--The Clark county
(Va.) Journal contains a letter from Wirt Court-House, which gives an account of the traordinary discoveries of oil now being made in Western Virginia
He gives some instances as follows:
leased a piece of ground (two acres,) from Mr. Rathbone
, only six miles above mine, for twenty years, and at the depth of 150 feet reached a vein of oil which yields 15 barrels, of 40 gallons each, per day, worth, at the lowest price, 25 cents per gallon, and for which lease of two acres he (Mr.
K.) has been offered $70,000. This well has been in operation, without any decrease in quantity, for over three months. Mr. Rathbone
, after he saw the success of Mr. Karns
' well, sank one himself below Karns', on the river, and I was there the evening he commenced pumping first.
He commenced at 6 o'clock P. M., and pumped until 6 o'clock A. M., just twelve hours, and filled a cistern containing 130 barrels of 40 gallons each — that is to say, 5,200 gallons of pure oil, worth 25 cents per gallon.
's well still continued to pour out the same quantity of oil up to last night, but that they had to stop pumping for want of cisterns and barrels; and that Mr. Karns
told him that I had the best and surest prospect for oil next to Rathbone
's, on the river.
They have made another discovery in a hill or rather mountain on Hugh's River, a tributary of the Kanawha
, and distant from here some twelve miles. It is the discovery of oil coal.
, who owns it, told me himself (for we traveled together through this county a day, prospecting,) that the vein is 1,000 feet in thickness by actual measurement.
How wonderful are all these things, and yet how astonishing that they have not been discovered before; but you must remember that this is comparatively a new country, and that the early settlers were neither literary nor scientific men. Put this coal on a shovel and hold it over the fire until it becomes hot, and it all melts and turns to oil.
There is every prospect for a speedy improvement of this river, either by sluicing or damming, or slack water navigation, so as to introduce steamboats.
The fact is, they can not get their oil off fast enough by any other means, unless they build a railroad to unite with the Northwestern
stem, a distance of twelve miles, and that is strongly talked of.