James C. Wally


JAMES C. WALLY has been for years closely associated with the heavy oil and gas interests of the State, and is a man of wide business connections. Born Feb. 26, 1861, at Queenstown, in Perry township, Armstrong Co., Pa., he is a son of Thomas and Sarah Ann (Crawford) Wally, and grandson on the maternal side of William Crawford, a successful farmer, and owner of large tracts of land in Armstrong county. He was of Irish descent.

John Wally, paternal grandfather of James .C. Wally, was a farmer and one of the early settlers of Perry township. He was.of French descent, his father having come from France 'to America. He married Charlotte Truby, and the children were: William; Thomas; John L.; James M.; Catherine, wife of Boyd Miller; Polly, wife of Benjamin Eavens; Carrie wife of John Eavens; Nancy, wife of Frank George; Anna, wife of Reuben Hegerson; and Lucretia, wife of O. A. Knox. John Wally was one of the most successful farmers in his day, owner of a large tract of land.

Thomas Wally, father of James C. Wally, was in early life a farmer, but later was contractor engaged in rig building in the oil fields, being one of the pioneers in this line of business. He was closely identified with the early history of the discovery and development of oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, and actively engaged in contracting, and operating for oil and gas, from 1865, in the early days of Oil Creek, until 1900, when he retired. Both he and his wife are deserving of much credit, having reared a family of seven boys, all moral, temperate and successful business men. Mr. and Mrs. Wally were consistent members of the Methodist Church from childhood, and he is an Odd Fellow and Granger. They had children as follows: James C.; Perry L.; Alexander Mackworth; Ollie, deceased; William; Rebecca; Charlotte; Jemima, deceased; John; Jane, wife of Albert Calhoon, deceased, and Thomas O.

James C. Wally attended schools at Queenstown, and worked on the farm until nineteen years old, when he went into the oil fields and became a tool dresser, continuing thus for four years. He then became a driller, developing into a contractor for drilling, and has been unusually successful in this line of work, which he has pursued for a quarter of a century, as a contractor, and also as a producer of oil and gas. He is one of the leaders in his line in this part of the State. Since he began he has drilled over one thousand oil and gas wells, the majority of which are productive. He is the inventor and patentee of a valuable, appliance known as the Wally Splice, connecting a wire drilling cable and a Manila cable, a splice worked without a tuck, and guaranteed not to slip. This invention has been used exclusively in the deepest well drilled in the United States, this well being now 6,500 feet deep, and drilling going on yet. The splice is in great demand in every section of the country where deep drilling is required, and the first and only successful way to drill with a wire cable was due to this invention, in all fields where oil and gas wells are to be found. Mr. Wally is a stockholder and promoter of the Fort Pitt Powder Company, in Armstrong county, Pa., a stockholder in the Armstrong County Trust Company, the Kittanning National Bank, and a stockholder and director in the Kittanning brewery. He is a director of the Armstrong County General Hospital and a life member of the corporation. At present he is a member of the Kittanning Council.

On Oct. 6, 1886, Mr. Wally was married to Cora Steel, daughter of Jacob Steel, of Queenstown, who was for a number of years a superintendent for the Brady's Bend iron works; when this shut down he started in the oil business. Nine children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Wally: Earl, Pearl, Wesley, Hannah, Carrie, Charlotte, Eva, Beulah and William T. Mr. Wally is a member of the, B. P. O. Elks, the Odd Fellows and the Maccabees. He and his wife belong to the Methodist Church, and are earnest workers in that organization.

Source: Page 431, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Vaughn Davis for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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