Warning: Old Oil Stocks – in progress “C” research probably will not lead you to lost riches – see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. This American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s information page depends on your support.
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.”
California-Alaska Petroleum Company
California-Alaska Petroleum Company (1922), Hesperian Petroleum Company (1904), Anglo-American Oil & Coal Company (1907), Watermobile Corporation of America (1917), Clayton Oil Company (1921) all appear to have been short-lived ventures in which seaman-turned-entrepreneur (Captain) Edward J. Rathbone played significant roles, including president and field drilling superintendent. Lewis & Dryden’s Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1895) has a brief biography and photo of Rathbone. To find more about Hesperian Petroleum Company, check with Seattle libraries for references to E.J. Rathbone’s numerous business ventures.
California Commercial Refining Company
In 1924 Oil News reported California Commercial Refining Company was organized with $3 million capitalization to increase the capacity of their refinery to 25,000 barrels daily. The company’s refinery, sited near North San Pedro at Rioco, increased its production by almost 237,000 gallons of gasoline in 1925 – but the company came under fire for failing to pay excise taxes to California. By 1929 bankruptcy led to sale of the refinery to Champion Gasoline Company, Ltd. By 1931, ownership of the Rioco refinery had passed to Richfield Oil Company. California’s first commercial refinery processed oil from the First California Oil Well in 1880.
Capital Oil & Gas Company
In August 1919, the Oil Paint and Drug Reporter noted Capital Oil & Gas Company’s cumulative Texas production in April, May and June was only 135 barrels. Another exploration company, Block Six Oil, had produced more than 19,000 barrels. At the time oil sold for about $2 a barrel, so Capital Oil & Gas Company’s survival was unlikely. Block Six was subsequently the loser in an often cited 1919 Texas Court of Civil Appeals decision (No. 9213) involving a lessors drilling obligations.
Capital Oil & Naturas Gas Company Limited
James Henry Gray’s book The Roar of the Twenties uses Capital Oil and Natural Gas Company Limited to illustrate the absurdity of using a company’s self-determined “par value” as any cogent indication of its worth. In the extreme case of the Capital Oil and Natural Gas Company Limited, the company was capitalized at $2.5 million (with 2.5 million shares of 1 cent par value each). A British Columbian company, Capital Oil and Natural Gas Ltd. is otherwise elusive in old records.
Wichita Falls, Texas, grew explosively after the opening of the vast Burkburnett 0ilfield in June 1918 – see Boom Town Burkburnett. Within three weeks, fifty-six drilling rigs were at work as close as they could get to the discovery well. Entrepreneurs scrambled to get in on the opportunity and Wichita Falls’ spawned many new oil companies. Bank deposits increased by 400 percent in 1919 and by 1920 there were nine refineries and 47 factories within the city. Investors were cultivated by companies needing money drill a successful producing well before the inevitable exhaustion of the field.
Capitol Petroleum Transportation Company
Capitol Petroleum Transportation Company had a parent company, Capitol Petroleum Company, but made a corollary appearance of its own. United States Investor’s August 14, 1920, issue noted that “Capitol Petroleum Transportation Company shares are now selling at approximately 18 cents according to the latest quotations available. The shares are among the most speculative of the oil stocks and ought to be bought only by those who wish to take a very long chance.”
Centennial Petroleum, Inc.
The defunct Centennial Petroleum, Inc. (“Centennial Pete,” a Colorado corporation) was sold in the Over The Counter (OTC) market as a “penny stock.” Such speculative stocks are described as “high-risk investments with low trading volumes and limited attention from investors.” In November of 1980, Centennial Petroleum’s initial issue was 35 million shares at 10 cents each. Bruce G, McWilliams notes in his book PENNY STOCKS – How the Small Investor Can Make Large Profits in the Penny Market:
“In good times, new issues are all the rage and a very scarce commodity. They are primed for energetic movement from the start. Consequently, demand shoots upward for these issues while the supply remains relatively fixed. For instance. Centennial Petroleum offered only 35 million shares at 10 cents…Within a month’s time of its effective date, continual investor jockeying pushed Centennial up to $1.40.” The company drilled wells in Colorado and Texas, but failed despite speculators’ enthusiasm.
Central Oklahoma Oil Corporation
Central Oklahoma Oil Corporation first issued 229,500 shares of stock in April 1949, followed by an additional issue of 299,970 in February 1951. By 1954 the company and its officers, including Jay D. Perry and Dennis H. Perry, were in a Delaware Chancery Court, charged with dominating and controlling the company “for their personal benefit and also wrongfully diverted to themselves certain corporate opportunities.” They counter-claimed that the lawsuit was a conspiracy “to prevent defendant corporations from obtaining working capital with resultant suspension of operations and damage to the corporate defendants in their business and personal reputations.”
The court dismissed their counter-claim. Additionally, Oklahoma’s Archived Oil & Gas Database does not record any wells to have been drilled in the state by Central Oklahoma Oil Corporation. By 1962, the company had been acquired by Heldor Industries (a manufacturer of in-ground vinyl swimming pools) and that company filed for bankruptcy in 1990.
Choctaw Oil & Refining Company
One company called Choctaw Oil & Refining was approved by the Choctaw Council. Dr. H.F. Faucett of New York City obtained a franchise and drilled in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) on the banks of the Boggy River 14 miles west of Atoka before he died in 1888. The “Old Faucett Well” was abandoned after his death and his company folded. Although it did not produced commercial quantities of oil, the “Old Faucett Well” has been called the state’s first; it was one of the early discoveries that led to the Nellie Johnstone No. 1 gusher in 1897.
Another Choctaw Oil & Refining Company was founded much later in Dallas, Texas, and is recorded as of 1921 with two producing wells in Carter, Oklahoma. Additionally, other sources note a refinery under construction in Grand Prairie, Texas, and another operating in Oil City, Oklahoma, at about the same time. Officers of this company were J.H. Mathews, president and J.B. Walker, vice-president. About 90,000 shares of stock were issued of the 150,000 shares authorized to be sold.
Chester County Oil Company
In 1928, Chester County Oil Company encouraged readers of the Oil & Gas Journal to invest, declaring “If you want in on EXTRA GOOD PROSPECTIVE field we advise get this one. Choice acreage paid up five years at right prices. Write, wire or better come and see us quick.” Records show the company raised sufficient funds to drill at least one wildcat well, the J. A. Montgomery No. 1 well, 10 miles south of Decaturville, in Decatur County, Tennessee. Their cable tool rig reached 2,500 feet but was not successful.
Cheyenne Oil Company
Cheyenne Oil Company was reported to have found a good showing of gas in Barton County, Kansas, in 1922, but by 1928 the company used deceptive “tip sheets” to recruit potential investors. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that such promotions, disguised as legitimate financial newspapers or magazines, were in fact, “the spear head with which the crooked promoter attacks an investor and the percentage of victims is amazing in its largeness.” Cheyenne Oil Company’s Delaware charter was cancelled on April 1, 1930, and the company declared “inoperative and void” for non-payment of taxes.
Choate Oil Corporation
In October 1919, Sammies Oil Company changed its name to Choate Oil Corporation. At that time, the company was was capitalized at $5 million, with 500,000 shares (no par value) and no dividends paid. Choate owned a 2,000 barrel a day refinery in Oklahoma City, interests in a Burkburnett oilfield pipeline, storage facilities and more than 150 tank cars. It also owned a gas company in Ranger, Texas, as well as the Sammies Oil & Supply Company which distributed petroleum products in Iowa and South Dakota. Despite these assets and a producing lease in Louisiana’s Caddo oilfield, by November 27, 1922, Choate Oil Corporation was bankrupt and the company’s entire holdings were sold at auction in Oklahoma City with bids continued to January 17, 1923.
Clayton Oil Company
See California-Alaska Petroleum Company, above.
Clinton Natural Gas & Oil Company
In the early 1900s, several companies got into the natural gas business in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, including Williamsport Oil & Gas and Clinton Natural Gas. Consumers Gas, Fuel & Power Company also joined Renovo Gas Light to form Renovo Consolidated Gas Company.
Natural gas discoveries had come to Leidy Township near Kettle Creek as early as 1864 on the William Sansom property. Natural gas in noncommercial quantities was found again in 1878, 1893 and 1912. This natural gas was largely used to fire the boilers of cable-tool rigs for further drilling and exploration.
The Clinton Natural Gas & Oil Company formed in 1919 with plans to provide natural gas service to the community of Renovo, 10 miles southeast of the Kettle Creek gas field. Within four years, Clinton Natural Gas & Oil had completed two wells that produced a combined total of more than 600 thousand cubic feet of gas daily and five wells that together could produce up to four million cubic feet of gas a day. But with several active wells, pressures began to drop. More importantly for commercial success, the cost of a 10-mile pipeline to Renovo would be a financial gamble.
The company also worried about diminishing gas pressure, water intrusion, and uncertainty about the amount of natural gas remaining in the reservoir. Rightfully so, since within a decade the field was exhausted – as apparently were the finances Clinton Natural Gas & Oil company, which disappears.
It was not until January 8, 1950, that the Leidy Prospecting Company discovered natural gas in commercial quantities in Clinton County. The Dorsey Calhoun No. 1 well was estimated to produce up to 15 MMcf per day. Since 1959, these depleted central Pennsylvania reservoirs (east of America’s first commercial oil well) have been used for underground storage of piped-in natural gas.
Columbian Refining Company
Columbian Refining Company was organized in 1919 with $500,000 capitalization and plans to build a 10,000 barrel a day refinery on Pelican Island in the Houston Ship Channel. Principals included E.P. Barker, W.A. Rogers, and L.D. Moore. By October 1922, Columbian Refining Company was in receivership with the bankrupt company’s service stations being auctioned off to settle with creditors.
Consolidated Oil & Gas Company
The Consolidated Oil and Gas Company’s formation was announced in the Casper Press in February 1912. Sheridan, Wyoming, was named as the company’s headquarters and capitalization was $250,000,000. In December, the company announced it had found oil in the Glendive oilfield (Montana) but capped the well because of issues with their cable-tool rig, noting, “It was feared it might break any time, losing the tools and discounting several months’ arduous labor.”
In 1913, Consolidated reported that in a cooperative venture with Mid-West Oil Company they had struck a “gasser” at a depth of 800 feet about 12 miles from Glendive. In March 1914, shareholders met to elect seven members of the board of directors, but the company’s fortunes at the time are uncertain.
By November 1917, the company was promoting sales of its stock for two cents per share with news of a new property under lease in Oklahoma that “will undoubtedly prove a big factor in this company becoming a recognized oil producer in the very near future.” Some reports indicate that Eastern Montana Oil & Gas Company took over Consolidated Oil and Gas Company, but in any case, Consolidated soon disappears from newspaper accounts.
Consolidated Oil Company of Texas
Consolidated Oil Company of Texas was a combination of the South Oil Company, the New South Oil Company, and the Rumph Oil Company – all small operations in Texas. In the competitive and risky business of drilling for oil, such mergers were common for struggling companies trying to sustain funding for leasing and drilling operations. In 1919, Consolidated Oil Company of Texas was reported to have drilled a producing well in Eastland County, Texas, in the fabulous Ranger oilfield near Cisco, but the well was shut in for lack of storage capacity. See Oil Boom brings First Hilton Hotel.
The Consolidated Oil Company of Texas itself was acquired by Revere Oil Company, also of Fort Worth. Concerning Revere Oil and such “stock-selling schemes,” United States Investor reported, “The company seems to have been a promotion and this is merely another instance of gullible people being fooled into the belief that money would come easy when actually it was to go easy.”
By 1923 Revere Oil was in receivership and its subsidiaries charged by the postmaster general with mail fraud. Self-proclaimed conqueror of the North Pole Frederick Albert Cook would serve jail time for fraudulently promoting the stock, which today sells for about $70 to collectors, according to Scripofily. Read about Cook’s antics in Arctic Explorer turns Oil Promoter.
Consolidated Texas Production Company
In 1921 E.L. Means of Dallas orchestrated the merger of almost 20 oil companies into the Consolidated Texas Production Company. He became vice president and general manager with J.L. Bertie serving as president. The company issued approximately $20 million in stock; Means announced Consolidated Texas would drill 20 deep test wells in New Mexico. Potential buyers were nonetheless advised by United States Investor in 1922 to “steer clear” of the company and by 1924, Consolidated Texas Production Company was in litigation that led to its demise.
Constant Oil Company
“The Constant Oil Company is one of the latest to enter the Chanute field,” reported the Chanute (Kansas) Daily Tribune on September 29, 1904. The newspaper cited its source as Nebraskans and a special dispatch. The Tribune offered this summary of the company, which be defunct in five years:
Headed by John B. Ruth, of Omaha, the Constant Oil Company will operate in Kansas fields. The capital stock of the company is $1,500,000, and the articles of incorporation were filed today. Mr. Ruth, who is the western representative of the Standard Oil company, denies that the concern is in any way connected with the interests of Rockefeller. The incorporaters are John B. Ruth, Frank L. McCoy, Marie L. Moakler and Daniel M. Derninger. The concern has authority to mine and bore for oil. The holdings consist of leases on the G. A. Laud farm in…Woodson county. Constant Oil Company had its Nebraska Charter canceled 1909.
Common Oil & Development Company
Common Oil & Development Company incorporated with a 50-year charter on May 1, 1923, in Winchester, Kentucky, with capitalization of only $30,000 and three officers. Management retained 1,500 shares of the 30,000 share authorized issue. The company brought in a 100 barrel a day test well near London in the northwestern part of Laurel County that same year. Despite this early success, the company never filed required reports with the Kentucky secretary of state and was listed as inactive until the 1973 expiration of its charter. In response to a 1957 query from a shareholder, the secretary of state responded, “Since the company has not filed any verification reports, we have no way of knowing whether or not the corporation is active of if your stock has any value.”
Cow Creek Oil Company
The Cow Creek Oil Company was one of many companies that quickly formed in the wake of Charles Dulin Jr.’s 1915 wildcat discovery of oil about four miles northeast of Irvine, Kentucky. Dulin’s well came in as a 250 barrel a day producer from a depth of only 200 feet and began a boom that spread from the Tick Fork of Cow Creek across Estill County and became known as the Irvine Pool extension.
World War I drove the price of oil to $2 a barrel and speculators rushed into the area to buy up oil leases that quickly escalated from $5 an acre to as much as $150 per acre. Thomas Bruce (T.B.) Skaggs was General Manager of the Salt Lick Lumber Company and a Kentucky State Representative when the excitement began. He and several associates from Salt Lick incorporated the Cow Creek Oil Company on August 2, 1916, investing more than $50,000 of their own money and offering stock in the company to the public in order to engage in “buying, selling, and leasing oil and gas lands” as well as drilling for oil and transporting it.
The company’s operations are elusive, but just three years after its formation, the Oil Trade Journal reported that Edward B. Rich, a long-time oil operator associated with Atlas Petroleum, Admiral Petroleum and the Natural Gasoline Extraction Company, had acquired the properties of Cow Creek Oil Company on behalf of “eastern capital.” Cow Creek Oil Company disappeared.
Crystal Oil Company
Crystal Oil Company (Shreveport, Louisana ) originally incorporated in 1926 but changed its name to Crystal Gas Storage Inc. in June 1999 and now operates as a subsidiary of El Paso Remediation Company.
Cueba Oil & Gas Company
Cueba Oil & Gas Company had a lease on 200 acres in Clay County, Texas, seven miles southeast of Petrolia in 1919, and appears to have progressed as far as selecting a drilling site and beginning rigging, but then disappears from readily available records.
Curry Pool Oil Company
Although formed in Oregon, Curry Pool Oil Company first registered to do business in north-central Texas on January 14, 1924; three months later the Breckenridge Daily American headlined in bold, “Scores of Wells in Curry Pool to be put down to Second Oil Stratum.”
Curry Pool Oil Company was among those scrambling to “rig up” and drill six-miles southwest of Breckenridge, Texas. Oil discoveries had expanded from earlier discoveries in neighboring Eastland (Ranger oilfield) and boom town Burkburnett to the east, near Wichita Falls. The Company’s No. 1 C.J. Williams well was aiming for the 3,970-foot-deep pay sand already proven by a Magnolia Company with a well producing 500 barrels of oil a day.
Additionally, Curry Pool Oil Company completed its No. 1 Compton well showing four million cubic feet of “wet gas” at 3,650 feet. By 1925, the reservoir had about 195 producing wells producing and “initial potentials” ranged from 15 barrels of oil a day to 2,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the December 1974 Journal of Petroleum Technology.
“The early wells were drilled by cable tools and completed open hole,” the journal added. “Each contained several strings of uncemented casing. The wells were stimulated with 80 to 250 quarts of nitroglycerine.” (This was often referred to as “shooting” a well.) As late as August 1926, Curry Pool Oil Company was holding shareholder meetings in Bend, Oregon. By the 1930s, most of the Curry Pool wells in Texas had been abandoned.
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. © 2020 Bruce A. Wells.