By Gary May
A hard-luck Yankee fortune seeker. A Hamilton wagon maker hoping to promote autos to the recent railways. A howling swamp so remoted and foul that pioneer farmers had advised it a large omit. An not likely trio certainly. And but those 3 probably unconnected components got here jointly at simply definitely the right second in time, to create one of many nice yet little recognized tales of Canada's early years. challenging Oiler! is the tale of the way oil was once found close to Sarnia, Ontario, 100 and 40 years in the past, and the way the next exploitation of that oil gave delivery to what's arguably the world's most crucial this day. This nice Canadian milestone might be traced again to the summer season of 1858 whilst James Miller Williams struck oil in Lambton County, in Southwestern Ontario. quickly thereafter Williams dug the 1st advertisement oil good in North the US - if now not the realm - and commenced refining and advertising and marketing his product as desktop lubricant and lights oil. This trigger a sequence of occasions that ended in the institution of an on which our very lifestyles this day is so seriously based. not easy Oiler! strains those occasions together with the gold rush-like frenzy that observed the in a single day upward thrust and decline of the frontier city of Oil Springs, and the construction of the even more everlasting group of Petrolia, which nonetheless flashes its Victorian appeal to at the present time. It additionally remembers the unique adventures of Lambton oil drillers as they travelled the globe beginning up oil fields from Java to the Ukraine, and from the US to Venezuela and the center East.
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Extra resources for Hard Oiler!: The Story of Canadians' Quest for Oil at Home and Abroad
In the aftermath of the huge new discoveries, hotels and boarding houses were slapped up, stores and suppliers of equipment for the drilling of oil thrived. And the population shot up — to 2,000 and then 4,000 by 1866. Quickly erected hotels helped to accommodate the 4,000 people who rushed to Oil Springs between the first commercial exploitation of oil in 1858 and 1866 when the first boom ended. Beds were in such short supply, hotel tenants slept in shifts. Courtesy Oil Museum of Canada. Mrs. AJ.
52 James Miller Williams had already proved himself a shrewd businessman, and certainly realized his business was not growing as fast as it could be, due to the limitations of the canal. In late 1860 Williams and two other men, WE. Sanborne and Andrew Elliott, formed the Black Creek Plank Road Company and began to sell stock. 53 Jealousy and fear of competition inspired a group of businessmen in nearby Port Sarnia to form their own plank road company. The two competing companies stepped up work on felling trees and sawing the wood into planks to construct toll roads to the oil wells.
Williams was one of the most successful of Hamilton's entrepreneurs. The Williams and Cooper Carriage Factory employed forty people. In the 1850s, he and Cooper had high hopes for supplying rail cars for the quickly expanding railway business. By 1855 the Great Western Railway extended from Toronto to Niagara Falls and westward to Windsor where it was connected to the thriving American city of Detroit. Hamilton was happily situated at the join of the Niagara and Windsor lines, and the city's future looked golden.