1866 Oil Description of the Newhall Oil District


Stephen Farnum Peckham. Image from the Formative Years in the Far West A History of the Standard Oil Company of California and Predecessors Through 1919, By Gerald T. White, Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, 1962, facing page 17.


The following is one of the earliest description of the not-yet named Newhall Oil District which, in this paper, is called the San Fernando Mining District. It appeared in Geology, Volume II, The Coast Ranges, Appendix, Cambridge, Mass, John Wilson & Son, University Press, 1882, pp. 67-68. The title of the paper was "Examination of the Bituminous Substances Occurring in Southern California" and it was written by Stephen F. Peckham about his June 1866 trip to the area. Peckham (1839-1918) would later become a renowned chemist, professor, and an authority on petroleum.

This is the part of the paper covering Pico, DeWitt, Towsley, Wiley, and Rice canyons. Interestingly, in 1866 the only location where there wasn't a well was at Pico Springs. Of course in ten years that would all change (see Pico Canyon page).

Peckham states that the Moore Claim consisted of two canyons. These are actually the east and west tributaries of Dewitt Canyon.