Ontario Visual Heritage Project


Simcoe's Plan

War of 1812


Baldoon Mystery

A Place of Refuge


Elgin Settlement

Talbot Road

Bothwell's Boom

Civil War


Boom, Bust and Bothwell

In 1792 Governor Simcoe discovered oil in Chatham-Kent. When John Lick hit a well in Bothwell in the 1850's, wildcatters came from all over to capitalize on the oil. This started the boom of Bothwell.

The town grew up very quickly.  The wooden buildings were erected so fast that within 2 years Bothwell became the largest town center outside of Toronto.

From boom to bust; after the American Civil War the price of oil dropped, and in 1860 the hastily constructed town was ravaged by fire. To top it all off was the threat of Fenian raids, which essentially quashed the growth of the city, leaving the wildcatters to move on to Oil Springs or Petrolia.


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Length: 8 minutes
Page 10: Bothwell's Boom