Oct 20, 2010

The Legend of Coal Oil Johnny, America's Great Forgotten Parable

(the Atlantic) Surely you've heard of Coal Oil Johnny, right?
Before J.R. Ewing, or the Beverly Hillbillies, or even John D. Rockefeller, there was Coal Oil Johnny. He was the first great cautionary tale of the oil age -- and his name would resound in popular culture for more than half a century after he made and lost his fortune in the 1860s.
A penniless orphan growing up, it was said Coal Oil Johnny once spent $100,000 in a day. Continued