Bissell, George Henry

Bissell, George Henry

(1821–84) oilman; born in Hanover, N.H. After graduating from Dartmouth, he settled in New Orleans (1864), working as a journalist and school administrator while studying law at Jefferson College. Ill health forced a return north and he was admitted to the New York bar in 1853. In 1854, after seeing samples of petroleum from Oil Creek, Pa., he and his law partner, J. G. Eveleth, formed the first oil company in the U.S.A., the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Co. A pioneer in boring for oil with the technique used for artesian wells—with "Colonel" Edward Drake supervising the work on site—he became wealthy from his investments in oil-rich lands and spent his later years promoting the use of petroleum.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.