Editorial: The local connection
What does this have to do with us? you might well ask.
Believe it or not, there may be something of value under all our mud.
It was big news in 1925 when people started to drill wells and pump water to their homes (using generators...electricity was not quite in our counties yet).
At Mathews Court House, people who put in wells discovered they had what the Mathews Journal called "gassers." Here is an excerpt from the Journal of March 5, 1925:
"If your well is 80 to 100 feet deep be careful with our matches—the thing may blow up and singe your whiskers.
"Mathews seems to be full of gassers and new ones are being reported every day.
"Pratt Twigg of Twigg Motor Co., started it. Back of his garage is a near-artesian well. Last Friday he noted some oily bubbles in the pipe and of course, lost no time trying a match on it. She went off with a bang and burned beautifully for quite a while. ...Some time later Mr. J. Eddie Callis, prominent contractor and builder, who is now living in his new and modernly equipped bungalow next to the rectory and not far from the garage, thought he would try a match of his outfit, just for fun. He opened a spigot and when the water was drained from the tank applied a match. Bang!—another beautiful gasser, with a very hot blue flame."
And so on.
Not long ago on TV we saw a homeowner who lives near the fracking fields of Pennsylvania hold up his hose, turn it on, light a match, and get his own Bang and hot blue flame.
All the excitement and speculation at Mathews Court House led to the Davis Elkins Company of West Virginia drilling a test oil well at the headwaters of Put-In Creek in 1929. They hit bedrock and abandoned the effort...all the leases neighbors had taken out hoping to get rich on petroleum expired, and the dream died.
But the new technology of fracking has forced more ancient natural fuels from the earth, and we don’t consider it beyond possibility that someone will soon look at the one-time experiment conducted locally and think it worth while to try again.