Sunday Morning Observer, January 20, 1917
Discovery of "Spring Oil" Brought Much Attention.
In looking back over some old records the other day to find some data on the oil production in this section we came across some facts and figures that brought us to the conclusion that there is one product in which Washington County is and has for many years held decided preeminence - petroleum.
For the years 1873-1874, the Secretary of State's report for Washington County shows and aggregate of 2,209,928 gallons of oil produced and for the rest of the state 185,280 gallons. Thus this county produced about twelve times as much petroleum as all the other counties combined.
In another statement we found that the production came from the following: Cow Run, 510,000 barrels; Macksburg, 104,000; Newell's Run, Pawpaw and Fifteen, 6,000; a total of 620,000 barrels. At three dollars a barrel, which was the probable average price at that time, there was a value of $1,860,000.
In a brief account of this county published in New York, in 1834, by John Delafield, Jr., mention is made of petroleum - called "spring oil," or "seneca oil" - as having been known to the hunters and early inhabitants of the country since the first settlement. "It can be used," he says, "in lamps as it affords a brilliant light. It is very useful and therefore much employed in curing the diseases of and injuries done to horses. It is perhaps the best substance known for the prevention of friction in machinery."
Most of the oil used by druggists through the states was sold through a Marietta concern - Bosworth, Wells & Co. This was a heavy oil and came principally from the neighborhood of Hughes river in West Virginia.