What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

The Natural Gas Boom in Jefferson County
(From 1939 Anniversary Edition Jeffersonian Democrat)

From what has been found by sources concerning the development of the oil and gas industry in Jefferson County the only ones left are the following companies: Jefferson Gas Company and Wilnack Oil Company, Oil City Fuel Supply. The Penn Oil Company may be considered the pointer of the industry. These companies have opened the first productive oil and gas area in the county. Barnett, also Eldred Township just a few miles out of Sigel. In the year 1887, a productive gas well was drilled by the Oil City Fuel Supply Company in Heath Township, on what was formerly the Clemenger Farm, and is now owned by J.B. Poter of Sigel. This well still produces gas at the present time and gathers a rock pressure of 695 pounds.

The next oldest producing gas well in the county was drilled in 1905 by the South Penn Oil Company on the Frazier Broxlands in Heath Township. Wallace and Welch were the drilling contractors. Drillers were Fred Smith and Clyde Smith. The tool dressers were James King and John Frost. The well still produces gas today, accumulating a rock pressure of 665 pounds.

The first producing oil well was drilled in the year 1905, by the Jefferson County Gas Company, on the Washington Kahle Farm in Eldred Township. The Whitten brothers were the drillers along with Del Knoblett, Sam, and Mike Whitten was foreman for the Jefferson Company at the time.

Another producing oil well was drilled in 1905 by the Winlack Oil Company in the Winlack lands in Heath Township. Harvey and Clark Crawford were the drillers of the well. Tool dressers were Paul and James Rind; Joe Cope built the rig. The oldest present producing oil well was drilled by the South Penn Oil Company during the year 1905 on the C.V. Tillotson Farms in Heath Township. This well continues to produce a little oil today. The first large volume gas well was drilled by Henry Long on the Long East lands in Eldred Township during the year 1911. The well produced 18 million cubic feet per day from what is called the Deeper Sand, a shallow well. During the early boom, it has been recalled that as many as five strings of tool with insight of one another were running at one time in the town of Sigel, (Sigel).

The first compressing station in the county was built and put in operation in the year 1907 by the Clarion Gas Company at Kiloton, in Eldred Township. This was followed later in 1920 by the construction of the U.N.G. One unusual incident in connection with early drilling operations was the Clarion River in which a large volume of fresh was found at 400 or 500 feet below ground level, along with gas. The flow of water was over the top of the derrick, during winter, caused ice to form around the derrick and broke it. Down the river all work had to be stopped temporarily.

The Jefferson Heat and Light Company was organized in 1878 by Jackson Heber, Hiram Brosius, J.B.Henderson and W.H. Gray. They spotted some gas in Knox Township at levels of 725, 920 and 1,000 feet below ground level and piped it to Brookville, serving 200 fires. The company was bought by an Oil City fuel supply company in 1889, which later became known as the United Natural Gas Company. This firm also furnished gas to the community of Brookville from a field in Elk County.

The Columbia Gas Company is still operating through a subsidiary which is the Manufacturers Light and Heating Company. They have large pumping stations at Iowa Mills. Other large gas industries that are in the county are: Pittsburgh Ovate Glass Company, Carnegie Trees Gas Company, and Phillips Gas Company.

Humphrey Brick and Tile Company developed a gas field in the Mills Creek Valley. The town of Brookville has been served with natural gas since 1898 by the United Natural Gas Company.

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