Researched by Mary Rhodes/Transcribed by Ron Taylor

from ALLEGANY COUNTY REPUBLICAN newspaper; 11/22/1877

These articles are from the very brittle microfilm of the Allegany County Republican newspaper and shows some of the excitement and anticipation reflected from the citizenry of the day.  One of many drilled in the early years, this wildcat oil well was drilled in Alma region and was one of the very early wells.  Alma (village) was still notably called Honeoye by many, including the writer of the articles.  Also, See: WILDCAT WELL information.

I have transcribed the article itself, but, thought you would find the headlines that precede it as interesting.....

Following the article is a second column from same newspaper which appeared spasmodically about the oil happenings entitled, "Oil Drippings", "here, there and elsewhere."

Ron Taylor.


(from Allegany County Republican – 11-22-1877)


(researched by Mary Rhodes; transcribed by Ron Taylor)




The Wildcat Derrick Burned




Wild Excitement !




$800 Damage and Ten Days Halt in the Work.




Emotional Insanity !




            On Monday evening, about 7 o’clock and just as the drill was entering second sand at the Wildcat well on the Honeoye, and at a depth of 700 feet, a sudden burst of gas, accompanied by small quantities of oil, shot out of the casing , and, instantly igniting from the stove in the derrick, enveloped everything in flames.


          The gas jets shot clean above the derrick, and  the sight was a grand one.  The comely derrick, which was the just pride of Honeoye, lasted but a few minutes under this fiery ordeal.


          Mr. Ittai J. Elliott, who was seated within the derrick at the instant of explosion, barely made his escape.  He lost his hat, and was severely burned about the hands and face.


          The driller’s vest hung upon a nail in the derrick, with a good silver watch in one of the pockets.  The watch is to-day a sick relic of its former usefulness.


          The flow and steady blaze of gas continued from the casing all night and far into Tuesday, when it was put out.  At intervals on Tuesday it was re-lighted to satisfy doubting visitors.


          The information reached this village about 3 or 4 o’clock of Tuesday morning and the excitement spread like wildfire.  A great many of our citizens visited the well and witnessed for themselves the flow of gas and the work of the fire.


          The loss of the derrick will be $400, and the cable nearly as much more.  Ten days must elapse before the work can again proceed.


          On Wednesday (yesterday) morning the driller came to this village.  He is certain that the well is filling with oil ! and has not the doubt that the Wildcat well and the Honeoye section will prove valuable oil territory.


          To say that the people of this village and vicinity are enormously excited and intensely happy over this discovery, is doing but faint justice to the subject.  In it our citizens see the probable fulfillment of high hopes and a happy release from the grasp of hard times.


          Already Wellsville bristles with renewed business activity.  Oil operators and strangers are arriving and looking into the “promised land.”  Stock shares are in great demand and are held at a high premium with only occasional sales noted.


          There are yet about 160 shares ($10 each) unsold, but these will be given in preference to those who already own stock in the Wellsville and Alma Oil Company.  Outsiders will scarcely be able to get in.  Notice of this sale will doubtless be given this week, and the sale take place some time next week.


          To say that new companies will now be formed and a thorough ‘test made’ of all the probable oil territory near us, is to express the simple facts.  The result cannot well be doubtful now.  Already there is lively talk of putting down a well within the limits of this village, or near it, and a company will soon be organized for that purpose.


          As we go to press everybody is happy, and high hopes light up the faces of citizen and sojourner.


          Next week we hope to add to the good news.