In 1818, Marcus Huling and Andrew Zimmerman were drilling salt wells along South Fork of Cumberland River. On land leased from Martin Beaty they struck oil. Attempts to market it downriver were not successful, so oil was barreled and carted away for medicinal use. This was the first commercial oil well; its production reached one hundred barrels daily.
This was in Wayne County Kentucky at the time but is located in McCreary County today. McCreary County was formed on March 12, 1912 and it consists of parts of Wayne, Pulaski, and Whitley Counties.