My Granddad Eb and Uncle Pete are long gone but they are what began my love for
engines and the reason I now have Russell No. 6. I know they are looking down and smiling at the working oil well that
was reconstructed as a living memory to my family and to a part of the history throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley. Four
generations of my family pumped the lease, which was once owned and operated by Reno Oil Co., Sisterville, WV. It is
the last one started by my Granddad Eb, my Uncle Pete, and my father.
This well was drilled and equipment bought by the Reno Oil Company in 1915.
The engine is a 15 horse power Joseph Reid gas engine manufactured about the same era in Oil City, PA.
After a lot of thought and discussion with my father, we decided that I should
buy and restore this particular standard rig. Because we knew it had been operated by four generations of
my family and had always been sitting on my home place.
It was still in operation until 1995. I was able to purchase the engine from the
well's owner, which resided in California, shortly after 1995 when the company working the lease retired the engine.
So then the work began. I began dismantling the standard rig.
I then took the pieces to my home and started the process of putting two lowboy trailers together by welding an extension
in between to have enough length to carry the well. On the trailer is the 15 HP Reid Gas Engine made in Oil City, PA,
and a 10 foot diamter band wheel with a center shaft made by Parkersburg Rig & Reel. I pull the 56 foot living history
with a rig from my dozer business making the total length 70 feet long.
It took eight months to complete this with help from family and friends - all done
in my spare time. It is 95% original. All I had to replace were a couple of the boards. We just took it
off the old home place and reassembled it on a trailer.
The work is in full detail from the original wooden cooling tank to the b.s. on
the wellhead. Those in the industry now exactly what the b.s. is. For the uninitiated, b.s. is paraffin wax that
forms on the wellhead during pumping.
My Granddad was a well pumper and my Uncle was field foreman and roustabout.
This engine pumped five wells.
My Great Granddad was a blacksmith. He lived nearby the lease and did a lot
of work for the company. Many of the metal nuts, bolts and eyelets were hand-forged and fitted just for this well by
him. My Uncle Pete whittled wooden items needed at the well site such as wooden plugs for the engine, cooling tank, and
I am fortunate to have many of the items that was used on this well. I have
the drilling and production records for this well. I have the last glass jug of oil that Granddad took to the engine
and his lunch bucket sits on the "lazy bench". A pair of gloves lie on a rack above the chimney for warming and
drying just like Granddad did it. The pair of bib overalls that I am wearing in these pictures were worn by my grandfather.
This is the only time that I wear them because they are getting very frail.
A gentleman by the name of Creed Cowan was killed with this engine when he became entangled
in the clutch during the drepression of 1930. At the time of his accident, Mr Cowan was living in the house that my
mom and dad took up housekeeping in and are still living in today.
Russell No. 6 is now owned, been restored and is proudly displayed by Johnnie L.
Boston. It is dedicated to the memory of my:
Granddad "Eb" Layfield
Uncle Pete Layfield
My Dad John Boston
Thanks for the Knowledge
Thanks for the Memories