region of Virginia
, already known to be the richest mineral district in the United States
, has given forth a new treasure which seems destined to throw all its others into the back ground.
(Va.) News, in a long article on the new discoveries, notices two extensive land sales last week.
One of them was to a company of gentlemen from Baltimore
, who paid $80,000 for a tract of land, and the other was to the ‘"Little Kanawha Burning Spring Petroleum Company,"’ who, with a capital stock of $100,000, are about to commence operations.
These sales, averaging between fifteen hundred and two thousand dollars per acre, are of land which one year ago could have been bought for less than the hundredth part of their present price.
Astonishing as this may seem, it is yet deemed the greatest bargain ever sold in this country, as, should the land continue to yield oil, even in moderate quantities, the rents alone for one year would be worth much more than the purchase money.
The actual value of the land can hardly be computed.
well, for instance, which yielded five thousand dollars' worth of barrelled oil in ten hours, and would pour out, if unobstructed, over a thousand dollars worth of pure oil in an hour — who can compute its value?
The same paper, in an interesting article on the discovery of the oil wells, says:
There can be no doubt of the fact that the Petroleum or Carbon oil region of the Little Kanawha and its tributaries, far surpass in extent and productiveness those of any other section of the United States
yet explored.--While the work of development of this region is but just commenced, the few wells completed, but six in number, already give a larger yield of oil than the hundreds which have been sunk in Pennsylvania
; and will probably never be surpassed except by other wells in the same neighborhood.
The presence of Petroleum oil in this region has been known for years.
A deposit of it, found on Hughes' River
, a few feet below the surface, in a vein of sand, has for years furnished the main ingredient of powerful liniments.
It has also been found coming out of clefts in the rocks on almost every tributary of the Little Kanawha, and especially in the neighborhood of Burning Spring
, on this river, (owned by the Rathbones,) has been gathered in considerable quantities from off the surface of the water.
The Burning Springs
, which abound, proceeding from stores of gas, sufficient, perhaps; to light the world, have been viewed mainly as curiosities, and the oil considered, until within the past few months, almost a nuisance, from its continual presence in the water, rendering it unpalatable, and to some extent unfit for domestic use.
The first oil well in this region was opened by a firm from Pennsylvania
These gentlemen, surmising from the appearance of the country, the great quantity of surface oil and gas, and other infallible signs, that a large amount of oil lay imbedded below, leased the old Rathbone Salt Well, cleaned it out, put in a pump, and commenced operations.
For days they obtained only water.
Soon oil mingled with water made its appearance.
After a few weeks a barrel of oil per day was obtained, then two, three, and finally ten barrels per day. Their well yielded about this quantity for some time, but latterly has increased until it now gives from twenty-five to thirty barrels every twenty-four hours, and is still on the increase.
On another farm a well was bored, and, upon putting in the pump, and getting fairly to work, it was found to yield from two hundred and fifty to three hundred barrels
of oil in twenty- four hours.
This immense product, far surpassing that of any other well in existence, was soon noised abroad by means of a notice in these columns, which was copied into other papers, and attracted to the spot numbers from a distance.
Leases were shortly in demand, which have steadily and rapidly increased, not withstanding the corresponding increase in terms, until now a perfect oil mania rages, and oil privileges cannot be ‘"signed, sealed and delivered"’ fast enough to satisfy those desiring them.
also have a well from which the yield is perfectly tremendous.
A hole eight or ten feet square was dug in the ground around the mouth of the well, and into it the oil was allowed to flow from the conductor, which it did without spouting, and in a quiet, orderly way. Boards were placed over this pit, and as many barrels as could be conveniently made room for set on them.--Fifteen hands were then employed, some in taking out and replacing bungs, others in placing and removing barrels, while five men were busily engaged in dipping up the pure fluid in buckets and pouring it through large box funnels into the barrels.
In this way four hundred barrels were filled in ten hours.
During this period the well was stopped up half the time, in consequence of the inability of the hands to secure the oil as fast as it flowed, and even when running, a large iron plunger, two inches in diameter, was kept in the well.
Had this been taken out, the yield of oil from this single well must have been full a hundred barrels an hour.
Incredible as these statements must appear, they are nothing but facts.
Other wells will probably be finished, and pumping in a few days, which give full assurance of yielding fully as much as those described above.
Nor is the oil region confined to the immediate vicinity referred to. On Hughest River, and on every creek and run in the whole valley of the Little Kanawha, there is an abundance of oil. In the vicinity of Parkersburg
, also, and on the creeks above, and below, emptying into the Ohio
, oil is found.