Family Treasure

Pearl Dennis

Content Tools

Rt. 1, Box 175 Ellenboro, West Virginia 26346

When I got my Pattin engine from the Eureka Oil Company, it was like most that are found today. The cylinder was cracked and the bearings were all worn out. After I welded the crack in the cylinder, I poured the bearings and got it ready to run. I was unable to get it started. I took it to the Wood County Flywheelers Engine Show at Coxe's Field, near Parkersburg, West Virginia, where I knew someone would help me with it. Sam Morgan, from Coolville, Ohio, started it for me and showed me how to do it.

All the work I put into this engine was a labor of love, because my father-in-law, Pearl Dennis, pumped the well this engine was on from 1923 to 1949. The well was located on Brushy Fork in Ritchie County, West Virginia, directly across the road from the house where my wife was born, and the sound of this engine running was one of the first sounds she ever heard. When she was a little girl, she would go with her dad to watch him start this engine. Sometimes he would start the well pumping, then go start other wells on the lease and, after a certain time, her mother would go and shut the engine down.

I wish I had become interested in old engines while my father-in-law was still living, because of all the questions I would like to ask him. The more I work on these old engines, the more respect I have for the old timers who operated and maintained them with the limited tools and equipment they had.

My engine spent the first 65 years of its life pumping oil from the ground only thirty miles from where it was manufactured in Marietta, Ohio. Since it has been restored and mounted on a trailer, it now travels to the many engine shows in the area to entertain the visitors. Ruth and I enjoy going to the shows to visit with our old friends and make new ones. It is a really enjoyable hobby for both of us.

The picture of my engine, my wife Ruth and her mother, Mary Dennis, was taken at the West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival, Sistersville, West Virginia.