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Oil Creek….the Beginning

Oil Creek… the Beginning: A History and Guide to the Early Oil Industry in Pennsylvania

Neil J. McElwee

Approximate Time: As needed (Typically 45 minutes/90 minutes)

A historical examination of the first decades of the American oil industry, Oil Creek the Beginning takes you to Venango County, Pennsylvania in the 1860’s and 1870’s where the world’s oil industry was formed. This presentation reveals the true pioneers of the world’s early oil industry, their struggles and failures, their tragedies and ultimate triumph. The commercial development of the petroleum industry reached a self-sustaining critical mass as a direct result of Edwin Drake’s drilling for petroleum south of Titusville on Oil Creek. The risk, the technical invention, the physical endurance, the courage in the face of fire and flood and business failure, the management skill, the capital, all that was necessary to create the petroleum industry was provided by others. This presentation explores early well sites and oil towns as it introduces a few of those “others” who made a major impact on the early oil industry, individuals who for the most part have been forgotten.

Neil McElwee is the author of "Oil Creek… the Beginning" and "Standard Oil Co. Men in the Early Oil Region." McElwee is former corporate manager with Columbia Natural Gas and Jones & Laughlin and an ex-naval officer. He is a small business owner in Oil City, PA where he currently resides.