As is often the case, several petroleum companies have shared popular names, and this is the case with Evangeline Oil Company.
A circa 1920 certificate is for one Evangeline company that drilled in Texas’ world famous Burkburnett oilfield. It was a dry hole.
That North Texas field would lead to a 1940 Academy Award-winning movie with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable. Read more in “Boom Town” of Burkburnett.
This company also explored in Louisiana’s Clairborne Parish, drilling a well that produced a disappointing 30 barrels a day. The company established offices in Brockton, New York, and sold stock to fund drilling operations.
However, by July 1922, Evangeline Oil stock had “little or no value, unlisted brokers offering but a few cents a share and the price today being considerably under what it was six months or a year ago,” reported the United States Investor.
Today the certificate has collectible value and can be found on eBay.
In 1905, Detroit millionaire Leonard Frederick Benckenstein and others incorporated another Evangeline Oil Company in New Jersey, capitalized at $125,000 and operating out of Jennings, Louisiana – probably inspired by discovery of the state’s first commercial oil well near the Acadia Parish towns of Evangeline and Jennings in 1901.
As the newly discovered oilfield profited, investors and venture capitalists scrambled to get in on the “play.”
This Evangeline Oil Company was reported to be a “highly speculative promotion in oil.” It entered into receivership by 1912. Calcasieu Trust & Savings Bank was appointed receiver and recovered some damages from Gulf Oil and the Texas Oil Company (later Texaco).
Another Evangeline Oil Company was named in Standard Oil antitrust litigation, but this nominal Standard refinery competitor was also known as Central Asphalt Works located in Port Neches, Texas.
Note that this certificate includes a vignette of derricks commonly seen on those of other companies formed (and failed) in booming oil regions: Centralized Oil & Gas Company, the Double Standard Oil & Gas Company, the Evangeline Oil Company, the Texas Production Company and the Tulsa Producing and Refining Company! See Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
First Commercial Well in Louisiana
Just eight months after the giant 1901 discovery at Spindletop Hill, Texas, oil was discovered on September 21 just 90 miles to the east in Louisiana.
Already successful thanks to making strikes at Spindletop, independent oilman W. Scott Heywood brought in a 7,000-barrel-a-day producer six miles northeast of the town of Jennings.
Heywood’s Jules Clements No. 1 well marked the state’s first commercial oil production and opened the prolific Jennings Field. He followed up his success by securing leases, building pipelines and storage tanks, and contracting buyers.
Heywood’s discovery found oil at 1,700 feet. Some discouraged investors had sold their Jennings Oil Company stock when drilling reached 1,000 feet. By 1,500 feet, stock in the Jennings Oil Company sold for as little as 25 cents per share.
Patient investors were rewarded at 1,700 feet. The oilfield reaches peak production of more than nine million barrels in 1906.
The stories of exploration and production companies joining petroleum booms (and avoiding busts) can be found updated in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Please support this AOGHS.ORG energy education website. For membership information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.