An Oil Family History: 140 Years of Black Gold
This is the story of five generations in an oil business family over the past 140 years. Those involved include my great grandfather, John McDonald, my Grandfather, Francis David McDonald, my Mother and father, Flora McDonald Stauft and Jacob Lauer Stauft, myself, David Lauer Stauft, and my brother Peter Stauft and his 2 sons, as well as my son Timothy Lauer Stauft who is currently working for a Calgary based oil company. Much of our family’s involvement in the oil business has involved Imperial Oil Ltd and its predecessor Standard Oil.
My Great Grandfather, John McDonald, first came to Petrolia in 1867. He founded a boiler works there and also built a refinery under the name of the National Oil Works, which he sold to Standard Oil in 1898. His son Frank operated an oil producing property he acquired from his father. He sold his oil to Imperial Oil Ltd. and as a child I remember helping him with this process. Frank’s daughter, my mother Flora, was a school teacher who went to Peru in South America in 1922 to teach in a school operated by International Petroleum, a subsidiary of Imperial. There she met and married Jacob L. Stauft, a petroleum engineer working for the company. He was killed in a well completion accident in1934. She returned to Petrolia to raise their 3 children including myself. My brother Peter and myself both became geologists and worked for Imperial Oil. My son Timothy and both of Peter’s sons have also worked in the oil business. The careers of the various family members have included all aspects of the business from exploration and production to refining, marketing, and administration. Crude oil, or Black Gold and its changing place in our world ties it all together.