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Sistersville oil review. [volume] : (Sistersville, W. Va.) 1896-1901
Alternative Titles:
  • Sistersville weekly oil review
Place of publication:
Sistersville, W. Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Sistersville, Tyler, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.H. McCoy
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1896?
  • Ceased in 1901?
  • English
  • Sistersville (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • West Virginia--Sistersville.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01258982
  • "Formerly Tyler Democrat."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Continues the numbering of: Tyler democrat.
  • Description based on: Vol. 14, no. 2 (Jan. 12, 1898).
  • Issued also in a daily edition entitled: West Virginia daily oil review.
sn 86092351
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Sistersville oil review. [volume] January 12, 1898 , Image 1


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West Virginia Daily Oil Review, Sistersville Oil Review, and Weekly Oil Review

In 1888, Sistersville was a small West Virginia community nestled along the Ohio River in Tyler County. Yet within a decade, the discovery of oil in the region transformed Sistersville from a town of six hundred into a bustling, industrial boomtown of nearly seven thousand. As the population swelled, local newspapers likewise scrambled to accommodate the shifting demographics of their local patrons.

Prior to the oil boom, the major paper in the region was the Tyler Democrat, founded by brothers John and George McCoy. As the editors themselves noted in 1902 Daily Oil Review supplement entitled Sistersville, West Virginia, they possessed "no experience in the business, no money and but little patronage" at the onset. Through sheer determination, the brothers "hung on like grim death" and kept their humble paper afloat. The sudden arrival of the oil industry and a growing local population, however, boded well for the brothers, and in 1895 they launched a new daily newspaper, the West Virginia Daily Oil Review. John McCoy oversaw the paper and its various iterations over the next decade, capitalizing on the oil industry to sustain and grow his printing enterprise.

As its name suggests, the West Virginia Daily Oil Review catered especially to patrons within the oil industry. The rise and fall of oil prices, the oil well and drilling news, prospects for new fields, and more kept readers abreast of the latest industry news. The paper also offered the usual slate of local and national news, international affairs (including coverage of the Spanish-American War), community gossip, and a bevy of advertisements from local merchants. Corresponding to Sistersville's growing population, the newspaper likewise developed in size, expanding from four to eight pages and employing two dozen men and women in its Sistersville offices. The Review also boasted a state of the art printing press, which they proudly declared "the fastest press in the world." Multiple iterations of the paper soon appeared, including concurrent weekly versions labeled the Sistersville Oil Review and Weekly Oil Review. In 1902, the West Virginia Oil Review was renamed the Sistersville Daily Oil Review.

Although the Review's expansion, multiple iterations, and busy offices suggested a good measure of success, the paper's fate was indelibly linked to the Sistersville oil industry, and the oil boom receded nearly as quickly as it began. By the mid-1900s and 1910s, the oil industry subsided, Sistersville's population shrank, and the various iterations of the paper ceased publication; the last holdout apparently being the Weekly Oil Review, which closed in 1911. Like the West Virginia Walking Beam and the Vocano Lubricator of Wood County just to the north, the West Virginia Daily Oil Review and its many variants shed light on western West Virginia's once-prosperous oil history.

Provided by: West Virginia University