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.

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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<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 />


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 />






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 />








263 SPONSORS<br />


C O N T E N T S<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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />



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 />


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


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 />


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 />

1 1

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 />



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 />



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

1 3

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 />



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 />


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

1 5

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 />



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 />



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 />


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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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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />



Opposite, <strong>to</strong>p: An oil barge at Marietta.<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 />

2 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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />

3 3

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



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 />

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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


Opposite, <strong>to</strong>p: Derricks are everywhere<br />

around New Straitsville.<br />



Opposite, middle: A lone wooden derrick<br />

pumps oil at one of New Straitsville’s<br />

brick plants.<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 />


Opposite, bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: This postcard shows<br />

the site of the former <strong>Oil</strong> City around 1913.<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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />

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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />

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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />

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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />

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 />


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 />



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 />

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 />


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 />

5 1

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 />


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 />

5 3

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 />



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 />



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 />

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 />


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 />


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 />





<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 />

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 />


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 />



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 />


Bot<strong>to</strong>m: A pump station is under<br />

construction near Findlay. Note older<br />

wooden tank in background.<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 />

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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />



Below: Two unidentified men enjoy<br />

a break in the oil field somewhere in<br />

northwest Ohio.<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 />


Left: In 1885 Cygnet was dotted with<br />

wooden derricks seeking oil deep below in<br />

the Tren<strong>to</strong>n formation.<br />



Below: Derricks south of Cygnet.<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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



Bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: This well at Bloomdale erupts<br />

after being shot in 1906.<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 />


Above: Somewhere around Wood County.<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 />


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 />



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 />



Top, right: This stereo card shows gas being<br />

burned off at a well near North Baltimore.<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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />


Below: By the early 1900s many of the<br />

North Baltimore area wells had passed<br />

their prime.<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 />


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 />



Below: H. M. Summers published this<br />

colored postcard which was sold in the<br />

North Baltimore area.<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 />



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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />

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 />


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 />



Middle: The Acme Sucker Rod Company<br />

fac<strong>to</strong>ry was located on Segur Avenue<br />

in Toledo.<br />



Bot<strong>to</strong>m: The Acme Sucker Rod Company<br />

ran ads in all the oil and gas trade journals.<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 />


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 />



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 />


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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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 />



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 />


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 />



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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 />



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

9 1

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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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />

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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 />



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 />



Left: A driller operates a spudder in the<br />

North Baltimore area. Drilling goes on in<br />

all seasons.<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 />



Below: This early drilling rig was<br />

manufactured in Lodi.<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 />

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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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



Right: Matchbook covers were another place<br />

<strong>to</strong> advertise.<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 />

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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


Below: The Paragon offices in Toledo.<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 />

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 />


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 />



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 />



Below: These postcards show the Standard<br />

<strong>Oil</strong> refinery and tank farm in Cleveland,<br />

c. 1912.<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 />



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 />



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 />



Below: An early s<strong>to</strong>rage tank and steam<br />

boiler at a rig in Wood County.<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 />

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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />



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

1 1 3

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 />




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 />



<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 />



Below: Bay Terminal train at Sun <strong>Oil</strong><br />

refinery in East Toledo.<br />



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

1 1 5

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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 />



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

1 1 7

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 />


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 />

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 />


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 />


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

1 1 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 />



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 />



<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 />

1 2 1

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 />

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 />


Opposite, <strong>to</strong>p: Workmen s<strong>to</strong>ke up a boiler at<br />

a Wood County well site.<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 />



Opposite, bot<strong>to</strong>m: Here another crew has<br />

finished pulling the drill stems.<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 />



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

1 2 3

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 />



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 />



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 />



Bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: A typical <strong>to</strong>ng gang.<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 />


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 />



Below: <strong>Oil</strong>field workers in the North<br />

Baltimore area.<br />



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

1 2 5

Right: Teamsters arrive at a boiler house <strong>to</strong><br />

move some equipment.<br />



Below: A bunk house is being moved <strong>to</strong> a<br />

new location.<br />



Bot<strong>to</strong>m, right: For moving heavier<br />

equipment more horses were employed.<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 />

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 />


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 />



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

1 2 7

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 />



Bot<strong>to</strong>m: A typical bunkhouse provided by<br />

some companies for oilfield workers.<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 />

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 />


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 />



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 />



Left: The arrival of mo<strong>to</strong>rized vehicles just<br />

made matters worse. Note the early mobile<br />

drilling rig.<br />



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

1 2 9

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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />



Below: Mungen Public School had about 20-<br />

30 students during the boom years.<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 />



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 />



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 />

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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />



Below: <strong>Oil</strong> still fills the hollowed-out tree<br />

trunk used as casing for the remaining<br />

Thorla-McKee well.<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 />



Below: Tank 311 burns near<br />

North Baltimore<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 />


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 />





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 />



Middle: The next year another lightning<br />

strike set this Cygnet area tank ablaze.<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 />


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 />


Top: March 20, 1929, a fire broke out at<br />

the Sinclair <strong>Oil</strong> tank yard on Miami Street<br />

in Toledo.<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 />



Bot<strong>to</strong>m: A major fire hit the Manhattan<br />

refinery at Galatea around 1910.<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 />



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 />


<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 />



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

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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 />

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 />


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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“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 />

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 />


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 />

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Alkire, Robert L. “<strong>Oil</strong> and <strong>Gas</strong> in Perry County.” Columbus: Division of Geological Survey, Report of Investigations No. 10, 64 p., 1952.<br />

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784 p., 1881 (Reprinted 1976 by Bookmark Knights<strong>to</strong>wn, IN)<br />

Anon. Illustrated His<strong>to</strong>rical and Business Review of Washing<strong>to</strong>n County, Ohio for the Year 1891. Coshoc<strong>to</strong>n: Union Publishing Company, 310 p.,<br />

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Arkle, Jr, Thomas. “The Geology of Switzerland Township, Monroe County, Ohio.” Columbus: The Ohio Journal of Science, V. LIII, No. 1, p. 1-13, 1953.<br />

Arpad, Joseph J. (Edi<strong>to</strong>r) Southern Wood County Oral His<strong>to</strong>ry Project. Archival Books, Fresno, CA, 411 p., 1994.<br />

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Belden, Henry. Clin<strong>to</strong>n <strong>Gas</strong> Pool. Columbus: Division of Geological Survey, Report of Investigations No. 13 Part 2, 99 p., 1952.<br />

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Bownocker, John Adams. “The Corning oil and gas field.” Columbus: Ohio Naturalist, v.1, p. 49-59, 1901.<br />

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Bownocker, John Adams. “The central Ohio natural gas fields.” American Geologist, v. 31, p. 218-231, 1903.<br />

Bownocker, John Adams. “The Occurrence and Exploitation of Petroleum and Natural <strong>Gas</strong> in Ohio.” Columbus: Geological Survey of Ohio<br />

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Bownocker, John Adams. “The Bremen <strong>Oil</strong> Field.” Columbus: Geological Survey of Ohio, Fourth Series, Bulletin 12, 68 p., 1910.<br />

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Byers, David E. The Federal Valley Railroad Company & Its Ances<strong>to</strong>rs. Westerville: Integrity Press, 159 p., 2000.<br />

Camp, Mark J. Roadside Geology of Ohio. Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing, 411 p., 2006.<br />

Carnes, John R. and Beatrice Boose Hughes. The 1976 His<strong>to</strong>ry of Allen County. Evansville: Unigraphic, Inc., 1976.<br />

Cashell, Jack and Edward V. O’Rourke. Secondary Recovery in Ohio. New York: American Petroleum Institute, Secondary Recovery of <strong>Oil</strong> in<br />

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Cass, Edward H. “Hidden Treasures The S<strong>to</strong>ry of the Ohio River & Western Railway.” Hillsboro, OR: Timber Times, 248 p., 1997.<br />

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Centennial His<strong>to</strong>ry Book Committee. Luckey Ohio Centennial His<strong>to</strong>ry Book 1881-1981. Luckey, 115 p., 1981.<br />

Cole, Gary A., Richard J. Drozd, Robert A. Sedivy, and Henry I. Halpern. Organic geochemistry and oil-source correlations, Paleozoic of Ohio.<br />

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Condit, D. Dale. “The Conemaugh formation in southern Ohio.” Columbus: The Ohio Naturalist, v. 9, n. 6, p. 482-488, 1909.<br />

Condon, George E. Cleveland The Best Kept Secret. Garden City: Doubleday & Co., 372 p., 1967.<br />

Conrey, G. W. “Geology of Wayne County.” Columbus, Geological Survey of Ohio, Bulletin 24, 155 p., 1921.<br />

Cumberlidge, J. T. and W. D. McCullough. “Economic profile of Ohio’s Clin<strong>to</strong>n sand.” <strong>Oil</strong> & <strong>Gas</strong> Journal, v. 83, p.91-103, 1985.<br />

Cushing, H. P., Frank Leverett, and Frank R. Van Horn. “Geology and Mineral Resources of the Cleveland District, Ohio.” Washing<strong>to</strong>n:<br />

USGS Bulletin 818, 138 p., 1931.<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 />


Delong, Richard M. “Geology of Stark County.” Columbus: Division of the Geological Survey, Bulletin 61, 209 p., 1963.<br />

Donnell, O. D. “The Petroleum <strong>Industry</strong> in Ohio.” Toledo: Northwest Ohio Quarterly, v. XIX, no. 4, p. 186-199, 1947.<br />

Dott, Robert H. and Merrill J. Reynolds (Compilers). Sourcebook for Petroleum Geology. Tulsa: AAPG Memoir 5, 471 p., 1969.<br />

Downes, Randolph C. Industrial <strong>Beginnings</strong> Lucas County His<strong>to</strong>rical Series Vol. IV. Toledo: His<strong>to</strong>rical Society of Northwestern Ohio,<br />

428 p., 1954.<br />

Fassett, Josephine. His<strong>to</strong>ry of Oregon and Jerusalem. Camden, AR: Hurley Company, 349 p., 1961.<br />

Geological Survey of Ohio. Economic Geology Volume VI. Columbus: Geological Survey of Ohio, 831 p., 1888.<br />

Gibsonburg Derrick, Special Edition. Gibsonburg.<br />

Goslin, Charles R. Crossroads and Fence Corners His<strong>to</strong>rical Lore of Fairfield County. Lancaster: The Fairfield Heritage Association, 303 p.,<br />

1976.<br />

Graham, A. A. (compiler) His<strong>to</strong>ry of Fairfield and Perry Counties Ohio Their Past and Present. Chicago: W. H. Beers & Co., 392 and 596 p.,<br />

1883 (Reprinted 1990 by Windmill Publications, Inc., Mt. Vernon, IN)<br />

Hall, John F. “Oriskany Sand Study.” Columbus, Division of Geological Survey, Report of Investigations No. 13, Part 2, 99 p., 1952.<br />

Hansen, Michael C. “The First <strong>Oil</strong> Well.” Columbus: ODNR, Division of Geological Survey, Ohio Geology Spring 1993, 1993.<br />

Hansen, Michael C. “The Scio<strong>to</strong> Saline.” Columbus: Division of the Geological Survey, Ohio Geology Winter 1995.<br />

Heald, Edward Thorn<strong>to</strong>n. The Stark County S<strong>to</strong>ry Vol. 1. Can<strong>to</strong>n: Stark County His<strong>to</strong>rical Society, 688 p., 1949.<br />

Heald, Edward Thorn<strong>to</strong>n. The Stark County S<strong>to</strong>ry Vol. 3. Can<strong>to</strong>n: Stark County His<strong>to</strong>rical Society, 822 p., 1949.<br />

Helwig, Richard M. (Ed.). Ohio Ghost Towns No. 12 Wood County. Galena: Center for Ghost Town Research in Ohio, 172 p., 1990<br />

Heminger, R. L. “Across the Years in Findlay and Hancock County.” Findlay: The Republican Courier, 205 p., 1965.<br />

Hettinger, R. D. “Subsurface correlations and sequence stratigraphic interpretations of Lower Silurian strata of the Appalachian<br />

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I-2741, 2001.<br />

Hildreth, Samuel P. “Observations on the saliferous rock formation in the valley of the Ohio.” New Haven: American Journal of Science, v.24,<br />

p. 46-68, 1833.<br />

Hildreth, Samuel P. First Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Ohio. Columbus, p 57-61, 1838.<br />

Humphrey, William D. A Brief His<strong>to</strong>ry of <strong>Gas</strong> and <strong>Oil</strong> in Findlay. Findlay, 1940.<br />

Humphrey, William D. Findlay, The S<strong>to</strong>ry of a Community. Findlay: Findlay Printing & Supply, 224 p., 1961.<br />

Jones, Paul W. Human Int