Oil and Gas in Michigan Pre-1900


It wasn’t until 1925 that the Saginaw Prospecting Company, headed by James C. Graves, drilled what is considered the state’s first commercial well in Saginaw County. However, the story doesn't start there. As we near the century mark of Michigan’s commercial production of, Doug Elenbaas' presentation titled "A Promoter’s Dream! Michigan’s industry pre-1900" takes a deep drive back into the beginnings of the Michigan Oil Patch, taking a closer look at how projects were promoted and the leasing, drilling and stimulation methods of the time.  


You can be sure that news of the first successful oil well in North America at Oil Springs Ontario in 1858 and the major discovery at Oil Creek near Titusville, Pennsylvania with the Drake Well made its way to Michigan, but did you know oil was making headlines in papers across Michigan as early as the 1860's? Doug has amassed a collection of historic articles from across the state and presented his findings to a large crowd at the American Association of Professional Landmen’s (AAPL) Field Landman Seminar in Grand Rapids on October 25. Promise of big returns drove a flurry of investors in areas from Manistee to Muskegon, Allegan to Jackson and it's fascinating to see how the newspapers across the state covered the developments. Look for more in depth coverage and photos in the Michigan Oil and Gas News. 


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