Treasure State Oil & Gas Company (a.k.a. Treasure State Oil Company) had a brief but extensively advertised life as an oil exploration company. It was a venture headed by Frank Hoopes, a former Oklahoma City real estate developer and advertising manager for the Daily Oklahoman newspaper. Hoopes incorporated the company in Oklahoma in January 1917, and soon followed it up by incorporating the Wonder State Petroleum Company. The ad man also launched Proven Lease Oil Company.
Hoopes promoted his companies with expensive, full-page newspaper advertisements. Lots of them. They all urged investors to act quickly. He also happened to be president of the Oklahoma City Ad Club.
The ads – which targeted both unwary investors and oil industry speculators – ran in newspapers like the Oklahoma City Times, Daily Ardmoreite, Muskogee Times-Democrat, Wichita Daily Eagle, El Paso Morning News, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They artfully proclaimed:
“Six Big Paying Producing Wells Now…Production Nearly 100 bbls. Per day now… Production should be 200 bbls. per day by January 1.” (Daily Ardmoreite, November 18, 1917);
“Practically every share of Treasure State stock has been sold through the United States mail, and not by the usual method of smooth-tongued salesmen.” (Oklahoma City Times, December 1, 1917);
“Here’s the Fairest, Squarest Oil Proposition You Ever Read – Practically no Risk – Immense Profits Almost Sure” (Wichita Daily Eagle, December 9, 1917);
“A safe investment with sure dividends” – “A chance for 10 to 1 in real genuine profits” — “Actual Cash Earning Now 2% a month” (El Paso Morning Times, May 5, 1918);
“Play the Oil Game On This Great 50-50 Plan – Half Cash and let your Dividends Pay Balance” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 5, 1918).
However, a prominent trade magazine scolded Hoopes and his sales pitches. “Another method of the promoter is to sell a form of pre-organization stock to prominent business men for about one-fifth the price at which it is to be offered to the public,” noted the September 18, 1918, National Petroleum News.
“The majority of the business men named by Frank Hoopes of Oklahoma City in his advertising of the Treasure State Oil Company, secured their stock at a special price,” the magzine added. “Hoopes then featured them in his advertising as stockholders, but without informing the public at the same time of the real terms under which they and secured their shares.”
Amidst these extensive stock selling campaigns, Treasure State Oil & Gas Company did drill a few wells, including a dry hole in Kay County, near Newkirk, and another in Grady County. One well did show for gas but apparently did not produce commercial quantities.
Frank Hoopes career continued, even if his oil exploration companies did not reach expectations. By May 1919, he was with Reliable Oil Investments in Oklahoma City, selling Pawnee-Osage Oil & Gas Company stock (it went into receivership on January 21, 1925).
The stories of exploration and production companies trying to join petroleum booms (and avoid 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.