STANDARD OIL AND WALL STREET
IN 1859, ten years after the discovery of gold in California, another epoch-making discovery was made, this time in Pennsylvania. An enterprising prospector in Venango County drilled a well and produced a flow of petroleum, which was already known to have great commercial value. It was almost like finding liquid gold, for the stuff brought twenty dollars a barrel and it flowed at the rate of twenty-five barrels a day. In a few months' time the narrow valley in northwestern Pennsylvania where the discovery was made swarmed with madmen tearing open the ground in the frenzy of competition that characterizes all new mining districts. So far as was known, the petroleum might soon dry up and every one was hurrying to "strike oil" before it should be gone.
About this time a young commission merchant in Cleveland, Ohio, named John D. Rockefeller,