WorldWide Drilling Resource

31 OCTOBER 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® The Legend of Devil’s Jump Adapted from Information by the National Park Service In the early 1800s, five Beaty brothers went to Lick Creek Valley in southern Kentucky. These brothers were Alexander, Andrew, James, Martin, and William. All were born in Pennsylvania and migrated from East Tennessee and Virginia to this area of Kentucky, which is now a part of McCreary County. Each brother was interested in acquiring land, and they did so in vast amounts. Martin seemed to obtain the most acreage, with one tract containing 123,000 acres. He drilled salt wells and refined brine into salt - a valuable product for early settlers at the time. He leased land for this purpose, and paid the state a royalty in salt similar to methods today when gas and oil are sold from wells. Martin began drilling a new well near the mouth of Bear Creek around 1819, hoping to bring in more salt water. Using a footpowered drill, he and his crew drilled deeper and deeper searching for salt brine. Eventually, they drilled so deep they became concerned about the depth of the well, fearing they might actually drill into hell. Finally, they struck something, but instead of salt brine coming out of the ground a black, smelly, sticky liquid came oozing out of the pipe. They had struck oil, in what some say was the first known oil well in United States. These explorers did not know what oil was, and since they were of a religious nature, they were disturbed about the new-found product. When they saw how this substance burned, they were convinced Martin had drilled into hell. They called the oil “devil’s tar.” Martin and his crew collected samples of the unknown product and designated one of the men to go down the river on a raft to find out what it was, and to see what use it could be. The raftsman was apprehensive about the journey. He feared the devil would take an evil attitude because they had removed part of hell. When the raftsman reached the worst part of the rapids, the raft overturned spilling the oil into the water. When he returned back to the crew, however, he told a slightly different story. According to him, all went well on his trip until he reached the rapids where the river flowed swiftly between large rocks. There, the devil himself jumped from one of the large rocks onto the raft, sank the raft, and grabbed his property. When last seen, the devil was headed up the west side of the river along a small creek with a cast of his property under each arm. The rapid has been called Devil’s Jump ever since. According to legend, the devil leapt from these rocks onto a raft. Log raft on the Big South Fork River. G&O