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Allegany County- Area Oil Excitement, 1877

Transcribed by Gina Cappello, from files of the Allegany County Historian.
Allegany County Democrat, February 23, 1877.



The Oil Excitement.

The striking of a new twenty barrel oil well, five miles south-west of Olean, on Thursday, has increased the excitement over oil matters in this vicinity.  Since our last issue, we have received orders from Whitesville, Alma and Shongo, for 300 blank leases, which indicates a rapid spreading of the oil fever among the inhabitants of those places.  We are informed by a gentlemen from Whitesville that oil speculators have been prospecting there, have leased land, and intend to commence putting down test wells in the Spring.  The decline in the price of oil has discouraged a few, but if it is only a temporary fall, it will be no bar to a full development of the territory in this region.  We do not advise any hasty or ill-timed action by our citizens.  But one fact is evident to all, viz.:  that oil has been found within a few miles of this village; that we are within the oil belt.  The only query is, can it be found in paying quantities?  That question can never be known until the matter has been put to practical tests.  Oil men seem to be confident that our territory is a good one.  The world over it is the men of pluck who succeed.  Nothing is made by keeping your hands in your pockets waiting, like Micawber, “for something to turn up.”  The rules is that you get “turned up” yourself in the end.  Oil won’t bubble out on your farms by your sitting on a boulder and looking at a rail fence.  You may not succeed in striking oil.  You don’t always get your seed back when you strike for a big crop of winter wheat.  We struck for Tilden and Reform.  We got Hayes and fraud.  It’s about all [luck?] and [???] in this world.  There is nothing sure but death and taxes.  If you strike a flowing well you become a nabob.  If you don’t there is no law against living on leeks or running a country newspaper.  The grave will be open for you in any event.  There is no resisting the inevitable.  Form a stock company and go in and win if possible.  Faint heartedness is the motto over the door of Life’s Poor House.  Strike while the iron is hot.

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