Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

sappho; spirifera, lepidodendron and brachiopoda, small cast, poor. At Bradford, chonetes scitula; spirifera disjuncta; rhynchonella (stenoschinna) duplicata; rhynchonella; productella hirsuta; crinoid columns, impressions of ends and the plant. On Kinzua Creek, near the county lines, he discovered ptychoparia salamanca; orthis leucosia, var. pennsylvanica; rhynchonella (stenoschis ma) sappho; spirifera disjuncta; lamellibranch, poor and broken, and orthis impressa. In 1878 A. W. Sheafer reported among others orthis leucosia and plant impressions similar to those found in the green sandstone at Eldred and Emporium. The discoveries of shells reported include rhynchonella, etc., Bradford, point between east and west branches; also in that neighborhood allorisma; crinoids; avicula; and rhynchonella and spirifer; grarumysia, Bradford, east side of Tuna; rhynchonella, etc., in SS. Bradford, west branch, near "Boss Well" (loose); orthoceras in cong., Rodger's farm, one-half mile south of Bradford (loose) and at Morrison's dam; spirifer in cong. (two pieces, loose); orthoceras, etc., one and a half miles south of Bradford (loose), also spirifer, there, on Sugar creek and on road from Tally Ho to the Swede church; carboniferous plants, etc., Dennis well (two pieces) dug from Conductor hole; aviculopecten, Tarport (loose), and spirifer at railroad level.

In 1880 E. A. Barnum discovered on the Bingham lands near Kinzua junction the root of a maple tree which was almost a perfect figure of a girl two and one-half feet in height.. . .Near Kinzua village, and at an elevation of almost 1,000 feet above, is a small pond fifty by twenty feet in dimension, and from six to eight feet in depth. In this lake were found fish, most of them blind. In 1884 this locality was the home of rattlesnakes... .In April, 1878, H. F. Northrup discovered (twenty rods east of the Windsor House, three miles east of Port Allegany), the impression of a gigantic lizard in the sand rock.... In the history of Bradford township reference is made to the remains of a large race of men found some years ago.

The first semi-bituminous coal found in this county was discovered by a surveying party (of which Jonathan Colegrove was chief) near Instanter in 1815 or 1816. They came to a windfall, and saw the stone coal lying beneath, forming a bed for the roots and, in some cases, lumps of coal burned up with the roots. Wheeler Gallup, who was one of the party, related the facts to O. J. Hamlin in 1875. In 1817 Ransom Beckwith discovered coal on his lands one mile from Instanter; later the Barrus bed, known as the "Lyman Mine," was opened, and in 1821 coal was found on the Clermont farm. In 1845 coal was delivered at Smethport from the Barrus bed for 12-J cents a bushel, and shipped by team to Allegany and Cataraugus counties in New York State. In 1874 the Clermont mines were explored at the expense of Gen. George J. Magee, and in September the Buffalo Coal Company was organized with the General as president and B. D. Hamlin and O. J. Hamlin, local stockholders. The McKean & Buffalo Railroad Company was also organized with Byron D. Hamlin, president, and D. R. Hamlin, local director. Work was begun in October, 1874, and the road was completed to Clermont in 1875. Mr. John Forrest, now of Smethport, was appointed paymaster at that point. During the year ending October 1, 1849, there were 1,000 tons of bituminous coal sent 'by wagons into adjoining counties in this and New York State, and to-day the coal fields of McKean, whether in the eastern or western portion of the county, lend to the owners of manufacturing industries a confidence in supply of fuel which neither gas nor oil can destroy. In other sections of this work the history of the several coal-mining industries is given, and notes made on the attempts to manufacture coal oil from the smoky deposit.

In the history of the borough of Kane and of Wetmore, Eldred, Liberty and other townships, references are made to the gas wells. In Ohio, New York, Michigan, Illinois and other States, gas veins have been opened when excavating for water wells, and the flame converted into the uses of fuel; but the modern well is a something which was discovered by accident in boring for oil. Assistant State Geologist Ashburner,treplying to Prof. I. C. White's statement that all great gas wells are found on the anticlinal axes, points out the exceptions in the Kane field, at Ridgway, at the old Mullin snorter and round Bolivar, where large gas wells have been found in or near the center of synclines. He says: developing this fountain of bitumen. There was no necessity for such development, for before settlements were made at St. Augustine, Baltimore or Plymouth Rock, that country was enjoying the fruits of plenty, and came next to Rome herself in art and science. Thus these oil wells were left unnoticed for almost 240 years. In 1694 Hancock and Portlock were granted patents for oil made from rock, and in 1761 oil was distilled from bituminous shale. Thirty-eight years later Col. Brodhead's division of Gen. Sullivan's army reported their discovery of petroleum on their return from the expedition against the Senecas, and some years later, when the British Indians, soldiers and Tory followers fled to Canada from the wrath of a free people, they purchased oil for illuminating and lubricating purposes from the Indians of the Thames Valley.

Although it is a fact that many of our largest Pennsylvania gas wells are located near anticlinal axes, yet the position in which gas may be found, and the amount to be obtained, depend upon (a) the porosity and homogeneousuess of the sandstone which serves as a reservoir to hold the gas; (6) the extent to which the strata above or below the gas sand are cracked; (c) the dip of the gas sand, and the position of the anticlines and synclines; (d) the relative proportions of water, oil and gas contained in the sand; and (e) the pressure under which gas exists before being tapped by wells. All oil-bearing sandstones contain a greater or less quantity of gas; and most gas-producing sandstones contain some oil, although a number of wells said to produce "dry gas," or that in which no oil or water can be detected, contain gas to the exclusion of fresh water, salt water or oil.

Whether found in the synclines or anticlines the gas wells of McKean have proved a luxury which even the poor may enjoy. Throughout the county gas is used for light and fuel, giving peace to the home and promises of success to every manufacturing industry.

In the Reporter of January 31, 1890, appeared the following poetical tribute to McKean county from the pen of Mrs. Jennie E. Groves:

When morn with its splendor illumines the sky,
Save where a star lingers to watch the night die,
And the gray shrouding mist from the valley uprolled
Is changed by the sun to an ocean of gold
That bears on its bosom cloud land as fair
As ever took shape in the realms of the air:
Ah! who that, enraptured, has gazed on the scene
Can forget the bright valleys and hills of McKean?

CHAPTER II.

OIL FIELDS.

Early Discoveries Of Oil—Coal Oil Mills And Oil Wells—oil Companies— Wells Of The Pioneer Period—The Bradford Oil Field—"shut-in" By Producers—Pipe Lines And Companies—Well Drilling, Past And Present—Oil Scouts—Well Torpedoes—Miscellaneous.

THE earliest mention of oil fields was made in the year 440 B. C., by Herodotus, in connection with the black oil of Anderrica. Contemporary geologists, as well as the people, appear to have paid no attention to this substance, and for over 2,000 years the only known reservoirs of the world were left unnoticed and undeveloped.

A discovery of oil was made July 18, 1627, by the French missionary, Pere Joseph De la Roche, who described the Cuba oil spring across the New York line in Allegany as La Fontaine de bitume. France was too much engaged in spreading her Roman civilization throughout the world to entertain an idea of

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

On September 19, 1767, Sir William Johnson, writing at Niagara, says: "Asenshan came in with a quantity of Curious Oyle, taken off the top of the water of some very small Leake near the village he belongs to."

In 1806 a peddler, by name Nat. Carey, established his "Seneca Oil" industry on Oil creek, where, later, Gen. Hayes of Franklin purchased three barrels, which he shipped by wagon to Baltimore. The intelligent oil dealers, to whom it was consigned, did not fancy the odor of the oil or appearance of the barrels, and consequently had it emptied into the Chesapeake, and the barrels destroyed by fire. From 1810 to 1817 Hecker and Mitis of Truscovitch, Austria, refined petroleum, and at Bayne an official inspection of naphtha and mineral oil was made in 1817, and in Starunia they were rectified. The Greensburg Gazette of November 18, 1819, speaking of the first oil well, says: "We are informed that John Gibson, of this town, in boring for salt water near Georgetown, on the Conemaugh river, struck a copious supply of Seneca oil at a depth of 207 feet. He supposes that a barrel per day might be procured."

In 1854, while the United States bid farewell forever to the- Old-line Whigs, one Toch, an Austrian, bid farewell to the United States, and going to Vienna taught the oil men of Austria the method of refining used at Tarentum, Penn., by Peterson & Dale, for whom he built the refinery. The Marvin Creek Coal Company was organized February 12, 1855, with a capital stock of $25,000. John Atkinson, of Erie, and Bryant P. Tilden, of Boston, owned half this stock. Two years later the capital was increased, and 700 acres of coal lands added. Near Smethport, at Crosby, works were erected where are now the mills, and coal oil produced from the Clermont coal. In March, 1857, the following letter appeared in the Rochester (N. Y.) Democrat: "I have just seen specimens of benzole, camphene oil and tallow from coal up in the vicinity of Smethport, McKean county, superior to anything ever known. One ton of coal makes eighty gallons of benzole, forty gallons of fluid, twenty gallons of lubricating oil and fifteen pounds of tallow or sperm. The actual cost of benzole, etc., will not exceed fifteen cents per gallon. * * * There is a machine (for manufacturing purposes) now on the way to Bradford. Depend upon it, this is no humbug." Nor was it, for buildings were erected opposite the present Riddell House, and coal oil manufactured there. In November, 1859. a New York and Boston company erected a coal-oil mill at the Hermit opening between Marsh's Corners and Kiuzua, where they hoped to mine sufficient coal for obtaining this oil. Gilbert, one of the projectors, did not then dream that oil existed here in oceans, although the Drake well, at Titusville, was completed August 28, 1859, and even before this, in 1858, J. M. Williams' well in Canada, and other wells in Enniskillen township, in the county of Lambton, same country, were in operation. The coal oil man

« ZurückWeiter »