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November 9, 1880

On the Pipeline – 136 Years Ago: Edwin “Colonel” Drake died

Pioneering oilman Edwin “Colonel” Drake died. Drake famously drilled the first commercial oil near Titusville, Pennsylvania on August 27, 1859.  It wasn’t long after Drake struck the black gold that the oil rush began in Pennsylvania. “Within a few years the oil refining business would attract John D. Rockefeller, a careful businessman who would use crafty tactics to build one of America’s great industrial fortunes. Drake was not so lucky. Townsend’s company fired him, and he lost his money on Wall Street. He never patented his drilling method. Years later, the oil barons who owed their wealth to Drake offered him financial support. And in 1873, Pennsylvania voted an annuity of $1,500 to the “crazy” man whose determination founded an industry.”

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