Just six months after a gusher on Spindletop Hill launched the modern petroleum industry in 1901, the Iowa-Beaumont Oil Company formed to join the boom.
Established in nearby Beaumont, Texas, on June 28, 1901, with capital stock of $500,000. the company’s leadership included respected Iowa businessmen.
In fact, the board of directors were all from Iowa: L. W. Anderson, L. A. Brewer, and H. D. Cone – all from Cedar Rapids; J. E. Fox and F. W. Brown of Belle Plain; P. C. Dings of La Porte City; E. E. Taylor of Traer; and William E. Brice of Mason City. Few had experience in the oil industry.
Brice was a wealthy railroad man and financier who became involved in a number of oil ventures and speculations.
In October, the Waterloo (Iowa) Daily Courier reported the Iowa-Beaumont Oil Company to have drilled four gushers and to be “a rich concern owning 550 acres of land, much of it in the ‘proven district’ of Beaumont.”
Brice also formed the Star Petroleum Company in 1902. Star Petroleum turned out to an obscure amalgamation of ten smaller oil companies. Within a year, the Boston Evening Transcript reported allegations that blasted Star Petroleum and Brice.
“These companies sold stock as fast as possible and only as much of the proceeds was used as was required to float the companies, the remainder going into the coffers of the promoters,” proclaimed the newspaper.
By July 2, 1906, the Texas secretary of state declared Iowa-Beaumont Oil Company’s right to do business in Texas forfeited.
Today, Iowa-Beaumont Company stock certificates occasionally appear online for sale to collectors.
Learn more history in Texas petroleum history in Spindletop creates Modern Petroleum Industry.
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.