R.O. Farrell, H.M. Cassidy and B.F. Brubaker incorporated Barrington Oil Company on July 15, 1921, with offices at 1404 Harris Trust building in Chicago and capitalized at $100,000. Their company found oil and legal trouble in Kansas.

An October 1915 discovery east of Wichita had revealed the El Dorado oilfield – the first found using the new science of petroleum geology. The well launched a Kansas oil boom. More Mid-Continent oil and natural gas discovery wells encouraged companies to search east toward Eueka just 30 miles away.

Barrington Oil acquired mineral leases on 10,293 acres, mostly near the proven production of the Sallyards, Virgil and Rosalia oilfields. In June 1922 the Burkett-Seely oilfield was discovered in Greenwood County, about 15 miles north of Eureka.

By September Barrington Oil had arrived and completed its first well on the Burkett farm. All of the company’s drilling would be in Section 24, Township T23 South, Range R10 East, in Greenwood County. The first well’s initial production was about 250 barrels of oil a day. Oil was selling for $1.60 a barrel.

Barrington Oil Company

Based in Chicago, Barrington Oil Company drilled wells near proven Mid-Continent oilfields in Greenwood County, Kansas, in the 1920s. Map detail of northern Greenwood County courtesy Kansas Geological Survey.

Trade publications reported the company’s progress as it drilled two more wells near the same Greenwood County site, sometimes wrongly identifying the wells as Birkitt rather than Burkett. The company’s second well produced 150 barrels of oil a day from 2,120 feet after being “shot” with nitroglycerin. These successful wells enabled further drilling (unlike many under-capitalized ventures that failed after a single dry hole).

The company’s third well ran into trouble and reportedly was “fishing” downhole at 2,030 feet deep. Nonetheless, Poor’s Cumulative Service noted the company declared regular monthly dividend of one percent and an extra dividend of five percent, both payable March 15, 1922. Shares traded at $3 on the Over the Counter Market.

As Barrington Oil continued to pay its shareholders a monthly one percent dividend, in December 1922 its Burkett No. 4 was completed at 2,201 feet producing 300 barrels of oil a day. The company’s fifth well also was a producer. Three more good wells followed. By June 1924 company stock sold for $7.75 per share. The future looked bright.

According to the Oil Trade Journal, in 1926 Barrington Oil announced it would build large distributing plants at Oklahoma City and Kansas City after adding new directors Morris Jepson, J.O. Brown, and C.J. Farwell. Then a dispute arose over the company’s Burkett lease, bringing litigation that would last until 1930. It ultimately would have to be decided by the U.S. Board of Tax Appeals. But things got far worse before the lawyers were finished.

As reported by the DeKalb Daily Chronicle on June 20, 1927, the president and vice president of Barrington Oil were arrested for their 1922 embezzlement of $100,000 of (DeKalb) county funds which were used “for investment in oil stock scheme in Eureka, Kansas.”

The theft reportedly “was covered up so that auditors since have failed to detect the discrepancy.” But when the company’s bank failed in 1927, bank examiners were called in and the crime discovered. Thereafter, Barrington Oil Company disappears from readily available financial records.

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The stories of other attempts to join petroleum exploration booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?