In the waning days of the Civil War, the editor of the Elk County Advocate offered this optimistic outlook.

“So long a backwoods wildcat county, it is only now that the inexhaustible treasures of Elk are being developed. Her magnificent forests, it is true, have for years been a source of immense profit to her hardy sons and long will be. But there are other interests of which the many-eyed Goddess speaks through her sounding trumpet, and for once we see her usurping the place of Truth. Already inexhaustible veins of the richest coal have been opened and every train leaving our county is freighted with the riches of her hills. Land is being purchased with a view of further mining daily: and we have yet to see one person dissatisfied with his bargain. The company operating at St. Marys ship monthly over 20,000 tons East. The company using the Shawmut & Ridgway RR are not behind, while the Little Toby basin, not yet fully developed, if not the riches in the state, it at least has but very few superiors. Tanneries also are being built throughout the county, the inexhaustible forests of hemlock being a great inducement. Iron of a quality superior probably to any in the adjoining counties exists in great quantities and a monster forge near St. Marys is about being erected.

Further, we have every good reason to say confidently that oil exists in and awaits only the sinking of the well to be procured. Companies composed of parties successful in Venango have confidently invested in lands in this county. The Messenger tract having been recently sold for $50,000 and the Elliott tract for $54,000. These are in Spring Creek township, on the Clarion, on which stream oil has been found some 20 miles below this place. The well at Ridgway is at the depth of 235 feet; that at St. Marys, 200 feet. We understand the company operating at the latter well struck a vein of salt water. A well is also going down in Benzinger township some six miles from St. Marys. The operator at this well has been sinking wells in Venango for some two years and in a late conversation we had with him informed us that he has all confidence in the full success of his present operation. Parties desirous of “reaping where they sowed,” will find in Elk their expectations realized.” Elk County Advocate, 4 February 1865