Memorial Wall

Derrick and
Rod Line Photos

Membership Application

Dismantling A Workover Derrick

Penny Postcards From Crawford County

Early Oil History Of Oblong Vicinity


The Oil Field Museum was started October 10, 1961 to preserve the tools of an era that brought great prosperity to the county. The oil museum was the realization of a dream inspired and encouraged by Enos Bloom, an Oblong mechanic. Although Enos Bloom never worked in the oil fields, he made many trips to the fields to repair broken machinery and became well acquainted with oil men and their work. This museum is "one of a kind" with oil equipment displayed outdoors as well as indoors.

Although the Shire farm oil gusher near Stoy started the oil "boom" of 1906, oil and gas were known to exist in this territory as early as 1866. A "boom" started near
Westfield with a building being erected there and known as "Oil City House", and a large tract of land leased. With a drilling outfit from Pennsylvania, the firstwell was put down several feet when the tools were lost in the well, which was eventually abandoned. Other
wells were started but hard-luck mishaps closed down drilling. In 1904, a good well was drilled about 100 yards from the firstwell. On February 1, 1906, D.T. Finley of Pittsburg brought in a gas well on the Shire farm that tested a pressure of 300,000 feet daily. Within a week, with deeper drilling, such a gusher was struck that work had to be stopped temporarily. News of the gusher spread fast and oil leasers and operators began flocking in to the area paying fifty cents to a dollar an acre. A week later land was going at $30 per acre with a percentage of the oil rights. The last of February, Mr. Shire refused $10,000 for his forty acres. Miss Metta Mann, who owned a 140 acre tract near the Shire well, received a bonus of $5,000 and a sixth royalty. W.T. Leckey refused $135 an acre for his 240 acre farm a mile from the Shire well. Savilla Shipman, Joseph Crowley, S.T. Lindsay and E.E. Lindsay bought 60 acres near Hardinville in May 1906 for $60 an acre, selling it a month later for $11,200 cash and one-sixth oil rights.

Possibly the largest real estate deal made in the township was consummated between a company of Oblong and Robinson men and Robert Wood, paying Wood
$28,800 for his 400 acre farm east of Oblong. The company consisted of J.A. York, Henry Wirt, D.W. Odell, R. Wood, A.F. Lefever, and S.E. Sears of Oblong and A.P. Woodworth, P.G. Bradbury, Will York, and F.L. Dewey of Robinson.

Shire, Birch, Brown, Baldwin, Martin, Mann, Riker, Mitchell, Tohill, Mouser, Smith, Ames, Walker, Cawood, York, Houghton, Wilkin, Whitmer, Woods, Davidson, Buck, McCrillis, Wirt, Miller, were some of the oil well owners in 1906. Mrs. Miller's No.3 well was shot June 1906 with an estimated 1,000 barrels. With three good wells and more being drilled, her estimated income was $300 a day. The wells on her place and that of Dr. Birch seemed to be the exact center of the Stoy pool with a constant flow unable to be shut off.

The Baldwin well, shot in May, was a beautiful spectacle as the oil boiled into the air for more than three minutes at a height of 100 feet. The largest well in the northern states, with 2,500 barrels, was drilled on the O.B. Kirtland lands Monday, September 12, 1906, flowing 100 barrels an hour. Within a week, another well as good as the Kirtland well was drilled on the Pearl Dee lands.
Oil companies working in this area included: Ohio Oil Co., Mimetonka Oil Co., Mahutska Oil Co., Brenneman and McDonald Oil Co., Linden Oil Co., Eagle Oil Co., Daisy Oil Co., Sackett Oil Co., Sun Oil Co., Associated Producers and others.

A well on the J.A. Wood lands, shot in August of 1906 with 300 barrels, flowed at intervals of 55 minutes with such extreme force that oil and gas shot many feet above the derrick.

In August of 1906, the oil market had been flooded with Illinois oil and dropped
from 87 cents to 64 cents in two weeks. In one week in August, 127 wells produced 11,287 barrels of oil. It took sixty I.C. Railroad cars each day to take oil from Stoy, charging $55 per car freight charges. By December 14, there were 1,500 wells in Crawford County.

The Ohio Oil Co. put in a pumping station at Stoy to force the oil to Martinsville and a six inch line to Bridgeport. Four larger steel tanks with 35,000 barrel capacity were built at Stoy after rains broke oil-pool dams, washing away much oil. By March 1907, seventy of the eighty 35, 000 barrel tanks in Martinsville were filled with oil.

Oil well supply houses and machine shops quickly moved into Oblong to service the growing oil development, swelling Oblong's population and prosperity. The Empire Drilling Co. held the record on July 20, 1906, for the fastest drilling. They put a well
down 900 feet on the Prior farm in Martin district in six and one-half days, getting 400 barrels per day production. C.W. Titus and W.W. Dalrymple rented rooms in the Kibbie House, opening an office there for transaction of oil business.

Oil Center, located two miles south of Stoy, was quite a bustling business center in July 1906, with a restaurant and a barber shop.

A favorite recreation of people in 1906 was to come to Oblong on the morning train, rent a rig at a moderate cost, get a map of the oil field from the Oblong Oracle Newspaper office and drive through the countryside viewing the wells then leave on the evening train.

George Rhees of Columbus, Ohio, T.C. Griffin, and George Stephens of Findlay, Ohio, formed a corporation in July 1906 to build a refinery in Robinson, to construct and maintain pipe lines and to operate for oil in the field, forming the Robinson Oil Refinery.

A vein of good quality coal from 5 to 10 feet thick was struck in April 1906 in the Odell well at a depth of about 700 feet. Geologists predicted that West Crawford County would become a leading coal field.

So was the beginning of the oil "boom" in Crawford County. With the progression of time, new methods and new machinery were introduced to the oil production industry. Old machinery and old ways were discarded. But memories of the "old times" live on in the minds of our elder citizens. To preserve this heritage of the early oil days, the Oblong Oil Field Museum was assembled. Antiquated tools and machinery were collected and old pictures were given so the activities of a bygone time could be passes down to other generations.

Courtesy of the Oblong Village Board Oblong, Illinois "The Only Oblong"