Exciting times: what is that black ooze? Crude oil becomes the grease that lubricates discovery, motivation, innovation and sheer tenacity. It is in the early 1850s that Alexander Murray travels to the Enniskillen Swamp to locate the source, while news spreads to other fortune seekers. Charles Tripp accidentally discovers asphalt and later convinces James Miller Williams to dig for oil. Williams digs the first North American commercial oil well in 1858.

The oil rush begins in earnest as “Crazy” Hugh Nixon Shaw drills deeper than anyone before him, his hard work and perseverance pays off in a gusher in 1862.

Albino Turtles

Doc Stanton

The Great Storm

The Griffon


Stewart James

Group of Seven

Home Stories Timeline Map Museums Partners

The Last Frontier

Three Fires

The French



Early Sarnia

Oil Story

Oil Springs




The Rapids

St. Clair Tunnel

The Explorers

Grand Bend

World War 2


Natural Resources

Lambton Heritage Museum

Oil Museum of Canada

Petrolia Discovery

Page 7: The Discovery of Oil in Lambton County
QuickTime 7 required to view video
Length: 8 minutes