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Coal Oil Fortunes

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The fame of "CoalJohnny," his rnagnilicont fortune and reekless extravagante still lives, although tho hero is working on the Talewater pipe lino at two dollars and a half a day. But Mr. John Steel is not the only man who has aoquired vast wealth in the petroleum regions. Therc are many men in the cities and towns of the oil regions who have amassed princely fortunes and are solid business men. There are many others who have accumulated riches, and like "Ooal Oil Johnny," beea bereft of them by the changing fortunes of the precarious business. Capt. Vandergrift of Pittsburgh, has made seven or eight millions out of the oil industry. Marcus Hulings and Wesley Chambers of Oil City, have each accumulated thrce or four millions, and many others have piled up fortunes during years of successful business, but the present year has scen moro fortunes made in a day than ever before. Oil speculation has reached a proniinence f ar beyond a year ago. Suffering for years from au over-production, values in the prodneing regious reflohed a minimum, when the great wells of the famous Cherry Grove región began pouriog forth their floods of oil. But suddenly those great wells stopped tlowing, and production and consumption carne in close relat ion to each othor. Likc a spring pressed down by somc heavy weight and suddenly releaaed, tbe price of oil bounded upward. Speeulators who liad 'i)erienced scouts among the wells had the decrease in production foreshadowed to them, and bought largely, while prioes were betvveen 50 and 60 cents, so that when the boom came and carried prioes up to $1 25 per barrel, they rcali.ed fortunes of great magnitude. Al! this was done in the space o two months. One Oil City broker during the flrst week in September bought 4,000,000 barrels al au average price of 55 cents per barrel, and during the flrst week of November he sold this oil at an average price of $1,30, clearing the neat siim of $3,000,000 m two months, while others madeas high as $3,000,000 in the same time. Of course somc of the brokers and speculator.s lost heavily by being short whi'ii theadvanoe began, but they eoverod as rajtidly as poseible, the 000,000 barrels of oil in stock being enough to go pretty wcll around. But wfaea prieea roaohed the highést points tlic poor lambs vvere shorn of the fruits of llioir toil. The intense excitcment of the great eftbrts of the baUs, when prices wen; sent flying past ihc dollar mark, drew inte the vortex hundreds of laboring men and nicrehants wlio put up their few hundreds as margins, and bought, only to beinfprmed afew hours later that the decline in prices had swept ftway 1 hc earnings of years of savihg and toil. It was the same oíd Story of' poor fools putting their all on anothcr man's game. Of the capitalist, even if he did buy at the top, could kcc] putting up margins and wait for anothér advance, but the man who had his all investcd had to be moreilessly sold out.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat