Old Oil Stocks – in progress “S”
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.”
Sable Oil & Gas Company
Sable Oil & Gas Company reportedly drilled three exploratory wells about one mile from Torrent, Kentucky. It was founded October 25, 1919, with 200,000 shares of stock issued.
The first, begun (spudded) on February 2, 1920, turned out to be a dry hole after reaching a total depth of 1,107 feet. The second well, begun on February 27, 1920, showed oil and proved productive at about 1,200 feet deep after it was “shot.” The third well of June 1, 1920, ended as another dry hole at 1,105 feet deep. The company failed to survive. Kentucky’s Wolfe County clerk’s office may be able to provide further information.
St. Elco Oil & Gas Company
“Development of oil wells within the city limits of St. Louis and in nearby Missouri (is) staked on the belief of oil men that the Dupo, Illinois, petroleum formation extends under the city and northwest into Missouri,” reported the Decatur (Illinois) Herald in October 1929. The Dupo field had proven prolific and led to further exploration efforts to the north of St. Louis. Here, in a bend of the Missouri River, St. Elco Oil & Gas drilled its only recorded well, which reportedly reached a depth 955 feet deep. The town of Florissant was the site of this long-abandoned well, just off of English Saddle Road, according to the United States Geological Survey.
St. Martins Oil & Gas Company
“The Maryland Geological Survey records that over the years, residents of that county had become increasingly confident that “large pools of oil or gas, or both” awaited discovery beneath their feet. They were wrong. In nearby Delaware, St. Martins Oil and Gas Company drilled two wells in Wicomico County in 1917. The first well near Parsonsburg ended in quicksand after reaching 500 feet deep; the second was abandoned at 1,186 feet, having found only marsh gas (methane) but no oil or natural gas.
By 1918, St. Martins Oil and Gas had issued 323,963 shares of stock, adding another 44,477 in 1919, presumably to raise capital for additional drilling. But the company never drilled another well and disappears from subsequent Baltimore city directories. It would be another 30 years before Maryland had a commercially successful natural gas well. Commercial quantities of oil have never been found in Maryland. The St. Martin Oil & Gas Inc. subsidiary of Sun Coast Resources, Inc. is not related to the failed St. Martins Oil & Gas Company (incorporated July 20, 1916).
San Jacinto River Oil Company
San Jacinto River Oil Company unsuccessfully drilled a well in Montgomery County, Texas, site of the giant Conroe oilfield and a 1933 disaster (read more in Technology and the “Conroe Crater”). The company’s lone well, the Madley No. 1, was capped after reaching a total depth of 1,370 feet.
San Mateo Oil and Refining Company
Ninety percent of San Mateo Oil and Refining Company stock was held by employees of the Santa Fe Railroad. The exploration company reportedly drilled only one well, and that only to a depth of 300 feet in 1927. The failed well was located a mile southeast of Half Moon Bay, California.
Santa Fe Western Gas & Uranium Corporation
Santa Fe Western Gas and Uranium Corporation was actively engaged in uranium ore mining and processing south of Moab, Utah, in 1955. Company president and University of New Mexico graduate and benefactor Caswell Silver was a noted geologist who worked in oil and gas exploration as well as mining. He will build the Sundance Oil Company into a major independent. However, Santa Fe Western Gas & Uranium did not fare so well. Probably without assets and serving as a shell, the company changed its name to Beacon Steel Corporation in October 1958 – whose stock certificates in 2008 were marked for destruction as “Non-Transferrable Securities Certificates.”
Scofield, Shurmer & Teagle
Founded in Cleveland, Ohio, by John Teagle, the independent oil company of Scofield, Shurmer & Teagle was a competitor to John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. When in June 1901 Scofield, Shurmer & Teagle was absorbed by Indiana Standard, Ohio Standard, and Waters-Pierce Oil Company, the founder’s son, Walter C. Teagle, became vice-president of the newly formed Republic Oil Company.
About 1903 Republic Oil was using d 53 tank cars travelling on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad. Republic disappeared around 1906, but as a subsidiary of Standard Oil, former Republic Oil officers were grilled during the U.S. Supreme Court hearings concerning Standard’s railroad rebates and restraint of trade practices. The court compelled the breakup of Standard Oil Trust into separate companies in 1911. Six years later, Walter Teagle became the youngest president of Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso) and subsequently served as chairman.
Seattle Toledo Oil Company
Seattle Toledo Oil Company stock was offered in 1958 at 20 cents a share by mail order as “An Interesting Oil Speculation” by A.S. Heilbron. Mail orders were to be sent to Aggie’s Motel, Port Angeles, Washington. Seattle Toledo Oil claimed to have leases on 300 acres in Elizabeth Canyon near Castaic, California (about 40 miles north of Los Angeles). The company reportedly had a showing of oil from about 2,000 feet deep – but the California Department of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has no record of such a well being drilled. Seattle Toledo Oil appraently did not survive, but Aggie’s Motel is still in business.
Security Oil Company
Security Oil Company was one of the 37 corporate defendants charged in the famous Standard Oil Company of New Jersey vs. The United States, which was decided in May 1911, and resulted in the breakup of Standard Oil due to violations of anti-trust legislation.
The court noted, “The combination of the defendants in this case is an unreasonable and undue restraint of trade in petroleum and its products moving in interstate commerce.” The court mandated breakup of Standard Oil subsidiaries led to the Magnolia Petroleum Company of Texas taking over Security Oil properties in 1911.
Security Oil Syndicate No. 2
The president of Security Oil Syndicate No. 2, W.W. Bush, was active in several California petroleum ventures, including the California Southern Crude Oil Company, but does not appear to have fared well with Security Oil Syndicate No. 2. The company drilled only one well in Los Angeles County. Cub Oil Company acquired this well on July 1, 1924, and Security Oil Syndicate No. 2 appears to have gone out of business. By 1927 Cub Oil was out of business too.
Sen-Burk Oil Company
Sen-Burk Oil Company operated briefly from Woodward, Oklahoma, before disappearing. Sporadic drilling beginning in 1903 had created some local excitement in the county, but it wasn’t until a 1956 natural gas discovery that the population and economy expanded. Collectors offer Sen-Burk Oil Company stock certificates via online Scripophily sites.
Seven States Oil Company
Seven States Oil Company was formed in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1919 during the Burkburnett oil boom. The company, with capitalization of $1 million presumably to be raised by the issue of stock drilled in other areas. A well reportedly was drilled near Amarillo in Potter County in August 1919. The company also made plans to construct a 2,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as a plant in Paducah, Kentucky, to provide petroleum products for the marine trade on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
Due to a stock exchange with Capital of the Petroleum Trust, by 1921 Capital of the Petroleum Trust was operating the former Seven States Oil Company refinery in Memphis at 600-barrels-a-day capacity, processing oil delivered from El Dorado, Arkansas, oilfields. Seven States Oil’s bankruptcy resulted in lawsuits extending through 1927.
Sherman Gasoline Company
“Risky Schemes for Unwary Dollars,” declared the title of an article in the August 20, 1921, issue of United States Investor that warned of “a disturbingly large proportion of stocks that by no means meet the requirements of sound investment.” The publication cited Sherman Gasoline Company, which had incorporated on February 28, of 1918, with capitalizaton of $1 million, as an example. “Sherman Gasoline Co. stock is also being offered in (Pennsylvania) both Scranton and Wilkes Barre and is regarded as a promotion of no merit.”
Signal Oil and Gas Company
Signal Oil and Gas Company originated in 1928. By 1968 Signal Oil and Gas had become a diverse conglomerate and was renamed The Signal.
In 1985 Allied Chemical & Dye and The Signal companies merged to form Allied-Signal Inc. A year later, Allied-Signal spun off about 35 of its diverse subsidiary operations into a new and separate company that was renamed AlliedSignal in 1993.
AlliedSignal bought Honeywell International in 1999 but dropped the AlliedSignal name, becoming today’s Honeywell International.
Solar Oil Corporation
According to American Federal Tax Reports, Solar Oil Corporation was “completely liquidated and dissolved” effective December 1, 1952.
Sour Lake Texas Oil Company
A series of oil discoveries at Sour Lake, Texas, near the world-famous “Lucas Gusher” at Spindletop Hill in 1901 helped turn the Texas Company into Texaco (learn more in Sour Lake produces Texaco). This Sour Lake Texas Oil Company was not as fortunate.
By 1903 the Sour Lake oilfield about 20 miles northwest of Beaumont produced more than 100,000 barrels a day with 220 wells crowding the field. Sour Lake Texas Oil Company tried to entice potential investors with enthusiastic advertisements in 1917.
“Scenes such as few men are privileged ever to witness are being enacted in the Sour Lake Oilfields of Texas when swirling gushers of oil flow their liquid gold into the hands of land owners,” the company proclaimed in a Kansas publication.
“Small investments in this field frequently return twenty, fifty and even one hundred dollars for every dollar invested,” the ad predicted. “We own the Sour Lake Texas tract, and offer small investors a remarkable opportunity with protection to join us. $1 down, $1 monthly nine months buys lot with interest in cooperative well. May make you $10,000.”
However, the Financial World of March 9, 1918, warned potential investors to avoid getting on Sour Lake Texas Oil Company’s “sucker list” because, “it is not long before there will descend upon you from all points of the compass a golden shower of get-rich-quick chances.”
A year later, the magazine reported “Selling lots instead of stocks of oil companies is developing into quite a business in Kansas City and other western cities. But in connection with the offerings of such lots, the same extravagant claims are employed.”
Financial World noted Sour Lake Texas Oil of St. Louis, “is selling such lots on the basis of $20 each and anyone can buy as many lots as he wants. In this way the oil schemer can sell cheap lands at a very inflated price, netting a big profit for him. But the oil lot buyer in the end is stung, for he pays for a lot a price he can usually get an acre for.”
By 1923 United States Investor also was warning its readers. “The Sour Lake Texas Oil Company seems to be a lot selling proposition and we understand that when they have sold enough lots they drill a well,” noted the magazine. “This doesn’t look well on the face of it and looks even worse when we find that this land they are selling is about two miles from proven production.”
Despite the admonition, Sour Lake Texas Oil Company managed to secure sufficient funding in 1923 to drill one well in Hardin County, Texas, in the southeast portion of the Turnbow lease. The Turnbow No. 1 well found only salt water at 2,300 feet deep. The company disappears from financial records thereafter. Learn more about the “Lucus Gusher” of 1901 in Spindletop launches Modern Petroleum Industry.
Southern Montana Oil Company
Southern Montana Oil Company incorporated on October 30, 1916, and had established offices in Missoula, Montana, by 1917. All of its directors came from Anaconda, a region known for its copper deposits. The directors (I.W. Walker, A.F. Mavity, R.A. Cobban, F. Shannon, and T.P. Stewart) decided to pursue petroleum riches in southern Wyoming.
By April 1917, the new exploration company was drilling wells in the Elk Basin oilfield, which crosses the state line between Carbon County (Montana) and Park County (Wyoming). The giant Elk Basin field has a dramatic history of its own, as noted in First Wyoming Oil Wells. Southern Montana Oil successfully completed a well that produced 25 barrels of oil a day.
With 1,800 acres under lease about 20 miles north of Powell, Wyoming, Southern Montana Oil expanded exploration to Spring Creek, 40 miles southwest of Cody, in July 1917. Famed “Wild West” showman William F. Cody had also drilled wells in this area (see Buffalo Bill Shoshone Oil Company).
By November 1917, company manager George L. Means reported to Colorado’s Fairplay Flume newspaper that drilling operations were getting underway on eight, 40-acre tracts near Meeteetse, Wyoming (once a hideout for outlaw Butch Cassidy). Drilling commercially successful wells proved elusive however, and by 1921 Southern Montana Oil Company stock was offered at only two cents per share. After the company failed, its stock was described in subsequent inheritance litigation as valueless.
Southeastern Limited Oil Company
A 1,000-barrel-day oil gusher in 1898 at Coalinga, California, launched a drilling boom that attracted companies Southeastern Limited Oil Company and California Oil & Gas Company.
Southeastern Limited Oil was incorporated on September 30, 1908, with Louis Nathan as president and Charles Wilcox as secretary with $500,000 capitalization and offices in San Francisco. On December 31, 1909, the company began drilling – spudded – it first well and drilled intermittently (presumably based upon the availability of funds) about two miles north of today’s Coalinga Municipal Airport.
By November 9, 1910, the Los Angeles Herald reported there were 1,046 derricks in the Coalinga oilfield. The Southeastern Limited Oil exploratory well reached a depth of 4,270 feet without finding oil. The company drilled another well about a half-mile southeast, but it too was a dry hole and abandoned by 1922.
Each of Southeastern Limited Oil ’s failed wells were ultimately surrounded by successful producers of oil or natural gas. Today the company’s stock certificates have collectable value only.
Baker International was founded by Coalinga’s R. Carlton “Carl” Baker Sr., who among other inventions patented an innovative cable-tool percussion bit in 1903 after founding the Coalinga Oil Company. Learn more in History of Halliburton and Baker Hughes.
Southwest Oil Corporation
Southwest Oil Corporation was more in the music business than in oil exploration. The company drilled two dry holes near Portland in Sumner County, Kansas, between October 1955 and January 1956. No oil was found. By February the wells were abandoned.
It appears the company abandoned the oil business as well; on May 8, 1961, Southwest Oil became a wholly owned subsidiary of Melo-Sonics, which had been established as a Delaware corporation in 1953 and was involved in distribution of background music, tape repeaters and related items.
Southwest Oil Corporation was renamed Melo-Sonics and subsequently joined with Whippany Electronics in the manufacture of portable electronic organs popular with rock bands. Vintage Whippany and Melo-Sonic equipment can be seen online – but by 1996 the trademark had expired and the company dissolved. In 2003 about 32,000 obsolete Melo-Sonics Non-Transferable Securities Certificates were authorized for destruction by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.
Southwestern Petroleum & Pipe Line Company
Ten miles north of the Mexican border, just off the highway between Ocotillo and El Centro, California, what remains of Southwestern Petroleum & Pipe Line company lies buried about 700 feet deep. The November 20, 1920, issue of the trade publication Oil Weekly reported formation of the company and plans for the first petroleum exploration attempt – a wildcat well in the Imperial Valley, southeast of San Diego. The well was spudded on January 15, 1921, but that would be the last the California Mining Bureau (today the Department of Conservation) ever heard from the South Western Petroleum & Pipe Line Company. The company lone well was later found to have been abandoned after reaching a depth of 700 feet. The company disappeared, leaving behind a steel rig and disappointed stockholders. The well’s official status is “buried,” according to California records.
Square Deal Oil Company
Busseyville Oil & Gas Company organized in 1911 with capital of only $5,000 and about 600 acres leased in the Kentucky’s Bussyville oilfield. Company officers were W.D. O’Neal Jr., Webb Holt Jr., M. Turner, and H.W. Bussey. O’Neal and Holt also incorporated Cochran Oil and Reuben Fork Oil companies in 1911 with Webb Holt and H.W. Bussey incorporating Square Deal Oil Company in 1911 (capitalized at just $6,000).
These entrepreneurs sold sufficient stock to enable drilling and Busseyville Oil & Gas Company is credited by some with drilling the first producing well in Lawrence County on property leased from W.D. Owens. Company status as of May 1918 can be found in The Southwestern Reporter, Volume 203 (June 5 – July 10, 1918), page 515, “Hughes et. al. v. Busseyville Oil & Gas Co.” Litigation took the company into Kentucky courts.
Standard Consolidated Oil & Land Company
R.M. Smythe’s second volume of Obsolete American Securities and Corporations reported Standard Consolidated Oil & Land Company stock to have no value as of 1904. In July 1906, United States Investor reported the Standard Consolidated Oil & Land Company of San Francisco had been organized in 1901 by R.H. Vansant, but never held title to any oilfield leases despite claims of property in the Kern and Midway California oil districts. “Like a great many other mushroom concerns, (it) went out of existence, the promoters departing from that city without leaving any satisfactory explanation behind them to satisfy stockholders,” the publication reported.
Standard Exploration Company
There are not many records to be found about the Standard Exploration Company. An incidental 1920 reference to Albert E. Humphreys Jr., son of a successful – and later notorious – Denver, Colorado, oilfield entrepreneur who made and lost several fortunes.
In association with Thomas A. Merritt of Duluth, Minnesota, and R.B. Whiteside (also of Duluth), the senior Humphreys organized several successful petroleum exploration companies, including Humphreys Petroleum and Merritt Oil & Gas Company, which was formed to exploit the Billings oilfield north of prolific discoveries in Oklahoma City and the Boynton oilfield south of booming Tulsa.
“Colonel” Humphreys Sr. then moved on to the Big Muddy field in Converse County Wyoming 20 miles east of Casper and 40-miles south of the famous Salt Creek fields. In August 1915 the newly organized Humphreys-Whiteside Syndicate began drilling in the Big Muddy, using Standard Exploration Company (a drilling contractor) to pursue oil at depths greater than 3,000 feet. A.E. Humphreys Jr., was put in charge and the well came in November 11, 1916, producing about 300 barrels of oil a day. Success in Texas’ Mexia oilfield came later, but Standard Exploration Company didn’t leave much of a record beyond it. The life of the “Colonel” Humphreys Sr. ended badly; a suicide on May 8, 1927 in the wake of the Teapot Dome scandal. Harry Sinclair, who was among those implicated in the scandal, served six months in prison for jury tampering.
Sterling Oil Company of Oklahoma
Sterling Oil Company of Oklahoma (Delaware 1948 incorporation) was a successful independent oil producer operating out of Tulsa before engaging with Tidelands Development Corporation in 1956. Tidelands had been created by a group of investors for the express purpose of acquiring oil and gas leases on submerged lands off the Alabama coast and needed a means to do so without running afoul of anti-trust laws. Sterling Oil Company of Oklahoma became that means when it was arranged for Sterling to purchase Tidelands.
Lengthy and expensive litigation soon erupted. The courtroom battles were not settled until 1974 by the Supreme Court of Alabama, which described the case as “three separate lawsuits arising out of the purchase of May 1, 1959, of Gulf Oil Company’s and Gulf Refining Company’s interests in the Citronelle oilfield and gathering system in Mobile County, Alabama. Each of these three actions has a long, intertwined and convoluted history.”
Sterling Oil Company of Oklahoma was ultimately a financial casualty of the extended court fight. After far more than the statutory minimum of six years with no Sterling Oil Company of Oklahoma transfer agent or activity, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) in 2008 destroyed all the company’s vaulted certificates (CUSIP 859468100). Many certificates nonetheless survive.
In its “Saying Goodbye to Worthless Certificates,” DTCC notes that more than a million non-transferable stock certificates have been shredded since 2004. Sterling Oil Company of Oklahoma stock certificates have only collectible value.
Sterling Royalty Syndicate
Arkansas’ prolific Smackover Oilfield was discovered by Oil Operators Trust when the J.T. Murphy No. 1 well blew in on April 14, 1922, forming a crater 450 feet in diameter and 50 feet deep. Estimated daily production was up 75 million cubic feet of natural gas. The discovery launched a scramble to secure leases nearby as oil companies sought to get into the play before it was exhausted by overproduction (learn more in First Arkansas Oil Wells).
Sterling Royalty Syndicate of Fort Worth quickly formed and offered 300,000 shares of common stock at 50 cents per share within six months of the Smackover discovery. Sterling Royalty Syndicate was able to secure a lease in Union County within a couple of miles of the discovery well. The company, however, was identified by United States Investor the following month. “We would certainly not recommend Sterling Royalty for an investment for it has none of the features of an investment,” noted the publication. “It has been our consistent advice to inquirers that it seems to be an unwise course to speculate in such stocks.”
Nonetheless, the company raised enough capital to spud a well on June 11, 1923 (Section 9, Township 16 South, Range 15 West). The well hit natural gas at 2,050 feet deep with initial production quoted at 20 million cubic feet. Sustained production however was not possible and the well was abandoned not long after.
Sterling Royalty Syndicate No. 2 quickly formed in the wake of the first syndicate’s failure but does not appear to have drilled any wells. By 1936 both companies and their shareholders, as well as several other such “Trust Estate” organizations, were summoned to appear in Navarro County District Court.
Studebaker Oil & Refining Company
The World’s Work (Volume 36, March 1919) published “Pirates of Promotion” naming Studebaker Oil and Refining Company as a particularly flagrant “get-rich-quick” oil stock scheme. Promotions by company founder Clement W. Studebaker (characterized by Business Digest as “poor relations” to the Studebaker Automobile Company family) capitalized on the automotive giant’s name.
In Hammond and South Bend, Indiana, newspapers, more than one of the Studebaker Oil and Refining president’s “Open Letter to the Public” solicitations claimed the automotive Studebaker brothers’ support, listed impressive assets, and appealed to potential investors to “get behind the production and refining of more oil to help defeat the Huns.”
Business Digest later reported that Studebaker Oil & Refining Company had been “charged with making unfair use of name Studebaker.” Shareholder stock certificates were rendered worthless when the company failed. Studebaker Oil & Refining Company was sold through a court-appointed receiver and subsequently renamed the Efficiency Products Company.
Sulphur Oil Company
Sulphur Oil Company capitalized at $500,000 and owned 50,000 acres of land in Texas with more under lease. President was F.M. Green (Atlanta, Texas); vice-president was A.H. Snipes. Other company officers included L.W. Willis and W.L. Henning. Research resources include with the Atlanta Historical Museum or genealogy sources. The company secured a 20 year natural gas franchise to supply the town of Atlanta (Cass County), and began drilling a test well 10 miles to the northwest, on the H.A. O’Neal farm. By April 30, 1908, the well had reached 600 feet deep. Despite a newspaper report of “indications are good for oil and gas,” records are sparse thereafter.
Syndicate Oil Corporation of America
Syndicate Oil Corporation of America was formed in 1920, two years after another company of the name “Syndicate Oil Corporation” also incorporated in 1918. The latter company filed for bankruptcy in 1934, but Syndicate Oil Corporation of America left little trail of its existence. eBay occasionally features sales of old Syndicate Oil Corporation of America certificates for less than $10 due to their collectible value.
Further research would be necessary to determine if the two companies are related, but the 1918 Syndicate Oil Corporation was in the business of acquiring and dealing in oil and gas leases, oil and gas royalties, and the production and sale of oil and natural gas with principal assets and all of its physical properties located in Kansas, Texas and New Mexico. Kansas records show yet another Syndicate Oil Corporation, which incorporated in 1922, further complicating the history Syndicate Oil Corporation of America.
The many stories of many exploration companies trying to join petroleum booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?