Almost everyone has heard of Paul Bunyan, the giant logging camp boss of the Great Lakes and beyond. Paul was born up in Maine so the story goes, but soon moved west to the Lake Superior country in the hey-day of the lumbering era in that region. What most people don’t know is that Paul was involved in a lot of other business ventures too. One of them was drilling oil wells.
Paul and his crew were drilling a 12-inch-round well-hole in Schoolcraft County on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, hoping for another gusher strike. But the well went down eight, ten, twelve-thousand feet and still came up dry. Paul couldn’t understand it because the other wells in the area produced pretty nicely, but his patience with this one was gone so they pulled their gear and abandoned the well-hole.
It was about that time that Paul saw an advertisement from a rancher down in Texas who wanted several thousand fence-post holes so he could fence in his cattle and keep them from wandering into Arkansas. Paul got to thinking about that abandoned well-hole. So he got Babe, his big blue ox, and hooked one end of a big logging chain to Babe’s harness. Paul wrapped the other end of that chain around the top of the well-hole. He gave Babe a slap on the rear and she leaned into a pull. In no time at all, Babe had pulled about nine thousand feet of that well-hole right out of the ground before it broke off.
Paul had his crew cut that well-hole into four-foot sections. Since each was 12-inches across, much wider than a post hole had to be, the men quartered each of those sections into four pieces. Paul had them all loaded up onto pallets and got ahold of that Texas fella and told him to come and get them. He didn’t deliver.
So Paul sold those nine thousand fence post holes to the Texas fella for a nice profit. He’s still disappointed that he couldn’t think of some way to get the other three-thousand feet of that dry well-hole out of the ground though.