John Henry Fairbank
Surveying for the Grand Trunk Railway through Lambton County, Fairbank was contracted in 1858 to survey a local property and decided to buy one himself.
In 1862 Fairbank dug a successful oil well on land in Enniskillen, Ontario Township that he bought from James Miller Williams for ten dollars. Still operating today, Fairbank Oil Properties Ltd. is the oldest oil company in the world and the original property is included in the First Commercial Oil Field National Historic Site of Canada.
After his successful discovery in 1862 Fairbank invented the Jerker-line pumping system, allowing as many as ninety wells to operate off a single steam boiler. This system was so successful that it was spread to Pennsylvania and then worldwide. 
In 1865, Benjamin Van Tuyl and Fairbank together opened a liquor and grocery store which became known as Van Tuyl and Fairbank Hardware. The next year he organized the local producers to build a railway spur, connecting their wells to outside markets via Wyoming, Ontario.
In 1873, Fairbank formed the Home Oil Company with James Williams and was its president. Home built and operated a local refinery until 1881.
He continued to expand his oil business, becoming the largest producer in Canada by 1880. Ultimately, Standard Oil's affiliate, the Bushnell Company acquired ownership of Fairbank, Rogers and Company in 1896.
Fairbank was three times elected as a reeve in Petrolia from 1868-1870, then was appointed as Fire Chief. He was elected as a federal Liberal opposition Member of Parliament in 1882, sitting in the 5th Canadian Parliament.
- Collections Canada
- http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=1148&pid=8779&h=Oil,Springs Canada's Historic Places - First Commercial Oil Field National Historic Site of Canada
- Oil History in Canada
- Black Gold:Fairbanks Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine.
- Descriptive records - National Archives of Canada
- Petrolia, Canada's Victorian Oil Town
- Hugh Grant and Henry Thille, How Standard Oil Came to Canada: The Monopolization of Canadian Petroleum Refining, 1886–1898 Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine. (July 2004)
- Oil Springs history site - note the New York Times scans
- Oil Museum of Canada - John Henry Fairbank profile