Erie J. Wilson was born at Titusville in 1854 and set out very early with little larni'n to seek his fortune in the new oil business his uncle Peter Wilson had helped Colonel Drake start by drilling the first well.

The Richburg - Bolivar - Allentown oil boom in 1882 was at its peak producing 6,500,000 barrels of oil that year.  The fields were bursting with excitement and activity and EJ as he was ever to be called wanted a part of the returns the wells were producing.  A most active - energetic man nothing daunted him in his efforts and plans.  The Cherry Grove excitement near Warren blew the Richburg boom and price of oil to almost zero with the oil people selling out and leaving for newer fields with gusher wells.  EJ did not go with the others - he stayed in Bolivar and bought abandoned leases all over the dying field financing as best he could apparently with very far seeing vision of things to come.  He built the big house on Wellsville Street and every morning started out before daylight to the properties in his old buckboard though hauled by the very best horse to be had.  He was a man who could and would take on any job he asked his men to do and set a pace that just about made him legendary in getting things done.  Digging ditch - laying pipe - cutting boiler wood - pulling wells was just exercise to keep him trim.  E J wanted to be first in everything.  He bought the first steam car in Bolivar the first electric generating plant - the first telephone and then the first oil country truck.  Gasoline had to be bought at the drug store and EJ soon started making gasoline at West Notch and delivering it in drums.  He was one of the founders of the Producers Gas Co.

Success ever seemed to follow the footprints of EJ in his efforts though it seems as though when success balked EJ just applied more pressure and he achieved his goal.  Oil - investments - real estate - citrus groves - utilities became his interests in latter years planned mostly from a rocking chair in the kitchen of his home.  An old clock with wooden works kept him jumping up and down to keep it running along with a cider press and the electric generator in the basement which he ever contended was more reliable than the new fangled connection to Niagara Falls.

Salesmen were ever calling on EJ to sell him something.  Many called but few ever got a chance to display their wares or ability to sell.  EJ knew what he wanted to buy and with his brusque refusal to be interested they left just before he started twirling his handlebar mustaches.

One day a bond salesman stopped at the Bolivar State Bank and asked Mr. Hogan where he could find one EJ Wilson.  From the bank window he pointed to the big house and said he knew EJ was there as he had just seen him drive in.  The salesman knocked at the door and there was no answer so he walked out back where an elderly man was digging a hole for a new back house.  EJ just looked up and apparently not liking the way the salesman hat set kept on digging.  The sales gent took off and walked back to the bank where he told Mr. Hogan that EJ was not home that there was an old geezer digging out back who just kept on digging and said nothing.  Hogan grinned and said, "my friend that was EJ".

In 1928 Erie J. Wilson died at 74 one of this areas greatest characters of the early oil days - a self made man who stood very tall in real life and in memories intensely loyal to those he liked - his benefactors were many.



This was one of the more colorful spots in my life and knowing of your loggers background thought you would reflect a little from this item.

I personally knew a few of these old time lumber jacks and some where the pattern was lost.  They even had it over the oil gentry and that's a record.

Must tell you some time about John Nernberger who was my friend.  At 80 he got the idea he was no good anymore and proceeded to take himself from this world and did.