James E. “Pa” Ferguson, the 26th Governor of Texas, was elected 1915 and impeached in 1917.
He soon formed the Kokernot Oil Company in Temple.
In 1920, Ferguson pursued investors with lengthy editorial appeals in newspapers, including folksy tales in the Schulenburg Sticker in Schulenburg, a community halfway between San Antonio and Houston.
Seeking $10 per share for his petroleum exploration company, the former governor appealed to investors in 1921. He explained that his lease was just just 15 miles southeast of the booming Humble oilfield.
“If you can afford it, I want you to buy anywhere from one to ten shares in the Kokernot Oil Company, an association, which is capitalized at eighty thousand dollars and is drilling a well on 4,428 acres of land situated 30 miles east of Houston,” Ferguson noted on April 8.
“No honest man can say for sure that he will strike oil. But we are in oil country,” he added.
Acknowledging that “times are hard,” Ferguson told his newspaper readers to “invest only what you can afford to lose.”
Still the politician with a gift for gab, he further explained: “If we hit the juice a small investment will make you plenty of money. If we don’t, just cut out a few pair of them silk sox and one of them silk shirts, and get some good cotton goods like you used to wear, and you won’t know the difference.”
The former Texas governor’s company seems to have disappeared completely after 1921. Although there may be more information about its fate in Texas Railroad Commission records, it remains unclear whether Kokernot Oil Company ever completed a well.
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.