Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mysterious Ancient Oil Pits of Titusville, Pennsylavania

Mysterious Oil Pits of Titusville, Pennsylavania

"Pennsylvania Sweet Crude", a golden olive colored oil was extracted from the oil pits. 

History of Venango County, Pennsylvania 1890

Again, the ancient oil pits reach far back of the historic period. They 
are found on Oil creek. These pits are very numerous and bear the mark 
of antiquity. They are generally oblong in form, about four by six feet, and 
from four to six feet in depth, notwithstanding the wear and tear of centuries 
and the accumulation of extraneous matter. The deeper and larger ones have 
been cribbed with timber at the sides to preserve their form. This crib- 
bing was roughly done; the logs were split in halves, stripped of their bark, 
and safely adjusted at the corners. The walls seem to have been so thou- 
oughly saturated with oil as to be preserved almost entire to this day. 

These pits are on the west side of Oil creek, about two miles below Titus- 
ville, and in this county. They cover perhaps five hundred acres of land, 
and there may be in all two thousand pits. In some cases large trees grow 
in the pits and on the septa that divide them, showing their antiquity. 

Not far from the mouth of Oil creek there was another ancient discovery. 
In digging the tail-race for a saw mill there was brought to light what had 
evidently been a deepshaft with its sides lined with timbers set in endwise 
that still preserved the clear outlines of the shaft. All had been buried up 
in the mud and soil that had accumulated over it and where its presence 
might have remained unknown to the end of time, had it not been disturbed 
by the movements of business and American enterprise. 

Only a few lamps have been discovered in the Ohio Valley. 5,000 pits
 would hint that some of this oil was being exported.

Again the question arises, By whom were these ancient works built? 
Certainly not by the Indians. They had no means of collecting oil on so large a scale. They never labored for any purpose, save on the hunt or the warpath. They could give no account of the work. Neither was it by the French. There is no mention of the business of collecting oil in any of their letters or journals. Besides, there is a growth of timber in these pits, and on the septa that divide them that shows that they antedate the era of the French, if not even the coming of Columbus. Pennsylvania Sweet Crude

The Allegheny river has had several names. The Shawnese Indians 
called it Palawa-Thoriki; the Delawares named it Alligawi Sipu, after a 
race of Indians which they believed had once dwelt upon the stream.
 (The Deleware legend is that the Allegewi were a race of giants)
This tribe were called Alleghans by Golden in the London edition of his work, and 
Lewis Evans, on his map published in 1755, calls the river the Alleghan. 
The Senecas called it Ho-he-u, which name the French adopted, con- 
necting it with the Ohio as the same stream.