Oil Springs was founded in the year 1865. It was originally called "Black Creek." It was changed to Oil Springs in 1858, due to the finding of oil. In the same year, Charles Oliver Fairbank was born in Niagara Falls. Also in the same year, James Miller Williams started to produce oil in the Village and refine it.
In 1860, a man by the name of Leonard Baldwin Vaughn had the first flowing well in Oil Springs. One year later, John Fairbank arrived in the village on a surveying job. He bought half of an acre of property on July 15, leased it, and then proceeded to create his first well, which he called "Old Fairbank."
On January 16, 1862, Hugh Nixon Shaw hit Canada's first oil gusher, which happened to be in Oil Springs, which was one of the 33 "flowing wells." In the same year, on April 23, Oil Springs published it's first newspaper, called the Oil Springs Chronicle. Charles Oliver, age 4, and Mary Oliver Fairbank, 75, arrived in Oil Springs to live with John. John was sued four times in the year for debt, and in the same year, he recorded his best payday yet, which was $150 from his well "Old Fairbank." In 1865, a 108 bedroom hotel was constructed in Oil Springs, but was never opened. One year later, on Christmas day, Petrolia was incorporated as a town. The next year, two of the Fairbank children died at young ages. Also, the "little red bank" opened.
In 1882, a pipeline for oil was built from Oil Springs to Petrolia by the company Petrolia Crude and Tanking Company. One year later, another pipe line was built from Oil Springs to Petrolia, but this time it was built by Crown Warehouse Company. In 1889, the Fairbank mansion construction began.
During the 1930's, a fire destroyed all of the original oil rigs on the William's property in Oil Springs.
On Febuary 10th, 1914, John Henry Fairbank died at the age of 83. One month later, a gas gusher was found in Oil Springs, and was deemed the biggest gusher in Canada. In 1915, Fairbank Oil was valued at $40 000.