Daily Almanac for Sunday, August 27, 2023

By Zola Elder

On this date in 1859, Edwin L Drake drilled the first oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, the beginning of the commercial development of the American petroleum industry. Here is Edwin Drake, a 19th century illustration of himself. By Unknown author – Ohio Department for Natural Resources, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org


Edwin Laurentine Drake (March 29, 1819 – November 9, 1880), also known as Colonel Drake, was an American businessman and the first American to successfully drill for oil.


Seneca Oil

While petroleum oil was known prior to this, there was no appreciable market for it. Samuel Martin Kier is credited with founding the first American oil refinery in Pittsburgh. He was the first person in the United States to refine crude oil into kerosene. Along with a new lamp to burn Kier’s product, a new market to replace whale oil as a lamp oil began to develop.

Seneca Oil Company, originally called the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company, was founded by George Bissell and Jonathan Eveleth. They created the company after hearing of reports that petroleum collected from an oil spring in Titusville, Pennsylvania was suitable for use as lamp fuel. Until this time, the primary lamp fuel had been whale oil. Bissell found that the “rock oil” would be a practical alternative if a method could be devised to extract the oil from the ground. Interest in the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company was initially low until a report commissioned by Bissell and Eveleth showed that there was significant economic value in petroleum. Due to a disagreement between the shareholders and the pair, the company was split and Seneca Oil was formed in 1858. Before being offered a job by Bissell and Eveleth, Drake bought stock in Seneca Oil. But his job opportunity with the company arose because both parties were staying in the same hotel in Titusville. He was hired on a salary of $1,000 a year to investigate the oil seeps on land owned by Seneca Oil.

Drake was hired by the Seneca Oil Company to investigate suspected oil deposits in Titusville, Pennsylvania. James Townsend, President of the Seneca Oil Company, sent Drake to the site in the spring of 1858. The oil company chose the retired railway man partly because he had free use of the rail. Drake had no military experience, but Townsend gave him the title of “Colonel” in order to impress the local townspeople.


The 36th president of the United States was born on this day in 1908, in Texas. He became president on November 22, 1963, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. On his watch, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the nation began its War on Poverty, the Department of Housing and Urban Development was created, and U.S. involvement in Vietnam expanded. In response to a public outcry after he was photographed lifting his dog by the ears, the crusty president said, My mother used to pull my ears, and it never did get that much attention.” In Texas, “Lyndon Baines Johnson Day” is an annual state holiday and a day off for the general population with schools and most businesses closed.”

Question of the Day

What is a brown dwarf?

A brown dwarf is like a star, only it is so small that it can’t quite work up the energy to shine as stars do. Brown dwarfs are at the lower end of the stellar family and are somewhere between the faint hydrogen-burning stars and the giant planets such as Jupiter. Stars vary considerably in size depending on where they were formed. Most are just a little smaller than our Sun, although some can be enormous. There is a limit, however, to how small a star can be in order to achieve the nuclear fusion that drives all stars. If a star is smaller than the minimum, it will glow dull red, a color that comes from its pressurized gases. This is how the brown dwarf was named. Because brown dwarfs are so small and dim, they have only recently been detected by astronomers with the help of infrared telescope technology.

Advice of the Day

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. — Mother Teresa

Home Hint of the Day

To get rid of skunks, put pieces of a solid laxative, such as Ex-Lax, where the skunks can find them. They will eat the laxative and leave. They won’t come back.

Word of the Day

Stratocumulus cloud

Rounded cloud mass that forms on top of a layer.

Puzzle of the Day

The Granite State.(Name the U.S. state!)

New Hampshire


  • Tomas Luis de Victoria (composer) – 
  • Gracie Allen (actress & comedienne) – 
  • Brian Epstein (manager of The Beatles) – 
  • Margaret Bourke-White (American photographer) – 
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan (blues musician) – 


  • Giuseppe Peano (mathematician) – 
  • Theodore Dreiser (author) – 
  • Carl Bosch (chemist) – 
  • Katharine McCormick (women’s rights activist) – 
  • Lyndon B. Johnson (36th U.S. president) – 
  • Lester Young (jazz musician) – 
  • Tom Ford (fashion designer) – 
  • Chandra Wilson (actress) – 
  • Sarah Chalke (actress) – 
  • Aaron Paul (actor) – 
  • Alexa Vega (actress who starred as Carmen Cortez in the Spy Kids movie series) – 


  • The first English theatrical performance in the American colonies was held– 
  • Town of York in Upper Canada founded (renamed Toronto in 1834)– 
  • Edwin L Drake drilled the first oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, the beginning of the commercial development of the American petroleum industry– 
  • Charles Gerard Conn received a patent for an all metal clarinet– 
  • First autogiro loop-the-loop performed in public, in Cleveland, Ohio– 
  • Largest trade at the time in NBA history, 11 players, 3 teams– 


  • Sea Islands Hurricane hit near Savannah, Georgia– 
  • The temperature in Buffalo, New York, reached 99 degrees F– 
  • Hurricane Cleo battered southern Florida– 
  • Thunderstorms in North Dakota dropped 6 inches of rain on the town of Linton in 1 hour– 

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