The First Flowing Oil Well Marker. Photo submitted.

Pieces of the Past: Flowing Well

November 8, 2023

The history of anything always has twists and turns. I look at it like 4 different witnesses to a car accident, each viewing it from a different corner.

The 4 will have a different opinion about the wreck. As it is with the history of Western Pennsylvania oil. Historians say the first successful oil well was the Drake Well in 1859. Oh really? So what is the marker near Tidioute all about?

From what I have learned, Drake was the first to use a pump to bring crude to the surface. A Presbyterian minister from Tidioute is credited with “kicking down” the first “flowing oil well”. C.L. Hequembourg in 1860 was given credit for successfully creating the first flowing oil well. You can find a stone marker that a local service club spearheaded in 1941.

After Drake’s success, there was a “BLACK GOLD” rush to Northern Crawford and Southern Warren Counties. Just outside of Tidioute, speculators turned a farm from fields of corn to fields of oil wells. After nearly a year a minister lucked out. Almost like Jed Clampett C.L. Hequembourg finally heard a gurgle on Monday, Aug. 13, 1860. Perhaps there were prayers about a gusher the day before!

The gusher is the difference. It was Hequembourg who “kicked down” the first FLOWING oil Well in our County. Dive 0.2 miles south of Buckingham on Route 62 in Tidioute you’ll see a stone marker on the right that identifies the spot where it actually happened, Unlike the regular blue markers erected by the State’s official historical society, this was put in place by the Tidioute Lions club.

Indeed there were other gushers created by natural gas, but they weren’t in Warren County.

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