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Pioneer Oil Museum Wall of Fame

O.P. Taylor – (1838-1883) Orville (O.P.) Taylor, the “Father of the Allegany Oil Field,” was born in Campbell County, Virginia. While a young man, he worked in Brazil in South America supervising construction of a railroad. He enlisted in the Civil War in a Confederate regiment and was later wounded in battle. After the war he married a woman from Canaseraga in Allegany County and moved to Wellsville, eventually working in a cigar manufacturing business. O.P. became interested in the “oil craze” which was just beginning to hit the area. He became a stockholder in the Wellsville and Alma Oil Company. He formed a partnership with Riley Allen and became involved with first oil wells in Allentown and Richburg. He drilled several wells in the Alma area, all of which were unsuccessful, but on June 12, 1879, he hit Triangle #1, his first commercial well. Due to a lack of funds, his wife sold her rings and jewelry to provide the finances to drill this first successful well. O.P. became interested in government and was elected president (mayor) of the village of Wellsville. Later he ran as the Democratic nominee for a member of the assembly. He was a member of the Freemasons in Wellsville and Olean. During World War II a Liberty Ship in his name was launched on September 3, 1943.

John D. Bradley – (1924-2016) John Bradley graduated from Bolivar Central School and later attended both RPI and Alfred University. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force in World War II which led to his life-long passion for flying. Later he worked for Bradley Producing Company, becoming superintendent in Illinois and eventually chairman of the board. John became vice-president of Bradley Resources, managing the company’s extensive land holdings in New York and Pennsylvania. He owned and operated Homestead Oil Company with leases near Bolivar and Allentown, and he managed many other oil producing properties in the Allegany field. He was director and president of the New York State Oil Producers’ Association. John served the Bolivar and Wellsville communities in a variety of ways. He was director of the State Bank of Bolivar, director and chairman of the Citizens National Bank and Trust Company of Wellsville, and president of both the Bolivar Country Club and Bolivar Free Library. Additionally, he was a member of the Macedonia Lodge 258 of Bolivar, the Wellsville Elks Club, and numerous other civic organizations. Active in local government, he was a delegate to numerous state or national Republican conventions.

Joel Putnam – (1952- 2013) Joel Putnam was a graduate of Richburg Central School as well as a graduate of Alfred State College. For over 20 years he worked for Richardson Petroleum Company, and later in life he became the owner and president of that company. For many years he was a member of the New York State Oil Producers’ Association. Joel loved the oil business which was a huge part of his life. One of his hobbies was collecting a variety of antiques, especially pocket watches. Many of his fondest memories and those of his family are the times he went camping with his children, enjoying times spent with them.

Jim O'Connor – (1922-2015) Jim O’Connor was a graduate of Olean High School and Catholic University in Washington, DC. After college he worked at Bell Aircraft in Buffalo. He worked for many years in the family oil business, the O’Connor Oil Company. He operated oil leases on Deer Creek, Salt Rising, and Streeter Brook Roads in Genesee Township, and he drilled and operated a lease in Annin Creek in McKean County, Pennsylvania. With his brother, Bill, he owned and operated the R.B. Moore Supply Co. in Bolivar from the early 1960’s – early 1970’s. Later in life he scaled back his business interests, but continued to operate the leases on Deer Creek and Streeter Brook. He was a member of Sacred Heart Oratory in Portville, the community in which he lived for most of his life. Jim was a member of the Bolivar Country Club and an avid New York Yankees fan.