22BLACK GOLD!

The East Branch of the Sydenham River borders Lambton County’s Oil Heritage zone. Oil wells can still be seen near Bothwell and Shetland - a reminder of a fascinating past and an explanation for our present.

This is how the fields around Oil Springs looked in the 1860’s; look at all those wells! Courtesy of Oil Museum of Canada .
This is how the fields around Oil Springs looked in the 1860's; look at all those wells! Courtesy of Oil Museum of Canada .
In 1851, the Geologic Survey of Canada reported the existence of gum beds in the Enniskillen township. In 1852, Charles Tripp began to extract the gum to produce asphalt. To get water for his operation, Mr. Tripp dug a well. Instead of finding water, he struck oil! Either Mr. Tripp did not appreciate his finding, or he didnít have the money to develop the site, because he sold the land to a Mr. Williams. Mr. James Miller Williams is sometimes called the father of the oil industry in North America. In 1855, he decided to start producing and refining oil.

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