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Matamoras Minute: Oil and gas

The Stover leases were the center of oil development in the Matamoras fields. But those leases brought in numerous other oil operators who found the pay to be in quantities sufficient to maintain their presence in the area.

Oil and gas were found in all directions from town. The Pure Oil Company got its first hold in this area with the purchase of the Fisher leases that C.C. Stover had earlier built up. There were about 140 wells with 100 of those in and near Matamoras. About a dozen wells were at Scottown and Rinard Mills, Ohio. Also the Carter Oil Company had 154 wells at the same two locations along with extensive holdings in Bloomfield, Ohio. At Scottown the company erected the largest gasoline plant for miles around at a cost in excess of $250,000.

A number of independent producers also existed. These included the Idol Oil Co., Baumgard Oil Co., Hill Top Oil Co., Hi-Pressure Oil and Gas Co., Liberty Oil Co., River Gas Co., Brown Bros., Sutton Bros. & Doyle, Toole & Thomas, Thorniley, Riggs, Kiggans, McVey, Cordray Sisters and Hill.

It was common to find well derricks on properties inside Matamoras. And one other prominent well is worthy of note, the product of which was consumed. That would be the community water well at the foot of Main Street standing on the edge of the ferry landing.

This public structure is remembered as providing a refreshing respite for the quenching of thirst.

Cool and welcoming, it was witness to many conversations every single day. It is an old saying in town that those who had taken a drink would someday return to Matamoras for another. It was dug circa 1870, the walls being laid up with riprap stone.

The old wooden pump logs not only served in sweetening the water brought forth but made the memories of the old well more endearing. But in cleaning out the well in 1891, the water soaked logs struck the side walls and caved in the shaft. Never flinching in what needed done, the town dug another well in 1892 about 60 feet from the site of the old one and nearer the river.

It struck the same vein of water and the desired characteristics of the old well were present in the new.

John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.

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