Many years ago - the exact time cannot now be fixed - but early in the present century, a well was drilled on the bank of the Little Kanawha river, nearly opposite the town of Elizabeth, for the purpose of obtaining salt water. The well was drilled to the depth of 200 feet or so, and petroleum oil was found. It has been claimed by those who saw the well that there was an abundance of oil in the well; in fact, so much that the person drilling the well supposed it would ruin the well for the purpose for which it was designed, and it was abandoned. The old inhabitants of the county have been known to say that this well stood full of oil, and that they frequently drew it out by lowering bottles tied to strings, and used the oil for medicinal purposes; that so wonderful was the effect of the oil as a medicine, that people came miles to obtain it. All trace of this well has been lost, and none are living to-day who can locate it. In the year 1861-2 an effort was made to find it, and large quantities of earth and debris were removed from its supposed location, but without success. Years afterward (the writer cannot fix the time), probably in the decade of forty (40), oil was found on the banks of Hughs river, near what is now known as the "California Home." It was found in beds of sand, and was then called sand oil. It was found by digging holes or pits from three to five feet deep. Digging through the surface a vein of sand would be found, which contained water and oil; the water would rise in the holes or pits, and the oil settled on top of the water. The manner in which the oil was gathered or secured at this place was to take a woolen blanket and spread it on the surface of the pool, and when it became saturated with the oil, take it up and wring the oil out of it into barrels. This of course was a slow process, and not many barrels could be obtained annually, as the work could only be done in warm weather. Such oil as was gathered, however, brought wonderful prices, for it was sold as a medicine. Mr. B. W. Creel was the gentleman that managed the enterprise. Subsequently, and early in the decade of fifty, Amos H. Gay commenced boring a well for the purpose of obtaining salt water near the mouth of Burning Springs run. Upon this run, and within about one half mile from its month, was located a natural burning spring. Mr. Gay bored the well to a depth of about 250 feet, and he found petroleum oil (name of it was then unknown) in such quantities that he also abandoned further work, and the well was left standing. It remained so for many years, and was regarded as a curiosity by the people of the vicinity, especially the peculiar smell emitted from the well at times. In the month of February, 1860, Gen. Samuel D. Karns, of Pittsburg, Pa., found his way to Burning Springs, and after making some examinations, became satisfied that a valuable oil could be obtained from the well, and on the 20th day of February, 1860, he obtained from Wm. P. & J. C. Rathburn a lease for the property known as the old "salt well," together with the engine and fixtures used in boring it. Mr. Karns returned home, and immediately sent his brother Francis Karns to take charge of the well and commence operations. He repaired the engine and fixtures, tubed the well, put up some rough buildings, and in the early spring commenced pumping "the oil." From this time the production of oil from wells in Wirt county dated. Just how much the well would produce per day at that time cannot be estimated, for their facilities were very limited in which to pursue it. Later the same well produced fifty barrels per day. Mr. Karns continued to work the well and ship the oil, the best he could until the beginning of the year 1861, before there appeared to be any attention paid to the matter worthy of note. It was then stated that all the oil he had shipped in the preceding year had been sold for fabulous prices, and soon Burning Springs became a living, seething mass of fortune hunters, and the one object seemingly was to obtain a "lease" in that vicinity (if it only contained enough ground to stand on) at any price. Fortunes were lost and made rapidly. Well after well was sunk - the average depth being about 200 feet, and nearly all of them "found the precious fluid." The whole face of the earth at Burning Springs soon became saturated with oil, and oil was everywhere and in and on everything. Many wells were sunk that would "flow" 1500 barrels per day, and a well that produced less than 20 barrels per day was regarded as too contemptible to waste time on. The number of wells bored in the vicinity of Burning Springs Springs, and on the river bank, and Burning Springs run, cannot be ascertained; but there were many hundreds, and nearly all of them were at one time paying wells. About the year 1867 a tremendous gas well was found on the run, above all other producing wells. So great was the flow of gas from the well that its proprietors, Meir, McConaughy & Co. succeeded in casing it, and they finally succeeded in utilizing the gas to the extent of supplying hundred of families with both light and fuel, besides supplying all the furnaces with fuel, of which there were many in the place. The well finally caved and tilled, so that the gas was lost, and one would hardly believe now that it was once the mighty roaring monster it was in 1867. Early in 1861 efforts were made to develop various portions of the county in the hope of finding oil in other localities, and many wells were bored promiscuously, but without success, and no oil could be found outside of the Burning Spring basin. In 1865 four venturesome young men procured a lease of a small lot of land on Robinson fork of Standing Stone, at what is now called Oil Rock, and commenced to drill a well for oil. They worked the well by hand power, using the old-fashioned "spring pole," and at a depth of about 200 feet struck an immense vein of oil, and the oil gushed forth at the rate of many hundred barrels per day, which again caused great excitement, and ere long the little basin at Oil Rock and the hillsides were full of derricks, all having in view the one object, to see who would "strike ile" first, and who would be the procurer of the "biggest well," for nothing but a "big" well was counted in those days. Very soon all the operators reached the basin, the "big well" first struck ceased to flow, and finally dried up, the presumption being that by reason of boring so many wells in such a small area a great body of water was let into the oil basin and forced the oil to disappear. How this theory is we cannot say, but we are certain of one thing -- Oil Rock very soon afterwards ceased to be paying oil territory, and it was abandoned. About the same time in 1865 John Jennings bored a well on Parish fork of Standing Stone creek to the depth of something over 100 feet, and found oil; but it was in such small quantities - probably eight or ten barrels per day - that not much of a search was made to that point. However, several leases were taken, and several wells bored, but not more than three small- producing wells ever existed on Parish fork, and strange to say that among that number there was one well that produced an excellent article of lubricating oil, but its yield was very small, not over two barrels per day. As a paying oil territory it was shortly abandoned. The prominent oil operators have a theory concerning the location of oil, and that is that there is what is known as the "break;" in other words, a visible line running north and south; and they claim to be able to trace this "break" from the great oil fields of Pennsylvania to this county; from this county to White Oak, in Wood county ; from thence to Horse Kick, in Pleasants county, and from thence to Duck creek in Ohio. Oil Rock and Parish fork, of this county, are said to be within the limits of this "break." So is Volcano, Hour Neck, and Duck creek. Strange to say, no oil has ever been found, upon the southern portion of this "break," after leaving Burning Springs.