from the<br />

well, but being mixed with groundwater, the oil<br />

was not of much value. After several other wells<br />

failed <strong>to</strong> produce useable oil, hope was reestablished<br />

when the Bartley well initially produced<br />

500 barrels daily. The most notable well of the<br />

Toledo region was the Miller farm well drilled in<br />

summer 1897 on the eastern edge of Ironville.<br />

The well soon became known as the Klondike<br />

because of its continuous flowing. When the<br />

Tren<strong>to</strong>n was reached the well showed neither<br />

gas or oil. The driller shot the well in July, causing<br />

an immediate flow of oil. Unprepared much<br />

oil ran in<strong>to</strong> a nearby stream until s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks<br />

could be brought <strong>to</strong> the site. It continued <strong>to</strong><br />

flow for two weeks. Although flow measurements<br />

don’t seem <strong>to</strong> exist, the well must have<br />

initially produced somewhere between 4,800<br />

and 5,000 barrels per day. By 1902, 14 barrels<br />

were being pumped daily.<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

82


S U P P L Y I N G T H E O I L A N D<br />

G A S I N D U S T R Y : T H E<br />

N A T I O N A L S U P P L Y C O M P A N Y<br />

Toledo Ohio was well known in the<br />

industry, not so much for producing wells, but<br />

for being a major supplier of equipment and<br />

<strong>to</strong>ols. A small machine repair shop opened on<br />

St. Clair Street in down<strong>to</strong>wn Toledo in 1870.<br />

The business soon expanded and began<br />

handling all kinds of equipment and machines<br />

related <strong>to</strong> steam engines and general milling. In<br />

1887 the company opened a s<strong>to</strong>re in the heart<br />

of the new Wood County oilfield at Cygnet <strong>to</strong><br />

supply needed oil well equipment and <strong>to</strong>ols.<br />

The organization did business as the Buckeye<br />

Supply Company. Wherever a boom began you<br />

could be assured the company would open a<br />

s<strong>to</strong>re. Buckeye Supply bought out the Union<br />

Supply Co., of Wood County. The National<br />

Supply Company, located in the Pennsylvania<br />

oil patch, and a direct competi<strong>to</strong>r of Buckeye,<br />

was merged with Buckeye in 1896 and the<br />

merged company retained the name—National<br />

Supply <strong>to</strong> more properly define their service<br />

area. From then until 1918, National Supply<br />

was mainly a distribu<strong>to</strong>r of other<br />

manufacturers’ products. In 1919, the<br />

company expanded again <strong>to</strong> supply the new<br />

fields in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1920 they<br />

<strong>to</strong>ok over leadership in oilfield equipment<br />

manufacturing when they purchased the Union<br />

These wells are unidentified, but were<br />

pho<strong>to</strong>graphed in the Toledo region<br />

around 1900.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

8 3


Above: The National Supply Company’s<br />

s<strong>to</strong>re in Cygnet was a busy place. Note<br />

the oil field equipment stacked outside<br />

the building. A siding off the T&OC<br />

Railroad allowed for easy unloading of<br />

rail shipments.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Right: The main offices were located in<br />

Toledo. This April 1932 view shows part of<br />

the complex on Bishop Street. This building<br />

still stands in Toledo.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

Tool Company of California, then the largest<br />

maker of oil field machinery. By 1927, the<br />

National Supply Company was the largest<br />

manufacturer and distribu<strong>to</strong>r in the world of<br />

equipment for producing, refining, and<br />

transporting crude oil and natural gas. The<br />

Superior Engine Company of Springfield was<br />

purchased by National Supply Company in<br />

1928 because this company had many s<strong>to</strong>res<br />

and warehouses throughout the oil fields.<br />

National Supply’s main office and plant were<br />

on Bishop Street in Toledo. The main plant was<br />

built in 1890, additions were added over the<br />

years until, in 1946, the Toledo plant covered<br />

20 acres and employed 1,300. The company<br />

closed their Toledo facilities in September 1959.<br />

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Another Toledo company supplying the oil<br />

industry was the Acme Sucker Rod Company.<br />

Its’ founder was well known—-the so called<br />

“Golden Rule” Jones, no other than Samuel<br />

M. Jones, the famous Toledo mayor. The<br />

company was founded in 1892. Jones, as a<br />

young man, spent several years in the oil<br />

fields of Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 1886, he<br />

moved <strong>to</strong> Lima and established the Geyser <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company. Jones’ company brought in a 600<br />

barrel well early on. The company name was<br />

changed <strong>to</strong> the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company, August 1,<br />

1887, and the rest is his<strong>to</strong>ry. After selling out<br />

<strong>to</strong> Standard <strong>Oil</strong>, Jones came <strong>to</strong> Toledo <strong>to</strong><br />

develop a better sucker rod which he<br />

patented in 1891.<br />

In 1903, the name of the company was<br />

changed <strong>to</strong> the S.M. Jones Company. In 1950<br />

the company made the record books by<br />

manufacturing the longest sucker rod string<br />

for an 11,614 feet deep well in California.<br />

The S.M. Jones Company on Segur Avenue<br />

closed in August 1963.<br />

Top: Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones, founder<br />

of Acme Sucker Rod Company<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

Middle: The Acme Sucker Rod Company<br />

fac<strong>to</strong>ry was located on Segur Avenue<br />

in Toledo.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m: The Acme Sucker Rod Company<br />

ran ads in all the oil and gas trade journals.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

W E S T C E N T R A L O H I O O I L<br />

A N D G A S P R O D U C T I O N<br />

F R O M T H E T R E N T O N<br />

Useable amounts of gas were discovered in<br />

the mid-1880s at Arcanum, Belle Center,<br />

Celina, De Graff, Fort Recovery, St. Henry, and<br />

Sidney. Two 1886 wells around Urbana<br />

vigorously blew out gas from shale beds,<br />

but before the gas could be utilized the<br />

flow ended. Similar short-lived gas blowing<br />

wells were also found nearby at Day<strong>to</strong>n,<br />

Piqua, Sidney, and Springfield. An 1887<br />

Huntsville well struck gas in the Ordovician<br />

Utica Shale producing around 72,000 cubic<br />

feet then gradually tapering off <strong>to</strong> 50,000<br />

in early 1888. A similar situation existed in<br />

Camden in Summer 1887; shale gas escaped<br />

at 74,520 cubic feet per day. An 1888 well in<br />

Sunbury produced gas from the Bedford<br />

shales, others in Carding<strong>to</strong>n and Chicago<br />

Junction (now Willard) struck a good flow<br />

of gas in the Devonian Columbus/Delaware<br />

limes<strong>to</strong>nes. A few barrels of oil came from<br />

a June 1886 well drilled in<strong>to</strong> the Tren<strong>to</strong>n<br />

on the east edge of the Miami River valley at<br />

Piqua after the hole had been <strong>to</strong>rpedoed.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

8 5


Drilling at Ansonia, Bellefontaine, Columbus,<br />

Coving<strong>to</strong>n, Crestline, Delaware, Ea<strong>to</strong>n,<br />

Fountain Park, Greenville, London, Marysville,<br />

Mechanicsburg, Milford Center, New Bremen,<br />

New Carlisle, New Madison, New Paris, Piqua,<br />

Plymouth, Prospect, St. Paris, Sidney,<br />

Tippecanoe City, Troy, Union City, Waldo,<br />

Wapakoneta, and Westerville did not lead <strong>to</strong><br />

successful production in the mid 1880s.<br />

O F F S H O R E<br />

D R I L L I N G<br />

I N O H I O : G R A N D L A K E -<br />

S T . M A R Y S ’ O I L F I E L D<br />

A postcard view of a gusher in the St. Marys<br />

field around 1907.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

In July 1886, a company finished the<br />

Citizens well in St. Marys, Auglaize County,<br />

that pointed <strong>to</strong> a potential oil pool underlying<br />

the area. Just in<strong>to</strong> the Tren<strong>to</strong>n, gas entered the<br />

well, followed shortly by oil. Shooting the<br />

well increased the gas flow <strong>to</strong> around 250,000<br />

cubic feet per day. Another well, the Hopkins<br />

and Gordon well, produced fifty barrels of oil<br />

per day. The Axe Well, in April 1887,<br />

produced 2,042,864 cubic feet of gas per day.<br />

As with many of the early gas wells, the Axe<br />

well was allowed <strong>to</strong> flame for at least four<br />

months, wasting some 250 million cubic feet.<br />

By 1888 it was supplying gas <strong>to</strong> the Lima<br />

Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company pipelines. About<br />

three miles east of St. Marys, the Watkins well<br />

put out nearly two million cubic feet per day<br />

which was piped <strong>to</strong> St. Marys. The<br />

Kellermeyer and Haas wells, also east of<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn, were also valuable gas producers. St.<br />

Marys constructed a natural gas plant and<br />

served the local area with Tren<strong>to</strong>n gas until<br />

supply ran out in 1893. Thus, the St. Marys<br />

field was established.<br />

At the western end of Grand Lake is Celina.<br />

Here, 1886 drilling showed a gas pool much<br />

like St. Marys. Another well drilled near St.<br />

Henry in November 1886 was measured at<br />

2,600,000 cubic feet in Winter 1887. Later, the<br />

Doenzes well, drilled in May 1887 by the<br />

Tren<strong>to</strong>n Rock <strong>Oil</strong> Company in Franklin<br />

Township, released 4,625,000 cubic feet daily,<br />

by far the most prolific producer in 1887. A gas<br />

plant served Celina—the Celina Light & Fuel<br />

Company. Much of the gas went <strong>to</strong> fuel local<br />

glass fac<strong>to</strong>ries. The Lima Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company<br />

piped gas from the St. Marys field <strong>to</strong> the Allen<br />

County seat from 1887 <strong>to</strong> 1894 when the<br />

supply was exhausted. Van Wert also leased<br />

part of the St. Marys field and laid a thirty-onemile<br />

pipeline <strong>to</strong> supply the city. The<br />

Wapakoneta Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company also piped<br />

gas from St. Marys Township beginning in<br />

1887. The Mercer Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company once<br />

supplied many western Ohio <strong>to</strong>wns—the<br />

largest being Day<strong>to</strong>n, Piqua, Sidney,<br />

Springfield, and Troy. Its main source was<br />

Franklin Township, but the company had<br />

several fields in Mercer and neighboring<br />

Auglaize Counties. Between 1890 and 1894,<br />

Urbana also piped gas from the St. Marys field<br />

some forty-seven miles, before the field<br />

pressure lowered and pumping stations had <strong>to</strong><br />

be added. The plant was leased by the city in<br />

1898 when the St. Marys gas dried up.<br />

Greenville also piped gas from tracts in the St.<br />

Marys field.<br />

By 1890, oil production had become the<br />

mainstay of the St. Marys region and oil<br />

wells dotted the eastern shore of Grand<br />

Lake or Reservoir, also sometimes referred <strong>to</strong><br />

as Lake Mercer. Grand Lake had been dug as<br />

a reservoir for the Miami & Erie Canal<br />

between 1837 and 1845. At least two wells on<br />

the reservoir’s shore had initial outplays of<br />

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Top and middle: Derricks were built on<br />

wooden platforms constructed in this<br />

shallow former canal reservoir.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m: Pilings were driven in<strong>to</strong> the shallow<br />

waters. Sometimes the boilers were on<br />

separate platforms some distance from the<br />

rigs for fire protection.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

1,000 barrels per day. This led <strong>to</strong> the<br />

development of platform drilling out in the<br />

lake during 1891. Some 200-300 wells were<br />

drilled within and around the reservoir. Small<br />

pools were also tapped in Mercer County, but<br />

by the early 1900s, many small wells had<br />

already been abandoned. By 1910, the boom<br />

was over.<br />

C H A P T E R S I X<br />

8 7


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CHAPTER SEVEN<br />

E V E N D E E P E R P L A Y S<br />

T H E R O S E R U N S A N D<br />

In 1949, a deep well drilled on the grounds of the Rose Run Iron Company in Bath County,<br />

Kentucky, provided just a showing of gas and the usual water. The producing stratum in the<br />

Cambro-Ordovician Knox group was then named the Rose Run. Its’ productivity went undiscovered<br />

until a Holmes County well, north of Baltic, struck a major play of gas, 6,570 feet down. The initial<br />

daily gas rate was 2.1 million cubic feet. <strong>Oil</strong> followed the gas <strong>to</strong> the surface and flowed at a rate of<br />

ten barrels a day. Thus, with this discovery, it was evident that deeper drilling could be quite<br />

profitable. As yields from the Clin<strong>to</strong>n diminished more effort was placed on exploring the deeper<br />

plays. Beginning in the 1980s, more wells were sunk <strong>to</strong> this Upper Cambrian horizon.<br />

T H E M O R R O W C O U N T Y O I L B O O M<br />

November 1, 1962, was an exciting day in Morrow County. A routine explora<strong>to</strong>ry well drilled by the<br />

United Producing Company west of Mt. Gilead, hit a generally unexpected oil-saturated zone in<br />

Cambrian dolos<strong>to</strong>ne ( referred <strong>to</strong> informally as the Trempealeau, officially, the Copper Ridge dolos<strong>to</strong>ne)<br />

3,174 feet below the surface and began flowing at 200 barrels per day. This wildcat discovery drew many<br />

eyes <strong>to</strong> central Ohio. Actually, it began three years earlier, when a former oilfield worker, turned farmer,<br />

was convinced there was oil on his property near Mt. Gilead. In December 1959, deep below his farm,<br />

his suspicions proved true when oil was struck. Up until this time dry holes had been the norm for the<br />

county. During the rest of 1962, most of the exploration was in the western part of the county; no major<br />

pools were discovered. Interest began <strong>to</strong> wain. Was it just a fluke occurrence? In 1963, a number of<br />

gushers and large producers came in, particularly in the Edison, Mt. Gilead, and Lincoln Township areas.<br />

The boom was on! It was soon evident that drilling was unregulated and close spacing of wells was<br />

becoming a threat <strong>to</strong> future reserves and the surrounding environment. By January 1964, most of the<br />

county and adjacent areas were under lease and some hundred rigs were at work. The population of Mt.<br />

Gilead doubled <strong>to</strong> six thousand. <strong>On</strong> a smaller scale, other nearby <strong>to</strong>wns grew as well. In Carding<strong>to</strong>n, drill<br />

rigs were everywhere. Standing at one point one could easily count fifty rigs. Standpipe flares lit the<br />

countryside. Except for modern technology it was the Tren<strong>to</strong>n boom all over again. The year 1964 was<br />

the peak of the Morrow County boom—1,340 wells had been drilled with 400 producers.<br />

The oil occurred in the Copper Ridge dolos<strong>to</strong>ne, the uppermost Cambrian formation in Morrow<br />

County. Middle Ordovician shale and limes<strong>to</strong>ne, the Chazy formation, lie above the dolos<strong>to</strong>ne. This<br />

is the Knox unconformity, a well developed erosional surface, formed during a major regressive cycle<br />

of an epicontinental sea. From early explora<strong>to</strong>ry drilling around Morrow County, it was evident that<br />

the oil was hit and miss. No large pools were discovered. It was also evident that the oil was present<br />

in the buried hills (erosional highs) of vuggy dolos<strong>to</strong>ne below the unconformity.<br />

This aerial view shows numerous rigs in the<br />

Carding<strong>to</strong>n area.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

S O U T H W E S T E R N O H I O —<br />

A C O N T I N U E D S E A R C H F O R O I L A N D G A S<br />

Shale gas was prevalent in the southwestern counties. Even so, there was a persistent tendency <strong>to</strong><br />

drill in the Tren<strong>to</strong>n. Unfortunately, it became evident that the riches of northwestern Ohio did not<br />

extend this far south. Not for lack of trying, oil and gas of sufficient quantities was not found in<br />

Cincinnati, Circleville, Hillsboro, James<strong>to</strong>wn, Lebanon, New Vienna, Oxford, Sabina, Spring Valley,<br />

Washing<strong>to</strong>n Court House, Wilming<strong>to</strong>n, and Xenia. Wells in Day<strong>to</strong>n, Felicity, Hamil<strong>to</strong>n, Miamisburg,<br />

C H A P T E R S E V E N<br />

8 9


Above: The E. J. Laroche well of the<br />

Lakeshore Pipeline Company blew out in<br />

June 1963 in Lincoln Township north<br />

of Ful<strong>to</strong>n.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Right, <strong>to</strong>p <strong>to</strong> bot<strong>to</strong>m: During the height of<br />

the Morrow County boom scenes such as<br />

these were commonplace. <strong>On</strong>ce the wells<br />

came in, steel s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks replaced the<br />

drilling rigs.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

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M O R R O W C O U N T Y D R I L L I N G S T A T I S T I C S 1 9 5 9 - 1 9 7 0<br />

and Middle<strong>to</strong>wn, however showed a play of gas<br />

in the Ordovician shale horizon.<br />

So, with few exceptions, oil and gas have<br />

been found across Ohio. Due <strong>to</strong> the geologic<br />

structure of the central platform of which<br />

Ohio is a small part, different reservoir rock<br />

is present from one region <strong>to</strong> the next.<br />

The gentle incline of the strata in<strong>to</strong> the<br />

Appalachian, Illinois, and Michigan basins<br />

with scattered basement uplifts and associated<br />

fault zones led <strong>to</strong> the migration and<br />

entrapment of various age hydrocarbons. The<br />

oil and gas <strong>to</strong>ok geologic time <strong>to</strong> form,<br />

migrate, and accumulate. <strong>On</strong>ce discovered,<br />

humans had <strong>to</strong> figure out how <strong>to</strong> get it out of<br />

the earth. In about a century, the drilling for<br />

oil and gas quickly evolved from early pits <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>to</strong>wering derricks <strong>to</strong> mobile drilling rigs.<br />

Below: The Hickson No. 1 well, in Gilead<br />

Township near Mt. Gilead, was drilled in<br />

Oc<strong>to</strong>ber 1963. It gushed uncontrollably,<br />

covering the nearby landscape with oil.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

C H A P T E R S E V E N<br />

9 1


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CHAPTER EIGHT<br />

F R O M D I S C O V E R Y T O F I N A L P R O D U C T<br />

D R I L L I N G<br />

M E T H O D S<br />

Salt licks were readily noted on early maps of Ohio. Native people often dug out these areas for<br />

ready access. European settlers <strong>to</strong>ok it a step further by sinking wells, often lined by hollowed-out logs.<br />

Drilling in<strong>to</strong> the soil was not a problem, but continuing in<strong>to</strong> the underlying bedrock required some<br />

ingenuity. <strong>On</strong>e of the earliest methods was the spring pole. A long straight pole, around 30 <strong>to</strong> 40 feet,<br />

was needed <strong>to</strong> make the derrick portion of the device. Hemlock trees were favored because of its<br />

flexibility, however, ash and hickory were also commonly used. Another tree with a large limb<br />

projecting at an angle from the trunk would be cut off <strong>to</strong> make a v-shaped fulcrum. The tree might be<br />

left in place, if adjacent <strong>to</strong> the well site, or cut off and driven in<strong>to</strong> the ground with the fork end pointing<br />

upward. The spring pole would then be laid across the fork with about two-thirds of it hovering above<br />

the well site and the opposite end pulled <strong>to</strong> the ground and held down by large boulders or logs and<br />

a pile of dirt. A rope (or multiple ropes) was attached <strong>to</strong> the pole near the well and looped at the<br />

bot<strong>to</strong>m <strong>to</strong> form a stirrup. Workers would push down on the stirrup(s) forming the driving mechanism<br />

of the apparatus. Directly over the well, about three feet from the end of the pole, another rope or<br />

series of wooden rods held the drill string. The drill string consisted of segments that screwed <strong>to</strong>gether,<br />

terminating in a bit. The oak rods could be added <strong>to</strong> as the well was deepened. They also served <strong>to</strong><br />

keep the boring vertical and in a straight line. Connected <strong>to</strong> the rods was a series of metal bars <strong>to</strong> add<br />

weight and maneuverability <strong>to</strong> the drill string and jars, <strong>to</strong>ols designed <strong>to</strong> enhance the percussive force.<br />

The last <strong>to</strong>ol was a sharpened steel bit. The operation of the spring pole involved the workers stepping<br />

down on the stirrup(s), pulling the <strong>to</strong>ols in<strong>to</strong> the borehole and striking the bedrock with force. The<br />

alternate down push and release was often referred <strong>to</strong> as “kicking it down”. Obviously, this was<br />

exhausting work and alternate methods of power were soon sought. The spring pole method gradually<br />

evolved in<strong>to</strong> cable-<strong>to</strong>ol drilling; another form of percussion drilling.<br />

(Another early method was <strong>to</strong> pick a sapling near the proposed well, bend it <strong>to</strong>ward the ground<br />

leaving it rooted, loop rope around the upper part, connect the drilling <strong>to</strong>ols, and using the stirrup<br />

<strong>to</strong> kick it down.)<br />

Towering above the early wells was a tepee of poles with pulleys for hoisting the drill string from<br />

the well as drilling continued deeper and when the hole needed <strong>to</strong> be cleaned of cuttings and mud. A<br />

device called a bailer, was periodically lowered down the hole, replacing the drill bit <strong>to</strong> remove mud<br />

and cuttings. Depending on the depth of the hole, the bailer would have <strong>to</strong> be filled and emptied<br />

several times before drilling could commence again. Although records are scarce, boring much beyond<br />

two hundred feet was rarely achieved by “kicking down”. Getting a deeper bore became increasingly<br />

difficult and time consuming. The supposed depth limit was about a thousand feet. Innovative drillers<br />

found that other power sources were necessary for deeper wells. The use of horses and mules<br />

supplanted foot power for some early opera<strong>to</strong>rs. Some rather elaborate methods were designed<br />

using a treadle, which the animal turned by walking in place. This in turn<br />

caused the spring pole <strong>to</strong> rise and fall, driving the drilling <strong>to</strong>ols. A teeter-<strong>to</strong>tter was also used.<br />

By rocking this back and forth the drill stem could be raised and alternately dropped. The<br />

steam engine, if affordable and available, was the ultimate source of power in the early days. These<br />

methods were perfected by the workers at salt works and those drilling water wells, long<br />

before the discoveries in western Pennsylvania led <strong>to</strong> their use in petroleum exploration. Among the<br />

first notable users of the spring pole method were the Ruffner brothers of the Charles<strong>to</strong>n, West Virginia<br />

area, who drilled a salt well some forty feet in<strong>to</strong> the bedrock between 1806 and January 1808.<br />

The pipes laying on the ground at this well<br />

are drill stems. The bull wheel is <strong>to</strong> the left.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

9 3


Above: This stereo card in the collection of<br />

the Library of Congress shows the general<br />

components of an 1870s era drilling rig.<br />

Below: This drawing from the Geological<br />

Survey of Ohio Vol.VI shows the parts of a<br />

late 1880s drilling rig.<br />

Their innovative techniques set the stage for<br />

later drillers.<br />

Another early method of drilling involved<br />

the grasshopper walking beam. This was used<br />

at the famous Drake well in Titusville, PA. It<br />

seemingly evolved at the same time as the<br />

spring pole. The walking beam was a 1-by-2-<br />

foot wooden beam about 25 feet long, and<br />

tapered at the ends <strong>to</strong> a 1-foot thickness. The<br />

beam was hinged <strong>to</strong> a 13-foot-high, tapered<br />

wooden upright called a Samson post, which<br />

was either sunk deeply in the ground, or<br />

fastened <strong>to</strong> the hoisting derrick at the far end.<br />

The opposite end of the walking beam was<br />

either moved manually or connected <strong>to</strong> a<br />

steam engine which caused it <strong>to</strong> rise and fall<br />

like the hind legs of a grasshopper. By the<br />

mid-1860s, <strong>to</strong> increase the efficiency of this<br />

equipment and reduce the fire hazard from<br />

having a steam engine so close <strong>to</strong> the wooden<br />

platform and derrick, the Samson post was<br />

moved <strong>to</strong> the center of the walking beam. The<br />

beam sat on a central pivot, so it moved much<br />

like a teeter-<strong>to</strong>tter. The walking beam was<br />

pulled down initially by foot power and<br />

released <strong>to</strong> tilt back <strong>to</strong>ward the hole, driving<br />

the drilling bit down on the bedrock. Later, a<br />

band wheel attached by a rod <strong>to</strong> the far end of<br />

the walking beam and powered by a steam<br />

engine, provided a regular up and down<br />

movement of the walking beam and<br />

consequent chipping of the drill bit.<br />

By the early 1880s, wooden drilling rigs<br />

had become standardized and made by<br />

several companies. A sturdy wooden derrick<br />

replaced the old tripod <strong>to</strong> allow removal of<br />

the drilling <strong>to</strong>ols. The derricks gradually<br />

became taller, up <strong>to</strong> eighty feet, as technology<br />

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Left: This illustration, also from the<br />

Geological Survey of Ohio Vol. VI show a<br />

blacksmith working on drilling <strong>to</strong>ols on the<br />

drilling platform. The bull wheel is <strong>to</strong> the<br />

left; drill bits rest in the box <strong>to</strong> the right.<br />

Below: A drilling crew poses as they prepare<br />

a rig for pumping. The large wheel and axle<br />

is called the bull wheel.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

evolved <strong>to</strong> allow deeper drilling. Cable <strong>to</strong>ol<br />

rigs became commonplace and instead of<br />

just a single cable, they commonly contained<br />

three. A cable holding the drilling <strong>to</strong>ols<br />

extended from a wheel and axle, called the<br />

bull wheel, at the base of the derrick <strong>to</strong> the<br />

<strong>to</strong>p of the derrick, where it wrapped over a set<br />

of pulleys, called the crown block, and<br />

dropped <strong>to</strong> the walking beam. Another cable<br />

bore the bailer for removing mud and cuttings<br />

from the bore. A third cable allowed lowering<br />

of casing or pipe in<strong>to</strong> the bore <strong>to</strong> prevent<br />

caving. Unfortunately, cable <strong>to</strong>ol drilling did<br />

not allow for controlling pressure and<br />

explosive blowouts were a hazard. The<br />

method was also slow, taking as much as<br />

two months <strong>to</strong> drill a few hundred feet in<br />

hard rock.<br />

Rotary drilling was another method used for<br />

drilling early water and salt wells, but the first<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

9 5


Right: At this unidentified well a worker<br />

poses on the walking beam. The large<br />

diameter pipes are casing that will be<br />

cemented in the hole before pumping begins.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, left: This is the dog house where<br />

power was transmitted <strong>to</strong> several nearby<br />

derricks by rods. The location of the dog<br />

house is unknown.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: This early spudder drill hit a<br />

pocket of gaseous oil. Tremendous amounts<br />

of oil are often wasted before the well can be<br />

gotten under control.<br />

recorded successful use of it in oil and gas<br />

exploration was in 1901 at the Spindle<strong>to</strong>p well<br />

in Texas. It differs from the cable <strong>to</strong>ol method<br />

in employing a rotating bit, rather than a<br />

percussion bit. Cuttings are continuously<br />

brought <strong>to</strong> the surface by a stream of drilling<br />

mud (generally a water clay mineral mixture)<br />

pumped down in<strong>to</strong> the drilling pipe, out holes<br />

in the bit, and then back <strong>to</strong> the surface between<br />

the drilling pipe and walls of the well. This<br />

obviously reduces the drilling time from a<br />

cable <strong>to</strong>ol operation where the drill stem has <strong>to</strong><br />

be periodically withdrawn and the hole bailed<br />

<strong>to</strong> remove cuttings. Also the presence of even<br />

minimal amounts of hydrocarbons can be<br />

detected in the mud accumulating at the<br />

surface. A disadvantage is that the drilling mud<br />

may seal up plays of oil and gas. Drilling in<br />

cavernous limes<strong>to</strong>ne and dolos<strong>to</strong>ne, common<br />

in the northwestern Ohio oil fields, required<br />

extra attention since mud might be redirected<br />

in<strong>to</strong> intersected karst horizons.<br />

By the early 1900s, spudder drills had been<br />

invented. These were drilling units that were<br />

portable and used generally for starting wells or<br />

drilling shallow wells. They were either<br />

mounted on trailers or truck beds.<br />

Wells showing a play were outfitted with<br />

an inner string of pipes, the oil string, in<br />

which either the oil flows or is pumped <strong>to</strong> the<br />

surface. Casing that is no longer needed was<br />

salvaged and water plays sealed off. A special<br />

valve prevented blowouts.<br />

By the early 1900s, oil was pumped<br />

through two inch pipes or tubing that<br />

extended <strong>to</strong> the bot<strong>to</strong>m of the hole. At the<br />

bot<strong>to</strong>m was a pumping device with a special<br />

valve. Sucker rods extended down <strong>to</strong> this<br />

working barrel and valve. The sucker rods<br />

moved up and down, pumping the oil up the<br />

tubing. Sucker rods were initially made of<br />

wood, but by the 1900s, most were iron. Rods<br />

varied in length but were usually between 20<br />

and 30 feet long. Many were screwed <strong>to</strong>gether<br />

<strong>to</strong> reach the bot<strong>to</strong>m of the hole.<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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increased height was necessary for<br />

withdrawing the drill stem for bit replacement<br />

and other reasons, since non-flexible cable<br />

could be rolled on a drum, by workers who<br />

had <strong>to</strong> pull long stems of rigid steel drill stem.<br />

Due <strong>to</strong> the increased height, most derricks<br />

had a catwalk about two-thirds of the way up.<br />

Nearby was the power source and a drilling<br />

mud containment basin. The well diameter<br />

was also much smaller than that of a typical<br />

cable <strong>to</strong>ol well. The rotary method allowed for<br />

drilling deep holes; thousands of feet down. A<br />

rotary rig could drill some 3,000 feet down in<br />

about 5 days, compared <strong>to</strong> a cable rig that<br />

would take some 30 days.<br />

Top, left: This portable drilling rig operates<br />

in the side yard of a North Baltimore<br />

residence in the late 1930s.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

Top, right: This spudder rig has been erected<br />

on wood timbers at a 1953 well site in<br />

Jackson Township of Knox County.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

Left: A driller operates a spudder in the<br />

North Baltimore area. Drilling goes on in<br />

all seasons.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

S O M E E A R L Y O H I O<br />

R E F I N E R I E S<br />

By the 1920s, rotary drilling methods had<br />

evolved just as cable <strong>to</strong>ol operations. A typical<br />

derrick was at least 170 feet high, more or less<br />

double that of a cable <strong>to</strong>ol derrick. This<br />

<strong>On</strong>ce the oil was pumped <strong>to</strong> the surface,<br />

the next step was <strong>to</strong> modify it in<strong>to</strong> one of its<br />

many products. As it was just out of the<br />

ground, it was indeed, just crude oil.<br />

Petroleum products are wide ranging and vary<br />

from gaseous <strong>to</strong> liquid <strong>to</strong> solid matter. The<br />

first refineries were simply distillation<br />

facilities, unlike stills for making whiskey.<br />

They were initially located close <strong>to</strong> the oil<br />

fields for ease of transportation.<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

9 7


Above: Another model of portable drilling<br />

rig at a site near Cygnet.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: This early drilling rig was<br />

manufactured in Lodi.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

The late 1850s marks the construction of the<br />

first oil refineries in Ohio. Before this time a<br />

number of small plants for making and refining<br />

coal oil operated in the southeastern hills. <strong>On</strong>e<br />

of the first refineries was started when a<br />

Cleveland coal distiller brought back barrels of<br />

Pennsylvania crude after visiting a new oil field<br />

in 1859. He turned it in<strong>to</strong> kerosene at his plant<br />

located along the Ohio Canal. By 1860, the<br />

Hussey-McBride refinery, specifically designed<br />

<strong>to</strong> distill crude oil, was in operation in<br />

Cleveland. By 1861, Cleveland was also home<br />

<strong>to</strong> the Backus, Williams & Company refinery. In<br />

1863 the Andrews Clark and Company refinery<br />

opened on the Cuyahoga River and the Atlantic<br />

& Great Western Railroad in Cleveland. John D.<br />

Rockefeller was responsible for entering this<br />

company in<strong>to</strong> the oil refining business. Within<br />

a few years, many more small refineries were<br />

established in the city. By 1865, the firm<br />

became known as Rockefeller and Andrews and<br />

was the largest of thirty refineries in the city.<br />

Cleveland processed over 600,000 barrels of<br />

crude that year and shipped out around<br />

400,000 barrels of refined products <strong>to</strong> all parts<br />

of the nation. By 1870, when the refinery<br />

became Standard <strong>Oil</strong>, the facility had spread<br />

out <strong>to</strong> sixty acres.<br />

<strong>On</strong>e of the early oil refineries in the<br />

Muskingum Valley was located in Zanesville<br />

and was owned by Matthew Hodkinson. Mr.<br />

Hodkinson was drawn <strong>to</strong> Marietta by the Cow<br />

Run oil boom, and erected a 160-barrelcapacity<br />

facility; specifically <strong>to</strong> refine petroleum<br />

along the Muskingum River on the north side of<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn. The Hodkinson refinery opened in 1861,<br />

the same year the Herring & Buell refinery (60<br />

barrel capacity) was erected on the south edge<br />

of down<strong>to</strong>wn Marietta. Built around the same<br />

time was the McAllister & Greenhill refinery<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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(50 barrels) about two miles southeast of<br />

Marietta. Hodkinson and Greenhill combined<br />

<strong>to</strong> erect an eighty-barrel refinery in down<strong>to</strong>wn<br />

Marietta near the Herring & Buell plant (this<br />

plant was later moved four miles north of<br />

Marietta and by the 1880s, became the busy<br />

Phoenix <strong>Oil</strong> Works). McConnelsville was the<br />

site of a 1861 refinery built <strong>to</strong> process the crude<br />

from producers in Morgan County. R.P. Iams &<br />

Sons, a longtime Marietta company, built what<br />

became a 340-barrel refinery in 1863-64 in the<br />

down<strong>to</strong>wn area. In 1864, W.C. McCarty started<br />

the refinery business with a small plant in<br />

Marietta. Since 1872, the plant was located on<br />

the Ohio River south of Harmar. In the 1880s,<br />

it was doing business as the Marietta <strong>Oil</strong> Works.<br />

George Rice also became involved in the<br />

refining of petroleum in 1876 when he<br />

purchased and expanded a refinery on the<br />

north side of Marietta. In the 1880s, it operated<br />

as the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Works. A small refinery also<br />

operated at S<strong>to</strong>ckport, serving the Morgan<br />

County area. The Argand <strong>Oil</strong> Refinery opened<br />

in 1877 near the McCarty plant, south of<br />

Harmar (The company bought an old Harmar<br />

plant that processed lubricating oils in 1884).<br />

Another early location of refineries was in the<br />

Mecca field of northeastern Ohio.<br />

The refinery business was quite profitable<br />

until the late 1860s. The Panic of 1873 hit the<br />

refinery business hard. Standard <strong>Oil</strong> then<br />

began its monopolistic practices and soon had<br />

control of most of the refineries and had<br />

negotiated rebates with the leading railroad<br />

lines <strong>to</strong> control movement of oil tank cars.<br />

By the 1880s, early refineries in Ohio were<br />

operating metal stills that could hold from<br />

200 <strong>to</strong> 1,000 barrels of oil each. These had a<br />

wide bot<strong>to</strong>m designed <strong>to</strong> allow even heating.<br />

Before crude was pumped in<strong>to</strong> the still, it had<br />

<strong>to</strong> be separated as much as possible from any<br />

groundwater. The furnace under the still was<br />

s<strong>to</strong>ked and kept at a steady heat during the<br />

entire distilling process. The vapor passed<br />

through the outlet and in<strong>to</strong> the coils of<br />

the condenser, surrounded by a bath of<br />

cold water. At the end of the condenser was<br />

the running box where the specific gravity of<br />

the condensate was determined and the<br />

products sorted.<br />

Many refineries had colorful advertisements<br />

in the late 1800s-early 1900s. This<br />

Cleveland Refining Company advertising<br />

card serves as an example. It was printed<br />

on both sides.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

9 9


S O M E O H I O G A S A N D O I L<br />

C O M P A N I E S A N D<br />

A S S O C I A T E D F I R M S<br />

T H E B E R G E N O I L C O M P A N Y<br />

This firm had ten producing wells in the<br />

First and Second Cow Run sands around<br />

1900. Production was small, averaging about<br />

150 barrels per month.<br />

T H E B R I D G E W A T E R<br />

G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

This company, controlled by Pennsylvania<br />

interests, began <strong>to</strong> serve East Liverpool<br />

in 1887. In 1899, the company was sold<br />

<strong>to</strong> the Fort Pitt <strong>Gas</strong> Company. It eventually<br />

became part of the Manufacturers’ Light &<br />

Heat Company.<br />

T H E B U C K E Y E<br />

P I P E L I N E C O M P A N Y<br />

The company was organized in 1886 as an<br />

affiliate of the Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Company <strong>to</strong><br />

transport oil from the Lima area <strong>to</strong> Standard’s<br />

refineries. In 1888, Buckeye built pipelines<br />

from Lima <strong>to</strong> Chicago and Cygnet <strong>to</strong> Mantua.<br />

Over 1,000 pipeliners worked on the<br />

projects. During the boom years numerous<br />

coal-fired boiler houses were present along<br />

the lines <strong>to</strong> boost the flow. Major pump<br />

stations were then added, including Station<br />

No. 8 at Cygnet, which, when built, was<br />

claimed <strong>to</strong> be the largest in the U.S. In 1945<br />

the company began <strong>to</strong> handle the<br />

transportation of refined products as well as<br />

crude. The company operates <strong>to</strong>day as<br />

Buckeye Partners, LP.<br />

C A N F I E L D O I L C O M P A N Y<br />

Canfield <strong>Oil</strong> was incorporated in 1886 and<br />

opened a refinery in Cleveland <strong>to</strong> produce<br />

lubricants and petrolatum. <strong>Gas</strong>oline became<br />

another main product as the company<br />

opened a second Cleveland refinery in 1907.<br />

This company also operated a refinery in<br />

Findlay until 1901, when the Findlay<br />

operation became part of the National<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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Refining Company. Canfield <strong>Oil</strong> became a<br />

subsidiary of Sohio in 1945.<br />

T H E C A N T O N G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

The year 1855 marked the founding of the<br />

Can<strong>to</strong>n <strong>Gas</strong> Company, an artificial gas<br />

producer. The company introduced the first<br />

gas street lights <strong>to</strong> Can<strong>to</strong>n residents, erecting<br />

them around the square. In 1889 the company<br />

changed hands, becoming the Can<strong>to</strong>n <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Light & Coke Company and began <strong>to</strong> handle<br />

oil and gas s<strong>to</strong>ves. Competition from the cross<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn Sun Vapor Street Light Company and the<br />

East Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> Company natural gas pipeline<br />

led <strong>to</strong> the sale of the firm <strong>to</strong> the East Ohio <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company in 1911.<br />

T H E C E N T R A L O H I O O I L<br />

A N D G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

northeast of Lancaster. A new pool of gas was<br />

tapped near Homer in northern Licking<br />

County in 1902 and a pipeline was laid <strong>to</strong><br />

Columbus the next year. In 1902, the Central<br />

Ohio Natural <strong>Gas</strong> and Fuel Company built a<br />

thousand-horsepower pumping station<br />

between Lancaster and Sugar Grove. By now,<br />

the pressure of the field had greatly lowered<br />

and help was needed <strong>to</strong> get the gas all the way<br />

<strong>to</strong> Columbus. Around 110 wells had been<br />

drilled by the company by 1902 and some<br />

66,000 Columbus homes were served.<br />

T H E D E L A W A R E<br />

G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

This company was organized in 1859 as<br />

the Delaware <strong>Gas</strong> Light and Coal <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company <strong>to</strong> provide the city of Delaware with<br />

Opposite: These three views show the<br />

Buckeye Pipe Line Pump Station No. 8 on<br />

the south edge of Cygnet. In view are the<br />

reservoir, tank farm, and pump house.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Above: This building, housing the Transit &<br />

S<strong>to</strong>rage Company, was built along the<br />

former T&OC tracks at the Buckeye<br />

Station. This view dates <strong>to</strong> 1949.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM<br />

Below: The Buckeye Pipe Line Company<br />

operated this pump station at Mantua. The<br />

card is labeled Standard <strong>Oil</strong> because<br />

Buckeye Pipe Line was a subsidiary.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER..<br />

The Central Ohio Natural <strong>Gas</strong> and Fuel<br />

Company was formed in 1889 by a number of<br />

Columbus inves<strong>to</strong>rs and initially piped gas<br />

from the Thurs<strong>to</strong>n area <strong>to</strong> Columbus. In the<br />

early stages the company supplied fuel <strong>to</strong><br />

manufacturing plants as well as residences.<br />

Depletion of the small Thurs<strong>to</strong>n gas pool led<br />

<strong>to</strong> exploration <strong>to</strong> the south near Lancaster and<br />

the elimination of gas service <strong>to</strong> Columbus<br />

fac<strong>to</strong>ries. In February 1891, a 6,000,000<br />

cubic feet producer, of Lancaster helped the<br />

company continue <strong>to</strong> supply Columbus with<br />

its supply of fuel. Later, in 1893, strong<br />

producers in the Sugar Grove vicinity<br />

replaced the wells in Pleasant Township<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

1 0 1


artificial gas for illuminating purposes. The<br />

name was changed <strong>to</strong> the Delaware <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company in January 1894. In July 1902, the<br />

firm began <strong>to</strong> distribute natural gas; one of<br />

the first companies <strong>to</strong> convert from artificial<br />

<strong>to</strong> natural gas.<br />

T H E D R E S S E R G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

Around 1900, Dresser provided natural<br />

gas <strong>to</strong> Malta and McConnellsville. The gas<br />

came from 20 wells in the Devonian Berea<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>ne. In 1903, the company served as<br />

many as 700 houses.<br />

T H E E A S T O H I O<br />

G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

This company was incorporated<br />

September 8, 1898, by the Standard <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company of New Jersey and completed a<br />

pipeline from the West Virginia oil fields<br />

north <strong>to</strong> a point halfway between Massillon<br />

and Can<strong>to</strong>n, where a distribution center was<br />

located, in December 1898. Here, a pipeline<br />

stretched west <strong>to</strong> Massillon and east <strong>to</strong><br />

Can<strong>to</strong>n. The company was the first <strong>to</strong> pipe<br />

natural gas in<strong>to</strong> northeastern Ohio, and<br />

extending <strong>to</strong> Akron in 1900. Branch lines also<br />

served Canal Dover (now Dover), Dennison,<br />

New Philadelphia, and Uhrichsville. The<br />

pipeline was extended <strong>to</strong> Cleveland in 1902,<br />

and <strong>to</strong> Youngs<strong>to</strong>wn in 1909. In 1910, the<br />

company acquired two Cleveland area<br />

artificial gas companies—Cleveland <strong>Gas</strong> Light<br />

& Coke Co. and Peoples <strong>Gas</strong> Light & Coke<br />

Co. In 1911, it added the Can<strong>to</strong>n <strong>Gas</strong> Light &<br />

Coke Co. In 1942, Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Company‘s<br />

ownership ended and East Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> became<br />

a subsidiary of the Consolidated Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company. Consolidated became part of<br />

Dominion Energy of Virginia in 2000. It<br />

continues as Dominion East Ohio.<br />

about 350 barrels a month. The property of<br />

this company was sold in 1902.<br />

T H E F E D E R A L G A S A N D<br />

F U E L C O M P A N Y<br />

Federal <strong>Gas</strong> formed in 1898 and acquired<br />

former Hocking Canal lands between<br />

Lancaster and Rock Bridge in the midst of the<br />

Sugar Grove field. The company succeeded in<br />

laying a line <strong>to</strong> Columbus after a court battle<br />

with the Central Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> Company.<br />

The company also supplied Canal Winchester<br />

and Logan. Of some 30 wells drilled, 20 were<br />

producing in 1902. The firm became part of<br />

the Ohio Fuel Supply Company in 1903.<br />

T H E F I N D L A Y G A S L I G H T<br />

C O M P A N Y ( F I N D L A Y<br />

A R T I F I C I A L G A S L I G H T<br />

C O M P A N Y )<br />

The Findlay <strong>Gas</strong> Light Company was<br />

formed in July 1871 <strong>to</strong> furnish artificial gas <strong>to</strong><br />

the <strong>to</strong>wn of 5,000 people. After a delay, the<br />

company opened an artificial gas plant in<br />

December, 1874. The company switched <strong>to</strong><br />

natural gas in 1885, and was the first <strong>to</strong> lay<br />

lines in the city’s streets. The company bought<br />

out the competing Findlay Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company, in September, 1885. The city<br />

purchased the operation in Oc<strong>to</strong>ber 1887,<br />

when it decided <strong>to</strong> enter the gas business. The<br />

city operation lasted only a short time. In<br />

March 1889, the city sold out <strong>to</strong> the Citizens’<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> Light & Heating Company, which in turn,<br />

sold the property <strong>to</strong> the Citizens’ <strong>Gas</strong> Light<br />

and Coke Company, in July 1890. The<br />

Citizens’ <strong>Gas</strong> Light and Coke Company<br />

operated until 1922, when it was merged with<br />

the Logan <strong>Gas</strong> Company. Later, the Ohio Fuel<br />

Company <strong>to</strong>ok over and became part of<br />

Columbia <strong>Gas</strong> of Ohio, Inc.<br />

T H E<br />

O I L<br />

E X C H A N G E<br />

C O M P A N Y<br />

T H E F I N D L A Y N A T U R A L<br />

G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

In 1900, this company was well established<br />

in the Cow Run field with 28 producing wells.<br />

The plays were in the First and Second Cow<br />

Run sands. Production was small, averaging<br />

This short-lived company was formed <strong>to</strong><br />

fund the drilling of the Oesterlen well in<br />

Findlay, in 1884. Upon discovering natural gas,<br />

the company decided <strong>to</strong> enter the distribution<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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T H E L A N C A S T E R G A S A N D<br />

O I L C O M P A N Y N O . 1<br />

In 1885, the Lancaster Natural <strong>Gas</strong><br />

Company was incorporated at the Fairfield<br />

County seat. A well, laboriously dug through<br />

the hard till, finally struck gas at 1,957 feet,<br />

but saltwater became a problem. After<br />

shooting the well, the gas was used <strong>to</strong> fuel a<br />

local fac<strong>to</strong>ry. This well was followed by two<br />

strong well producers, drilled by the Mt.<br />

Pleasant Natural <strong>Gas</strong> and <strong>Oil</strong> Company<br />

(incorporated in 1887) and the East End<br />

Natural <strong>Gas</strong> and <strong>Oil</strong> Company (formed in<br />

1887). These three companies consolidated in<br />

late 1887 as the Lancaster <strong>Gas</strong> and <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company No.1 and obtained permission <strong>to</strong> lay<br />

gas lines in Lancaster. By early 1888, over 500<br />

addresses were receiving gas service. This so<br />

overtaxed the system that the company’s plant<br />

was purchased by the city in Spring 1888, and<br />

the city went in<strong>to</strong> the gas business.<br />

market and laid mains in Findlay streets in<br />

direct competition with the Findlay <strong>Gas</strong> Light<br />

Company. The company sold out <strong>to</strong> Findlay<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> Light Company in September 1885.<br />

T H E G U L F O I L C O M P A N Y<br />

See Paragon Refining Company.<br />

T H E H O M E G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

This firm was chartered in 1897 in Malta.<br />

It began with 3 small producing wells.<br />

T H E<br />

O I L<br />

I M P E R I A L<br />

C O M P A N Y<br />

In 1913, this Canadian company got all its<br />

oil from the Buckeye Pipeline Company. They<br />

pumped oil <strong>to</strong> Sarnia, <strong>On</strong>tario, for at that time<br />

little oil was available in Canada. In the early<br />

days there were two pumping stations—one<br />

at Cygnet and the other in Wayne, Michigan.<br />

Later, pumping stations were added at<br />

Sylvania and Utica, Michigan. The pipeline<br />

was discontinued in the 1950s after the<br />

discovery of vast oil reserves in Saskatchewan.<br />

It eventually became Buckeye property.<br />

T H E L O G A N N A T U R A L G A S<br />

A N D F U E L C O M P A N Y<br />

In 1894, inves<strong>to</strong>rs in the Logan area formed<br />

the Logan Natural <strong>Gas</strong> and Fuel Company <strong>to</strong><br />

provide the community with natural gas from<br />

the Sugar Grove field <strong>to</strong> the west of <strong>to</strong>wn. By<br />

1898, the company had six producing wells;<br />

by 1902, there were 80 and this didn’t include<br />

new wells being put down in the Homer field<br />

of northern Licking County. The company laid<br />

a pipeline first <strong>to</strong> the Boys Industrial School,<br />

just south of Lancaster and then began serving<br />

Laurelville, Adelphi, and Chillicothe. The<br />

rapidly expanding company had lines <strong>to</strong><br />

Ashland, Athens, Bellevue, Bucyrus,<br />

Carding<strong>to</strong>n, Carey, Chicago Junction<br />

(Willard), Circleville, Clyde, Crestline,<br />

Delaware, Fos<strong>to</strong>ria, Galion, Granville,<br />

Mansfield, Marion, Millersport, Mt. Gilead,<br />

Mt. Vernon, Nelsonville, Newark, Norwalk,<br />

Shelby, Thornville, Tiffin, Upper Sandusky,<br />

Utica, and Westerville. A pumping station was<br />

built in 1902.<br />

M A R A T H O N O I L C O M P A N Y<br />

See the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company on page 105.<br />

Gulf <strong>Oil</strong> operated a refinery along Front<br />

Street in East Toledo’s Ironville area.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

1 0 3


plants. Bremen, Crooksville, Roseville,<br />

Rushville, and Somerset were also served. A<br />

pumping station was erected in 1902.<br />

T H E O H I O G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

May 14, 1914, marked the incorporation of<br />

the Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> Light & Coke Company in Bryan<br />

from the merger of the Napoleon & Wauseon<br />

and Bryan & Montpelier <strong>Gas</strong> Companies. The<br />

company manufactured gas from coal and<br />

Above: This 1960s view of a general s<strong>to</strong>re<br />

selling Marathon products was taken in<br />

Wood County.<br />

COURTESY OF TEH MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Right: Matchbook covers were another place<br />

<strong>to</strong> advertise.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

T H E N A T I O N A L<br />

R E F I N I N G C O M P A N Y<br />

Kerosene was the main initial product of<br />

this Cleveland firm, established in 1882. It<br />

began as National <strong>Oil</strong>, but was incorporated<br />

in Ohio in 1884 as the National Refining<br />

Company. National Refining operated<br />

refineries at Cleveland, Findlay and Marietta.<br />

The Cleveland refinery, built in 1884, closed<br />

in 1921. The company became part of<br />

Ashland <strong>Oil</strong> and Refining Company in 1950.<br />

T H E N O R T H W E S T E R N O H I O<br />

G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

This subsidiary of the Standard <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company owned no wells, but purchased gas<br />

from others. It began with a pipeline running<br />

from the Sugar Grove field <strong>to</strong> Toledo. A<br />

pumping station was built in Fall, 1901.<br />

T H E O H I O F U E L<br />

S U P P L Y C O M P A N Y<br />

May 1, 1902 marked the beginning of the<br />

Ohio Fuel Supply Company, when the Great<br />

Southern <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> Company transferred<br />

over its holdings. The company piped gas from<br />

the Homer (Licking County) field beginning in<br />

1902. It also used gas from the Sugar Grove<br />

field, first established by the Great Southern<br />

company. The main service area was Zanesville<br />

with its many potteries and brick and tile<br />

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supplied lighting <strong>to</strong> northwest Ohio<br />

communities. By the late 1930s two major<br />

natural gas pipeline companies had built<br />

through the region. April 1940 brought<br />

complete conversion <strong>to</strong> natural gas, most of it<br />

being piped from the great Oklahoma and<br />

Texas fields. The company changed its name <strong>to</strong><br />

the Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> Company in July 1946 and<br />

focused on providing gas for heating and<br />

cooking. In 2014 the company marked a<br />

century of service <strong>to</strong> northwest Ohio.<br />

T H E O H I O O I L C O M P A N Y<br />

The Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company was chartered in<br />

August 1887 by five Lima producers. It was<br />

purchased two years later by the corporate<br />

giant, Standard <strong>Oil</strong>. James C. Donnell of<br />

Findlay, was appointed a direc<strong>to</strong>r of the<br />

company shortly after the takeover. Mr.<br />

Donnell started in the oil business as a teenage<br />

teamster in the Pennsylvania oil patch and<br />

advanced rapidly in the business <strong>to</strong> the point<br />

where he was drilling wells. In 1886 he moved<br />

<strong>to</strong> the booming city of Findlay. After working<br />

on his own for a while in Ohio he <strong>to</strong>ok a job<br />

with Standard <strong>Oil</strong>, drilling the first major gas<br />

well in Indiana. A field office was established<br />

in Findlay in 1889. By the 1890s, the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company controlled some 50% of the oil wells<br />

drilled in Ohio and Indiana mainly due <strong>to</strong> the<br />

expertise of Donnell. Due <strong>to</strong> the success in the<br />

Hancock-Wood County fields and the slowing<br />

Above: These 1910 vintage postcards show<br />

the National Refining Co. at Findlay. The<br />

older parts of this refinery were built by the<br />

Peerless Refining Company in 1887.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Left: Ohio Fuel Supply natural gas plant at<br />

Homer Ohio. When opened in 1902 the<br />

plant was advertised as the largest natural<br />

gas plant in the world. It is shown here in a<br />

pho<strong>to</strong>graph produced by a central Ohio<br />

postcard publisher, c. 1907. Note the plant<br />

was located on the Licking Canal.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

1 0 5


Above: The Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company maintained<br />

a pump station along their pipeline at<br />

Harpster. This postcard view dates <strong>to</strong> 1913.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

Below: The Paragon offices in Toledo.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

of production in the Lima-St. Marys fields,<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> made Findlay the main directing<br />

center and moved the general offices there in<br />

1905. The 1911 divestiture of the Standard <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Trust led <strong>to</strong> the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company returning<br />

<strong>to</strong> independent status. James C. Donnell was<br />

elected president of the company in 1911 and<br />

served in this capacity until his death in 1927.<br />

Under Donnell’s leadership the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company expanded its holdings westward.<br />

J.C. Donnell became a well-respected expert in<br />

the oil and gas industry. Ot<strong>to</strong> D. Donnell<br />

succeeded his father as president of Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> in<br />

1927 and served admirably until 1948. Upon<br />

his retirement, J.C. Donnell II, his son,<br />

assumed the presidency. In 1952, the company<br />

opened a refined products terminal in Oregon,<br />

Ohio. In 1962 Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> changed its name <strong>to</strong><br />

Marathon <strong>Oil</strong> with headquarters in Findlay.<br />

Marathon Petroleum as it is now known,<br />

maintains a refinery in Can<strong>to</strong>n (a former<br />

Ashland <strong>Oil</strong> plant), major s<strong>to</strong>rage terminal in<br />

Toledo, and offices in Findlay.<br />

T H E O H I O T R A N S P O R T A T I O N<br />

C O M P A N Y ( C E N T R A L<br />

C O N T R A C T A N D<br />

F I N A N C E C O M P A N Y )<br />

This company laid a pipeline from the<br />

Sugar Grove field <strong>to</strong> Springfield in 1897. Loss<br />

of pressure resulted in the construction of<br />

pumping stations in 1900 (in Springfield) and<br />

1902 (in Mt. Sterling). By Fall 1902, the firm<br />

had 57 producing wells and was serving<br />

Day<strong>to</strong>n, Mt. Sterling, Piqua, Sidney,<br />

Springfield, Troy, Urbana, and several smaller<br />

nearby <strong>to</strong>wns.<br />

T H E O H I O V A L L E Y<br />

G A S C O M P A N Y<br />

1886 marks the chartering of this company<br />

in East Liverpool. It served both East<br />

Liverpool and Wellsville. By 1905 it was part<br />

of the Manufacturers’ Light & Heat Company,<br />

the largest natural gas firm in the world at<br />

that time.<br />

T H E<br />

O I L<br />

P A R A G O N<br />

C O M P A N Y<br />

This company bought oil from others and<br />

pumped it <strong>to</strong> refineries. They didn’t own any<br />

wells nor a refinery. Paragon had a pump<br />

station, called the Midway China, just south<br />

of Cygnet on the Dixie Highway.<br />

T H E P A R A G O N<br />

R E F I N I N G C O M P A N Y<br />

Ironville was the site of Paragon’s refinery.<br />

Paragon once produced White Swan oil,<br />

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considered <strong>to</strong> be one of the best illuminants.<br />

They also marketed Red Cross gasoline, a<br />

smokeless odorless gas for au<strong>to</strong>mobiles, gas<br />

engines, and s<strong>to</strong>ves. Another of their wellknown<br />

products was Banner Axle grease. Gulf<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> bought Paragon’s Oregon, Ohio, facilities<br />

in 1930. Paragon, at the time, was a supplier<br />

of 8,000 daily barrels of gasoline, fuel oils,<br />

lubricating oils, and wax and employed<br />

150 workers. Gulf began a program of<br />

expansion and redirection; adding a new<br />

boiler house, cracking units, gas plant,<br />

treating plant, and tanks and focusing on the<br />

production of gasoline, furnace oil, and coke.<br />

Output increased <strong>to</strong> 12,000 barrels. Updating<br />

and expansion continued; by 1960 the facility<br />

was refining some 42,000 barrels of crude<br />

a day.<br />

T H E P E E R L E S S<br />

R E F I N I N G C O M P A N Y<br />

The first Findlay refinery, the Peerless,<br />

began operations in 1887, serving the local<br />

area. By 1889 the refinery was producing<br />

1,500 barrels a month. The National Refining<br />

Company assumed control in 1896 and<br />

operated the refinery until after WWII.<br />

Ashland <strong>Oil</strong> operated this facility until<br />

merging with Marathon.<br />

T H E P U R E O I L C O M P A N Y<br />

Pure <strong>Oil</strong> Company opened a refinery in<br />

Oregon, Ohio, in 1931. The refinery initially<br />

had a capacity of 6,000 barrels, but 30 years<br />

later was producing 30,000 barrels daily. The<br />

plant specialized in aliphatic and aromatic<br />

industrial napthas, domestic and industrial<br />

burning oils, liquefied petroleum gas, mo<strong>to</strong>r<br />

fuels, and petroleum coke.<br />

T H E<br />

O I L<br />

S T A N D A R D<br />

C O M P A N Y<br />

In 1862, John D. Rockefeller and two other<br />

Clevelanders began their quest <strong>to</strong> establish a<br />

refining company in Cleveland. In 1865 the<br />

Rockefeller & Andrews <strong>Oil</strong> Company was<br />

founded. In the first year the company was<br />

deemed a success, garnering some $200,000<br />

and beginning Rockefeller’s wealthy years.<br />

The brain trust of the company focused on<br />

stabilizing the constantly fluctuating oil prices<br />

of the 1860s. The way this would be<br />

accomplished was <strong>to</strong> bring the competing<br />

companies under one umbrella.<br />

It began with convincing the largest<br />

refining company in Cleveland—the O.H.<br />

Payne <strong>Oil</strong> Company—<strong>to</strong> unite with<br />

Rockefeller & Andrews <strong>Oil</strong>. The idea was that<br />

the larger the company was, the more control<br />

it could exert over oil prices. Other related<br />

companies in Cleveland were convinced <strong>to</strong><br />

join. By 1872, Standard controlled 21 of<br />

Cleveland’s 26 refineries. Those that chose <strong>to</strong><br />

remain independent were eventually bought<br />

out or driven out of business. New oil fields<br />

were bought as discovered and the oil s<strong>to</strong>red<br />

in vast tank fields so as not <strong>to</strong> affect Standard’s<br />

price. In 1870 the consortium of Rockefeller<br />

controlled companies were united as the<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Company. Rockefeller sought <strong>to</strong><br />

expand the influence of Standard <strong>Oil</strong>. Between<br />

1875 and 1878 Rockefeller had acquired<br />

control of 80 <strong>to</strong> 90% of the <strong>to</strong>tal oil refining<br />

capacity in the U.S by establishing agreements<br />

with other refiners across the continent. In<br />

1881 he formed the Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Trust from<br />

40 companies throughout the oil patch.<br />

Headquarters remained in Cleveland until<br />

1882 when a shift <strong>to</strong> New York City <strong>to</strong>ok<br />

place. The Trust continued <strong>to</strong> grow, stifling the<br />

operation of smaller companies. The Trust was<br />

eventually broken up in 1911 citing a<br />

violation of the Sherman Anti-trust legislation<br />

This 1930s linen postcard shows a typical<br />

Pure gas station located in Byesville.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TICHNOR BROS. COLLECTION,<br />

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY.<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

1 0 7


company officially adopted the name “SOHIO”<br />

as a trade name. In 1931 SOHIO acquired the<br />

Solar Refinery Company, an earlier affiliate,<br />

which operated the refinery in Lima. British<br />

Petroleum purchased SOHIO in 1970 and<br />

gradually phased out SOHIO brand name.<br />

Today it operates as BP-Husky. The Lima<br />

refinery is now part of Husky Energy.<br />

T H E S U N O I L C O M P A N Y<br />

Above: Standard <strong>Oil</strong> distributed their<br />

products by wagon in the early days. This<br />

one is in Toledo.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

Below: These postcards show the Standard<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> refinery and tank farm in Cleveland,<br />

c. 1912.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (Note<br />

this legislation was proposed by John<br />

Sherman, an Ohio sena<strong>to</strong>r in 1890).<br />

Rockefeller’s original Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Company<br />

was limited <strong>to</strong> doing business only in Ohio<br />

and became known as Standard <strong>Oil</strong> of Ohio.<br />

Other companies were divided in<strong>to</strong> various<br />

subsidiaries including Standard <strong>Oil</strong> of Indiana<br />

and Standard <strong>Oil</strong> of New Jersey <strong>to</strong> name a few<br />

(The “Standard” moniker was used for name<br />

recognition only; none of these were part of<br />

the former trust). Standard <strong>Oil</strong> of Ohio began<br />

a new refinery in Oregon, Ohio, in 1919. By<br />

1960 the plant employed 467 workers and<br />

had a capacity of 60,000 barrels of au<strong>to</strong>mobile<br />

and aviation fuels and lubricants. In 1928 the<br />

This company had its origins in 1894 when<br />

the Crystal <strong>Oil</strong> Company of the Toledo area<br />

was purchased by Joseph New<strong>to</strong>n Pew and<br />

Edward O. Emerson, oil field inves<strong>to</strong>rs. The<br />

next year the four-still plant, now known as the<br />

Diamond <strong>Oil</strong> Company, began producing<br />

kerosene, gas, oil, and fuel oil. The name was<br />

changed <strong>to</strong> the Sun <strong>Oil</strong> Company in December<br />

1895. The company opened a tank farm just<br />

west of Rudolph and also a well field in the<br />

early 1900s. The Toledo-Oregon refinery<br />

started with 14 acres and five employees.<br />

Through the years the plant expanded <strong>to</strong><br />

around 270 acres and 1,000 employees by<br />

1960. The success of the plant was bolstered<br />

with the completion of the Bay Terminal<br />

Railroad, linking the refinery <strong>to</strong> all the railroads<br />

serving the city. In 2011, Sunoco, as it was then<br />

known, sold its Toledo refinery after a shift in<br />

focus. It now operates as PBF Energy.<br />

T H E U N I O N N A T U R A L G A S<br />

C O M P A N Y , M A R I E T T A<br />

From wells in the Monroe area, this<br />

company first piped gas <strong>to</strong> Marietta in<br />

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Above: An early Standard <strong>Oil</strong> filling<br />

station at an unknown location, perhaps in<br />

Wood County.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Left: An aerial view of the Sun <strong>Oil</strong> refinery<br />

in Toledo. Tracks at bot<strong>to</strong>m are Bay<br />

Terminal Railroad.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

1890. Its’ deepest well reached 1,900<br />

feet. Initial rates were $1.50 per month for<br />

cooking s<strong>to</strong>ves and $1.63 per month for<br />

heating s<strong>to</strong>ves. In earlier days the Marietta<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> Company (incorporated in March<br />

1857) manufactured gas from local coals. By<br />

1891, consumers preferred natural gas over<br />

artificial varieties.<br />

T H E P I P E L I N E S ,<br />

P U M P S T A T I O N S , A N D<br />

S T O R A G E F A C I L I T I E S<br />

In the beginning oil was s<strong>to</strong>red in wooden<br />

tanks at the site of an oil well. Then it could<br />

be transported in barrels or tank wagons <strong>to</strong> a<br />

refining site. Soon pipelines were put in <strong>to</strong><br />

move the oil, and it was pumped from the<br />

small tanks <strong>to</strong> specific company pipelines<br />

serving the area.<br />

Numerous pipeline companies operated in<br />

Ohio and many of the lines continue in<br />

operation <strong>to</strong>day. The Buckeye Pipe Line<br />

Company, one of the first major transporting<br />

companies in Ohio, was chartered in 1886. Its<br />

original s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks held 50,000 gallons and<br />

had wooden <strong>to</strong>ps. Each was encircled by a dike<br />

<strong>to</strong> catch any leaking oil. The tanks were prone<br />

<strong>to</strong> lightning strikes and fires were not<br />

uncommon. Major tank farms in the<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

1 0 9


James Sweet, an oilfield worker from<br />

Bowling Green interviewed in the 1960s,<br />

described some of the companies in southern<br />

Wood County during the 1880s:<br />

Above: Behind the men, early smaller<br />

capacity tanks hold oil from a number<br />

of rigs.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: An early s<strong>to</strong>rage tank and steam<br />

boiler at a rig in Wood County.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

northwestern counties ran north-south from<br />

Findlay <strong>to</strong> south of Bowling Green and then on<br />

<strong>to</strong> Lima, until the 1970s. Four hundred 30,000<br />

gallon tanks once bordered Tank Farm Road<br />

near Cygnet ( several remain in 2014). Just<br />

south of Cygnet, Buckeye Pipe Line erected a<br />

pumping station, at one time, the world’s<br />

largest. More than 500 miles of pipeline<br />

radiated out from this station (Station No. 8) in<br />

Wood County alone. <strong>Oil</strong> was pumped from<br />

Cygnet northwest <strong>to</strong> Chicago, northeast <strong>to</strong><br />

New York City, east <strong>to</strong> Philadelphia, and many<br />

points in between. South of Cygnet was the<br />

Buckeye Reservoir, which is where the<br />

company recycled its steam engine water so it<br />

was always warm. Boys found it a great<br />

swimming hole, even in<strong>to</strong> the Fall.<br />

There were several oil companies around<br />

here. At one time, there was the Manhattan,<br />

and the Browning, and the Northern, and the<br />

Minear, and the Century. That’s right in the<br />

vicinity of the Kramer Road and the Rudolph<br />

Road, both sides, north and south. Then the<br />

Roust <strong>Oil</strong>. Lee Roust had an oil field in there.<br />

And then the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company had oil wells<br />

in through there. Clear up <strong>to</strong> Rudolph.”<br />

“The Hurry-Up <strong>Oil</strong> Company was out here<br />

a west about at Rudolph. They wanted <strong>to</strong> drill<br />

they wanted <strong>to</strong> drill a lot of wells, and they<br />

had about seven or eight string of <strong>to</strong>ols going<br />

on the 40 acres. It was just like polka dots<br />

around there.<br />

R A I L R O A D S I N T H E<br />

O I L F I E L D S<br />

Throughout Ohio the major oil and gas<br />

fields have been generally well served by the<br />

railroads. By 1900, Ohio was well blanketed by<br />

railroad lines. The railroad depot was the<br />

center of many communities and the lifeline <strong>to</strong><br />

news and happenings elsewhere before the<br />

days of the telephone. To the oil and gas<br />

industry it provided transportation of officials<br />

and workers and most importantly allowed the<br />

movement of large volumes of product by tank<br />

cars; much improved over tank wagons.<br />

The discovery of oil and gas in the<br />

southeastern hills of Ohio came about ten<br />

years after ancestral lines of the B&O were laid<br />

through the Ohio River valley and in<strong>to</strong><br />

Columbus. The Belpre & Cincinnati Railroad,<br />

later the Marietta & Cincinnati was the first <strong>to</strong><br />

serve the pioneer fields near Marietta. Later<br />

the Cleveland & Marietta Railroad, eventually<br />

a Pennsylvania Railroad line, was an important<br />

lifeline for the Macksburg field. The 1890s<br />

discovery of oil around Woodsfield, Monroe<br />

County, actually helped the narrow gauge<br />

Bellaire, Zanesville & Cincinnati Railroad<br />

rebound from bankruptcy. By 1895 the line<br />

was hauling drilling equipment and oil field<br />

workers for the important Jackson Ridge field.<br />

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R A I L R O A D S S E R V I N G S O M E O F T H E E A R L Y O H I O<br />

O I L A N D G A S F I E L D S A N D R E F I N I N G C E N T E R S<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

1 1 1


Tank cars at the Manhattan refinery in<br />

Galatea, just east of the diamond of the<br />

B&O and T&OC.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

In the eastern Ohio fields, lines that<br />

eventually fell under the Pennsylvania Railroad<br />

(PRR) moniker offered valuable services. The<br />

Pennsylvania Railroad added a special train <strong>to</strong><br />

serve the oil workers in the Scio field. Deemed<br />

the “Greaser”, it ran daily from Pittsburg <strong>to</strong><br />

Dennison and return, around 1900. The PRR<br />

and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad had major<br />

sidings at Scio usually full of tank cars destined<br />

<strong>to</strong> refineries in Cleveland, Findlay, Newburg,<br />

and Toledo. The PRR also served the<br />

Homeworth field; tankers carried oil <strong>to</strong> the<br />

National Refining Company in Cleveland.<br />

In western Ohio a framework of railroads<br />

were already in place when the gas and oil<br />

booms began. Among those running north<br />

and south were the Cincinnati Hamil<strong>to</strong>n &<br />

Day<strong>to</strong>n (CH&D) and Toledo & Ohio Central<br />

(T&OC) lines; running east-west were the<br />

Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), Chicago & Erie,<br />

New York Chicago & St. Louis, and<br />

Pennsylvania railroads.<br />

The construction of a number of lines,<br />

mainly built under the auspices of existing<br />

lines, was directly connected <strong>to</strong> the boom<br />

times. A good example is the Toledo, Findlay<br />

and Springfield Railway. The CH&D<br />

constructed this line off their mainline at<br />

Ton<strong>to</strong>gany from which it swung east in<strong>to</strong><br />

Bowling Green and then south through the oil<br />

fields <strong>to</strong> the mainline of the B&O at North<br />

Baltimore. This line, opened in 1890, passed<br />

through many Wood County oil <strong>to</strong>wns<br />

including Bays, Ducat, Hammansburg, Plaza,<br />

and Rudolph. CH&D locals would pick up<br />

oilfield workers in Bowling Green, Portage and<br />

other stations along the line. In the early years<br />

the CH&D would drop off riders at just about<br />

any point through the oil field. Workers getting<br />

off their shifts at night would hail local<br />

passenger trains with <strong>to</strong>rches of oil-soaked<br />

rope or rolled newspapers and the trains would<br />

s<strong>to</strong>p and carry them <strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>wn. CH&D freight<br />

trains commonly brought 15-20 carloads of<br />

coal down the branch, setting cars on sidings at<br />

places like Ducat, Portage, and Rudolph. From<br />

there farmers with their teams of horses would<br />

haul the coal <strong>to</strong> various well sites <strong>to</strong> feed the<br />

steam boilers. In 1888 the Columbus Findlay<br />

& Northern Railroad was organized <strong>to</strong> extend<br />

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the McComb Deshler & Toledo Railroad <strong>to</strong><br />

Findlay by laying track between McComb and<br />

Findlay. It was opened in 1889 and eventually<br />

taken over by the CH&D.<br />

Two sub-parallel lines that eventually<br />

became part of the Toledo & Ohio Central<br />

(T&OC) in the 1890s provided similar services<br />

<strong>to</strong> another string of Wood County boom <strong>to</strong>wns<br />

including Cygnet, Galatea, Mermill, Mungen,<br />

Portage, Prairie Depot, and Trombley. The<br />

T&OC gained access <strong>to</strong> the St. Marys field<br />

when it <strong>to</strong>ok over the St. Marys branch of the<br />

Detroit & Lima Northern in 1901.<br />

Interurban lines became the efficient way<br />

<strong>to</strong> transport workers and company personnel<br />

through the oil fields. The Toledo Bowling<br />

Green & Southern (TBG&S) was an<br />

interurban line that ran south from Toledo <strong>to</strong><br />

Bowling Green and eventually Findlay. Many<br />

northwestern Ohio oil workers heavily<br />

patronized this line as it had even more<br />

frequent s<strong>to</strong>ps than the CH&D and T&OC.<br />

The TBG&S, after connecting Toledo and<br />

Bowling Green, built south <strong>to</strong> Mermill.<br />

Mermill was the end of the line for a while.<br />

Then the line laid track in<strong>to</strong> Jerry City. The<br />

company had originally intended <strong>to</strong> continue<br />

their line in<strong>to</strong> Fos<strong>to</strong>ria, but later changed<br />

their charter <strong>to</strong> head in<strong>to</strong> Findlay instead.<br />

After sometime with Jerry City as their<br />

southern terminal they built in<strong>to</strong> Findlay by<br />

way of Cygnet and North Baltimore. The line<br />

from Trombley <strong>to</strong> Jerry City became a branch<br />

line and was served by a smaller trolley called<br />

a dinkey. The Lake Erie, Bowling Green &<br />

Napoleon (LEBG&N) and the Toledo Fos<strong>to</strong>ria<br />

& Findlay (TF&F) traction lines also served<br />

the northwestern Ohio oil fields. The<br />

LEBG&N served Ton<strong>to</strong>gany, Bowling Green,<br />

Pemberville, and Woodville. The TF&F ran<br />

from Toledo south through Luckey,<br />

Pemberville, Bradner, Risingsun, and Longley<br />

<strong>to</strong> Fos<strong>to</strong>ria. Similarly in the Lima area, the<br />

Ohio Electric Railway provided convenient<br />

transportation in the oil patch. Western Ohio<br />

Electric served St. Marys. The East Liverpool<br />

Traction & Light Company connected East<br />

Liverpool and Wellsville.<br />

Large refineries often had an industrial<br />

railroad <strong>to</strong> shuffle tank cars. In Toledo, the<br />

Bay Terminal Railroad was chartered<br />

specifically <strong>to</strong> serve several refineries.<br />

Above: Tank cars were filled at this facility,<br />

thought <strong>to</strong> be on the T&OC at Mermill.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: The TBG&S ran down the middle of<br />

Main Street in Jerry City. In the distance<br />

are two of its interurbans.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

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Right: Shortly after the TBG&S extended its<br />

line <strong>to</strong> Findlay, the company removed its full<br />

size interurban service <strong>to</strong> Jerry City and<br />

replaced them with the small dinkey, seen<br />

here.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION,<br />

WOOD COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM<br />

AND THE AUTHOR.<br />

Below: A northbound interurban on the<br />

TBG&S loads at the depot in Cygnet.<br />

Some of these folks may attend the baseball<br />

game <strong>to</strong>day.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

<strong>On</strong>e of the reasons Cleveland became home<br />

<strong>to</strong> many early refineries and eventually<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong>, was that the Atlantic & Great<br />

Western Railroad (later part of the Erie<br />

Railroad) was built from the northwestern<br />

Pennsylvania oil fields in<strong>to</strong> Cleveland in the<br />

1860s. The A&GW was meant <strong>to</strong> directly<br />

compete with the New York Central lines <strong>to</strong> the<br />

north and the Pennsylvania lines <strong>to</strong> the south.<br />

<strong>On</strong>e of the straightest sections of track<br />

was laid between Findlay and Fort Wayne<br />

by the American Midland Railroad, opening<br />

in 1895. The line struggled from the<br />

onset with finances, eventually becoming part<br />

of the CH&D and being mostly scrapped<br />

during WWI.<br />

The Mansfield, Coldwater & Lake<br />

Michigan Railway was a projected line that<br />

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was never completed. It would have served<br />

Jerry City, Mungen, and Wes<strong>to</strong>n and certainly<br />

would have been busy during the boom years.<br />

The route was surveyed, graded, and even<br />

partially laid with ties before money ran out.<br />

The Pennsylvania Railroad eventually used<br />

the grade from Mansfield <strong>to</strong> Tiffin, but then<br />

constructed a more direct route <strong>to</strong> the<br />

northwest in<strong>to</strong> Toledo. Thus, Jerry City never<br />

gained rail service from a steam line.<br />

Left: TBG&S interurbans head through<br />

the North Baltimore business district<br />

around 1907.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

Below: Bay Terminal train at Sun <strong>Oil</strong><br />

refinery in East Toledo.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY<br />

PUBLIC LIBRARY.<br />

C H A P T E R E I G H T<br />

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CHAPTER NINE<br />

T H E M A R C E L L U S A N D U T I C A - A 2 1 S T C E N T U R Y B O O M<br />

T H E F I R S T A T T E M P T S A T S E C O N D A R Y R E C O V E R Y<br />

The primary production of an oil well is the amount of oil that can be obtained at a profit<br />

using the natural driving forces in the pool, including natural gas, gravity gradients, etc., and<br />

the use of pumps. As oil flow decreases over time in a pumped well, a new source of energy<br />

applied <strong>to</strong> the well may lead <strong>to</strong> continued production. The first indication that old wells could<br />

be rejuvenated was accidentally discovered around Pithole, Pennsylvania, in the early 1860s. Soon,<br />

saline groundwater was re-injected in<strong>to</strong> certain wells. The water flowed <strong>to</strong> areas of low<br />

pressure, pushing any remaining oil, called a bank of oil, ahead of it. <strong>On</strong> reaching a producing<br />

well, the oil would be brought <strong>to</strong> the surface as secondary production. This technique became<br />

known as water flooding.<br />

Regulations for water flooding were established in Ohio, in 1939. The Chatham field of Medina<br />

County was chosen as a test site. Production was from the Berea. Nine water injection wells and 4<br />

producing wells formed the initial test plot. The water came from a well drilled <strong>to</strong> an aquifer 151<br />

feet down (Surface water could also be used.). This water was deemed suitable, not needing<br />

filtration or any chemical additives. Success of the project led <strong>to</strong> a great expansion of the project,<br />

from 10 <strong>to</strong> 650 acres. The usual spacing is called a “five point plan” where four input wells form the<br />

corners of a square with a producing well located at the center. The injected water is forced in<strong>to</strong> the<br />

reservoir rock in increments until the critical pressure of the area is reached. This critical pressure<br />

is generally calculated at 1 psi per foot of overburden. The main problems associated with water<br />

flooding is corrosion of equipment and environmental concerns about groundwater contamination.<br />

In an attempt <strong>to</strong> increase production in one of the early Macksburg oil wells, a company began<br />

pumping gas at a pressure of forty-five psi in<strong>to</strong> the well <strong>to</strong> repressure it in 1903. After ten days,<br />

the pressure was released and pumping of the well resumed. The project was a success; production<br />

continued at a higher rate until the gas dissipated. This was the first recorded attempt at secondary<br />

recovery. The second test <strong>to</strong>ok place in the Chesterhill Field in Morgan County in 1911. Air was<br />

forced in<strong>to</strong> a well at forty psi and, within a week, production had increased in nearby wells. By<br />

1917 this technique, known as the Smith-Dunn or Marietta compressed air process, was<br />

widespread in Monroe, Morgan, and Washing<strong>to</strong>n Counties. Around 80 percent of the attempts<br />

were successful in increasing production; on average an increase of 3.5 fold. 1920 saw the greatest<br />

application of this technique when thousands of wells were enhanced. Much refining of this<br />

technique <strong>to</strong>ok place in the Sistersville Field in the 1930s. Although the Smith-Dunn process led<br />

<strong>to</strong> many rejuvenated shallow wells in southeastern Ohio, it was not as effective in the deeper strata.<br />

Early attempts in Tren<strong>to</strong>n wells were not fruitful. Clin<strong>to</strong>n ventures met with more success. In 1933,<br />

several wells drilled around 1912 in the New Straitsville area of Perry County responded <strong>to</strong> a gas<br />

repressurization project by increasing production 25 percent in one month in 17 nearby wells. By<br />

the end of 20 months, the wells had increased from 352 <strong>to</strong> 763 barrels per month. A second<br />

successful Clin<strong>to</strong>n project <strong>to</strong>ok place in 1935 in Hocking County, where production in another<br />

1912 field increased from 373 <strong>to</strong> 1,006 barrels in 23 months. In 1945, new projects were started<br />

around New Straitsville, Somerset, and Union Furnace. The first major attempt at secondary<br />

recovery in the Lima-Indiana field since the 1950s <strong>to</strong>ok place in the Summer of 1994 when a Texas<br />

company, Meridian <strong>Oil</strong>, proposed <strong>to</strong> inject water in<strong>to</strong> the Tren<strong>to</strong>n, thirteen hundred feet down,<br />

near Lima. The test well was a success in driving oil out, but Meridian s<strong>to</strong>pped drilling a year later<br />

because the project was deemed uneconomical at that time.<br />

Opposite: The oil and gas fields of Ohio.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

C H A P T E R N I N E<br />

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E N H A N C E D O I L R E C O V E R Y<br />

Here’s a comparison of traditional vertical<br />

drilling <strong>to</strong> horizontal drilling<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO OIL AND GAS ASSOCIATION.<br />

Even secondary techniques still leave<br />

considerable petroleum behind. Thus the<br />

industry is constantly researching new ways of<br />

recovery. The most common process involves<br />

the injection of gas, usually carbon dioxide,<br />

in<strong>to</strong> the reservoir rock. The idea is <strong>to</strong> reduce<br />

the interface between oil and pore water,<br />

allowing more efficient movement of the oil.<br />

Instead of a gas, other methods involve the<br />

addition of certain chemical solvents that also<br />

reduce surface tension. Other enhanced<br />

techniques involve caustic flooding, fire<br />

flooding, microbial addition, polymer<br />

flooding, plasma pulse, and steam injection.<br />

H Y D R A U L I C<br />

F R A C T U R I N G<br />

Although used since the late 1800s in<br />

the s<strong>to</strong>ne industry, the first commercial<br />

application of hydraulic fracturing in the U.S.<br />

oil and gas industry was in 1949. Because of<br />

the success of increasing production rates, the<br />

technique was rapidly adopted and used by<br />

energy companies worldwide. By 1951, the<br />

process was being employed successfully in<br />

Ohio <strong>to</strong> increase production from the Clin<strong>to</strong>n<br />

sand. The process was simple—water was<br />

injected in<strong>to</strong> a reservoir rock under pressure<br />

<strong>to</strong> dilate joints and fractures <strong>to</strong> instill<br />

movement of fluids from the rock <strong>to</strong> the well<br />

boring, where it could be brought <strong>to</strong> the<br />

surface. A proppant (sand or some other<br />

particulate matter) would then be introduced<br />

so that the opened fractures would not<br />

immediately close upon termination of the<br />

injection. From 1951 <strong>to</strong> 1957 the success rate<br />

of wells tapping the Clin<strong>to</strong>n reached 85%,<br />

res<strong>to</strong>ring interest in this horizon.<br />

The Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> Association reported:<br />

Beginning in 1970 rising natural gas and oil<br />

prices, high demand for local supplies of<br />

natural gas, advances in fracturing technology,<br />

and the introduction in 1978 of the NGPA<br />

Section 107 “Tight Sands” incentive gas<br />

pricing and the Section 29 tax credit combined<br />

<strong>to</strong> create a massive drilling boom in the<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n sands, as well as the Berea sands and<br />

Ohio Shale. Drilling activity within Eastern<br />

Ohio rivaled the early Tren<strong>to</strong>n days. During<br />

the peak year of 1981, there were 6,085 wells<br />

drilled in Ohio, of which 76 percent were<br />

completed in the Clin<strong>to</strong>n sands<strong>to</strong>ne.<br />

OOGA further elaborates on the hydraulic<br />

fracturing technique:<br />

The technique of hydraulic fracturing is<br />

used <strong>to</strong> increase or res<strong>to</strong>re the rate at which<br />

fluids, such as oil, gas or water, can be<br />

produced from a reservoir, including<br />

unconventional reservoirs such as shale rock<br />

or coal beds. Hydraulic fracturing enables the<br />

production of natural gas and oil from rock<br />

formations deep below the earth’s surface<br />

(generally 5,000-20,000 feet). At such depth,<br />

there may not be sufficient porosity and<br />

permeability <strong>to</strong> allow natural gas and oil <strong>to</strong><br />

flow from the rock in<strong>to</strong> the wellbore at<br />

economic rates. For example, creating<br />

conductive fractures in the rock is essential <strong>to</strong><br />

produce gas from shale reservoirs because of<br />

the extremely low natural permeability of<br />

shale, (which is measured in the microdarcy<br />

<strong>to</strong> nanodarcy range). The fracture provides a<br />

conductive path connecting a larger area of<br />

the reservoir <strong>to</strong> the well, thereby increasing<br />

the area from which natural gas and liquids<br />

can be recovered from the targeted formation.<br />

S H A L E P L A Y S -<br />

B O O M T I M E S R E T U R N<br />

It was discovered early on that most of the<br />

oil and gas came from sands<strong>to</strong>nes and vuggy<br />

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carbonate rocks and not the finer grained rocks<br />

like shale and muds<strong>to</strong>ne. Black shales, like the<br />

Devonian Ohio shale, were thought <strong>to</strong> be<br />

exceptions because of their high carbon<br />

content, but it was hard <strong>to</strong> extract anything<br />

because of the low porosity and permeability. It<br />

became accepted that these were source rocks<br />

for the hydrocarbons, but generally not<br />

profitable producers. As traditional producers<br />

began <strong>to</strong> decline and new technologies became<br />

available, thick beds of black shales were reexamined.<br />

In the nearby Appalachian basin,<br />

the Devonian Marcellus shale and Ordovician<br />

Utica shale were soon discovered <strong>to</strong> hold<br />

tremendous volumes of natural gas. But still,<br />

getting the gas out of the relatively<br />

impermeable shale was a problem. And the<br />

amount that could be acquired in a traditional<br />

vertical well was certainly not economical. The<br />

less used technique of horizontal drilling was<br />

resurrected. Now a single well could penetrate<br />

<strong>to</strong> the depth of the desired shale and then<br />

follow that stratum, laterally away from the<br />

well. The gas needs a little help in freeing itself<br />

from the tiny pores of the shale—thus arose<br />

hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing. The<br />

first step is <strong>to</strong> perforate the well casing that<br />

passes through the desired shale by special<br />

explosive charges. Then the fracturing fluids,<br />

consisting of 99.5 percent water and sand, are<br />

injected under controlled high pressure in<strong>to</strong><br />

the well. This forces open fractures in the shale<br />

and the sand particles hold them open so that<br />

the natural gas can flow <strong>to</strong> the well. The first<br />

wells <strong>to</strong> produce gas from the Marcellus in<br />

Ohio were drilled in 2006; 40 were producing<br />

by 2009. All were located in Belmont,<br />

Jefferson, Monroe, Noble, and Washing<strong>to</strong>n<br />

counties. The Marcellus thins and wedges out<br />

westward as it spreads in<strong>to</strong> Ohio’s subsurface,<br />

underlying the eastern half of counties. The<br />

deeper and older Utica shale ranges between<br />

87-350 feet thick and lies in the subsurface of<br />

Ohio everywhere, but the central southern<br />

counties. It is producing plays of oil and wet<br />

natural gas.<br />

A his<strong>to</strong>ry of Ohio wells drilled by year<br />

and reservoir.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO OIL AND GAS ASSOCIATION.<br />

C H A P T E R N I N E<br />

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CHAPTER TEN<br />

T H E H U M A N S I D E O F T H E O I L A N D G A S I N D U S T R Y<br />

D U R I N G T H E B O O M Y E A R S<br />

W O R K I N G I N T H E O I L F I E L D S<br />

The oil and gas fields of Ohio attracted many men <strong>to</strong> the state. Many migrated from one field<br />

<strong>to</strong> another, so Ohio was just a s<strong>to</strong>pping point. As the fields played out they moved on <strong>to</strong> the next<br />

developing field—maybe Indiana, but probably later Texas and Oklahoma. Even so, many stayed<br />

and entered other trades. Drillers, dressers, pumpers and roustabouts all had different wages. Entry<br />

level workers began at 20-25 cents an hour. Some of them worked twelve hours running <strong>to</strong>wer;<br />

some of them worked ten hour days.<br />

Rig-building crews built the oil and gas derricks. <strong>On</strong> average, it <strong>to</strong>ok a full day for a gang of 6 <strong>to</strong><br />

8 men <strong>to</strong> erect a 66-foot wooden derrick, complete with the crown pulley. The first rigs were built of<br />

locally cut timber. In northwestern Ohio, this wood was extremely hard <strong>to</strong> nail. White pine was softer<br />

and was soon shipped in from northern Michigan. Later, hemlock was preferred. Inclement weather<br />

hit the state in 1913, causing disastrous flooding. Wind <strong>to</strong>ppled many of the derricks in northwest<br />

Ohio. Companies immediately sent crews out <strong>to</strong> repair the damage. <strong>On</strong>e three-man crew of the Ohio<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> Company was given 2 ½ days <strong>to</strong> rebuild a 58-foot derrick. If it <strong>to</strong>ok longer, the company refused<br />

<strong>to</strong> pay any more. After wells were drilled, tall derricks were no longer needed. They were replaced by<br />

shorter derricks, just tall enough <strong>to</strong> pull tubing and rods and allow crews <strong>to</strong> service the wells.<br />

Pumpers tended producing wells. They sometimes lived in 8-x-10-foot shacks at the well site;<br />

other times they might live in <strong>to</strong>wn at a boarding house. Depending on the lease, they might<br />

oversee the operation of a number of wells. <strong>On</strong>e of their jobs was <strong>to</strong> oil the engines. There was a<br />

small container that continuously dropped oil on the engine shaft. This had <strong>to</strong> be kept full. Early<br />

on pumpers worked 12 hour shifts, seven days a week. Later they just pumped during the day,<br />

pretty much 7 a.m. <strong>to</strong> 5 p.m. Occasionally when saltwater incursion became a problem, wells<br />

would have <strong>to</strong> be continuously pumped. If a part broke or some other thing went wrong with the<br />

pumping equipment, a repair crew would be called.<br />

Drilling crews worked in small gangs, usually two 12-hour shifts; six, sometimes seven days a<br />

week. Buckeye Pipe Line Company had many crews in the field during the oil boom. Crews were<br />

reduced in the winter.<br />

Opposite: A construction crew poses with<br />

their boss (in the center). This may be an<br />

Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company group.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

<strong>On</strong>e of the more dangerous jobs was that of the shooter. Shooters de<strong>to</strong>nated explosives in wells <strong>to</strong><br />

fracture the rock at depth and hopefully encourage the flow of gas or oil in<strong>to</strong> the well. Nitro-glycerine was<br />

the favored explosive. The gas and oil fields became the sites of plants where the nitro was made. The plants<br />

and associated magazines were located on the outskirts of <strong>to</strong>wn since explosions were all <strong>to</strong>o common.<br />

Nitro was kept in special magazines, protected from unnecessary contact. When brought <strong>to</strong> a well site by<br />

the shooter, the explosive was poured in<strong>to</strong> a metal tube in a prescribed amount. The resemblance of this<br />

tube <strong>to</strong> a <strong>to</strong>rpedo led <strong>to</strong> its common name. The depth of the well would first be measured and the depth<br />

<strong>to</strong> which the owner wanted the <strong>to</strong>rpedo set off. The <strong>to</strong>rpedo was then lowered <strong>to</strong> the appropriate depth and<br />

supported on a pipe. A small cap was placed on <strong>to</strong>p of the <strong>to</strong>rpedo. Then the go-devil, a cast iron weight,<br />

was dropped down the well, striking the cap and setting off the explosion. The explosion blew everything<br />

out of the well and fractured the surrounding bedrock. If it was successful, the well would spew out gas,<br />

oil, and/or saltwater. Hopefully a productive well, sometimes a flowing one, was the result.<br />

The men that came <strong>to</strong> work the oilfields included all nationalities, some with lots of experience;<br />

others just learning their trades. Work was tiresome with long hours of heavy manual labor in all<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

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kinds of weather. Roustabouts and<br />

roughnecks migrated from one field <strong>to</strong> the<br />

next. The men who came <strong>to</strong> build the iron<br />

s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks were a rough bunch. Mixing<br />

pipeliners and boiler-makers with several<br />

nationalities led <strong>to</strong> many fights after a hard<br />

days work—some outside saloons; some in<br />

the prize-fighting ring.<br />

Ivan Myer, a North Baltimore farmer, had<br />

his own view of oilfield work around 1900:<br />

I know what oil field work’s all about. I<br />

helped <strong>to</strong> pull tubing one day. It was 14<br />

degrees below zero at noon. We s<strong>to</strong>od the<br />

tubing in the derrick, <strong>to</strong>o. I had <strong>to</strong> stand up<br />

there on the tubing board at 14 degrees below<br />

zero at noon. I don’t think anything equals oil<br />

field work for being nasty. It was always cold<br />

and wet, wind and rain. I’ve often thought it<br />

was the worst job a man could have. And it<br />

had <strong>to</strong> be done by the slow method—by horse<br />

power. To get that stuff around.<br />

Some workers were employed <strong>to</strong> pull old<br />

wells. This was regarded as a dirty tiresome<br />

job. A new derrick would need <strong>to</strong> be erected<br />

<strong>to</strong> remove the casing and pumping apparatus.<br />

Laying of pipelines involved hundreds of<br />

men. First the right of way had <strong>to</strong> be cleared of<br />

vegetation. Horse and mule teams were used<br />

<strong>to</strong> pull out stumps. Then the trenches had <strong>to</strong><br />

be dug by hand. Italian immigrants were hired<br />

by the hundreds <strong>to</strong> do this work. Creeks and<br />

other water courses had <strong>to</strong> be bridged.<br />

Teamsters brought the pipe from the nearest<br />

railroad depot where it was shipped in. Pipe<br />

sections were connected with wrenches.<br />

Pipeline gangs often had tent camps and a<br />

kitchen tent and cook. A typical gang might<br />

have 75-100 men. Among these workers were<br />

those on the <strong>to</strong>ng gang. Their job in the 1940’s<br />

is described by Fred Sager of Cygnet:<br />

The number of men on the <strong>to</strong>ng gang<br />

varied accordin’ <strong>to</strong> the size of the pipe you<br />

was screwing <strong>to</strong>gether. If it was a small line,<br />

why, there was just two. If it was three inch,<br />

then it was four. And then for six inch, it was<br />

eight. And for eight inch, it <strong>to</strong>ok ten men.<br />

Half of the men would be stroking down<br />

while the other half was stroking up, setting<br />

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Opposite, <strong>to</strong>p: Workmen s<strong>to</strong>ke up a boiler at<br />

a Wood County well site.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Opposite, middle: An Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company<br />

crew somewhere in Wood County To the<br />

right is a driller’s chair.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Opposite, bot<strong>to</strong>m: Here another crew has<br />

finished pulling the drill stems.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

the <strong>to</strong>ngs for the next screw. And a man would<br />

set there with a hammer and hit when his <strong>to</strong>ng<br />

gang would stroke. They’d keep in stroke with<br />

the hammer just the same as you would with<br />

music. And there’s some that don’t have it just<br />

like there’s some that don’t have music<br />

rhythm. You just couldn’t be on a <strong>to</strong>ng gang if<br />

you didn’t have rhythm. When somebody’d<br />

hit it a little quicker than the other fella<br />

did, that would unlatch their <strong>to</strong>ngs on the<br />

pipe, see.<br />

Ben Sigworth who worked for Imperial <strong>Oil</strong><br />

in 1913 and Buckeye Pipe Line beginning in<br />

1916 adds more information on the <strong>to</strong>ng gang:<br />

The <strong>to</strong>ng gang was a bunch of men that<br />

just screwed the pipe <strong>to</strong>gether. When we<br />

worked, we used six pair of <strong>to</strong>ngs. The stabber<br />

would line up this joint of pipe and then we<br />

would rope it in as far as we could with the<br />

rope. The rope was wound around the pipe so<br />

that we could just spin it in<strong>to</strong> the collar. Then<br />

Above: This view taken around 1900 shows<br />

a nitroglycerine fac<strong>to</strong>ry at an undisclosed<br />

location. Note that it appears <strong>to</strong> be in a<br />

woods, most likely away from other<br />

buildings. Van Tassel, 1902<br />

Below: A shooter’s wagon poses for a<br />

pho<strong>to</strong>grapher with a load of <strong>to</strong>rpedoes,<br />

perhaps in Cygnet.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

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Above: The shooting of a well often drew<br />

crowds of people. It was something<br />

fashionable <strong>to</strong> do in many a small <strong>to</strong>wn.<br />

This crowd is somewhere in the Wood<br />

County field.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Top, right: At the base of a derrick a worker<br />

carefully pours nitro in<strong>to</strong> a <strong>to</strong>rpedo. The<br />

<strong>to</strong>rpedo will then be lowered in<strong>to</strong> the well<br />

and eventually de<strong>to</strong>nated with a go devil.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

two pair of <strong>to</strong>ngs would get on the joint and<br />

then the next two pairs would get on and then<br />

finally, the third two pair would get on. Then<br />

we’d wind that pipe in until you couldn’t see<br />

no more thread. And we’d take our <strong>to</strong>ngs off<br />

and move <strong>to</strong> the next joint. And the stabber<br />

would stick another joint and we’d do the<br />

same thing over. And we kept that up for ten<br />

long hours a day, just bounding up and down<br />

on them <strong>to</strong>ngs.<br />

We were pretty hungry when we went in at<br />

night. Man, we could eat a mule and chase the<br />

driver. And we had good cooks! They<br />

Middle, right: A group of roughnecks<br />

somewhere in the Wood County field gather<br />

around a rotary rig.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: A typical <strong>to</strong>ng gang.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

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wouldn’t stand for anything if it wasn’t good.<br />

Because we’d raise heck.<br />

These pipeliners used <strong>to</strong> be kinda rough fellows.<br />

Oh, I don’t think they come any <strong>to</strong>ugher.<br />

We’d go in<strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>wn and just take charge. When<br />

we’d get in<strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>wn, why, we’d decide where we<br />

was going <strong>to</strong> drink and just take over the place.<br />

There were 65 men in the pipe gang, in this<br />

gang we had here. I worked on one gang where<br />

there was 85 of us. Eighty-five men in the pipe<br />

gang. Boy, that was a murdering outfit.<br />

<strong>On</strong> a good day the gangs might lay a mile<br />

of pipe in a ten-hour day. Pipeline gangs also<br />

always had a water boy whose job it was <strong>to</strong><br />

see that the workers had water <strong>to</strong> drink. <strong>On</strong>ce<br />

the pipe was laid the trenches had <strong>to</strong> be filled<br />

in, often by the same men that dug them.<br />

Welding of pipelines began around 1912.<br />

The early welders used acetylene welding, not<br />

electric. This necessitated hauling genera<strong>to</strong>rs<br />

out along the line <strong>to</strong> produce the gas. The<br />

Buckeye Pipe Line Company had six <strong>to</strong> eight<br />

welders at each genera<strong>to</strong>r.<br />

Telegraph, and later telephone, workers<br />

maintained the lines that followed the<br />

pipelines. These were necessary <strong>to</strong> report<br />

pump malfunctions or leaks along the<br />

pipeline system. A job of some employees was<br />

<strong>to</strong> walk along the pipeline right-of-ways<br />

regularly, checking for problems. Some used<br />

mo<strong>to</strong>rcycles, later au<strong>to</strong>s, and later the<br />

pipelines were surveyed from airplanes. By<br />

the 1940s, Buckeye Pipe Line Company had a<br />

scheduled program of reconnaissance flights<br />

covering their lines from Bay City, Michigan<br />

south <strong>to</strong> Cygnet, Lima, and Cincinnati; west<br />

<strong>to</strong> Chicago; and east <strong>to</strong> New York City. Older<br />

lines were checked out weekly, while newer<br />

ones were surveyed monthly. The planes were<br />

flown only about two hundred feet above the<br />

ground so leaks of black crude could be<br />

easily spotted. If a leak was discovered the<br />

pilot radioed the company and a ground unit<br />

was dispatched <strong>to</strong> make the repair. By the<br />

Above: This truck contains parts of a<br />

dismantled oil rig. Most parts could be<br />

reused elsewhere.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: <strong>Oil</strong>field workers in the North<br />

Baltimore area.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE<br />

HISTORICAL SOCIETY.<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

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Right: Teamsters arrive at a boiler house <strong>to</strong><br />

move some equipment.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: A bunk house is being moved <strong>to</strong> a<br />

new location.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: For moving heavier<br />

equipment more horses were employed.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

mid-1900s other petroleum products were<br />

also being moved by pipeline. Some of these,<br />

like liquefied butane and propane, were much<br />

harder <strong>to</strong> detect since they revert <strong>to</strong> gases<br />

when they escape through a leak. Pretty much<br />

impossible <strong>to</strong> detect while in a plane.<br />

Teamsters were important for hauling<br />

equipment and supplies in and out of the oil<br />

and gas fields. Local farmers with a good set<br />

of horses or mules could make extra money<br />

by contracting with the oil and gas firms.<br />

Another job was the building, removal, and<br />

maintenance of the large s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks. Tank<br />

crews commonly worked ten hour days. They<br />

assembled 35,000-50,000 barrel steel tanks in<br />

the field, riveting them <strong>to</strong>gether. The early<br />

tanks had steel bot<strong>to</strong>ms. The problem was that<br />

these deteriorated resulting in leaks. By the<br />

1920s, rotted floors were being replaced with<br />

concrete. The roofs of tanks also had <strong>to</strong> be<br />

replaced. This was dangerous because the<br />

timber framing underneath was often rotten.<br />

By the mid-1900s floating roofs replaced a lot<br />

of the stationary roofs. These reduced the<br />

chance of gas buildup under the roofs which<br />

often led <strong>to</strong> fires. Besides building the tanks,<br />

workers had <strong>to</strong> construct earthen dikes around<br />

the tanks <strong>to</strong> contain any spills. Horse-drawn<br />

scrapers were used <strong>to</strong> build these. The levees<br />

were also <strong>to</strong> constrain the oil from flowing in<strong>to</strong><br />

water sources when released from the tanks.<br />

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Pump crews manned the many pumping<br />

stations along the pipelines. The early steam<br />

driven pumps were replaced by gasoline<br />

engines and then diesel engines. Buckeye<br />

pump stations were located at Berea, Cygnet,<br />

Green Springs, Lima, Mantua, Wakeman, and<br />

Warren. Pumping stations were generally<br />

about fifty miles apart.<br />

Boarding houses were a common feature of<br />

the oil <strong>to</strong>wns. Transient oil workers needed<br />

places <strong>to</strong> eat and sleep and many families<br />

found it a lucrative business. Such was the<br />

case in Ducat where Flossie Curliss ran such<br />

an establishment circa 1886:<br />

Boarders paid 25 cents a meal, $4.50 a week<br />

for room. It was all they could eat. They set<br />

right down in the family style just like the<br />

family. And the foremans of the pipeliners,<br />

when they was laying the pipelines through for<br />

this oil, would come ahead and make<br />

arrangements with my mother for so many<br />

extry men <strong>to</strong> feed. Twenty-five cents a meal.<br />

Mother had anyway from eight <strong>to</strong> ten steady<br />

boarders that stayed right there. And the ones<br />

that went out on <strong>to</strong>wer, at midnight, would be<br />

willing <strong>to</strong> go in the same beds as the ones that<br />

was a comin’ off of <strong>to</strong>wer, <strong>to</strong> take the same beds<br />

in order <strong>to</strong> get a place <strong>to</strong> stay. That was called<br />

“hot beds”. (Flora (Curlis) Carnicom, Ducat)<br />

The boarding houses were paid by the<br />

various companies. In the late 1930s rates were<br />

around 25 cents for each meal and 25 cents a<br />

night. Men often ate at boarding houses, but<br />

slept elsewhere. If not staying at a boarding<br />

house, they stayed at company- provided<br />

shacks and/or tents, in hotels, or in private<br />

residences and on farms. Those tending boiler<br />

houses might have access <strong>to</strong> a lounge where a<br />

short nap might be possible, especially when<br />

working eighteen hours straight.<br />

Tank crews were kept busy in the Lima-<br />

Bowling Green stretch.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

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considered a nuisance by the production<br />

companies. Any unused gas at a well site<br />

might either be flared off or piped <strong>to</strong><br />

buildings for lighting and cooking. The<br />

introduction of gas lighting was not an<br />

immediate success. Early use of artificial gas<br />

was often accompanied by low light levels and<br />

a constant flickering which made reading<br />

difficult. The use of natural gas was an<br />

improvement, but still most people kept their<br />

kerosene lamps at hand. The same was true of<br />

the first gas s<strong>to</strong>ves.<br />

Geologists were employed by most of the oil<br />

and gas companies. <strong>On</strong>e of their many jobs was<br />

<strong>to</strong> locate potential drilling sites. In the early<br />

days this was done without much technological<br />

help, but eventually it became possible by<br />

employing various types of downhole logging<br />

<strong>to</strong> more precisely locate plays.<br />

R E M N A N T S O F T H E P A S T :<br />

B O O M T O W N , G H O S T T O W N<br />

Top: Earth moving, 1900 style. Crews<br />

pose for the pho<strong>to</strong>grapher while constructing<br />

containment dikes in this tank farm<br />

near Cygnet.<br />

Middle: Workers from the Buckeye Pipe<br />

Line facility on the south edge of Cygnet<br />

pose near the reservoir in 1899.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m: A typical bunkhouse provided by<br />

some companies for oilfield workers.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

<strong>On</strong>e of the perks of having an oil well on<br />

your property was having free access <strong>to</strong><br />

associated natural gas that was in many cases<br />

Early oil and gas discoveries were often<br />

surprises and led <strong>to</strong> the development of many<br />

settlements across the wetlands and till plains<br />

of the northwestern counties and the dissected<br />

plateau of eastern and southeastern Ohio.<br />

In northwestern Ohio most of the roads<br />

either followed sand ridges through the<br />

swamp or later were built along section lines<br />

in the surveyed <strong>to</strong>wnships, so many were one<br />

mile apart. In the days before the area was<br />

well drained the roads were nothing but mud.<br />

Horse-drawn wagons had a hard time getting<br />

through this, especially during wet weather.<br />

Going a mile was about the limit for a good<br />

team of horses and time for a rest—another<br />

reason for the closely spaced <strong>to</strong>wns.<br />

In Wood County, <strong>to</strong>wns grew up wherever a<br />

road crossed a railroad. Wood County boom<br />

<strong>to</strong>wns that were once centers of commerce and<br />

activity but now are only a shadow of<br />

themselves are Bays, Bloom Center, Denver,<br />

Digby, Ducat, Eagleville, Eberly, Five Points,<br />

Galatea, Hammansburg, Haney Town, Marvel,<br />

Mermill, Mungen, <strong>Oil</strong> Center, Plaza, Six Points,<br />

S<strong>to</strong>ckwell, Tank Siding, Ted, Townsline,<br />

Trombley, Tyson Town, Wings<strong>to</strong>n, Woodbury,<br />

and Woodside. A few sites still have a few<br />

houses, but the many places of business have<br />

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left barely a footprint. Persons not familiar with<br />

their his<strong>to</strong>ry would drive by not realizing this<br />

or that crossroad once was a thriving<br />

community with a post office, s<strong>to</strong>res, hotels,<br />

and the ever present bar or saloon. Bairds<strong>to</strong>wn,<br />

Bradner, Cygnet, Jerry City, Portage, Rudolph,<br />

and Van Buren also each experienced great<br />

growth during the boom years.<br />

In the uplands of southeastern Ohio the<br />

early settlements began along the Muskingum<br />

and Ohio rivers, close <strong>to</strong> river traffic. Elba and<br />

Macksburg spread along the floodplain of<br />

Duck Creek. <strong>Oil</strong> City was built on the flood<br />

plain of the Muskingum River. <strong>Oil</strong> City is a true<br />

ghost <strong>to</strong>wn; <strong>to</strong>day Bremen, Corning, Elba,<br />

Glenford, Macksburg, and New Straitsvlle have<br />

returned <strong>to</strong> pre-boom times. Scio experienced<br />

an early boom around 1900, reverted <strong>to</strong> being<br />

a typical small commercial center for nearby<br />

farmland and now is experiencing a new boom<br />

with the drilling of the eastern shales and the<br />

addition of a large gas plant.<br />

Following are a few notes about some of<br />

the early oil and gas field communities. Take<br />

a drive and experience this his<strong>to</strong>ry yourself.<br />

Here and there you might see a still pumping<br />

well. The gas industry still maintains a<br />

Top, left: Two unidentified geologists survey<br />

a drilling site in the North Baltimore area in<br />

the early 1930s. Note the portable drill<br />

truck in the background.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

Above: The condition of northwest Ohio<br />

roads left much <strong>to</strong> be desired. Lots of wagon<br />

traffic with heavy loads of supplies and<br />

products of the oil and gas fields left the<br />

roads full of ruts. Poor drainage kept<br />

them muddy.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM<br />

Left: The arrival of mo<strong>to</strong>rized vehicles just<br />

made matters worse. Note the early mobile<br />

drilling rig.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

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maker shop, three churches, two doc<strong>to</strong>rs’<br />

offices, flour mill, general s<strong>to</strong>re, shoe s<strong>to</strong>re,<br />

tin shop, wagon shop, and an undertaker.<br />

The station for Barlow was called Fleming<br />

Station and consisted of a number of houses,<br />

post office, s<strong>to</strong>re, and the Marietta &<br />

Cincinnati depot.<br />

B A Y S , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Above: A typical homestead in the Great<br />

Black Swamp of northwestern Ohio. This is<br />

the Hanna family on Pea Ridge.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: Bays School was well attended<br />

during the boom years. Students and<br />

teachers pose for the school pho<strong>to</strong> in the<br />

early 1900s.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

presence around Cygnet, but the huge tank<br />

farms are gone.<br />

B A I R D S T O W N ,<br />

W O O D C O U N T Y<br />

Bairds<strong>to</strong>wn, platted in 1874 on the B&O<br />

Railroad, had dance halls, three saloons and a<br />

stave mill during the boom years. It was<br />

bigger than Cygnet at one point.<br />

B A R L O W,<br />

W A S H I N G T O N C O U N T Y<br />

This village was platted in 1840. Around<br />

1880 the <strong>to</strong>wn had a blacksmith shop, cabinet<br />

Located on the CH&D Railroad, Bays,<br />

surveyed in 1890, sported a bakery, boarding<br />

house, boiler shop, one lane bowling<br />

alley, depot, grocery s<strong>to</strong>re, church,<br />

barbershop, blacksmith, dressmaker’s shop,<br />

livery, doc<strong>to</strong>r’s office, coal yard, machine<br />

shop, pipe yard, and school during the oil<br />

boom. Houses lined the roads in all four<br />

directions. Bays met a fiery end from an out of<br />

control fire around 1910. As the boom had<br />

ended it never recovered <strong>to</strong> its previous state.<br />

What’s left is at the intersection of Bays and<br />

Rudolph Roads, two miles south of Rudolph,<br />

Wood County.<br />

B I G R U N ,<br />

W A S H I N G T O N C O U N T Y<br />

This station on the Marietta & Cincinnati<br />

Railroad was major supply point for the<br />

Chesterhill oil field.<br />

B L O O M C E N T E R ,<br />

W O O D C O U N T Y<br />

Bloom Center was surveyed in 1897. In the<br />

early 1900s this community had a blacksmith<br />

shop, church, cider press, post office (known<br />

as Marvel P.O.), general s<strong>to</strong>re, grist mill,<br />

boarding house, <strong>to</strong>wn hall, several saw mills,<br />

and school. It was located at the intersection<br />

of Huffman and <strong>Oil</strong> Center roads.<br />

B R A D N E R , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Bradner was charted in 1876 and once had<br />

a glycerine fac<strong>to</strong>ry, National Supply Company<br />

s<strong>to</strong>re, railroad depot, a refinery, and<br />

Manhattan pump station. It’s depot on the<br />

Hocking Valley line was a busy place during<br />

the boom years.<br />

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B R E M E N ,<br />

F A I R F I E L D C O U N T Y<br />

Bremen, founded in 1834, experienced<br />

phenomenal growth after the discovery of oil<br />

in 1907. From some two hundred residents in<br />

the 1880s the <strong>to</strong>wn exploded <strong>to</strong> a population<br />

in the thousands. Within about twenty years<br />

the boom was over and the community<br />

returned <strong>to</strong> serving as a center for business<br />

for the local farms.<br />

C Y G N E T , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Cygnet’s population was around three<br />

thousand during the oil boom. Many of the<br />

new residents came from the Pennsylvania<br />

oilfields. The <strong>to</strong>wn’s business district began<br />

west of the T&OC tracks—lots of boarding<br />

houses, a large grocery s<strong>to</strong>re, and the National<br />

Supply Company s<strong>to</strong>re. During the boom years<br />

the down<strong>to</strong>wn grew rapidly with two bakeries,<br />

a bank, three churches, two dentists, three<br />

doc<strong>to</strong>rs, a railroad depot, an interurban depot,<br />

a drugs<strong>to</strong>re, a feed and coal company, a general<br />

s<strong>to</strong>re, a number of hotels, three livery stables,<br />

three meat markets, three millinery shops, a<br />

post office, an opera house, several restaurants<br />

and dining halls, five rooming houses, two<br />

schools, a tailor shop, and an undertaker. Some<br />

thirteen saloons and three pool halls were<br />

located in Cygnet. Supplying the oil field was<br />

four blacksmiths, a boiler shop, two oil tank<br />

Top: Main Street of Cygnet was a busy<br />

place during the oil boom. <strong>On</strong>ly a few of<br />

these buildings remain <strong>to</strong>day.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Middle: Riley Oates was a Cygnet<br />

blacksmith, an indispensable person in the<br />

community.Besides taking care of the equine<br />

population the smitty was often called on <strong>to</strong><br />

repair oil field <strong>to</strong>ols.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m: A view south of down<strong>to</strong>wn Cygnet<br />

shows neatly kept homes. Soon the<br />

backyards would be dotted by derricks.<br />

Beyond the trees, <strong>to</strong> the right, was the<br />

Buckeye Pump Station.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

1 3 1


fac<strong>to</strong>ries, a number of lumberyards, a stave<br />

fac<strong>to</strong>ry, a sucker rod fac<strong>to</strong>ry, and a <strong>to</strong>rpedo<br />

company. The Toledo and Ohio Central<br />

Railroad provided daily passenger and freight<br />

service during the boom years. Competition for<br />

local passengers came from the Toledo &<br />

Bowling Green Southern traction line. During<br />

the height of the oil boom the wells around<br />

Cygnet were estimated <strong>to</strong> produce 5,000 barrels<br />

daily. Much of it ended up in the tank fields as<br />

there was more oil than the market could<br />

handle at that time. The <strong>to</strong>wn spread <strong>to</strong> east of<br />

the tracks around 1905. The establishment of a<br />

major pump station on the Buckeye Pipe Line,<br />

Station No. 8, south of <strong>to</strong>wn assured the<br />

continued importance of the community. Today<br />

scattered wells still produce from the Tren<strong>to</strong>n<br />

and the Cygnet station continues as an<br />

important link in the pipeline system. The<br />

population was around six hundred folks in the<br />

2010 census. The early oil field workers, many<br />

coming from the Pennsylvania fields, left a<br />

legacy in some street names—Bradford,<br />

Clarion, and Venango.<br />

D E N V E R , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

This community was surveyed about one<br />

mile west of North Baltimore on the B&O in<br />

1875. An oil well was drilled here in 1889. It<br />

has since been absorbed by North Baltimore.<br />

D I G B Y , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

A Post office was established here in 1889.<br />

At its zenith the <strong>to</strong>wn had a grocery and boiler<br />

shop. It was at the corner of Mermill and<br />

Liberty roads.<br />

D O W L I N G , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Dowling was settled around 1861. A post<br />

office was opened here in 1883. The <strong>to</strong>wn had<br />

at least three churches. It was served by the<br />

T&OC Railroad.<br />

D U C A T , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

This <strong>to</strong>wn was surveyed in 1890 after the<br />

Ducat gusher was struck. A bakery, butcher<br />

shop, depot, general s<strong>to</strong>re, post office, a large<br />

saw mill, school, a s<strong>to</strong>ne quarry, and <strong>to</strong>ol shop<br />

were some of the early businesses. For a time a<br />

small oil refinery sat along the CH&D. <strong>Oil</strong> would<br />

be skimmed off drainage ditches and creeks and<br />

hauled by wagons back <strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>wn in barrels. At the<br />

refinery the oil was heated in a large boiler and<br />

dirt removed. The processed oil was then put<br />

back in barrels and shipped on the CH&D. The<br />

plant ran 24 hours. Extracted wax was also a<br />

product of this plant. During the boom years<br />

about six daily passenger trains served the busy<br />

community. The site of the <strong>to</strong>wn is at the<br />

Rudolph Road/S.R. 281 intersection.<br />

And the wells s<strong>to</strong>od so thick, you could<br />

almost step from one derrick <strong>to</strong> another,<br />

where they drilled. (Flora Carnicom, Ducat)<br />

D U N B R I D G E , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Surveyors platted Dunbridge in 1882 on<br />

the T&OC line. The <strong>to</strong>wn once had several<br />

s<strong>to</strong>res, a doc<strong>to</strong>rs office, depot, saloon, hotel,<br />

mill, and stave fac<strong>to</strong>ry.<br />

E A G L E V I L L E ,<br />

W O O D C O U N T Y<br />

Eagleville once had two s<strong>to</strong>res, a grist mill,<br />

post office, saloon, sawmill, school and tannery.<br />

E B E R L Y , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Eberly came in<strong>to</strong> existence in 1890 when a<br />

new station on the Toledo Findlay &<br />

Springfield Railroad (later CH&D) was<br />

established. This <strong>to</strong>wn had a depot,<br />

blacksmith shop, a boarding house, grocery<br />

s<strong>to</strong>re and around a dozen homes during the<br />

Wood County oil boom. There was also a<br />

Buckeye gathering line station here. This was<br />

a small pump station where pipelines from<br />

wells entered and the oil was sent out <strong>to</strong> the<br />

mainline. The <strong>to</strong>wn was located at the<br />

intersection of Cygnet and Rudolph roads.<br />

E L B A ,<br />

W A S H I N G T O N<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Along with nearby Macksburg, Elba<br />

experienced a period of rapid growth in the<br />

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1880s. The community was laid out in 1873<br />

as the Cleveland & Marietta Railway was built<br />

through Washing<strong>to</strong>n County. The oil field<br />

surrounded the <strong>to</strong>wn. In 1891 the <strong>to</strong>wn had<br />

200 residents, a blacksmith shop, a railroad<br />

depot, two doc<strong>to</strong>r’s offices, three general<br />

s<strong>to</strong>res, a grocery, hotel, meat market, a<br />

post office, a school and two shoe s<strong>to</strong>res. In<br />

1998, 2004 and 2005, Duck Creek floods<br />

devastated what was left of <strong>to</strong>wn.<br />

and the company houses were mostly<br />

sold and moved <strong>to</strong> other locations. In the<br />

early 1900s, a frame interlocking <strong>to</strong>wer<br />

was built at the diamond which became one<br />

of the last non-residential structures standing<br />

in <strong>to</strong>wn.<br />

F R A Z E Y B U R G ,<br />

L I C K I N G C O U N T Y<br />

Frazeyburg was settled in 1827. An oil<br />

boom hit the community in the 1860s.<br />

G A L A T E A , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

This community grew around the diamond<br />

of the T&OC and B&O railroads, just east of<br />

North Baltimore and was surveyed in Oc<strong>to</strong>ber<br />

1886. It was originally called Welker. During<br />

its prime, the <strong>to</strong>wn had 3 bars, church, dance<br />

hall, passenger and freight depots, 3 grocery<br />

s<strong>to</strong>res, two hotels, post office, restaurant,<br />

school, sucker rod fac<strong>to</strong>ry and around 75<br />

houses. During the gas boom there was a<br />

glassworks at Galatea. It operated for a few<br />

years making all kinds of window glass and<br />

then moved <strong>to</strong> nearby North Baltimore. A<br />

brick plant once operated along the B&O.<br />

Galatea was the home of the Manhattan <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Refinery which stretched along the tracks<br />

beginning around 1889. The distillers had<br />

tapered brick chimneys. The brick for<br />

the chimneys came from the local area as<br />

did the s<strong>to</strong>ne for the buildings. A row<br />

of company houses, maybe 15 <strong>to</strong> 20,<br />

extended along Eagleville Road. The company<br />

employed 200-600 workers. The company<br />

had a small locomotive which they used<br />

for switching tank cars in the plant. The plant<br />

produced a type of paraffin wax, kerosene and<br />

lots of other products. A unique<br />

product was a flavored pure white paraffin<br />

chewing gum. The hotel in <strong>to</strong>wn had as<br />

many as 32 boarders during the boom years.<br />

The Manhattan <strong>Oil</strong> Company was purchased<br />

by Standard <strong>Oil</strong> on February 1, 1901. The<br />

refinery closed down sometime after 1913<br />

S<strong>to</strong>rage tanks and coal piles dominate<br />

these views of the Manhattan refinery at<br />

Galatea (Welker) where the T&OC<br />

crosses the B&O.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

1 3 3


H A M M A N S B U R G ,<br />

W O O D C O U N T Y<br />

Hammansburg was surveyed in 1873. It<br />

was the site of Wood County’s pioneer oil well<br />

which gushed forth December 8, 1886. It<br />

once had a barbershop, blacksmith shop,<br />

church, several boarding houses, depot,<br />

doc<strong>to</strong>r’s office, drug s<strong>to</strong>re, dry goods s<strong>to</strong>re, 4<br />

grocery s<strong>to</strong>res, hardware s<strong>to</strong>re, meat market,<br />

post office, 3 saloons, saw mill, stave fac<strong>to</strong>ry,<br />

school and a s<strong>to</strong>ne quarry. Some 350 people<br />

called Hammansburg home in the 1890s.<br />

Between the business section of <strong>to</strong>wn and the<br />

railroad so many oil field shanties were<br />

present that it was dubbed Shanty<strong>to</strong>wn. East<br />

of <strong>to</strong>wn <strong>to</strong>wnsfolk could also catch the cars of<br />

the Toledo Bowling Green & Southern <strong>to</strong><br />

reach nearby Cygnet or North Baltimore.<br />

Other than homes, little remains of the<br />

commercial part of <strong>to</strong>wn.<br />

H O M E R , L I C K I N G<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Around 1900, oil and gas pools were<br />

discovered west and east of <strong>to</strong>wn.<br />

J E R R Y C I T Y , W O O D C O U N T Y<br />

Jerry City was first known as Stull<strong>to</strong>wn<br />

when surveyed in 1861, then Shiloh before<br />

being renamed Jerry City around 1867. The<br />

railroad bypassed Jerry City, but the <strong>to</strong>wn was<br />

later served by a dinkey that connected with<br />

the Toledo Bowling Green & Southern<br />

interurban at Trombley<br />

Doing business in <strong>to</strong>wn were a blacksmith<br />

shop, butcher shop, four churches, two<br />

doc<strong>to</strong>r’s offices, three grocery s<strong>to</strong>res, harness<br />

shop, IOOF Hall, livery stable, millinery<br />

shop, oar fac<strong>to</strong>ry, opera house, four-room<br />

school, four saloons, saw mill, stave fac<strong>to</strong>ry,<br />

undertaker, and wagon shop. The <strong>to</strong>wn<br />

contained 301 wells within its boundaries.<br />

J U N C T I O N C I T Y ,<br />

P E R R Y C O U N T Y<br />

A distant view of Macksburg around 1901.<br />

COURTESY OF THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL<br />

RESOURCES DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.<br />

This <strong>to</strong>wn began in 1816 as Burling<strong>to</strong>n.<br />

The name was changed <strong>to</strong> Homer around<br />

1825. The <strong>to</strong>wn boomed when a major gas<br />

pool was discovered.<br />

H O M E W O R T H ,<br />

C O L U M B I A N A C O U N T Y<br />

This <strong>to</strong>wn was platted as a station on the<br />

Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad in 1851.<br />

Junction City was platted in 1872. It was<br />

formed from the combination of two adjacent<br />

former <strong>to</strong>wns—Damascus and Trio City. In<br />

1880 it contained two churches, two depots,<br />

four doc<strong>to</strong>rs’ offices, two dry goods s<strong>to</strong>res,<br />

two drug s<strong>to</strong>res, a flour mill, several groceries,<br />

two hardware s<strong>to</strong>res, two hotels, a meat<br />

market, two millinery s<strong>to</strong>res, a newspaper<br />

office, a post office, a number of restaurants<br />

and a school.<br />

M A C K S B U R G ,<br />

N O B L E / W A S H I N G T O N<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Macksburg began as Rhenier’s Mills in 1815.<br />

Apparently the place had a number of names in<br />

its his<strong>to</strong>ry. The name changed <strong>to</strong> Portland<br />

around 1856. In 1881 the <strong>to</strong>wn had about<br />

three hundred residents. It was incorporated in<br />

1883 as Macksburgh during the boom years.<br />

The population exploded in 1883 <strong>to</strong> fifteen<br />

hundred with the arrival of the oil workers. By<br />

1891, the <strong>to</strong>wn sported several boarding<br />

houses, two churches, a railroad depot, a<br />

doc<strong>to</strong>r’s office, a flour mill, four general<br />

merchandise s<strong>to</strong>res, three hardware s<strong>to</strong>res, two<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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hotels, two lodges, a meat market, a phone<br />

company, a restaurant, a school, two<br />

shoemakers and at least a dozen saloons. A<br />

good size machine shop and several<br />

blacksmiths served the oil fields. Scattered<br />

wells still produce in the area, but the<br />

community had shrunk <strong>to</strong> 186 residents by the<br />

2010 census.<br />

M E C C A , T R U M B U L L<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

The first settlers came <strong>to</strong> Mecca Township<br />

around 1813. East and West Mecca were<br />

platted by the 1860s when the oil boom began.<br />

M E R M I L L , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Mermill was apparently settled in the<br />

1830s. Located just east of Rudolph on the<br />

Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad this <strong>to</strong>wn had<br />

a large stave mill, barbershop, a couple of<br />

general s<strong>to</strong>res, grain eleva<strong>to</strong>r, hoop fac<strong>to</strong>ry, a<br />

post office and a railroad depot. The <strong>to</strong>wn also<br />

had a coal siding where coal was shoveled<br />

from T&OC cars in<strong>to</strong> teamster wagons for<br />

transportation <strong>to</strong> various well-site steam<br />

engines. There was a Buckeye facility here,<br />

where oil was gathered and then pumped <strong>to</strong><br />

Cygnet and an office of the Sun <strong>Oil</strong> Company.<br />

M U N G E N , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Mungen was on the T&OC, the next station<br />

south of Mermill on Bays Road. It was surveyed<br />

in 1888. While the Great Black Swamp still<br />

dominated northwestern Ohio, Mungen had a<br />

large saw mill and stave fac<strong>to</strong>ry. A narrow<br />

gauge railroad headed east of <strong>to</strong>wn for about<br />

eight miles. Logs were brought in<strong>to</strong> the mill on<br />

small cars and cut in<strong>to</strong> staves at the plant.<br />

Down<strong>to</strong>wn Mungen had a barbershop,<br />

blacksmith, boarding house, charcoal kiln,<br />

church, hotel, livery, a department s<strong>to</strong>re and<br />

school. The TBG&S also had a depot in <strong>to</strong>wn.<br />

N E W S T R A I T S V I L L E ,<br />

P E R R Y C O U N T Y<br />

four thousand. As the mines closed the<br />

population declined <strong>to</strong> 2,300. The year 1909<br />

brought another increase in <strong>to</strong>wnsfolk as the<br />

oil boom began. Today, the <strong>to</strong>wn is probably<br />

best known for its annual moonshine festival.<br />

O A K F I E L D , P E R R Y<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Oakfield was platted in 1838. In 1880 it<br />

had about 130 residents.<br />

O I L C E N T E R ,<br />

W O O D C O U N T Y<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> Center, surveyed in 1888, was located<br />

about half way between Cygnet and Galatea<br />

on the Toledo & Ohio Central and had a<br />

depot, grocery, three boarding houses, post<br />

Above: Mermill Market in 1965.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: Mungen Public School had about 20-<br />

30 students during the boom years.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Platted in 1870, this community became a<br />

coal mining and brick and tile <strong>to</strong>wn. During<br />

the coal boom the <strong>to</strong>wn’s population was over<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

1 3 5


Above: The last house in <strong>Oil</strong> Center.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: Rudolph was a flourishing<br />

community during the boom years. A local<br />

postcard pho<strong>to</strong>grapher sold these multiple<br />

view cards in local s<strong>to</strong>res.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

office, hotel, livery, school and several houses.<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> Center Road is the only reference <strong>to</strong> the<br />

once thriving community.<br />

O I L C I T Y ,<br />

M U S K I N G U M C O U N T Y<br />

This Muskingum County village formed in<br />

1865-66 when a good quality lubricating oil<br />

was found in the Pennsylvanian First Cow<br />

Run of Bluerock Township. Frame buildings<br />

were quickly constructed, including the usual<br />

share of boarding houses and saloons. Over<br />

225 wells were put down before it was<br />

discovered the pool was small and the wells<br />

short-lived. By 1903, little trace remained of<br />

this community. Periodic flooding has since<br />

removed any remaining traces.<br />

P L A Z A , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Plaza, also known as Townline, was<br />

surveyed in 1892. During the boom years it<br />

had a church, depot, grocery, lodge hall,<br />

post office, school and the Dewey Stave<br />

Company. When the stave company moved,<br />

the <strong>to</strong>wn died. It was located at Jerry City and<br />

Rudolph roads.<br />

R O L L E R S V I L L E ,<br />

S E N E C A C O U N T Y<br />

Rollersville was probably surveyed in 1832.<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> was discovered on the John Phister farm<br />

east of <strong>to</strong>wn in 1889 or 1891. In a few years the<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn was booming and many folks had gas<br />

lights in their yards. The oil was piped from the<br />

many wells <strong>to</strong> Lima. A Manhattan and<br />

Standard pump station were both located along<br />

Sugar Creek. An oil supply s<strong>to</strong>re, boiler shop,<br />

several blacksmith shops and five saloons were<br />

kept busy during the boom.<br />

R U D O L P H , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

This Wood County community, formerly<br />

known as Mercer, began with the<br />

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development of the Bowling Green oil field.<br />

Before that time, in the 1860s, it was just a<br />

crossroads in the woods. A wooden fence<br />

there served as a mailbox <strong>to</strong> the few settlers<br />

carving homesteads out of the Great Black<br />

Swamp. The first non-residential building<br />

was a small post office. The name was<br />

changed <strong>to</strong> Rudolph, after the owners of a<br />

general s<strong>to</strong>re at what is now Rudolph and<br />

Mermill Roads. The <strong>to</strong>wn had a bank,<br />

barbershop, butcher shop, railroad depot,<br />

churches, dance hall, doc<strong>to</strong>r’s office, dry<br />

goods s<strong>to</strong>re, garage, two grocery s<strong>to</strong>res,<br />

harness shop, hotel, livery stables, locksmith<br />

shop, newspaper office, opera house, paint<br />

s<strong>to</strong>re, post office, restaurant, school, and<br />

telephone office in the 1920s. An Ohio <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Company warehouse was located here during<br />

the oil boom and at least one oil supply<br />

company. Homes and some commercial<br />

buildings remain.<br />

R U S H V I L L E ,<br />

F A I R F I E L D C O U N T Y<br />

East Rushville was laid out in 1809. By<br />

1880 it had a population of about two<br />

hundred. The village contained two<br />

blacksmith shops, a church, two doc<strong>to</strong>rs’<br />

offices, two dry goods s<strong>to</strong>res, a drug s<strong>to</strong>re,<br />

three groceries, a harness shop, a hotel, and<br />

an undertaker. Across Rush Creek is West<br />

Rushville, laid out in 1815. In 1880 it had<br />

about 175 residents. In 1880 it had two<br />

churches, two dry goods s<strong>to</strong>res, a hotel, a<br />

lodge hall, a post office and a school.<br />

S C I O , H A R R I S O N<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

The Harrison County <strong>to</strong>wn of Scio began as<br />

New Market in 1836. A rural seminary<br />

originally located in Carroll County moved <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>to</strong>wn in 1852. This institution became Scio<br />

College in 1878 and New Market Station<br />

became Scio. <strong>Oil</strong> was first discovered in the<br />

early 1870s, but it was not until 1898, when<br />

deeper drilling techniques were used, that a<br />

boom began. Population increased five-fold and<br />

with it came boarding houses, saloons, theaters,<br />

all kinds of s<strong>to</strong>res, and the usual array of shacks<br />

and tents. The village was home <strong>to</strong> 250 wells<br />

and another 750 dotted the surrounding<br />

countryside. The boom was short-lived; by<br />

1901 it was over and the itinerant workers<br />

moved <strong>to</strong> the next boom <strong>to</strong>wn. Unfortunately,<br />

the college suffered great losses in enrollment<br />

during the boom years. In 1911 what was left<br />

was transferred <strong>to</strong> Alliance and amalgamated<br />

with Mount Union College. In 2013<br />

construction on a large gas fractionation plant<br />

brought the oil and gas industry back <strong>to</strong> Scio.<br />

The gas is pumped in from the sites tapping the<br />

huge plays of gas in the local shales. For a great<br />

Above: A derrick on the north side of<br />

down<strong>to</strong>wn Rudolph taps the Tren<strong>to</strong>n and<br />

riches for the property owner.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

Below: This postcard shows down<strong>to</strong>wn Scio<br />

with the Pennsylvania and W&LE depots in<br />

the middle of the image around 1910.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR.<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

1 3 7


would go <strong>to</strong> the slab piles of saw mills and<br />

stave fac<strong>to</strong>ries and use the discarded wood <strong>to</strong><br />

build shanties. Slab<strong>to</strong>wn was basically a saw<br />

mill location.<br />

S U G A R G R O V E ,<br />

F A I R F I E L D C O U N T Y<br />

Sugar Grove was incorporated in the 1850s<br />

or so. Around 1880 it had a population of over<br />

three hundred. Three blacksmith shops, three<br />

churches, two doc<strong>to</strong>rs’ offices, four dry goods<br />

s<strong>to</strong>res, a general s<strong>to</strong>re, grist mill, a hotel, a lodge<br />

hall, a school, three shoe shops, a wagon shop,<br />

two tanneries, and an undertaker did business<br />

in the community around 1880. The <strong>to</strong>wn was<br />

a major quarrying center in the late 1800s.<br />

T O W N L I N E , W O O D C O U N T Y<br />

Above: Wells were drilled on the floodplain<br />

of Rocky Ford near Trombley .(Please note<br />

that the author feels this pho<strong>to</strong> is incorrectly<br />

labeled Bays. <strong>On</strong>ly a small ephemeral creek<br />

flows through Bays.) In the early days<br />

Spring would bring flooding. This cabinet<br />

pho<strong>to</strong> from 1910 shows two iron derricks<br />

and a boiler house.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

painting of boom<strong>to</strong>wn Scio visit the local bank.<br />

Scio is once again quite a busy place.<br />

S L A B T O W N , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

This small crossroads community was just<br />

west of Wings<strong>to</strong>n. Its name is quite<br />

appropriate, for many of the <strong>to</strong>wns in the<br />

oilfields were hastily constructed. Often they<br />

This small Wood County <strong>to</strong>wn had a church,<br />

dance hall, grocery s<strong>to</strong>re, hotels, lodge halls,<br />

school and 30 <strong>to</strong> 40 houses in the late 1800s.<br />

T R O M B L E Y , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

This Wood County community was first<br />

called Blake and was located at the<br />

intersection of Jerry City Road and what is<br />

Below: A busy spot in Trombley was one of<br />

the boiler shops. Teamsters hauled the<br />

boilers <strong>to</strong> the oil rigs initially by horsedrawn<br />

and later trac<strong>to</strong>r powered wagons.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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now S.R. 25. The Trombleys’ built a sawmill,<br />

surveyed the <strong>to</strong>wn and renamed it. When the<br />

T&OC was built in 1883, the <strong>to</strong>wn moved a<br />

little east on Jerry City Road <strong>to</strong> the depot site.<br />

A general s<strong>to</strong>re/post office, hotel, National<br />

Supply s<strong>to</strong>re (originally Jericki <strong>Oil</strong> Supply),<br />

coal yard, lumber yard, two boiler shops,<br />

machine shop, three blacksmiths, several<br />

bordellos, a stave fac<strong>to</strong>ry, ten 30,000 barrel oil<br />

s<strong>to</strong>rage tanks and several other businesses<br />

made up the <strong>to</strong>wn during the oil boom. The<br />

stave mill was there long before the railroad<br />

but it went out of business in the 1930s.<br />

Trombley also had five busy saloons. The<br />

problem with Trombley was that it was built<br />

on the floodplain of Rocky Ford and every<br />

spring it would be partially underwater.<br />

When the interurban built the line <strong>to</strong> Jerry<br />

City, the days of Trombley were numbered.<br />

V I N C E N T ,<br />

W A S H I N G T O N C O U N T Y<br />

Vincent was platted in 1853. In 1880 a<br />

church, cooper shop, two general s<strong>to</strong>res and a<br />

saloon served the village. Vincent became a<br />

quarrying center when a good quality<br />

dimension s<strong>to</strong>ne was discovered. It was on the<br />

line of the original Marietta & Cincinnati.<br />

W I N G S T O N , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Surveyed in 1873, this community at Bays<br />

and Wings<strong>to</strong>n roads, had a grocery, hardware,<br />

lodge hall, post office, sawmill, saloon and an<br />

office of the Mutual <strong>Oil</strong> Company.<br />

W O O D S I D E , W O O D<br />

C O U N T Y<br />

Woodside, on the T&OC, was surveyed in<br />

1883. During the boom years it was home <strong>to</strong><br />

a couple s<strong>to</strong>res, a stave fac<strong>to</strong>ry, and a post<br />

office. <strong>Oil</strong> was discovered in the area in the<br />

late 1890s.<br />

O T H E R V E S T I G E S<br />

O F T H E P A S T<br />

Bremen has preserved a 1920 vintage steel<br />

derrick in its Howell Park. The derrick came<br />

from a farm near Roseville in Perry County.<br />

Just south of Wooster, at a private trac<strong>to</strong>r<br />

museum, is a res<strong>to</strong>red 1926 oil derrick<br />

originally located near Killbuck. The Wood<br />

County His<strong>to</strong>rical Center has a replica early<br />

frame oil well and pump house display on<br />

their grounds on the south edge of Bowling<br />

Green. Driving around Wood County brings<br />

one <strong>to</strong> Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> and Tank Farm Roads. Bays,<br />

Digby, Ducat, Mermill and <strong>Oil</strong> Center roads<br />

pass through vanished boom <strong>to</strong>wns of the<br />

same name. Four major refineries continue <strong>to</strong><br />

operate in Ohio—one in both Can<strong>to</strong>n and<br />

Lima and two in Toledo. The main offices of<br />

the National Supply Company still stand on<br />

Bishop Street in Toledo. Marathon Petroleum<br />

is housed in the 1929 office building of the<br />

Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company in down<strong>to</strong>wn Findlay.<br />

Visit the many libraries and his<strong>to</strong>rical<br />

societies across the Buckeye State for some<br />

great displays and collections of Ohio’s oil and<br />

gas his<strong>to</strong>ry. A plaque marks the site of the<br />

famous Karg well in down<strong>to</strong>wn Findlay.<br />

Another his<strong>to</strong>ric plaque is at the location of<br />

Lima’s Faurot oil well, drilled in 1885. The<br />

Thorla-McKee well is preserved in a small<br />

park near Caldwell, off I-77. An Ohio his<strong>to</strong>ric<br />

plaque and narrow gauge caboose marks<br />

the site.<br />

Shreve, Ohio is home of the Ken Miller<br />

Supply Company <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> Museum. This<br />

A Huber trac<strong>to</strong>r, manufactured<br />

in Marion around 1917.<br />

COURTESY OF MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

Below: <strong>Oil</strong> still fills the hollowed-out tree<br />

trunk used as casing for the remaining<br />

Thorla-McKee well.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NOBLE COUNTY CHAMBER OF<br />

COMMERCE.<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

1 3 9


Above: Specta<strong>to</strong>rs watch from a safe<br />

distance and workers reinforce the<br />

containment dike as a tank burns<br />

near Cygnet.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION.<br />

Below: Tank 311 burns near<br />

North Baltimore<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

museum houses his<strong>to</strong>ric drilling machines,<br />

gas pumps, trac<strong>to</strong>rs, trucks, cars and other<br />

artifacts relating <strong>to</strong> local his<strong>to</strong>ry. It is hosted<br />

by the County Line His<strong>to</strong>rical Society. Across<br />

the Ohio River, is the <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> Museum in<br />

Parkersburg, West Virginia.<br />

O I L F I E L D D I S A S T E R S<br />

A N D H A Z A R D S<br />

The first reported oil accident in Ohio <strong>to</strong>ok<br />

place in September 1888 when two men were<br />

killed when an oil tank at Cygnet ruptured.<br />

Fires were the most obvious hazard of the<br />

industry. <strong>Oil</strong> tank fires around Cygnet were<br />

often so bright that at night you could read a<br />

newspaper standing in a Hammansburg yard.<br />

<strong>On</strong>ce three adjacent tanks near Cygnet were<br />

on fire. The tanks would often boil over<br />

catching others on fire. The iron plates just<br />

peeled down during the hottest fires. The heat<br />

was so intense that specta<strong>to</strong>rs had <strong>to</strong> keep<br />

their distance. For a long time Cygnet didn’t<br />

have a fire department <strong>to</strong> protect surrounding<br />

property, so it was hoped the containment<br />

dikes would hold and the fire would burn<br />

itself out.<br />

When a lightning strike set a tank on fire,<br />

a loud whistle went off at Station No.8 of the<br />

Buckeye Pipe Line Company on the south<br />

edge of Cygnet. Emergency crews would rush<br />

<strong>to</strong> the site and begin reinforcing the dikes <strong>to</strong><br />

hold in the oil. A cannon was brought <strong>to</strong> the<br />

site <strong>to</strong> shoot a hole in the tank and allow the<br />

oil <strong>to</strong> fill the containment basin surrounding<br />

the tank. The oil could then be pumped in<strong>to</strong><br />

tank wagons and taken <strong>to</strong> other available<br />

tanks out of range of the inferno. Obviously, it<br />

was a dangerous job. In some cases, as much<br />

Down here, they used <strong>to</strong> have big tank<br />

fires. We used <strong>to</strong> go down and stay all day<br />

and watch them burn…. It was wonderful <strong>to</strong><br />

see. (Grace Bachman, North Baltimore, 1966)<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

140


oil as possible was pumped out and then the<br />

rest was just left <strong>to</strong> burn itself out.<br />

Tending these large tanks also had its<br />

hazards. A worker in the Bowling Green field<br />

was on <strong>to</strong>p of a tank checking the level of oil.<br />

He had a lighted lantern. Apparently he didn’t<br />

pay much heed <strong>to</strong> signs because at the bot<strong>to</strong>m<br />

of the ladder was a warning—“Do not take<br />

any lighted lights up this ladder” <strong>Gas</strong> rising<br />

from the oil ignited, blowing up the tank and<br />

this unfortunate soul.<br />

The most disastrous fire in Cleveland<br />

his<strong>to</strong>ry occurred at a s<strong>to</strong>rage tank of the East<br />

Ohio <strong>Gas</strong> Company on Oc<strong>to</strong>ber 20, 1944.<br />

The tank, holding a reserve of liquefied gas<br />

for use in local war industries, suddenly<br />

sprung a leak and the combustible vapor<br />

exploded releasing an equivalent of ninety<br />

million cubic feet of flaming gas. It quickly<br />

engulfed over one square mile of homes and<br />

businesses on Cleveland’s east side. A second<br />

tank also exploded about 20 minutes after the<br />

first. A portion of the gaseous fluid drained<br />

in<strong>to</strong> the sewer system, exploding here and<br />

there and blowing manhole covers high in<strong>to</strong><br />

the air. The fire burned itself out in about a<br />

day leaving 79 homes and 2 fac<strong>to</strong>ries leveled,<br />

around 225 vehicles destroyed and 130 dead.<br />

Refineries were also plagued by fires but<br />

most eventually maintained specially trained<br />

crews <strong>to</strong> fight the conflagrations.<br />

Oc<strong>to</strong>ber 27, 1895, is an infamous day in<br />

the his<strong>to</strong>ry of the Wood County oil <strong>to</strong>wn of<br />

Mungen. An oil fire burned a strip one mile<br />

wide by two miles long at the edge of <strong>to</strong>wn. In<br />

the aftermath among the damages the Palmer<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> Company lost 12 derricks and several<br />

tanks; the Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company lost 4 derricks;<br />

the Ral Brothers lost several derricks; and Sun<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> lost 9 derricks, 4 tanks and a boiler house.<br />

Derricks were typically 68 <strong>to</strong> 74 feet high.<br />

About two-thirds of the way up were three<br />

planks on which workers had <strong>to</strong> stand <strong>to</strong> pull<br />

the tubing and drill stem. You had <strong>to</strong> have<br />

Lightning strikes were the most common<br />

cause of tank fires. These are all in the<br />

tank fields near Cygnet and North<br />

Baltimore. Note the large crowd with<br />

shovels <strong>to</strong> help contain the burning oil<br />

within the earthen dikes.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE HISTORICAL<br />

SOCIETY COLLECTION AND THE MAX SHAFFER<br />

COLLECTION, WOOD COUNTY HISTORICAL<br />

CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

1 4 1


Top: Lightning started this fire in 1974<br />

around Cygnet.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE<br />

HISTORICAL SOCIETY.<br />

Middle: The next year another lightning<br />

strike set this Cygnet area tank ablaze.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE<br />

HISTORICAL SOCIETY.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m: This 35,000-barrel naptha tank at<br />

the Solar refinery tank farm in Lima was<br />

another lightning casualty around 1912.<br />

COURTESY OF JEFF A. SPENCER.<br />

good balance for there was nothing <strong>to</strong> hang<br />

on<strong>to</strong> and it was before the time of safety belts.<br />

Starting the early gas engines was also<br />

hazardous, back fires were common and<br />

resulted in numerous injuries. Serious burns<br />

came from accidentally coming in contact<br />

with the red hot tube used <strong>to</strong> start the engine.<br />

Hospitals were few and far between.<br />

Many people dreaded the appearance of a<br />

glycerine wagon along a road and prayed that it<br />

would remain intact and arrive safely.<br />

Nitroglycerine explosions were not uncommon.<br />

Both Galatea and Oregon had one, literally<br />

blowing a man, his horse, and wagon <strong>to</strong><br />

“Kingdom come”. Another disaster happened<br />

on Gypsy Lane just south of Bowling Green. A<br />

man was killed as a leaking container of nitroglycerine<br />

led <strong>to</strong> a tremendous explosion as he<br />

was returning from a glycerine magazine with<br />

an empty wagon, crossing the B&O tracks.<br />

Nothing much was left of the wagon and its<br />

human and equine workers. The rails were<br />

mangled and a deep hole was left. In Spring<br />

1900, during the shooting of a well in Salem<br />

Township, Washing<strong>to</strong>n County, an unexpected<br />

de<strong>to</strong>nation killed seven men. A Lima glycerine<br />

fac<strong>to</strong>ry exploded, killing a man, on Oc<strong>to</strong>ber 28,<br />

1892. A glycerine fac<strong>to</strong>ry west of Cygnet also<br />

blew up in 1897.<br />

Cygnet had its share of misfortune. As<br />

re<strong>to</strong>ld by Cygnet barber and local his<strong>to</strong>rian<br />

Max Schaefer, a tragic accident happened at a<br />

well owned by George Grant on Corey St. in<br />

the middle of <strong>to</strong>wn. Mr. Grant decided <strong>to</strong><br />

terminate drilling at 104 feet and employed<br />

Samuel Barber, a professional shooter of the<br />

Ohio and Indiana Torpedo Company <strong>to</strong><br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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Top: March 20, 1929, a fire broke out at<br />

the Sinclair <strong>Oil</strong> tank yard on Miami Street<br />

in Toledo.<br />

COURTESY OF THE TOLEDO LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC<br />

LIBRARY COLLECTION.<br />

Middle: An oil well burns north of the B&O<br />

tracks in North Baltimore in the early<br />

1900s. Note the many derricks on <strong>to</strong>wn lots.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE<br />

HISTORICAL SOCIETY.<br />

Bot<strong>to</strong>m: A major fire hit the Manhattan<br />

refinery at Galatea around 1910.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NORTH BALTIMORE<br />

HISTORICAL SOCIETY.<br />

prepare the well for shooting. Although it was<br />

approaching evening it was decided <strong>to</strong> go<br />

ahead with the shooting. <strong>On</strong>e hundred quarts<br />

of nitro were lowered in the casing and the 52<br />

remaining quarts were placed on the wagon.<br />

Barber moved the wagon about 130 feet from<br />

the derrick. Mr. Grant then dropped the go<br />

devil and the well gushed oil and gas <strong>to</strong> an<br />

excited crowd. Unfortunately it had not been<br />

made certain that the fire at the rig’s boiler had<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

1 4 3


A nitro explosion <strong>to</strong>ppled a seventy-sevenfoot<br />

derrick at this unknown location in<br />

northwest Ohio.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM.<br />

been completely extinguished. Instead of<br />

escaping upward, the gas hugged close <strong>to</strong> the<br />

ground and a flash fire resulted. The wooden<br />

derrick was immediately engulfed in flames.<br />

Bystanders rushed <strong>to</strong> help those caught in the<br />

inferno. Warnings came <strong>to</strong>o late as the flames<br />

spread <strong>to</strong>ward the glycerine wagon. The<br />

resulting explosion left a hole in the ground,<br />

killed three men, injured many, and shattered<br />

about nine buildings. The blast was heard as<br />

far away as Bowling Green. A <strong>to</strong>tal of six men<br />

were killed, three died from the initial fire.<br />

Bradner also had more than its share of<br />

explosions. The American Glycerine<br />

Company opened a fac<strong>to</strong>ry less than a mile<br />

east of <strong>to</strong>wn around 1890. At least 6<br />

explosions were triggered at well sites around<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn. In January 1891 a glycerine magazine<br />

blew up. The blast completely demolished the<br />

building and surrounding trees and it<br />

shattered windows all over <strong>to</strong>wn. Luckily<br />

there were no casualties. However, in<br />

December 1897, while winterizing the<br />

American Glycerine fac<strong>to</strong>ry, a worker was<br />

killed when the remaining nitro in a tank was<br />

accidentally jarred. In August 1903, the<br />

Hercules Nitro-Glycerine fac<strong>to</strong>ry, a mile and a<br />

half east of <strong>to</strong>wn, exploded. Again, luckily no<br />

one was nearby. Other explosions <strong>to</strong>ok place<br />

in 1913 and as late as January 1930.<br />

Another explosion, which occurred on July<br />

20, 1893, at an Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Company well at<br />

Woodside resulted in deaths and injuries <strong>to</strong> a<br />

number of workers. The derrick, engine house<br />

and two adjacent houses were destroyed. <strong>On</strong><br />

March 17, 1930, the Rock Haven plant of the<br />

Producers Torpedo Company (a Marietta firm)<br />

suddenly blew up. An employee was blown 30<br />

feet in the air, suffering fatal consequences. A<br />

1928 explosion at the same plant injured<br />

several workers.<br />

Fires were common at the rigs, especially<br />

in the days of steam boilers. Cigars carelessly<br />

thrown or not put out entirely led <strong>to</strong> some<br />

derricks going up in smoke. Near Bloomdale<br />

in the 1880s, a burning well brought the<br />

curious from miles away. Eventually the flow<br />

subsided and the fire was put out. People<br />

then came <strong>to</strong> watch the oil flow in<strong>to</strong> a small<br />

s<strong>to</strong>rage tank. Fires were also common during<br />

the early days of gas service <strong>to</strong> residences.<br />

Most of the early homes had ceilings covered<br />

with paper underlain with muslin. <strong>Gas</strong> flames<br />

turned <strong>to</strong>o high often led <strong>to</strong> house fires.<br />

O N A H A N D S H A K E : H u m b l e B e g i n n i n g s t o G l o b a l I m p a c t — O h i o ’ s O i l & G a s I n d u s t r y<br />

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<strong>On</strong> November 11, 1999, a Texas company<br />

drilling an oil well east of South Woodbury in<br />

Morrow County struck a pocket of highly<br />

charged natural gas which immediately<br />

spewed from the well. This potentially<br />

hazardous situation led <strong>to</strong> the evacuation of<br />

some 2,700 people in southern Morrow<br />

County and northern Delaware County<br />

including the village of Ashley. Luckily the<br />

leak was capped and residents were allowed<br />

back in the next day.<br />

Safety is a major concern of <strong>to</strong>day’s oil<br />

and gas industry. Accident-free years are<br />

always the goal. Even so, working around<br />

modern drilling rigs is dangerous and<br />

workers must be continuously observant<br />

and cognizant of their surroundings.<br />

Although computers now run most tasks, the<br />

presence of moving machinery still poses<br />

potential hazards <strong>to</strong> life and limb. Modern<br />

drilling pads are also designed with the<br />

environment in mind. Several levels of<br />

containment reduce the threat of leakage of<br />

spilled fluids in surface water and<br />

groundwater. A sudden increase in gas<br />

pressure may au<strong>to</strong>matically shut down a rig,<br />

preventing a dangerous and wasteful blowout.<br />

Specially trained firemen are available, if<br />

needed, <strong>to</strong> fight major well, s<strong>to</strong>rage facility<br />

and refinery fires. Reports of water well<br />

contamination continue, but many are related<br />

<strong>to</strong> improper plugging or deteriorated casing of<br />

abandoned wells.<br />

S O M E M I S C O N C E P T I O N S O F<br />

E A R L Y G A S A N D O I L<br />

E X P L O R A T I O N<br />

1. <strong>Oil</strong> trends lined up in a northeastsouthwest<br />

direction. This came from<br />

initial discoveries in northwestern<br />

Pennsylvania which followed this pattern.<br />

It was assumed this would be the case in<br />

Ohio. Explora<strong>to</strong>ry drilling has long since<br />

showed that oil occurrence is controlled by<br />

local stratigraphic and structural trends<br />

which obviously vary across the state.<br />

2. <strong>Oil</strong> pools generally were found in valley<br />

bot<strong>to</strong>ms. This was assumed because of oil<br />

seeps and slicks on many southeastern<br />

Ohio and western Pennsylvania streams.<br />

Initially little exploration was undertaken<br />

in the uplands.<br />

3. During the boom years if the oil wells were<br />

not gushers, they were usually plugged.<br />

Many early abandoned wells have since<br />

become producers.<br />

4. <strong>Oil</strong> wells were usually abandoned if<br />

saltwater poured forth. In many cases oil<br />

would follow the saltwater.<br />

5. <strong>Oil</strong> and gas plays were expected in<br />

sands<strong>to</strong>nes, not in limes<strong>to</strong>nes and dolos<strong>to</strong>nes.<br />

Nearby houses sustained damage from the<br />

Grant well fire and explosion in Cygnet in<br />

September 1897.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MAX SHAFFER COLLECTION, WOOD<br />

COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM<br />

C H A P T E R T E N<br />

1 4 5


OHIO OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY TIMELINE<br />

1781 James Watt invents steam engine.<br />

1788 Marietta founded at mouth of Muskingum River.<br />

1803 Ohio gains statehood.<br />

1806 <strong>Oil</strong> and gas discovered in Kanawha County, Virginia (now West Virginia) while drilling salt well. Ruffner Brothers perfect<br />

drilling techniques.<br />

1814 First Thorla and McKee salt well along Salt Run, Noble County drilled, striking oil and gas.<br />

1816 Second Thorla and McKee salt well along Salt Run, Noble County drilled, also striking oil and gas.<br />

1843 Bosworth & Wells of Marietta become first Ohio purveyors of petroleum products.<br />

1859 Drake oil well strikes oil at Titusville, beginning Pennsylvania oil boom.<br />

Circa 1860 <strong>Gas</strong> struck in Berea near East Liverpool, Columbiana County.<br />

1860 First well strikes oil at West Mecca, Trumbull County. Begins Mecca field in Devonian Berea Sands<strong>to</strong>ne.<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> discovered in First Cow Run sand in Homer and Union <strong>to</strong>wnships, Monroe County.<br />

Fall 1860 Dut<strong>to</strong>n well near Macksburg, Washing<strong>to</strong>n County strikes oil in Pennsylvanian First Cow Run sand. First Ohio well<br />

drilled exclusively seeking oil.<br />

1861 Hodkinson and Herring & Buell refineries open in Marietta.<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> struck in Devonian Ohio Shale at Painesville, Lake County.<br />

Winter 1861 New<strong>to</strong>n well strikes oil in Pennsylvanian Cow Run sands<strong>to</strong>ne starting Duck Creek oil boom between Caldwell and<br />

Macksburg, Washing<strong>to</strong>n County.<br />

1861-62 Refinery opens at McConnellsville.<br />

1862 McAllister & Greenhill and Greenhill & Hodkinson refineries open in Marietta area.<br />

1863 West Virginia becomes a state.<br />

John D. Rockefeller opens his first refinery in Cleveland.<br />

1864 Iams & Sons and W.C. McCarty refineries open in Marietta.<br />

Dr. Charles Oesterlen in favor of s<strong>to</strong>rage reservoirs for natural gas in Findlay area.<br />

1865 Bergen <strong>Oil</strong> and Coal Company brought ten steam engines <strong>to</strong> be used in the Cow Run field. Unfortunately financial<br />

problems led <strong>to</strong> a suspension of its operations before the year ended. Refinery opens at S<strong>to</strong>ckport.<br />

1868 West Virginia Transportation Company lays pipeline from Cow Run field <strong>to</strong> Ohio River. First iron s<strong>to</strong>rage tank built in<br />

Ohio was erected by the Cow Run Iron Tank Company at the river end of the pipeline. It held 10,000 barrels.<br />

1869 Eight refineries in operation in or near Parkersburg, West Virginia. By 1872 it is established as a major refining center in<br />

the Ohio Valley.<br />

1870 Cow Run village booming. The Cleveland and Marietta Railway being constructed between Marietta and Caldwell.<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Company of Ohio chartered, headquarters established in Cleveland<br />

1871 Meeting held in Marietta of Ohio and West Virginia oil men <strong>to</strong> discuss organization of a producers association.<br />

1875 Predecessor of Ohio <strong>Oil</strong> Works opens on outskirts of Marietta.<br />

1876-77 Argand <strong>Oil</strong> Refinery built just below Harmar.<br />

1881 Pat<strong>to</strong>n refinery opened in Harmar <strong>to</strong> make lubricating oils.<br />

1882 Standard <strong>Oil</strong> Trust formed.<br />

1883 Macksburg oil boom begins. By 1885, 3000 barrels per day being produced.<br />

1884 Findlay Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company drills first successful gas well in Findlay, precursor of Findlay <strong>Gas</strong> field<br />

1885 W.L. Greenhill & Co. erect a plant <strong>to</strong> manufacture lubricants in Marietta.<br />

<strong>Gas</strong>-Light & Coke Company sink second gas well in Findlay and begin supplying the community natural gas as a fuel.<br />

Matthias well drilled in Findlay seeking gas, became first true oil well in Findlay <strong>Oil</strong> field.<br />

Standard <strong>Oil</strong> moves headquarters from Cleveland <strong>to</strong> New York City.<br />

Faurot Well strikes oil, opening Lima <strong>Oil</strong> Field.<br />

Bowling Green Natural <strong>Gas</strong> Company organized.<br />

1886 Karg well comes in at Findlay, largest flow at the time<br />

Van Buren well completed near Van Buren, even greater output than Karg well<br />

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Standard <strong>Oil</strong> opens Lima refinery<br />

Simons well in Bloom Township, Wood County largest flow at time.<br />

<strong>Gas</strong> discovered in Clin<strong>to</strong>n sand near Lancaster, Fairfield County beginning prospecting in Silurian Clin<strong>to</strong>n sand<br />

1887 <strong>Gas</strong> Jubilee held in Findlay<br />

Findlay incorporated as city.<br />

1891 Offshore oil drilling in Grand Reservoir at St. Marys began<br />

1894 Kirkbride well erupts<br />

1896 Findlay terminates supply of gas <strong>to</strong> industry and manufacturing firms.<br />

1899 <strong>Oil</strong> struck in Clin<strong>to</strong>n sand in Jackson Township, Vin<strong>to</strong>n County.<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> struck in upper part of Big Lime at Jefferson, Ashtabula County, became known as Oriskany sand.<br />

1904 <strong>Oil</strong> struck in Clin<strong>to</strong>n sand in Jackson Township, Knox County.<br />

1905 First successful repressuring of an oil well using gas in Macksburg field, Noble County.<br />

1907 First significant oil pool in Clin<strong>to</strong>n sand discovered near Bremen, Fairfield County opening Bremen field.<br />

1911 <strong>Oil</strong> and gas first discovered in the lower part of Big Lime at Newburg (Cleveland), Cuyahoga County, became known as<br />

Newburg sand.<br />

Initial application of Smith-Dunn or Marietta compressed air process of secondary recovery, Chesterhill field,<br />

Morgan County<br />

Divestiture of Standard <strong>Oil</strong><br />

Circa 1922 Large gas pool discovered in Oriskany in Guernsey County<br />

1937 First attempt at horizontal drilling for oil, near McConnellsville, Morgan County.<br />

1961 Morrow County oil boom begins<br />

1970=1985 Resurgence of interest in Clin<strong>to</strong>n wells as oil and gas prices rise<br />

1986 <strong>Oil</strong> prices drop, natural gas prices show little change causing a depression in the oil and gas industry<br />

1991 Steps taken <strong>to</strong> create his<strong>to</strong>ric site at 1816 Thorla and McKee well by Noble County His<strong>to</strong>rical Society.<br />

2006 Marcellus shale becomes new sought after oil and gas play in easternmost counties<br />

2013 Utica shale yields liquid-rich natural gas after hydraulic fracturing in eastern counties<br />

2014 Construction of new gas plants refining Utica shale liquid-rich gases in eastern counties<br />

O H I O O I L A N D G A S I N D U S T R Y T I M E L I N E<br />

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SOME GAS AND OIL FIELD TERMS AND PHRASES<br />

“agitating a well”: raising and lowering an iron rod suspended in<br />

an oil well <strong>to</strong> help contained gas expulse water from the well,<br />

a method of cleaning an oil well<br />

bailer: a long pipe-like device with a trap door at one end This is<br />

lowered in<strong>to</strong> the well so it hits the bot<strong>to</strong>m and opens the door.<br />

Sediment and drilling mud fills the bailer and it is pulled back<br />

<strong>to</strong> the surface, emptied, and lowered for another load.<br />

barker: a can-like device on the exhaust pipe of an engine that<br />

made a barking sound so that opera<strong>to</strong>rs could easily tell that<br />

the engine was working, in a given area each barker would<br />

have a unique sound that could easily be recognized by<br />

company personnel<br />

beam well: usually a saltwater well, worked faster and pumped<br />

more fluid<br />

Berea: a gas and/or oil-bearing unit above the Tren<strong>to</strong>n, equivalent<br />

<strong>to</strong> the Devonian Berea Sands<strong>to</strong>ne<br />

Big Injun: a gas and/or oil bearing unit above the Berea,<br />

equivalent <strong>to</strong> parts of the Mississippian Cuyahoga formation<br />

Big Lime: drillers term for a thick sequence of Middle<br />

Silurian-Middle Devonian carbonate rock, overlying the<br />

Silurian Brassfield Formation and underlying the Devonian<br />

Olentangy Shale<br />

bit: a heavy iron mass at the end of a drill stem with a sharpened<br />

chisel-like surface used for breaking up the rock at the bot<strong>to</strong>m<br />

of the well<br />

“blowing a well”: used when wells have a problem with water<br />

inflow, well is shut down for a 30 minute period <strong>to</strong> allow gas<br />

<strong>to</strong> build up, then it is opened allowing the gas <strong>to</strong> blow the<br />

water out of the well, a method of cleaning an oil well<br />

boiler house: in early days housed a large boiler <strong>to</strong> produce steam<br />

bull wheel: a large iron wheel located on an early drilling platform<br />

used in companion with the crown block <strong>to</strong> raise and lower the<br />

drill stem<br />

cable <strong>to</strong>ol drilling rig: an earlier percussion drilling method where<br />

a drill stem of various <strong>to</strong>ols with a terminal carbide-tipped bit<br />

is dropped repeatedly <strong>to</strong> slowly dig a hole, typically drills 25-<br />

60 feet per day<br />

Cambridge sand: drillers’ term for Devonian Oriskany sands<strong>to</strong>ne,<br />

name comes from Cambridge, Ohio, where it was a gas and oil<br />

producer in the 1920s<br />

can: a metal container for transporting nitroglycerine<br />

casing: metal lining or pipe added <strong>to</strong> a well, particularly in the<br />

upper part, <strong>to</strong> keep fluids or rock debris from interfering with<br />

the drilling or pumping of a well, diameter decreases with<br />

depth in drill hole<br />

“cleaning a well”: used where saltwater inflow is a problem,<br />

removes water from oil well allowing oil <strong>to</strong> flow<br />

Clin<strong>to</strong>n: a drillers’ term for a gas and/or oil-bearing unit above the<br />

Tren<strong>to</strong>n, but below the Berea, equivalent <strong>to</strong> the Silurian<br />

Medina sands<strong>to</strong>ne<br />

coal oil: kerosene<br />

crevice: an opening or vug in a sedimentary rock<br />

crown block: the pulley at the <strong>to</strong>p of a derrick used for raising and<br />

lowering the drill stem<br />

dog house: a boiler house at a well, also used for the control house<br />

located on a modern drill rig<br />

downstream: transportation and refining activities in the oil and<br />

gas industry<br />

driller: worker who runs the cable or rotary drilling mechanism<br />

drill stem: the series of iron rods and special <strong>to</strong>ols lowered in<strong>to</strong> a<br />

well for drilling purposes<br />

dry hole: a gas or oil well that fails <strong>to</strong> yield hydrocarbons<br />

dry well: a well lacking significant inflow or seepage of fluids<br />

fishing <strong>to</strong>ols: special drill stem <strong>to</strong>ols used when <strong>to</strong>ols are lost in<br />

the well<br />

flaring gas: burning of natural gas from a standpipe next <strong>to</strong> a well<br />

<strong>to</strong> release gas pressure and allow oil <strong>to</strong> flow in<strong>to</strong> the well<br />

flowing well: an oil well with sufficient gas pressure <strong>to</strong> force the<br />

oil <strong>to</strong> the surface so that the well does not require pumping<br />

fracking: colloquial for hydrofracturing<br />

gauger: an oilfield worker who measures the amount of oil in a<br />

s<strong>to</strong>rage tank<br />

go devil: a heavy metal device about 3’ by 14-16”dropped down<br />

the well casing <strong>to</strong> trigger the nitro glycerine explosion during<br />

shooting of a well<br />

“going down”: a well about <strong>to</strong> be abandoned, short-term production<br />

gusher: an oil well spouting oil often above the derrick because of<br />

strong gas pressure<br />

hammer bit: a massive diamond-studded drilling bit that operates<br />

by percussion, also known as a down the hole (DTH) hammer<br />

horizontal drilling: a technique of drilling laterally in the subsurface<br />

usually following a productive stratum<br />

hydraulic fracturing: injection of pressurized water in<strong>to</strong> reservoir<br />

rock <strong>to</strong> create permeable strata so hydrocarbons move<br />

more readily, hydrofracturing<br />

jars: special <strong>to</strong>ols designed <strong>to</strong> create slack in the drill stem,<br />

allowing bit <strong>to</strong> be jarred loose from rock<br />

“kicking down a well”: early method of drilling using a spring<br />

pole, driller would step on a stirrup, pushing the bit down and<br />

then release the pressure causing it <strong>to</strong> rise. Reciprocal motion<br />

would slowly deepen the well.<br />

lease: an official agreement between a landowner and oil firm<br />

that permits the drilling for gas or oil, also, the land under<br />

such a lease<br />

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Marcellus: a Middle Devonian black shale of the subsurface of<br />

eastern Ohio containing plentiful natural gas<br />

mouse hole: well drilled adjacent <strong>to</strong> drill hole just a bit shorter<br />

than a standard drill rod <strong>to</strong> aid in assembly of drill rods before<br />

being lowered in drill hole<br />

mud engineer: one employed <strong>to</strong> oversee the drilling fluids or mud<br />

and make sure they remain within specified parameters<br />

mud logger: an individual that examines cuttings brought <strong>to</strong> the<br />

surface by drilling mud <strong>to</strong> determine borehole lithology,<br />

determine fluid and natural gas content, and construct well logs<br />

Newburg: a drillers’ name for the oil-gas zone in the Upper Middle<br />

Silurian dolos<strong>to</strong>ne in Ohio, often associated with reefs, named<br />

after the former village of Newburg, now part of Cleveland.<br />

offset: drilling wells around a known producer<br />

“on <strong>to</strong>wer”: working a 12 hour shift on an oil well<br />

Packer Shell: drillers’ term for Silurian Day<strong>to</strong>n limes<strong>to</strong>ne<br />

pad: an engineered and environmentally designed platform for a<br />

modern oil or gas rig and associated equipment and structures,<br />

usually gravel floored with containment features<br />

paraffin: a waxy hydrocarbon often associated with northwestern<br />

Ohio oils<br />

pitman: part of drilling rig that causes the up and down motion<br />

of the walking beam<br />

power: a central power station containing either a steam or gas<br />

engine that was connected <strong>to</strong> several wells by steam lines or<br />

shackle rods, also called a power house<br />

“pulling a well”: hoisting out the drilling <strong>to</strong>ols from a well for<br />

bailing, routine maintenance, changing of <strong>to</strong>ols, etc.<br />

reservoir: a rock unit that has pore space or fractures filled<br />

with hydrocarbons<br />

rods: metal or wooden rods connecting a power <strong>to</strong> a well, also<br />

called shackle rods<br />

“rope choker”: a driller, so called because of the need <strong>to</strong> keep a<br />

hand on the drill stem rope <strong>to</strong> determine tension and efficiency<br />

of the bit<br />

Rose Run: an oil- and gas-bearing sands<strong>to</strong>ne within the Cambro-<br />

Ordovician Knox dolomite of eastern Ohio’s subsurface<br />

rotary drilling rig: a form of drilling developed in the 1900s<br />

employing a carbide-tipped bit that is augered in<strong>to</strong> the rock<br />

roustabout: a migrant oil field worker that performed various<br />

tasks as needed, often moving from one site <strong>to</strong> another, may<br />

have cleaned and painted equipment<br />

roughneck: an oilfield worker that handled the assemblage of the<br />

drill stem at an oil rig<br />

samson post: an upright post that supports the walking beam in<br />

an oil rig<br />

sand: drillers term for a gas- or oil-bearing unit, often a sands<strong>to</strong>ne,<br />

but also a fractured or porous permeable rock<br />

shackle rod: ½” iron rods, 20’ long <strong>to</strong> connect well pump<br />

jacks with power containing gas engine, usually elevated 1’ off<br />

the ground<br />

“shooting a well”: exploding nitroglycerine in a gas or oil well <strong>to</strong><br />

induce the flow of hydrocarbons<br />

slate: driller’s term for most subsurface shales<br />

“smitty”: a blacksmith, one that forges <strong>to</strong>ols and equipment for use<br />

in the gas or oil field, also produces shoes for teamsters’ horses<br />

sour: a gas or oil containing sulphurous compounds<br />

standpipe: pipe-like device for burning off gas<br />

steam box: a wooden box in which steam lines were run from one<br />

engine <strong>to</strong> another, raised off the ground and insulated, often<br />

just a plank covering a 2” steam line, sometimes there would<br />

be an adjacent pipe for oil<br />

“steaming the oil”: purifying oil before shipment<br />

still: a metal boiler vat with a helical coil of pipe used for distilling<br />

crude oil<br />

stripper well: a well where every last drop of oil has been taken<br />

out, usually just before they are abandoned<br />

sucker rod a wood or metal rod connecting the pump jack <strong>to</strong><br />

the working barrel at the bot<strong>to</strong>m of an oil well<br />

sweet: a gas or oil lacking sulphurous compounds<br />

teamster: a handler of horses or oxen for transporting material in<br />

wagons or sleds, in early days animals were also used <strong>to</strong> power<br />

some drilling rigs<br />

<strong>to</strong>ol dresser: a person who sharpened drill bits, kept the drilling<br />

rig parts lubricated, and once maintained the steam in boilers<br />

at a drilling site<br />

<strong>to</strong>rpedo: cans of nitroglycerine lowered in<strong>to</strong> a well that is being shot<br />

<strong>to</strong>wer: a twelve-hour shift of workers manning a well,<br />

pronounced “<strong>to</strong>ur”, always two men, two shifts—midnight<br />

until noon and noon <strong>to</strong> midnight<br />

Trempeleau: an oil-bearing unit below the Tren<strong>to</strong>n, equivalent <strong>to</strong><br />

the Cambrian-Ordovician Knox dolos<strong>to</strong>ne<br />

Tren<strong>to</strong>n: a gas and/or oil-bearing unit below the Clin<strong>to</strong>n,<br />

equivalent <strong>to</strong> the Ordovician Tren<strong>to</strong>n limes<strong>to</strong>ne<br />

tri-cone roller: drilling bit with three rotating disks of carbide teeth<br />

upstream: exploration and development activities in the oil and<br />

gas industry<br />

Utica shale: an oil-gas producing stratum and source rock<br />

underlying the eastern half of Ohio, It is an organic-rich shale<br />

of Middle Ordovician age<br />

walking drill rig: newly designed rigs that can be moved from one<br />

drill hole <strong>to</strong> another, without disassembly<br />

walking beam: a device that moves the bit up and down in a well,<br />

attached <strong>to</strong> the band wheel by the pitman<br />

water flooding: a secondary recovery technique where water is<br />

injected in<strong>to</strong> a reservoir rock <strong>to</strong> drive out remaining oil<br />

wildcat well: a well not associated with any large organized company,<br />

could be drilled by a land owner or an association of inves<strong>to</strong>rs<br />

working barrel: a barrel-shaped device lowered <strong>to</strong> the bot<strong>to</strong>m of<br />

an oil well <strong>to</strong> pump petroleum<br />

S O M E G A S A N D O I L F I E L D T E R M S A N D P H R A S E S<br />

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