Old Oil Stocks – in progress M
Chances are people seeking financial information here at Old Oil Stocks – in progress M will not find lost riches – see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, which depends on donations, does not have resources to provide free research of corporate histories.
However, 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.”
Mahala Oil & Gas Company
Mahala Oil & Gas Company incorporated in Los Angeles, California, on November 19, 1919, capitalized at $500,000. Its first president was Arthur S. Westfall. John F. Strauhal was secretary. The company began drilling in September 1920 at a wildcat site on the eastern end of California’s Puente Hills. This San Bernardino County well east of Corona on the “Longway Around Trail” reached more than 3,700 feet deep in less than a year using a cable-tool rig instead of the more modern rotary drilling technology (see Making Hole article). It was a California record for its time
By October 1921 the well had reached 3,775 feet with a show of natural gas. The company is credited with discovery of the Mahala oilfield, which would one day yield about 150,000 barrels of oil and is cited by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists as representing “the only significant oil accumulation in San Bernardino County.”
San Bernardino County is the largest county in the United States by area. By January 1922 the company had begun drilling its second well which at one time tested at 12 barrels of oil an hour. On March 17, 1922, Mahala Oil & Gas increased its capitalization to $1 million with further stock sales to continue operations.
Unable to bring in commercial quantities of oil from its Well No. 1, the company began to fail. Gulf Pacific Oil Company also tried to make the well a producer, but was similarly unsuccessful and gave up the attempt in 1923. Mahala Oil & Gas Company’s wildcat gambles failed and so did the company.
Mary Owens Oil Company
Mary Owens Oil Company published enthusiastic newspaper ads to solicit investors, but left little else behind. The Texas Railroad Commission may have better records since the company was indeed active in the Humble Oilfield in Harris County on the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas.
The oilfield was largely depleted when Mary Owens Oil searched for both petroleum and investors after World War I. The company’s Texas newspaper advertisements included one in the July 18, 1918, Bridgeport Telegram that proclaimed:
“Small Investors Reap Rich Returns…Probably in no other business in the world have such staggering profits been made as in the Fascinating, Fast and Furious Business of Oil Producing… Big Special Offer on the Mary Owens Oil Company – A Going Producing Company Which Has Passed the Uncertain Initial States. $100 of Stock for $80 – Easy Terms.”
Another ad in the May 16, 1919, El Paso Herald extolled: “$30,000 PROFITS on each $100 an actual record; $5 or $10 monthly may bring you quick money in going company with 11 producing wells, refinery, and hundreds acres of rich holdings; thousands in profits divided last year; opportunity open to every man and woman for short time; free particulars tell you how; act today. Mary Owens Oil Company, Houston, Texas.”
McTon Oil Company
As early as 1917, the McTon Oil Company was drilling in the Healdton oilfield near Lawton, Oklahoma, and was still a viable company in 1919 when it began drilling a test well (Ridley No. 1) near Kingston in Hunt County, Texas.
The company also drilled at least six wells in the Creek-Okmulgee-Wagoner district but lost its charter to do business in Oklahoma July 2, 1920. In 1922 the company lost a “laborer’s and material man’s lien” in an extended court battle and left no further drilling records.
Merit Energy Corporation
Obsolete Merit Energy Corporation certificates held by the Depository Trust Company (DTC) were destroyed of May 1, 2015. On January 22, 2003, DTC had announced plans to implement a new service that allowed the depository to destroy certain certificates representing positions in securities for which transfer agent services were no longer available (Notice B#3834 for Non-Transferable Securities Certificates).
The Destruction of Non-Transferable Securities Certificates Program was introduced to address the costs and risk relating to the increasing percentage of non-transferable physical certificates in the depository’s vault. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the DTC filing on June 28, 2004, and DTC instituted the certificate destruction process – including those of Merit Energy.
Meteor Oil & Gas Company
Meteor Oil & Gas Company was one of about 300 natural gas and oil companies that sprang up within six months of the August 30, 1919, discovery by S.J. Brendel and David Foster of the famed “Snake Hollow Gusher” southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The runaway natural gas well, which erupted near McKeesport in North Versailles township, produced more than 60 million cubic feet of natural gas every day. The well prompted a drilling frenzy that saw $35 million dollars invested during the boom’s brief lifespan.
“Like flowers sprouting from a magician’s hat, new derricks shot up about the fabulous well, known as the Snake Hollow Gusher,” noted the Pittsburgh Press in a July 15, 1935, retrospective article, A Seven-Month Wonder, gas gusher in 1919 started city’s boom era. “Twenty-two thousand drills, almost over-night, were pricking the hard clay over an area of less than nine square miles cradled on two sides by the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers.”
Speculative exploration ventures enticed investors with enthusiastic advertisements in January and February 1920, with West Virginia, newspapers like The West Virginian (Fairmont) and the Wheeling Intelligencer, which proclaimed, “Not Another Opportunity Like This in the Great McKeesport Gas Field. Just Think Of Five Wells and Hundreds of People Today Are Getting Rich Off One Well!”
Newly formed companies like McKeesport Gas Company and Meteor Oil & Gas Company ran ads seeking investors; some examples can be found by searching the online collection of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America, Historic American Newspapers.
“Many residents signed leases for drilling on their land,” reported one observer. “They bought and sold gas company stock on street corners and in barbershops transformed into brokerage houses” in anticipation of fortunes to be made. But of the estimated $35 million sunk into the nine square mile area of the boom, only about $3 million came out.
The McKeesport gas field was reported as “the scene of the Pittsburgh district’s biggest boom and loudest crash.” Meteor Oil & Gas Company likely drilled some of the boom’s 441 dry holes and with funds exhausted, disappeared into history. The company’s stock certificates may have collectible value.
Mexican Oil & Coal Company
The Mexican Oil and Coal Company ceased paying taxes due to the state of Delaware in 1932 and on January 19, 1934, its charter to do business was forfeited.
Mid-Central Oil & Minerals Company
Mid-Central Oil and Minerals Company appears briefly in 1958, principally in newspapers advertising its common stock as a new offering for $1 per share and declaring, “The company is engaged in the exploration of its property located in Niobrara County, Wyoming, Kingman County, Kansas, and San Juan County, New Mexico, for oil, gas and uranium.”
From its Denver office the company filed with the Utah Oil & Gas Conservation Commission to drill a wildcat well in Emery County in anticipation of securing sufficient investment funding to proceed. But by October the proposed site had been abandoned and Utah’s efforts to contact Mid-Central Oil & Minerals Company were unsuccessful. It is probable that sales of the company’s stock did not generate sufficient money to continue, a common fate of many oil exploration ventures.
Mid-Texas Petroleum Company
In late 1921, Mid-Texas Petroleum Company drilled the E.L. Baldwin No. 1 well, which was reported to be “good for 1,000 barrels of oil and 8,000,000 feet of gas” south of Eliasville, Texas.
The company’s Graham No. 1 well was also a producer. In a declining quarter for the oilfield, two of the company’s wells in Young County nonetheless produced more than 6,000 barrels of oil. The company was successful enough with investors that on December 5, 1922, Mid-Texas Petroleum and its producing properties in Young County became part of the Seaboard Oil and Gas Company.
Milwaukee Electra Oil Development Company
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 20, 1918, a group of investors with properties near booming Electra, Texas, met and formed the Milwaukee Electra Oil Development Company.
Wisconsin granted a charter and within a week a new exploration venture, the Electra Texas Oil Lands Company, was seeking investors.
“The regular sales meeting will be held at 8:15 Monday night at our office, at which the plan will be explained and the territory described by visitors from the field,” the new company advertised. “The price raise will also be announced. Better attend this meeting.”
Like many newly formed exploration companies that flocked to central Texas (especially following the 1917 “Roaring Ranger” well), Electra Milwaukee Electra Oil Development Company did not last.
Minnesota Victoria Oil Company
Minnesota Victoria Oil Company formed on November 16, 1926, as a “Consumers’ Cooperative” in Victoria, Minnesota, to supply of gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, liquified petroleum gas, and lubricants to member-customers. Participants in the cooperative shared annually in savings accrued from the increased buying power. The company prospered for many years. On June 11, 1998, it merged with another cooperative oil association, the Mid-County Coop of Cologne, about 10 miles southwest of Victoria. The Mid-County Coop had been founded in 1935 with 89 stockholders as a petroleum product supplier for Carver County, Minnesota.
Mississippi Oil Company
In November 1906, a Cincinnati, Ohio, investor asked editors of a popular financial journal about the fortunes of the Mississippi Oil Company of Beaumont, Texas, where a drilling boom had launched the modern petroleum industry a few years earlier. American Investor reported on Beaumont’s growth following the 1901 Spindletop Hill discovery as speculative oil companies formed to exploit the find. Regarding Mississippi Oil’s fortunes, the publication reported that “the Texas franchise tax and penalty remain unpaid in 1903…their stock is considered valueless.”
Monarch Vacuum Petroleum Company
A group of New York businessmen incorporated Monarch Vacuum Petroleum Company in Delaware on Novermber 1, 1917, with capitalization of $1 million and property in Lee County, Kentucky, near the Ashley farm and the Sign Board oilfield.
By June 1918, Monarch Vacuum Petroleum was offered on the Kentucky Oil Exchange for $1.75 per share while oil was selling for about $2 a barrel. The Sign Board field was the site of “mob violence” in 1918, when the Southwestern Petroleum Company and “adverse claimants” fought over mineral rights. Although Monarch Vacuum was not specifically cited in newspapers covering the dispute, “We would not advise a purchase of this company’s stock,” noted the American Investor.
Monarch Vacuum Petroleum brought in two small producers on the Hall-Burke tract near Zachariah in Lee County. Some 1919 records reflect another small producer on the Hall-Burke tract and a dry hole drilled in Wayne County. Another well in 1920 yielded only seven barrels a day.
Monroe Prospect Company
The Oklahoma Historical Society’s Gateway to Oklahoma History provides access to
the “Drumright Evening Derrick, Vol. 4, No. 200, Ed. 1, Wednesday, September 11, 1918” Sequence 6 is this contemporary newspaper promotion for Monroe Prospect Company.
Montana Belle Oil & Gas Company
Although successful oil wells had been drilled as early as 1901, oil fever arrived in Montana with the October 1915 discovery of the Elk Basin oilfield in Carbon County. More discoveries came at the Cat Creek oilfield in 1920 and in the Kevin-Sunburst oilfield of 1922, both of which motivated businessmen in Miles City to form the Montana Bell Oil & Gas Company. They filed to do business in the state on March 8, 1924, but their timing was terrible.
In the last few months of 1924 alone, a financial crisis described by Montana’s superintendent of banks as a “veritable nightmare” closed 191 banks. Between 1921 and 1926, no state had more bankruptcies than Montana. Newspapers reported in 1924 reported “the tremulous activity” of Montana Belle Oil that “may be expected in this country within the year, unless present plans halted.”
Nonetheless, Montana Belle Oil & Gas was able to secure a mineral lease from Adolph F. Loesch west of Miles City in April 1926. The company selected a drilling site for its first well in typically foreboding southeast Montana (see Public Land Survey System, Northeast Quarter of Section 28, Township 8 North, Range 45 East). Drilling the wildcat well during hard financial times and in a remote location slowed progress. Legal issues also troubled the company, according to the Billings Gazette.
“With the settlement of differences arising without recourse to the courts, the officers of the Montana Belle Oil & Gas company are preparing to proceed,” the newspaper reported in January 1928. “Drilling in the Montana Belle Oil and Gas company well, located about twelve miles west of this city is proceeding 24 hours a day.”
When a depth of 1,035 feet had been reached, the Gazette reported the company objective to be a depth of 1,750 feet, “in accordance with the report of the geologist who has made a survey and examination of the earth stratas, and at which it is expected that results will follow. Gas is also in evidence in the hole.”
Investors and stockholders were encouraged that the well was “showing some light oil though not in commercial quantities.” But on October 24, 1929 – “Black Thursday” – the U.S. stock market crashed, announcing the onset of the Great Depression. Five years after incorporating, Montana Belle Oil and Gas Company’s only oil well shut down for the winter that December. It reportedly had reach the impressive depth of 4,562 feet, but drilling never resumed.
Montana Belle Oil and Gas Company failed in 1930, as did Miles City’s oil refinery and many other Montana businesses. The first Montana first oil well had been drilled three decades earlier in the Kintla Lake area, now part of Glacier National Park. Learn more Montana petroleum history in Montana’s first oil well was drilled at Kintla Lake in 1901.
Montana-Canadian Oil Company
In 1917 Anaconda Copper Mining Company sought natural gas to fire its smelting operations in Great Falls, Butte and other northern Montana towns. The company acquired the Montana-Canadian Oil Company, which had incorporated on July 22, 1914, in Butte.
The oil company was successfully operating in the Sweet Grass field, about 70 miles north of Great Falls, near the border with Canada. The Anaconda Copper Mining deal required Montana-Canadian Oil Company stockholders to exchange their certificates for shares in Anaconda Copper Mining stock and equity.
If the stockholder named on the certificate failed to present it for exchange, the shares would have been canceled on the books and any remaining value turned over to the unclaimed property division of the owner’s state. Engineering & Mining Journal declared the deal to be “advantageous and satisfactory to the stockholders.”
Anaconda Copper Vice President C.F. Kelley had confidence in the new subsidiary, which had drilled two “gassers” in the Sweet Grass field prior to acquisition. Kelley’s plan was to create two new companies from Montana-Canadian’s extensive lease holdings and assets: one to develop and operate gas wells, another to construct required pipelines and market the product.
But as World War I continued, the plans were never carried out. Engineering and Mining Journal noted, “it is likely that the construction of the pipelines will be delayed until after the war, as it is practically impossible to secure pipe now at any price.”
Then the two natural gas wells’ impressive initial flows dwindled. The next well was a dry hole. Anaconda Copper Mining turned to the Big Horn area to search for natural gas to meet its smelting needs, abandoning Kelley’s plans to break up the new subsidiary Montana-Canadian Oil Company. In August 1924 Montana-Canadian Oil Company sued Gladys-Bell Oil Company (Tulsa) for $360,000 in a Sweet Grass field breach of contract case, but six years later the state of Montana reported Montana-Canadian Oil Company as a “voluntary dissolution.”
Motex Oil Company
By 1922, Motex Oil Company was bankrupt and in receivership when its stockholders were offered a deal by Revere Oil Company. For each share of Motex Oil, the stockholder could receive one share of Revere at no cost, but was required to purchase additional Revere shares at $1 each in an amount equal to 25 percent of their old Motex Oil holdings.
Revere Oil was the creation of famed and fraudulent Arctic explorer Dr. Frederick Cook – read about him in Arctic Explorer Turns Oil Promoter. Subsequent indictments of Cook noted: “In March 1921 the promoters, it is charged, entered upon a ‘so-called merger plan,’ each merger resulting in the acquisition of additional lists of stockholders who were advised in extravagantly phrased circulars and letters of the merger and promised safety from loss in their investment in the old company.”
“We should think it a very foolish step on your part to purchase stock of the Revere Oil Company under such basis that which is offered to the stockholders of the Motex Oil Company,” advised the United States Investor on June 17, 1922.
Multiple Dome Oil Company
Salt Lake City’s Deseret News responded to a query about Multiple Dome Oil Company in January 1983, explaining that the company had gone out of business 20 years earlier. The newspaper called the stock worthless, not having been traded since the demise of Multiple Dome Oil.
Muskogee Oil & Gas Company
Although Muskogee Oil & Gas Company’s 1904 incorporation documents are posted online, including details of its formation, organizers, stock and capitalization, the documents do not address the company’s ultimate history. Other pages on the AOGHS website can help, e.g.; Oklahoma Territory oil booms and companies that competed with Muskogee Oil in the risky “wildcatting” days of the early 20th century following the 1901 Spindletop oilfield discovery in Texas.
To view Muskogee Oil & Gas Company’s original incorporation documents, start with Oklahoma Historical Society’s main webpage – select “Research Center” then “Records” from the pull down tab. On the Records page, see “Territorial Records” and under that, “Territorial Incorporation Records 1890-1907.” Selecting the “search” option then allows input of an “Entry Number.” For Muskogee Oil & Gas, the entry number is 680 to view the company’s incorporation records. The 1904 incorporation date corresponds with an Oklahoma Geological Survey report of a surge in activity in the Muskogee oilfield’s Townsite Pool, where “between thirty and forty wells were drilled.”
However, the Townsite Pool was found to be small, and within a year production dwindled and drilling was suspended. This epitaph appeared in the Muskogee Daily Phoenix: MASTER’S SALE. In the United States Court for the Indian Territory, Western District, at Muskogee. (No. 5038) A.S. Houck Plaintiff, against The Muskogee Oil &, Gas Co., Defendants. Public notice is hereby given, that, in pursuance of a decree made and entered by said Court, in the above entitled cause, on the 3rd day of February, A. D. 1905, Thomas A. Sanson, Master In Chancery of said Court, will, on Saturday, the 28th day of October, A. D., 1905, at the hour of two o’clock in the afternoon, at the front door of the court house in Muskogee, in this district, sell at public auction, to the highest and best bidder, all and singular, the property in said decree mentioned, to wit: All of the right, title and interest of the defendant corporation.
Mutual Consolidated Petroleum Corporation
Mutual Consolidated Petroleum Corporation of Los Angeles formed on March 9, 1925, with capitalization of $500,000. The company experienced at least some success, completing a well in 1930. The No. 2 Langham well in Gray County, Texas, produced 200 barrels of oil a day.
However, on September 6, 1932, the district court in Potter County, Texas, ordered all Mutual Consolidated Petroleum assets sold to satisfy debts to creditors, including, “land, the oil and gas wells thereon and all buildings, appurtenances and other property and equipment situated thereon and used in connection with the operation of said oil and gas wells.” California’s Tax Commissioner suspended the company’s charter on November 1, 1932. Learn about southern California’s petroleum history in Discovering Los Angeles Oilfields.
Mutual Oil & Development Company
In the 1920s, Mutual Oil & Development Company drilled a well near Oil Creek in Fremont County, Colorado. It was an exploratory well on public land authorized under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920. Today, the stream is known as “Fourmile Creek,” but it was known then as Oil Creek, about 50 miles west of the Florence oilfield, discovered in 1881 and one the oldest commercial fields in the United States (another was an 1892 oil discovery in Neodesha, Kansas).
However, Mutual Oil & Development ran into legal trouble while seeking investors. The company was banned from selling stock in Kentucky while under investigation for violation of the state’s Blue Sky laws regulating the offering and sale of securities to protect the public from fraud. On December 9, 1925, Colorado’s Steamboat Pilot reported details about the company’s exploratory well.
“Mutual Oil & Development Company is running casing in its Oil Creek test, Fremont County, depth of hole 3,172 feet,” the newspaper noted. On January 20, 1926, it added, “Hole is now 42 feet in the formation and is bottomed at 3,216 feet,” where it intercepted “water under artesian pressure.” There was no oil or natural gas at the well, which become known as the Park Center Well, but there was litigation about the water. Ultimately, the courts granted to the federal government “a reserved water right to the entire flow of water from the well” in 1936.
Mutual Oil Union Company
“This is the railroad man’s Oil Company, proclaims an ad for the Mutual Oil Union Company. “It is owned and managed by them – that is why it is called ‘UNION.’” Mutual Oil Union’s stock was offered at $1.25 per share declaring, “The great fortunes of the world were made by investing in development companies, and not by day’s labor.”
R.M. Smythe’s Obsolete American Securities and Corporations reported Mutual Oil Union stock to have no value as of 1901.
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. © 2019 Bruce A. Wells.