Pawnee Bill Oil Company

Popular Oklahoma showman Maj. Gordon W. “Pawnee Bill” Lillie caught oil fever in 1918.

 

With American fighting “the war to end all wars” in Europe, a popular Oklahoma showman launched his own oil exploration and refining company.

Although not as famous as his friend Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody of Wyoming, Maj. Gordon William “Pawnee Bill” Lillie was “widely known as a showman, a teacher and friend of the Indian,” according to his biographer.

Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Bill combined western show poster circa 1910

Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Bill combined their shows from 1908 to 1913 as “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Pawnee Bill’s Great Far East.”

 Maj. Lillie was admired for being a “colonizer in Oklahoma and builder of his state,” noted Stillwater journalist Glenn Shirley in his 1958 book Pawnee Bill: A Biography of Major Gordon W. Lillie.

The two popular entertainers joined their shows in 1908 to form “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Pawnee Bill’s Great Far East,” promoted as “a glorious cavalcade of dazzling brilliancy,” noted Shirley, adding that the combined shows offered, “an almost endless procession of delightful sight and sensations.”

But times were changing as public taste turned to a new form of entertainment, motion picture shows. By 1913, the two showmen’s partnership was over and their western cavalcade foreclosed. Lillie turned to other ventures — real estate, banking, ranching, and like his former partner Cody, the petroleum industry.

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Oklahoma oilfield discoveries near Yale (population of only 685 in 1913) had created a drilling boom that made it home to 20 oil companies and 14 refineries. In 1916, Petrol Refining Company added a 1,000-barrel-a-day-capacity plant in Yale, about 25 miles south of Lillie’s ranch.

The trade magazine Petroleum Age, which had covered the 1917  “Roaring Ranger” oilfield discovery in Texas, reported that for Pawnee Bill, “the lure of the oil game was too strong to overcome.” 

Pawnee Bill Oil Company stock certficate.

Obsolete financial stock certificates with interesting histories like Pawnee Bill Oil Company are valued by collectors.

The Oklahoma showman founded the Pawnee Bill Oil Company on February 25, 1918, and bought Petrol Refining’s new “skimming” refinery in March.

An early type of refining, skimming (or topping) removed light oils, gasoline and kerosene and left a residual oil that could also be sold as a basic fuel. To meet growing demand for kerosene lamp fuel, early refineries built west of the Mississippi River often used the inefficient but simple process.

portrait of Maj. Gordon W. "Pawnee Bill" Lillie.

Maj. Gordon William “Pawnee Bill” Lillie (1860-1942).

Lillie’s company became known as Pawnee Bill Oil & Refining and contracted with the Twin State Oil Company for oil from nearby leases in Payne County.

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Under headlines like “Pawnee Bill In Oil” and “Hero of Frontier Days Tries the Biggest Game in All the World,” the Petroleum Age proclaimed:

“Pawnee Bill, sole survivor of that heroic band of men who spread the romance of the frontier days over the world…who used to scout on the ragged edge of semi-savage civilization, is doing his bit to supply Uncle Sam and his allies with the stuff that enables armies to save civilization.”

Post War Bust

By July 30, 1919, Pawnee Bill Oil (and Refining) Company had leased 25 railroad tank cars, each with a capacity of about 8,300 gallons. But the end of “the war to end all wars” drastically reduced demand for oil and refined petroleum products. Just two year later, Oklahoma refineries were operating at about 50 per cent capacity, with 39 plants shut down.

Although Lillie’s refinery was among those closed, he did not give up. In February 1921, he incorporated the Buffalo Refining Company and took over the Yale refinery’s operations. He was president and treasurer of the new company. But by June 1922, the Yale refinery was making daily runs of 700 barrels of oil, about half its skimming capacity.

Yale Oklahoma downtown scene during Pawnee Bill Oil company days

The Pawnee Bill Oil Company held its annual stockholders meetings in Yale, Oklahoma, an oil boom town about 20 miles from Pawnee Bill’s ranch.

“At the annual stockholders’ meeting held at the offices of the Pawnee Bill Oil Company in Yale, Oklahoma, in April, it was voted to declare an eight per cent dividend,” reported the Wichita Daily Eagle. “The officers and directors have been highly complimented for their judicious and able handling, of the affairs of the company through the strenuous times the oil industry has passed through since the Armistice was signed.” 

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The Kansas newspaper added that although many Independent refineries had been sold at receivers’ sale, “the financial condition of the Pawnee Bill company is in fine shape,” 

Buffalo Bill’s Shoshone Oil

What happened next has been hard to determine since financial records of the Pawnee Bill Oil Company are rare. A 1918 stock certificate signed by Lillie, valued by collectors one hundred years later, could be found selling online for about $2,500.

Maj. Gordon William “Pawnee Bill” Lillie’s friend and partner Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody also caught oil fever, forming several Wyoming oil exploration ventures, including the Shoshone Oil Company

Another legend of the Old West, lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp, in 1920 began his own search for black gold wealth on a barren piece of California scrub land. A century later, his Kern County lease still paid royalties. Learn more about his Kern County leases in Wyatt Earp’s California Oil Wells.

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Recommended Reading: Pawnee Bill: A Biography of Major Gordon W. Lillie (1958). Your Amazon purchases benefit the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.

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The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact bawells@aoghs.org. Copyright © 2024 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Pawnee Bill Oil Company.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: https://aoghs.org/stocks/pawnee-bill-oil-company. Last Updated: February 15, 2024. Original Published Date: February 24, 2017.

Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company

African American entrepreneurs began their Oklahoma oil venture in 1917.

 

Discovery of Oklahoma’s giant Healdton oilfield in August 1913 about 20 miles northwest of Ardmore launched years of investment as petroleum companies competed to secure leases and drill. In the African American community, four entrepreneurs formed the Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company.

Ardmore, Oklahoma, office of African American owned Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company in 1922.

Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company opened offices in this building on East 2nd Street in a segregated district of downtown Oklahoma City known for its prospering businesses and jazz music nightlife. Photo courtesy The Black Dispatch, Oklahoma City, April 20, 1922, Vol. 7, No. 20.

Decades of production from the Healdton oilfield would yield more than 200 million barrels of oil — but the prolific field left hundreds of forgotten petroleum companies hidden in its exploration and production history.

Oil production from the Healdton field was shallow, averaging about 1,000 feet, and the low cost of drilling attracted many small ventures that operated on capital raised by aggressive stock sales. State “Blue Sky” laws had yet to restrain advertising excesses and promotions. Competition for investors often was fierce (see Homestead Oil Company).

Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company

When a group of foundering Coffeyville, Oklahoma, investors gave up on their 100-acre oil lease in 1917, four African American entrepreneurs bought out the venture and its unfinished 1,360-foot-deep well, which had encountered “several light sands” and a water-filled borehole.

Wilson Newman, J.C. Pratt, S.M. Holland, and Heston Welborn formed the Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company, capitalized at $50,000, and set up offices on East 2nd Street in Oklahoma City.

star drilling rig of black oil company owners

Oklahoma’s Daily Ardmoreite reported on August 15, 1918, that Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company moved a Star Rig to explore for oil on land adjacent to the town of Tatums. Image from online auction sale. 

Today, East 2nd Street is the heart of the “Deep Deuce” district and is known for its historic jazz and culture. But in 1917, that part of downtown was exclusively for “coloreds,” segregated to the other side of the Santa Fe railroad tracks. It was the era of Gov. William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray’s Jim Crow laws (the Civil Rights Act was still half a century away), but along East 2nd Street African-American businesses and neighborhoods prospered.

Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company moved into offices at 319 and 321 East 2nd Street, across from the Black Dispatch weekly, established two years earlier by Roscoe Dunjee. Advertised as the “Largest circulation Negro journal in Oklahoma,” the paper soon carried Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company promotions encouraging readers to invest.

“Buy Stock in a Home Company – With Men Whom You Know at its Head…100 acres leased and shallow wells producing the high-grade of oil,” declared one ad. The company announced plans “to deepen our 1,360 foot well to the lower pay.” Early investors could get in for the bargain price of $1 a share.

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As Ardmore Lubricating Oil operations continued into June 1919, news reports for stockholders were mixed. The company completed a producing well on its 100-acre lease that yielded one barrel of oil a day of “high grade lubrication oil.” The company’s chemist predicted it would be worth $10 a barrel at a time when ordinary oil was selling for $2 dollars per barrel.

In 1920, Ardmore Lubricating Oil began moving equipment to drill a well just outside Tatums, about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City. The company announced it would build its own refinery there to process its especially valuable oil from the Healdton field. Tatums was one of about 50 all-black towns in the former Indian Territory that grew from post Civil War reconstruction. These self-segregated communities were reflective of the times; they remain as reminders of America’s struggle with race and identity.

African Americans at their Oklhoma oil well in 1930s

With a new lab opened in 1920 upstairs at its Oklahoma City offices, the company’s wells reportedly could produce “high grade lubrication oil” and “Icthyol Oil,” a salve for eczema and other skin conditions. Image from online auction sale. 

The superintendent, manager and stock salesman of the Ardmore Lubricating Oil, H.E. Baker, published a telegraphed message about the Tatums well site: “We have three wells producing the highest grade and most valuable oil found in the United States, the great drug Icthyol Oil, one of the most sought for and needed products of the world today.”

“Icthyol” was a popular European skin ointment produced from dry distillation of sulfur-rich oil shale, but Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company executives declared they could refine it from Tatums’ crude oil and process it in their own laboratory. In February 1920, the company announced a four-day grand opening to celebrate their new lab upstairs.

“The general public is cordially invited to come and see Kerosene, Automobile Oil and Icthyol,” noted an Ardmore Lubricating Oil promotion. Other ads proposed mutually beneficial business arrangements with merchants, investors, farmers, and consumers.

Increasingly creative financing and uninterrupted stock sales were needed for Ardmore Lubricating Oil to remain solvent. The Black Dispatch in 1921 praised H.E. Baker, noting his company’s “development grows by leaps and bounds…You can get into this company now on the ground floor, $10 is all that you can invest at this time for each member of the family, this will insure at the outset an equal opportunity for all, later on the hundreds of stock holders can get together and determine as to the larger plan of organization.”

"Black Gold" movie poster of all black cast in oil well movie of 1927

Tatums’ townspeople in 1927 hosted and acted in “Black Gold,” a silent picture produced by Norman Studios and featuring an “All Colored Cast.” Posters courtesy IMDB.com and Norman Studios.org. 

However, construction of the Ardmore Lubricating Oil refinery in Tatums still had not begun by August 1921. News about the company’s oil wells grew scarce as Baker sold his own leases. The last appeals for new investors appearing in the Black Dispatch were nevertheless optimistic:

“Wonderful Opportunities In Larger Faith And Deeper Hole,” proclaimed the newspaper. “To anyone with a limited amount of brains it can be seen that a little more faith and a deeper hole will bring into the hands of the Negro landholders in this section the millions of dollars, which their white neighbors all around them are reaping hourly from the derricks that have lunched great holes in the earth and are spouting liquid treasure everywhere.”

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A few years later, but too late for Ardmore Lubricating Oil, the area around Tatums did experience an oil boom that was celebrated on the big screen. In 1927, townspeople hosted the making of Black Gold, a silent picture produced by Norman Studios and distributed to all-black theaters the next year. The Florida-based studio described its movie as a “stirring epic of the oil fields” with a cast including, “U.S. Marshall L.B. Tatums. and the entire all-colored City of Tatums, Oklahoma.”

The action-packed melodrama featured Ace Brand, his sweetheart Alice, and a one-legged cowboy (named Peg), who overcame both adversity and injustice in the oil patch. While the film’s happy ending delivered an oil gusher, Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company did not.

Few financial records remain about the company, but Gateway to Oklahoma History and the Black Dispatch’s archives offer more context to this almost forgotten story from U.S. petroleum history.

The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact bawells@aoghs.org. © 2020 Bruce A. Wells.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Ardmore Lubricating Oil Company.” Author: Aoghs.org Editors. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: https://aoghs.org/stocks/ardmore-lubricating-oil-company. Last Updated: February 21, 2024. Original Published Date: July 4, 2019.

  

Meridian Petroleum Company

An experienced independent oil producer, W.D. Richardson orchestrated the merger of his own company, Lake Park Refining (incorporated 1918), with Dunn Petroleum and Davenport Petroleum to form Meridian Petroleum Company in September 1920.

Merger terms dictated one share of Dunn Petroleum for two shares Meridian Petroleum; one share of Lake Park Refining for two shares Meridian Petroleum; and one share of Davenport Petroleum Co. for 20 shares Meridian Petroleum.

Promotion for stock of Meridian Petroleum Corporation.The combined organization held assets valued at about $13 million, including refineries in Oklahoma: Okmulgee (3,500 barrel), Ponca City (2,500 barrel), and Hominy (1,500 barrel). There also were producing wells in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, as well as “promising acreage” in Wyoming.

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With offices in Kansas City, Missouri, Delaware-chartered Meridian Petroleum was capitalized at $25 million. By the end of 1920, the new company reported a net profit of $1,076,828. At the company’s annual meeting in April 1921, at least 3,000 Meridian Petroleum stockholders re-elected W.D. Richardson and the company’s officers.

“Rarely have stockholders made so plain their confidence in the management of an oil company,” noted The Oil & Gas News reported. At the same meeting, stockholders approved the issue of $2.5 million dollars in “first mortgage bonds to be used in retiring present outstanding indebtedness and to give the company additional working capital.”

Trade publications carried advertisements for Meridian Petroleum products such as “No. 1100 Straight Run Auto Oil” and “No. 22-600 S. R. Cylinder Stock (Light Green).” These and other lubricants were promoted with the Meridian motto, “The Line that Circles the World.”

But all was not well. The Oklahoma refineries depended upon crude oil deliveries, which were declining. Throughout 1921, only one of Meridian’s Petroleum’s three refineries operated at all, and it at half capacity.

A granite rock marks the spot of the first Oklahoma oil well, the Nellie Johnstone No. 1.

The first official Oklahoma oil well was completed in 1897 at Bartlesville. Photo by Bruce Wells.

Oil production from Meridian Petroleum’s own leases proved insufficient, although in July 1921, Oildom reported a hopeful development.

“The company’s big well in the Hominy district of Osage county, Oklahoma, which came in at 10,000 barrels and ceased flowing after several days, due to a caved hole, was put in commission again and was reported making 3,000 barrels natural (flow),” the publication noted.

A report in the American Investor valued the company’s stock at about 13 cents a share on the New York Curb Market in December 1921, down from a high of 22 cents a share for the year and far less than the original offering at $2 per share.

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On April 1, 1922, Meridian Petroleum defaulted on a $100,000 debt and in June, U.S. District Court appointed a receiver as the $2.5 million mortgage approved by stockholders a year earlier went into foreclosure. The company also carried unsecured debt of $600,000 and never paid a dividend.

Despite predictions of a reorganization, by 1927 Meridian Petroleum was gone for good. W.D. Richardson quickly went on to form the Richardson Refining Company, capitalized at $250,000 in November 1922.

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 Library of Congress offers further research help at Business History: A Resource Guide.

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Recommended Reading: The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power (1991). Your Amazon purchase benefits the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.

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The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact bawells@aoghs.org. Copyright © 2024 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Meridian Petroleum Company.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: https://aoghs.org/old-oil-stocks/meridian-petroleum-company. Last Updated: February 14, 2024. Original Published Date: January 29, 2016.

Ohio Oil Company

Before and after independence from the Standard Oil Company.

 

John D. Rockefeller, who in 1870 founded Standard Oil Company in Cleveland, Ohio, by 1890 had established his dominance throughout the U.S. petroleum industry — putting every small oil venture at risk. In an effort fight back, in 1887 a group independent producers founded the Ohio Oil Company in Lima. Seventy-five year later, their company became Marathon Oil. (more…)

Marathon of Ohio Oil

A 1954 well drilled by the Ohio Oil Company well reached more than four miles deep.

 

Founded in 1887 by Henry M. Ernst, the Ohio Oil Company got its exploration and production start in northwestern Ohio, at the time a leading oil producing region. Two years later,  John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust purchased the growing company — known as “The Ohio” — and in 1905 moved headquarters from Lima to Findlay.

Soon establishing itself as a major pipeline company, by 1908 the Ohio controlled half of the oil production in three states. The company resumed independent operation in 1911 following the dissolution of the Standard Oil monopoly.

The Ohio Oil Company’s exploration operations would expand into Wyoming and further westward.

Marathon of Ohio Oil motor oil advertisement

The Ohio Oil Company in 1930 purchased Transcontinental Oil, a refiner that had marketed gasoline under the trademark “Marathon” since 1920. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

In 1915, the company’s infrastructure added 1,800 miles of pipeline, as well as gathering and storage facilities, from its newly acquired Illinois Pipe Line Company. The Ohio then purchased the Lincoln Oil Refining Company to better integrate and develop more crude oil outlets.

“Ohio Oil saw the increasing need for marketing their own products with the ever increasing supply of automobiles appearing on the primitive roads,” explained Gary Drye, a collector of gas station antiques, in a 2006 forum at Oldgas.com

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The company ventured into marketing in June 1924 by purchasing Lincoln Oil Refining Company of Robinson, Illinois. With an assured supply of petroleum, the Ohio Oil’s “Linco” brand quickly expanded.

Marathon of Ohio Oil gas station

The Ohio Oil Company marketed its oil products as “Linco” after purchasing the Lincoln Oil Refinery in 1920. Undated photo of a station in Fremont, Ohio.

Meanwhile, a subsidiary in 1926 co-discovered the giant Yates oilfield in the Permian Basin of New Mexico and West Texas. “With huge successes in oil exploration and production ventures, Ohio Oil realized they needed even more retail outlets for their products,” Drye reported. By 1930, the company distributed Linco products throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky.

Marathon of Ohio Oil

In 1930 Ohio Oil purchased Transcontinental Oil, a refiner that had marketed gasoline under the trademark “Marathon” across the Midwest and South since 1920. Acquiring the Marathon product name included the Pheidippides Greek runner trademark and the “Best in the long run” slogan.

Marathon of Ohio Oil Marathon logo

Adopted in 2011, the third logo for corporate branding in Marathon Oil’s 124-year history.

According to Drye, Transcontinental “can best be remembered for a significant ‘first’ when in 1929 they opened several Marathon stations in Dallas, Texas in conjunction with Southland Ice Company’s ‘Tote’m’ stores (later 7-Eleven) creating the first gasoline/convenience store tie-in.”

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The Marathon brand proved so popular that by World War II the name had replaced Linco at stations in the original five state territory. After the war, Ohio Oil continued to purchase other companies and expand throughout the 1950s.

Ohio Oil’s California Record

As deep drilling technologies continued to advanced in the 1950s, a record depth of 21,482 feet was reached by the Ohio Oil Company in the San Joaquin Valley of California.

Marathon of Ohio Oil magazine article

Petroleum Engineer magazine in 1954 noted the well set a record despite being “halted by a fishing job.”

The deep oil well drilling attempt about 17 miles southwest of Bakersfield in prolific Kern County, experienced many challenges. A final problem led to it being plugged with cement on December 31, 1954. At more than four miles deep, down-hole drilling technology of the time was not up to the task when the drill bit became stuck.

The challenge of retrieving obstructions from deep in a well’s borehole – “fishing” – has challenged the petroleum industry since the first tool stuck at 134 feet and ruined a well spudded just four days after the famous 1859 discovery by Edwin Drake in Pennsylvania. See The First Dry Hole

In a 1954 article about deep drilling technology, The Petroleum Engineer noted the Kern County well of the Ohio Oil Company — which would become Marathon Oil — set a record despite being “halted by a fishing job.” The well was a financial lost.

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A 1953 Kern County well drilled by Richfield Oil Corporation produced oil from a depth of 17,895 feet, according to the magazine. At the time, the average U.S. cost for the nearly 100 wells drilled below 15,000 feet was about $550,000 per well. Learn more California petroleum exploration history by visiting the West Kern Oil Museum.

More than 630 exploratory wells with a total footage of almost three million feet were drilled in California during 1954, according to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists — the AAPG, established in 1917.

In 1962, celebrating its 75th anniversary, The Ohio changed its name to Marathon Oil Company and launched its new “M” in a hexagon shield logo design. Other milestones include:

1981 – U.S. Steel (USX) purchased the company.
1985 – Yates field produced its billionth barrel of oil.
1990 – Marathon opened headquarters in Houston.
2005 – Marathon became 100 percent owner of Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, which later became Marathon Petroleum Corp.
2011 – Completed a $3.5 billion investment in the Eagle Ford Shale play in Texas.

On June 30, 2011, Marathon Oil became an independent upstream company and unveiled an “energy wave” logo as it prepared to separate from Marathon Petroleum, based in Findlay. Read a more detailed history in Ohio Oil Company and visit the Hancock Historical Museum in Findlay. 

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Recommended Reading: Portrait in Oil: How Ohio Oil Company Grew to Become Marathon (1962). Your Amazon purchase benefits the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.

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The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact bawells@aoghs.org. Copyright © 2024 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Marathon of Ohio Oil.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: https://aoghs.org/stocks/marathon-ohio-oil. Last Updated: January 12, 2024. Original Published Date: December 28, 2014.

Puente Crude Oil Company

The rush for “black gold” took off in 1886, after William Rowland and partner William Lacy completed several producing oil wells at Rancho La Puente. Their company, Rowland & Lacy (later called the Puente Oil Company), revealed the Puente oilfield. News spread, launching a drilling boom.

By 1912, a host of inexperienced exploration companies were drilling more than 100 wells in the Fullerton area alone. According to reports, two of the inevitable dry hole holes that resulted were drilled by a new venture, the Puente Crude Oil Company.

Puente Crude Oil Company

Puente Crude Oil Company was one of many small ventures that hoped to find oil in southern California’s prolific oil fields near Brea Canyon and Fullerton at the turn of the century.

Puente Crude Oil Company was capitalized at only $500,000 and offered stock to the public at 10 cents a share in 1900, but its two unsuccessful wells in the Puente field’s eastern extension brought the company to a quick financial crisis. One well was lost to a “crooked hole” and the other found only traces of oil and natural gas.

Enthusiastic advertisements solicited investment. Some ads referred to the better known Sunset oil field, discovered in 1892 in Kern County to the north. By May 1901 company stock was offered at two cents per share to relieve indebtedness and enable further drilling on the company’s 870 acres in Rodeo Canyon.

One year later, San Bernardino newspapers reported the company in trouble.

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“This history of misadventure has not been pleasing to the stockholders of the Puente Crude Oil Company,” noted one article. “An auditing committee was appointed for the purpose of examining the books and accounts of the company,” it added.

Further reports in 1902 noted the company had issued no statements, “financial or otherwise,” for a year. Puente Crude Oil Company is absent from records thereafter.

South of Los Angeles, in Orange County, the Brea Museum and Heritage Center tells the story of the Olinda Oil Well No. 1 well of 1898 – one of many important California petroleum discoveries. Visit the Olinda Oil Museum and Trail at 4025 Santa Fe Road in Brea.

The stories of exploration and production (E&P) companies joining U.S. petroleum booms (and avoiding busts) can be found updated in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? 

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The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Join today as an AOGHS supporting member. Help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact bawells@aoghs.org. Copyright © 2021 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

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Much of the Puente Oil’s former oil producing land has long since been managed by the Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Preservation Authority, and in 2022 the Port of Los Angeles handled more than 220 million metric tons — 20 percent of all incoming cargo for the United States. 

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Recommended Reading:  Los Angeles, California, Images of America (2001). Your Amazon purchase benefits the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.

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The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact bawells@aoghs.org. Copyright © 2024 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Puente Crude Oil Company.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: https://aoghs.org/old-oil-stocks/puente-crude-oil-company. Last Updated: January 4, 2024. Original Published Date: July 2, 2013.

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