Old Oil Stocks – in progress “T”
Chances are people seeking financial information here will not find lost riches (Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock). The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, a small non-profit program that depends on donations, simply does not have resources to provide free research of corporate histories.
However, AOGHS continues to look into forum queries as part of its energy education mission. Some investigations have revealed little-known stories like Buffalo Bill’s Shoshone Oil Company; many others have found questionable dealings during booms and epidemics of “black gold” fever like Arctic Explorer turns Oil Promoter.
Visit the Stock Certificate Q & A Forum and view company updates regularly added to the A-to-Z listing at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? AOGHS will continue to look into forum queries, including these “in progress.”
Tapo Oil Company
Tapo Oil Company was formed in April 27, 1900, with capital of $500,000. President was S.C. Graham and secretary was C.H. McKevett. The company was based in Santa Paula and drilled three shallow dry holes (about 700 feet deep) on Rancho Tapo north of Simi Valley, California, in 1901-1902. California records the wells as abandoned prior to 1913.
Graham was a Pennsylvania-born oilman and had several years of experience with the Hardesty & Steweart Oil Company, which would become Union Oil. Graham and McKevett had also founded the Graham-Loftus Oil Company in 1898 and found success in Orange County, California. One Graham-Loftus well reportedly produced 700 barrels a day. Union Oil was the principle buyer of all the oil.
Graham remained active in the oil business after the failure of Tapo Oil; he served as president of the Grador Oil Company, formed on August 16, 1908, and dissolved in 1922. Graham also served as president of Placentia Oil (formed in 1914) and Gilroy Oil of Los Angeles, which drilled six unsuccessful wells in Santa Clara County. Read about California oil history.
Texas-Bunger Oil and Refining Company
An upstate New York newspaper reported bad news to oil investors on January 21, 1923. “As the result of a rigid investigation by the local police department and a Pinkerton detective concerning the operation of a certain oil stock operator and salesman, William J. Harris, 31, of No. 927 State Street is under arrest at the City Hall awaiting the arrival of an officer from Defiance (Ohio),” the Watertown Standard noted.
Harris was wanted on four indictments pertaining to the Texas-Bunger Oil and Refining Company located at Fort Worth, Texas, the paper added. “He has been in Watertown and vicinity several months and it is said that he has sold stocks totaling more than $30,000 around Watertown. The shares sell at $2 each, and Harris has done considerable business. The company was organized about a year ago.”
The petroleum exploration company apparently attempted only one well, the O.A. McBrayer No. 1, in Young County, Texas, about 55 miles south of the famous Burkburnett oil boom that began in 1918. Although his company drilled no deeper than 1,800 feet and found no oil, Harris must have been quite persuasive in selling the company’s stock.
Texas-Rotan Oil Company
Texas-Rotan Oil Company may have been created to gamble on the success of the much larger Texas Company’s wildcat explorations in Fisher County, Texas, northwest of Abilene (the Texas Company later became Texaco, thanks to Sour Lake field). Such a large oil company is sufficiently capitalized to absorb substantial losses if drilling efforts produce only dry holes.
When a major oil company’s geological research prompts them to drill in a previously unproductive area, it is sure to draw entrepreneurs and investors hoping to find successful lease opportunities nearby. In 1918-1919 the Texas Company drilled four dry holes in southwest Fisher County before moving its exploration rigs to the vicinity of Rotan. Texas Railroad Commission maps show drilling around Rotan – but neither the Texas Company nor the Texas-Rotan Company found oil.
The county’s first commercial oil discovery (the D.W. Stephens No. 1 drilled by the Texas Company) would not come until 1928. That well produced for 66 years. Texas-Rotan Oil Company does not appear to have shared in any success.
Texas-Washington Oil Company
Although active in 1918 and drilling in Texas’ famed Goose Creek oilfield in 1920, the Texas-Washington Oil Company was stricken from the Washington Secretary of State’s register of active corporations by 1925. It appears the company had tried to raise an extra $50,000 to sustain operations in 1921 by issuing more stock, but that effort apparently failed along with the company. Successful wells in the Goose Creek field could average up to 1,000 barrels of oil a day, but not for the Texas-Washington Oil Company.
“The first offshore drilling for oil in Texas occurred along Goose Creek in southeast Harris County, twenty-one miles southeast of Houston on Galveston Bay,” notes Priscilla Myers Benham in Handbook of Texas Online’s Goose Creek Oilfield. After finding natural gas bubbling to the surface five years earlier, oil found was found in 1908 at about 1,600 feet deep.
Texas Control Consolidated Oil Company
In August 1919 the Oil Paint and Drug Reporter noted that Capital Oil & Gas Company’s cumulative Texas production in April, May and June was only 135 barrels of oil while competing Block Six Oil Company produced more than 19,000 barrels. Block Six was subsequently the loser in an often cited 1919 Texas Court of Civil Appeals decision (No. 9213) involving a lessors drilling obligations. Hayden-Burk Petroleum Company also was heavily promoted in El Paso’s Herald newspaper after its holdings were absorbed by Texas Control Consolidated Oil Company.
“Huge Consolidation Expected to Stabilize Conditions in Burkburnett,” the Herald reported. Texas Control stock was offered at $1 per share with the enticement that, “The Hayden-Burk well should be in within the next three days, which warrants much higher prices for the stock.” Trustees of Texas Control believed that taking over producing wells of other companies and operating them for royalty payments, “will be the salvation of the small or medium producers, the owners of which are unable to bear the expense”
Texas Crude Oil Company
Texas Crude Oil Company was doing business and selling stock to fund operations by July 1919. It was capitalized at $200,000 with a 30 percent commission to stock salesmen. The company drilled three wells on Sunshine Hill, Texas, about five miles northeast of the Electra oilfield, which in April 1911 launched a North Texas oil boom. Three exploratory wells were drilled, but company didn’t survive.
Texas Independent Pipe Line Company
Texas Independent Pipe Line Company disappears from records after losing its Delaware charter for failing to pay taxes: “Whereas, Pierre S. duPont, tax commissioner on behalf of the Tax Department of the State of Delaware, has reported to me a list of corporations which for two years preceding such report have failed to pay the taxes assessed against them and due by them under the laws of this State. Now, therefore, I, C.D. Buck, governor of the State of Delaware, do hereby issue this proclamation according to the provisions of Sections 75 and 76, Chapter 6, of the Revised Statutes of 1915, as amended, and do hereby declare under this act of the Legislature that the charters of the following corporations, reported as aforesaid are repealed: Texas Independent Pipe Line Company.”
Texas Oil, Gas & Mineral Products Company
The Texas Oil, Gas and Mineral Products Company was organized by Mr. W.C. Munn, a prominent merchant who reportedly opened the first department store in Houston. United States Investor reported on his oil company in October 1920. “The company appears not to have had any oil development if indeed it has made any attempt in this direction,” the publication noted. “The shares appear to have only a nominal value and there is no market for them so far as we are able to learn.”
Texas Oil, Gas & Mineral Products apparently focused on developing Grimes County leases for the production of its trademarked “Powder for Cleansing, Scouring, and Polishing Metal, Glass, Woodwork, Machinery, &c.,” an absorbent product made from clay and used for a variety of manufacturing purposes. The company drilled at least one successful oil well north of the boom town Burkburnett, the Dorothy Munn well, which produced 4,000 barrels of oil. The company sold this well for $200,000 to finance further production of the clay powder product.
Texas Producers Oil Company
In 1918 about 40 miles northwest of booming Beaumont, Texas, in eastern Liberty County, the Hull oilfield sparked rapid growth of the town of Hull. Under the supervision of a man named “Bud” Cole, the Texas Producers Oil Company drilled two dry holes in the Hull oilfield in 1919 and 1920.
The early days of the oil business involved frequent scrambles to new oilfields when such a discovery announced the presence of oil. Entrepreneurs, investors, landsmen and speculators were drawn to the booms – but dry holes and bankruptcies were common. The Delaware Department of State’s Division of Corporations reports that Texas Producers Oil Company was formed in September, 1917, but little else. The Texas Railroad Commission retains historical oil and natural gas records (drilling and production) and may have information on Texas Producers Oil operations in Texas circa 1920.
The 1919 Oil Company
The 1919 Oil Company survived only briefly, probably a victim of its limited capitalization ($60,000) to support drilling in North Texas on a 60-acre lease in Archer County. With such narrow margins, the 1919 Oil Company’s fate is likely recounted in the Oil, Paint, and Drug Reporter of November 3, 1919: “Archer County is honeycombed with the shallow and abandoned holes. During the past year there has been much activity in leasing and in the starting of wells by small companies attempting to locate oil in the county.”
Tideland Oil & Gas Corporation
Many companies, including your Tideland Oil and Gas Corporation, drilled in Washington, but just one found commercial amounts of oil. Although by 2010 exploration companies had drilled more than 600 wells in 24 counties, only the Medina No. 1 well, completed by Sunshine Mining in 1959 was successful. That well, Washington’s only commercial producer, was brief; it was capped in 1961 after yielding only 12,500 barrels of oil. Tideland Oil and Gas Corporation (no relation to a Texas company of the same name) leased nearby acreage from Sunshine Mining and drilled several wells in both Grays Harbor County and Pacific County, but none were commercial producers.
Toltec Oil Company
Toltec Oil Company was incorporated August 21, 1916, in New Mexico to take over contracts and more than 500,000 acres of oil leases formerly secured by the New Mexico Petroleum & Gas Development Corporation. Much of the leased property was in Torrance, Lincoln, San Miguel and Santa Fe counties between Roswell and Santa Fe.
The company – managed from Chicago – planned to drill 20 wells within two years. Several deep test drilling operations had been undertaken by 1918 without success. Toltec Oil Company was soon reported as an inactive industrial security; but the company apparently reorganized. In March 1921 the industry periodical Petroleum Age ran an article entitled, “Five Dry Holes Fail to Stop Toltec Wildcatting” and noting that another exploratory well was down 450 feet near Galisteo. The well apparently did not succeed and the company’s charter was forfeited in 1927.
Triangle Petroleum Company
Triangle Petroleum Company incorporated twice. The first time it registered in Shreveport, Louisiana, on November 12, 1919, with W.W. Wynne recorded as president, Inez Broadnax as vice-president, and Janie Davies noted as an officer. But within three months, Louisiana’s secretary of state rendered the company inactive.
Triangle Petroleum incorporated a second time with Marquis Pope as president, Maurice E. McCreery as vice president, and William Townsend Pheiffer as secretary-treasurer. The Louisiana secretary of state immediately declared the new (and again the old) corporation as inactive on February 6, 1920, due to pending lawsuits. Although Triangle Petroleum was reported to have leases in Louisiana oilfields, including the Caddo, Bull Bayou and Pine Island fields, the company does not appear to have ever actually drilled any wells.
Tri-State Drilling Company
Tri-State Drilling Company reportedly was incorporated by a group of “Eastern” venture capitalists specifically to profit from the coastal Gulf of Mexico oilfields. The company leased 4,000 acres in Galveston County, Texas, and drilled its first well about two miles east of League City on the road toward Kemah.
“Tri-State Drilling Company of New York has announced that it will make the most thorough tests of its League City lease, and is prepared to drill three more wells, if the present one does not produce successfully,” the Galveston Daily News reported in February 1921. This notwithstanding, after 1921 the company seems to disappear.
Twentieth Century Oil & Gas Company
Twentieth Century Oil and Gas Company was formed in July 1920 in Arcadia, Ohio (Hancock County). Principals included S.K. Swab, J.J. Jackson, C.C. Rittich, D.E. Deetz and George F. Manns. The new company’s business interest was “production, pipes, convey and transport oil, petroleum, gas, etc.” Twentieth Century Oil & Gas issued an initial 1,000 shares of stock to raise capital and added 99,000 more in 1921 but does not appear to have ever completed a well. The company was notified of tax indebtedness to the Ohio on February 14, 1925, and then disappears.
Twentymile Oil & Gas Company
Twentymile Oil and Gas Company appears briefly in 1919 and 1920, drilling wildcat wells in Routt County, Colorado, west of the town of Oak Creek in an area now known as the Williams Park anticline. The company drilled three wells and in July 1919, after the first well was lost to water incursion, a second well found natural gas, “in such quantity that a flame can be continually kept burning” reported the Denver Mining & Financial Record. This well was capped, probably due to lack of infrastructure to market the natural gas.
“It is the positive belief of the management that oil in commercial quantities will be found in the very near future and only by the lack of funds will work be discontinued,” further explained the Denver Mining & Financial Record. But drilling a dry hole and lack of funds appear to have killed the petroleum exploration company.
The many stories of many exploration companies trying to join petroleum booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
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