In the year 2004 Frealyn Stark Jr. gave a photocopy of a poem about the early days of the oil industry to Peter Sprague.

Frealyn Start Jr. was raised in Bradford, Pennsylvania area where he and his father ran a machine shop and he owned oil leases.  As a young man during World War II Frealyn Stark Jr. served in the United States Navy on the USS Rinehart-DE 196.  Following his discharge from the military he returned to Bradford and went into business with his father, operating a machine shop and pumping several oil leases.

A portion of the machine shop business was related to the oil fields of the Bradford area.  Many of the engines that were used to power pumps were getting old and required replacement parts, which were not available on the open market and required milling, drilling and machining to create duplicates for the broken and worn out parts.

In the 1950's and 1960's Frealyn Stark Jr. was operating the machine shop and also continuing to pump several leases.  One of the pumpers he employed, Mr. T. J. Hardy, was a retired gentleman, formerly a driller and a pumper.  He was engaged on a partime basis to conduct the pumping operations on one of the leases.

Apparently this pumper was not especially pressed in his duties as a pumper and had some time to sit in the warm powerhouse between chores where he could read or write or just contemplate.

One day around 1960 this hand written poem appeared on Mr. Stark's desk, and upon inquiry he learned that the semi-retired pumper had written it.  It was written on the reverse side of three outdated monthly sheets of a calendar.

In 1981 Frealyn Stark Jr. moved with his family from Bradford to a home on Cuba Lake, where they resided for over a decade.  With his family grown he then purchased what was once the Hortense Keller house on West Main Street in Cuba, NY, where he has resided ever since.

Mr. Stark has an excellent personal collection of the hand tools used in the oil business as that industry developed at the end of the 1800's and into the 1900's.  He also has an extensive library of reference works concerning the industry and also reference works relating to the various engines and powers used.

(Shown below, a BOVAIRD & SEYFANG Engine built in Bradford, PA; Picture from collection of Frealyn Stark Jr.)

The Poem is beneath the picture.........


Dated at Cuba,NY - May 9, 2005