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Archive for the 'Petroleum Companies' Category

 

Chances are people seeking financial information here at Old Oil Stocks – in progress “D” will not find lost riches – see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, which depends on your 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.”

D.M. Simon Oil & Gas Company

D.M. Simon Oil and Gas Company incorporated in Pennsylvania on September 13, 1950. Fourteen years later, shareholders voted to dissolve the corporation and the Pennsylvania regulators issued a certificate of dissolution dated November 10, 1964.

Dallas Oil Company of Texas

“WHEREAS, Alexander R. Abrahams, Tax Commissioner on behalf of the Tax Department of the State of Delaware, has reported to me a list of corporations which for two years preceding such report have failed to pay the taxes assessed against them and due by them under the laws of this State…NOW, THEREFORE, I, DAVID P. BUCKSON, Governor of the State of Delaware, do hereby issue this proclamation according to the provisions of Sections 511 and 512 of Title 8 of the Delaware Code of 1953, as amended, and do hereby declare under this act of the Legislature that the charters of the following corporations, reported as aforesaid, are repealed: Dallas Oil Company of Texas, Inc. IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I, David P. Buckson, Governor of the State of Delaware, have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal to be hereunto affixed this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and eighty-fifth.”

Delaware Union Oil Company

Delaware Union Oil Company was capitalized at $5 million principally from New York and London investors. In 1911 the company – with wells producing 35,000 barrels of oil a month – acquired property in California’s Fullerton oilfield from the Graham-Loftus Oil Company for $1.3 million. In December Felix Chappellet was appointed superintendent of the Fullerton property, which was formerly owned by William Payne Whitney, the Waterbury Wire Rope Company and other New York and London firms. This property was sold to the General Petroleum Company in May 1912.

Denton-Eastland Oil Company

In 1921 Denton-Eastland Oil Company drilled into the famed Ranger oilfield in Texas – but investors’ hopes ended when drilling reached a depth of 3,460 feet in June with no show of oil. The company’s first and only well (No. 1 Moore) was abandoned as a dry hole. Read about the “Roaring Ranger” well and other North Texas discoveries in Pump Jack Capital of Texas and Boom Town Burkburnett.

Desoto Oil Company

Desoto Oil Company was organized just seven years after the birth of America’s commercial oil industry in Titusville, Pennsylvania. A stock certificate may have value to scripophily collectors but not as a negotiable security. Pennsylvania State Archives (record group RG-26, records of the Department of State, 1-1485 box 30) contains a July 10, 1866, Desoto Oil Company “charter and list of subscribers” may offer additional research leads.

DeSoto Oil Company

The Ohio secretary of state reported DeSoto Oil Company of Lewisburg dissolved March 21, 1921 – and the DeSoto Oil Company of Cleveland incorporated two-weeks later (April 6, 1921) with capital stock of $150,000. In 1920, the same entrepreneurs (listed only as Jollay, Bloomfield, Grolle, Henderson and Paxton) also incorporated Peerless Products Company for bituminous products (Jollay and Grolle); the American Electric Refrigerator Company (Grolle, Bloomfield and Paxton); and The Auto Tire & Gauge Company (Jollay, Bloomfield and Grolle.).  None of these companies appear to have survived. Similarly, Ohio records show Tioga Oil & Gas Company of Cleveland incorporated November 23, 1920, with capital stock of $ million but nothing thereafter.

Detroit Oil & Refining Company

Detroit Oil and Refining Company appears to be a short-lived entity of the previously formed Dattner Oil & Refining Company, also of Detroit. Between June and November 1920, the Oil and Gas News reported on Dattner Oil’s progress as this company drilled four miles southwest of Bowling Green, Kentucky. It brought in a 30-barrels-of-oil-a-day producer that prompted construction of three 350-barrel storage tanks and the drilling of four additional wells.

Dattner Oil & Refining Company then temporarily lost its charter to do business, but was reinstated in April 1921. This notwithstanding, within two months Dattner Oil & Refining filed to change its name to Detroit Oil and Refining Company. Detroit Oil and Refining Company left few accessible records until being reported out of business in 1926 by the Marvin Scudder Manual of Extinct or Obsolete Companies.

Dominion Oil Company – see Middle States Oil Corporation

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Arkansas oil discoveries as early as the 1920s created boom towns and launched the state’s petroleum industry. In the 1950s, Arkansas Oil Ventures would try but fail to be part of a drilling resurgence.

Arkansas’ first commercial oil well was drilled in 1921 at El Dorado in Union County, 15 miles north of the Louisiana border. The 68-square-mile field will lead U.S. oil output by 1925 – with production reaching 70 million barrels.

When another well revealed the Smackover field, Arkansas oil fever began. It would last for decades. The Fayetteville Shale, a 50-mile-wide formation across central Arkansas, promised large quantities of natural gas. Petroleum technologies of the time could not economically produced it. Read more in Arkansas Oil and Gas Boom Towns.

Although glory days of Arkansas oil production dropped from about 58 million barrels of oil in 1926 to 12 million barrels by 1932, a dozen more major fields were discovered between 1936 and 1947. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Joe B. Turman Oil Syndicate

California became a major oil producing state in the 1920s thanks to oilfield discoveries including Signal Hill, Santa Fe Springs and Huntington Beach.

In November 1921, Union Oil Company completed a well producing 2,500 barrel of oil a day near Santa Fe Springs, California. The discovery at a depth of 3,763 feet prompted a flurry of speculation and leasing – especially because of a major discovery earlier that year a few miles to the south at Signal Hill.

By the start of 1922, 24 exploration companies were drilling at Santa Fe Springs – after scrambling to secure leases close to the Union Oil gusher (Section 5, Township 3 South, Range 11 West), today near the intersection of Telegraph Road and Bloomfield Avenue. By acting quickly to get close to proven production, these companies found it easier to interest investors.

Joe B. Turman Oil Syndicate

Discovered by Union Oil Company in November 1921 near Los Angeles, the Santa Fe Springs oilfield attracted competing exploration companies.

That summer, Joe B. Turman had leased property in the adjacent Section 6 and launched his organization. To get in on the anticipated bonanza,Turman investors purchased “units,” each of which represented one five-thousandths (0.0002 percent) interest in the net proceeds of all oil and gas produced.

By August 1922 his company (also known as “Joseph/Jos. B Turman No. 2”) had secured sufficient funding and begun drilling in the new Santa Fe Springs oilfield. With one well underway and two more planned, sales of units remained critical. The California State Mining Bureau recorded monthly progress as Joe B. Turman’s rotary rig drilled deeper.

The Santa Ana Register of April 12, 1923, included a help wanted ad for sales agents: “Lady Solicitors Wanted To Represent Joe B. Turman Oil Syndicate in Orange and Santa Ana. Hustlers make big money, why not you?”

In March, the California Mining Bureau’s report declared, “The Santa Fe Springs field has a daily production equal to nearly one-half the entire production of the State of Oklahoma, California’s closest competitor for first honors in the production of petroleum.”

The Santa Fe Springs oilfield alone produced more than 81 million barrels in 1923. The production joined that from Signal Hill’s Long Beach field and the Huntington Beach oilfield.

The Eureka state’s natural oil seeps had attracted petroleum exploration companies since the first California oil well in 1876 and the discovery of the Los Angeles oilfields in 1893.

But despite Turman’s abundant unit sales, his drilling operation soon ran into technical difficulties. The Joe B. Turman No. 1 well got stuck at a depth of 3,660 feet – “frozen” in driller parlance of the time.

“When mudding through drill pipe, by circulation, the lower portion of the drill pipe is apt to be broken off, thereby causing a bad fishing job and endangering the hole…restricted mud circulation tends to freeze the drill pipe,” noted one expert about the process of fishing in petroleum wells.

It was the end of that well and plans for others as legal troubles began for the Joe B. Turman Oil Syndicate.

As court documents would later disclose, the syndicate had oversold its units in an “amount far in excess of the requirements of the drilling contract, and even far in excess of the total issue authorized.”

Officers reportedly “converted large sums to their own use,” the court documents noted, agreeing with a jury’s finding “that the whole scheme was conceived in fraud and was consummated through the misuse of the mail.”

On April 14, 1924, Turman was fined $50,000 and sentenced to three years in the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Crystal Petroleum Products Corporation  incorporated in Los Angeles on December 5, 1921, and in Las Vegas on  November 17, 1922, with capitalization of $1 million and “the purpose of conducting an oil-refining business, and to manufacture gasoline and petroleum products.”

The company’s secret, patented refining innovation was known as the “Crystal” process, and claimed “a far greater percentage of recovery of all products is made from the crude than by cracking.”

The Oil Trade Journal’s November 1922  issue reported on the new company noting, “New California Refinery to Use Crystal Process” and that it “had broken ground on a 60-acre tract a few miles north of Long Beach, California  where it will erect a refinery.”

In addition to a capital stock offering, the company also issued $100 Participation Operation Certificates which entitled the holder to a discount of 10 percent on all purchases of the company’s products such as its T-N-T brand gasoline.

In 1923, the Oil Trade Journal praised the company. “New Refinery at Long Beach Model of It’s Kind  – Layout of Equipment at Plant of Crystal Petroleum Products Corp. Called Perfect by Engineers,” the publication reported. The engineers were wrong.

Whatever the “Crystal” refining process was, it left no trace in patent records and did not yield the company’s hoped for competitive advantage.

Crystal Petroleum registered a unique trademark for its "Motor Fuel Oil" but few petroliana collectors have ever seen it.

Crystal Petroleum registered a unique trademark for its “Motor Fuel Oil” – but few petroliana collectors have seen it.

The T-N-T brand logo is almost as rare, according to collectors of petroliana, antiques related to gas stations and the oil business.

Crystal Petroleum Products Corporation did not succeed and was both inactive and insolvent prior to February 1928, when California’s Third District Court of  Appeals recorded Crystal Petroleum Products’ $212,000 debt against its $75,000 asset valuation for “manufacturing plant  and other property.”

Obsolete Crystal Petroleum Products Corporation stock certificates and Participation Operation Certificates occasionally appear for sale on Scripophily sites.

Learn more about Los Angeles oil history.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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AOGHS-LogoChances are people seeking financial information here at Old Oil Stocks – in progress “C” 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.”

Caledonia Oil & Gas Company

Cyrus Doyle, a resident of the village of Caledonia, Ohio, founded the Caledonia Oil & Gas Company in 1918 to explore natural gas seeps found in his area for many years. The company had $30,000 capitalization with officers L.C. Donnenwirth, T.J. Pittman, Homer E. Johnson, B.F. Waples, and Silas T. Doyle.

Caledonia Oil & Gas leased 174 acres on the Frank G. Ulsh farm near Caledonia (Marion County) in late 1918 and began drilling one mile west of Caledonia and just south of today’s U.S. Route 30. Primary consideration for the site was its proximity to a main road and nearby gas seeps. The well, named the Ulsh No. 1, was completed as a small producer after being “shot” with 100 quarts of nitroglycerin (learn more in Shooters a “Fracking” History).

Caledonia Oil &Gas exploited its initial success, drilling two new wells nearby that yielded 25 barrels of oil a day and 20 barrels of oil a day, respectively. In June 1919, the company drilled its sixth well and found a natural gas flow estimated to be up to 3 million cubic feet per day.

Caledonia Oil & Gas Company wells produced $135,000 in oil before encroaching salt water ruined all them. The Democratic Banner of Mount Vernon, Ohio (October 10, 1922) reported: “The Caledonia oil fields near here, which at one time showed good prospects, but which in recent years has simmered down to practically no output, will pass out of existence with the dissolution of tho Caledonia Oil and Gas Company this month, it is announced here.”

Legal disputes and litigation frequently accompanied the scramble to exploit newly discovered oil and natural gas reserves; Caledonia Oil & Gas was no exception. Lease assignments, claims, and counter-claims, resulted in Frank Ulsh lodging three separate suits against competing entities, looking for $55,000 compensation. The case was decided against him, but not until 1928.

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.

Columbia Oil and Refining Company

Columbia Oil & Refining appears to be a short-lived venture, listed in the International Petroleum Register’s Yearly Directory as having organized 1918 with leases on 280 Acres in Texas’ Stephens and Erath counties. A Stephens County oil boom likely prompted the formation of Columbia Oil & Refining Company among dozens of others. Few succeeded. The Texas Railroad Commission and Texas Secretary of State can provide further research (for a fee); the International Petroleum Register notes only that by 1922, “a recent letter to this company was returned unclaimed” and nothing thereafter. The very small lease made the venture even more risky. Columbia Oil & Refining had offices in Dallas’ prestigious Main Street Slaughter Building, which also did not survive (demolished 1941).

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.

Continental National Oil & Refining Company

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.

Cressler Petroleum Company

Elmer E. Cressler of Wichita was a well-known Kansas oilman when he formed Cressler Petroleum Company in 1920 with $1 million capitalization. He had already served as president of both Liberty Pipe Line & Refining as well as the A-1 Oil Company. His success with A-1 Oil gained him a place in the 1918 Illustrated Directory of Kansas Oil Men.

W. A. Stout came from Liberty to join Cressler in the new venture. Contemporary oilmen sometimes referred to Cressler’s new company as “Liberty Pipe Line” or “Boyle & Stout” from its oilfield origins. With $600,000 in stock subscribed and $400,000 worth of stock in the treasury, Cressler Petroleum Company set out to exploit sub-leases and royalties from Butler County’s Fox-Bush field.

Cressler Petroleum drilled its Blankenship No. 1 well in the Fox-Bush oilfield and was “reported to have a hole full of oil and is getting ready to go on the pump.” The company quickly rigged up two more wells on the Blankenship lease. You can locate the site using Google Earth or other maps which include a PLSS layer (Public Land Survey System.) Oil Distribution News located the well site in the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 9, Township 26 South, Range 8 East (on the south side of Highway 54 halfway between Rosalia and Reece).

On May 11, 1921, E.E. Cressler died suddenly of heart failure at age 60. His obituaries acknowledged his “thorough knowledge of the business and his almost uncanny prediction of conditions“ as well as the successful wildcat drilling that made him a millionaire. Cressler’s long-time associate and partner J.H. McCallum was chosen to manage the Cressler family interests, but Cressler Petroleum Company disappears from records soon afterwards.

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.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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 AOGHS-LogoChances are people seeking financial information here at Old Oil Stocks – in progress B will not find lost riches – see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, which depends on donations, simply 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.”

Badger Oil & Gas Company

Information about Badger Oil and Gas Company’s 1938-39 drilling efforts in St. Clair and Randolph Counties, Illinois, is available at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The Illinois State Geological Survey (Vol. Nos. 23-38, 1938-1939) has been digitized. A Google search for “oil and gas drilling report (1959)” will deliver the correct document (despite the “1959”), which will locate and track drilling progress on Badger Oil & Gas Company’s three wells.

The introduction provides an abbreviations dictionary; e.g., “D & A” means “Dry and Abandoned.” A close reading reveals much about Badger Oil & Gas Company’s challenges. Also online, the Illinois Oil and Gas Resources Interactive Map will show you Badger’s drilling sites where the company’s fortunes played out.

Bailey Gaunce Oil & Refining Corporation

Bailey Gaunce was an opportunist who joined the U.S. petroleum industry during the Great Depression to take advantage of the “oil fever” infecting businessmen and investors. At the time, fraudulent advertising claims could conceal shady schemes (see one example in Arctic Explorer Turns Oil Promoter) that led to courtrooms. Oilfield litigation would create precedent-setting legal decisions and regulations.

Before founding Bailey Gaunce Oil & Refining Corporation, newspaper records show Gaunce with a chequered history that included a $50 fine in 1918 for “disturbing the peace by shooting a pistol in the Ardmore (Oklahoma) rooming house.” In 1921 he was wanted by police for passing a $300 bad check. That same year, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals found Gaunce guilty of a Wirt, Oklahoma, manslaughter conviction, resulting in a fine of $500 and three months in the Carter County jail.

In the early 1930s, Gaunce returned to several state courtrooms as litigation began over the practices of his oil buisiness. In Bailey Gaunce Oil & Refining Company v. Duncan (1934), in Lousiana District Court, Shreveport Division, the court ruled against Gaunce, citing his unsubstantiated claims in advertisements designed to lure investors. Such “Blue Sky” claims often prompted defrauded buyers to sue.

Blue Sky laws had been enacted to protect investors from false advertising and operators from “engaging in any practice or transaction or course of business relating to the purchase, exchange, investment advice, or sale of securities or commodities which is fraudulent, or in violation of law, or would operate as a fraud on the purchaser.”

Bailey Gaunce Oil & Refining’s sales pitch claimed his company was drilling in proven territory: “Here was the amazing spectacle of a proven gusher field with seven sands, only one of them being developed and that one only partially so…A field where wells come in making thousands of barrels per day…With the operators having deserted it almost overnight for seemingly `greener pastures.’… A great field, lying almost idle and dormant throughout the years and finally almost forgotten ‘midst the rush and roar of other great fields which succeeded it.”

In the 1937 Wadley et. al. v. Gaunce et al., a Texas circuit court determined that Gaunce had owned a lease in 1935 and sold fractional interests or “units” to about 1,412 persons, making to each a conveyance but reserving a power to sell the lease in his discretion and binding himself to remit to each his pro rata share of the proceeds. Gaunce kept the funds and did not remit any to the defrauded persons. His fraudulent oilfield career was over.

Big Six Oil Company

The Big Six Oil Company’s fortunes were linked to the prospects of finding oil near the city of Moab, Utah, where they began drilling in 1920.  A contemporary publication reported the company’s progress and noted on February 7, 1921: “A continual round of difficulties have been encountered” and “a week’s fishing job drilling was resumed, only to be stopped the next day when the bit broke.”

The well was ultimately unsuccessful, despite having been drilled later to a total depth of 5,345 feet (with a No. 28 Star Rig) by the Embar Oil Company.  Big Six was still in operation as late as October of 1928 when it lost a well – “Hole caved and bit lost” – at a depth of 1,710 feet, but disappears soon thereafter.

Black Gold Petroleum Company

Black Gold Petroleum Company was an Arizona corporation that did business out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. By November of 1934, the company had drilled in Young County, Texas, including a 750-foot dry hole 3.5 miles east of Graham Texas (see Oil Art of Graham Texas.) This failure notwithstanding, Black Gold Petroleum drilled again in Trego County, Kansas – another dry hole; then drilled and abandoned an unsuccessful wildcat well in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma.

By 1939 the company had issued 1,087,494.5 shares of capital stock to about 2,200 investors to fund exploration. Black Gold Petroleum Company assets included oil leases and equipment at that time. More recent ventures have appropriated the name of Black Gold Petroleum but more detail may be available through the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Block Oil & Gas Syndicate

In May 1921, the NAACP’s monthly publication (The Crisis – A Record of the Darker Races, Vol. 22, No. 1) reported incorporation of The Block Oil and Gas Syndicate, “by negroes at Little Rock, Ark.”  The NCAACP continued: “The capital stock is $100,000.  The president is J.H. Garrett; vice president, J.B. Johnson; secretary, S. Strickland; treasurer, Emma Garrett Merritt. Mrs. Merritt has 47 producing wells from which she is said to derive an income of from $30,000 to $47,000 a month.”

In 1923, The Oil Trade Journal reported that in Louisiana’s Haynesville oil field, Block Oil and Gas Syndicate drilled their No. 1 Aubrey well with no success; a dry hole.  The company also drilled near Huttig, Arkansas.  Contact the Central Arkansas Library System’s Butler Center for access to their comprehensive Arkansas Black History collection. Read about the First Arkansas Oil Well.

Block Six Oil Company

In August 1919 the Oil Paint and Drug Reporter noted that Capital Oil & Gas Company’s cumulative Texas production in April, May and June was only 135 barrels while Block Six Oil Company 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. Hayden-Burk Petroleum Company was heavily promoted in El Paso’s Herald newspaper after its holdings were absorbed by Texas Control Consolidated Oil Company. The paper reported the formation of Texas Control: “Huge Consolidation Expected to Stabilize Conditions in Burkburnett.”

Texas Control stock was offered at $1 per share with the enticement that “the Hayden-Burk well should be in within the next three days, which warrants much higher prices for the stock.” Trustees of Texas Control believed that taking over producing wells of other companies and operating them for royalty payments, “will be the salvation of the small or medium producers, the owners of which are unable to bear the expense….” (see Boom Town Burkburnett). Gin Site Oil Company is elusive, but reported production for the first three months of 1920 was 1,900 barrels. The Texas Railroad Commission maintains extensive records and may provide further insights.

Blue Ridge Natural Gas & Oil Corporation

Blue Ridge Natural Gas & Oil Corporation’s charter to do business was revoked January 2, 1958, by the state of Delaware after the company failed to pay its required taxes for the preceding two years.

Bluebird Oil & Gas Association

Bluebird Oil & Gas Association is one of many corporate creations fashioned by infamous oil stock promoter Henry H. Hoffman, who split his time between New York City and Houston. His ventures in addition to Bluebird Oil (or Blue Bird Oil), include Hoffman Oil & Refining Corporation, Interstate Oil Company, Turnbow Oil Corporation, and Ranger & Burkburnett Oil Company. In 1917 Hoffman pleaded guilty to fraudulently merging worthless oil companies into Butler Perryman Interests.

By 1922 the Schenectady Gazette newspaper was warning New York investors: “Henry H. Hoffman is said to have made years ago a substantial amount of money in a Texas oil venture, and ever since then has been trading on his good fortune inducing innocent people to believe that they would make all kinds of money by following him into new ventures which he has flung to the public and none of which has made good from an investor’s standpoint.”

Bryce Canyon Oil Company

In September 1948 in northeastern Utah, the well Ashley Valley No. 1 began producing about 300 barrels of oil a day from 4,150 feet deep. This Uintah County wildcat well about 10 miles from the county seat of Vernal was the first Utah oil well. There had been many decades of attempts by other companies that ended in “dry holes” – and bankruptcies.

State records reveal that Bryce Canyon Oil Company drilled two exploratory wells near the town of Tropic, more than 300 miles to the southwest (the unsuccessful drilling sites today can be located by searching with American Petroleum Institute numbers API 43-017-20350 and API 43-017-20352).

Signs of petroleum (natural oil seeps) had been noted by geologists near Rozel Point on the northern shore of Great Salt Lake as early as the mid-1850s but no commercial quantities of oil were found. The lure of oil nonetheless prompted investment even against the long odds and dozens of such ventures tried their luck. Bryce Canyon Oil Company’s competitors included the Price River Petroleum Company and others.

The incorporation of Bryce Canyon Oil on February 5, 1926, brought hopes of an oil boom for residents of Tropic, Utah, and Garfield County. The Garfield County News announced the company’s first appearance: “Hats Off to Bryce Canyon Oil Company and Tropic!” as the new venture sought local investors.
(more articles are accessible through Utah Digital Newspapers website: Enter “Bryce Canyon Oil” in the search box and more than a dozen references are listed chronologically).

Unfortunately for Garfield County, Bryce Canyon Oil came to an end without finding oil. Utah’s first commercial oil well would remain elusive until J.L. (Mike) Dougan’s Equity Oil Company discovery well in 1948. He had been drilling for oil in the state for more than 25 years.

Bug Drilling Company

Information about Bug Drilling is elusive. The company completed one natural gas well about two miles east of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, in 1951. The H. Nelke No. 1 well location (41°44’58.1″ North 77°20’53.2″ West) puts it alongside Heise Run Road on a map.

Trade publications like Producers Monthly tracked drilling progress of H. Nelke No, 1, which may have briefly produced natural gas, but not in commercial quantities. Bug Drilling had disappeared by 1960. About 50 years later its “orphan well” was targeted to be properly plugged by Pennsylvania’s Orphan or Abandoned Well Plugging Program. The well bore was cleaned out to about 4,000 feet deep and a cement plug placed on top in 2009.

The Pennsylvania Treasury Unclaimed Property site notes certain Bug Drilling Company dividends as being liquidated.

Burkburnett-Center Oil Company

“Fowler’s Folly” blew in as a gusher on June 29, 1918, and launched North Texas’ famous Burkburnett oil boom. Within three weeks, fifty-six drilling rigs were at work as close as they could get to where Fowler’s well had come in. Investors and speculators scrambled to get in on the opportunity and the town greeted visitors with a line of derricks two-miles long.

By the end of 1918, Burkburnett wells were producing 7,500 barrels of crude oil each day and unrefined crude oil cost about $2.25 a barrel (42-gallons). In this environment and with eager investors, an oil company could hastily put together to field a drilling rig before the inevitable exhaustion of the field.  Burkburnett-Center, Burk-Wonder, and Burk-B Oil companies all issued stock to fund their drilling operations and went broke when they failed to find oil – all of these stock certificates are likely uncancelled, unless some lucky stockholder sold shares before the certificate became worthless due to the company’s bankruptcy.

Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil Company

The December 1919, issue of The Petroleum Age announced in bold: “Louisiana Is Making Record – Repetition of Burkburnett Excitement Seems Certain – 15,000 to 20,000 Barrel Wells Are Common Events – Wells Cheap, Oil Valuable.” Within two months, E.S. Bilyeu had secured a lease for 20 acres near Louisiana’s Homer oilfield along with a 15-acre lease in Texas’ famous boom town Burkburnett oilfield. With these meager assets, Bilyeu formed the Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil Company.

Prolific oilfields like Homer and Burkburnett drew a multitude of investors, exploration companies — and conmen. The possibilities of “black gold” spawned enthusiastic promotions of many new ventures. Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil Company was among them. E.S. Bilyeu was joined in Baton Rouge by John C. Bryant and C.C. Nix. All three were subsequently indicted on four counts of using the U.S. mail to defraud.

Nix had sold about $4,000 in shares of Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil Company stock to unwary investors. He pled guilty and testified against former partner Bryant while Bilyeu, “the main instigator of the operations in the stock selling,” disappeared and remained a fugitive as late as 1924.

In court testimony, Nix said Bilyeu had recruited him into the Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil Company. The two had induced him to join the venture with the bonanza potential of Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil leases located only three-quarters of a mile from known production in the Homer and Burkburnett oilfields. Nix later found that the leases were actually six miles distant from any producing wells and of little value. The partnership broke up sourly.

During its brief lifespan, Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil Company published two recurring circulars (and distributed them via the U.S. mail) to attract investors and drive stock sales upward:, according to the publications Capital Oil News and Burk-Homer News. An assistant federal attorney presented evidence that the circulars “were filled with glaring accounts of opportunities to get rich by investing in the Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil Company.” One reported “Bryant Might Be Next Governor,” a presumed inducement for potential investors. “Defense counsel objected to the government’s questioning of Nix relative to Bryant’s gubernatorial candidacy, but the objection was overruled,” noted the Shreveport Times.

In Shreveport, the prosecution rested its case on March 6, 1924. Then came a series of character witnesses on behalf of the defendant Bryant. Burkburnett-Claiborne Oil Company shareholders were left with worthless paper shares.

Burkburnett Oil & Leasing Company

“In the Land of Fairy Finance,” a May 31, 1920, article in Financial World magazine, scolded Burkburnett Oil & Leasing Company for its inflated appeals to potential investors. “The only thing to do with such an appeal is to put it into the waste basket at once. With such disposition it cannot work harm.” The article noted the company’s specious guarantees of dividends to stockholders only lured the unwary. Although Burkburnett Oil & Leasing reportedly completed a well on May 31, 1920 (producing up to 1 million cubic feet of gas a day), no other record remains of its No. 1 Robertson well in the Crystal Falls district of the highly competitive Burkburnett oilfield. The company disappears from financial records soon afterwards.

Burk Imperial Oil Company

In 1920, Burk Imperial Oil Company (capitalized at $150,000) was reported to have completed at least two wells in Texas’ prolific Burkburnett oil field with its Waggoner No. 1 well producing 30 barrels of oil a day.  Two years later, the Federal Trade Commission charged Burk Imperial Oil Company with “unfair methods of competition” when the company, “issued and published numerous false and misleading statements and concealed or withheld other material information relative to the organization, business, and properties…thereby deceiving and misleading the purchasing public.”

Burk-Tex Production Company

El Paso, Texas brokers first offered Burk-Tex Production Company stock for $1 per share in 1919.  By May of 1921, company advertisements in the Oil and Gas News magazine proclaimed that the stock was earning “Three Per Cent Cash Dividends Monthly” and its companion, Burk-Tex Producing Company, was earning ten percent.  Such misleading “Blue Sky” advertising claims were part of the securities marketplace of the time.

Just two months later, the two Burk-Tex companies merged into a new organization, also headed by W. W. Hunt, and took the name of Burk-Tex Producing Company.  At that time, Hunt had two producing wells south of Burkburnett, Texas in the Texhoma field.  But the newly created company’s first well (No. 1 Bonner in Freestone County) was shut down at 3,250 feet without success.

Many such under-capitalized ventures worked on a “poor boy” basis and were desperately dependent upon new investors monies to continue drilling.  Because Burk-Tex Producing Company disappears after the expensive dry hole, bankruptcy was its likely fate, taking its predecessor companies with it.

Busseyville Oil & Gas

Busseyville Oil & Gas Company organized in 1911 with capital of only $5,000 and about 600 acres leased in the Kentucky’s Bussyville oil field. Company officers were: W.D. O’Neal Jr., Webb Holt Jr., M. Turner, and H.W. Bussey. O’Neal and Holt also incorporated Cochran Oil and Reuben Fork Oil companies in 1911 with Holt and Bussey incorporating Square Deal Oil Company in 1911 (capitalized at only $6000).

These entrepreneurs sold sufficient stock to enable drilling and Busseyville Oil & Gas Company is credited by some with drilling the first producing well in Lawrence County on property leased from W. D. Owens. Company circumstance as of May of 1918 can be found in The Southwestern Reporter, Volume 203 (June 5 – July 10, 1918) page 515 “Hughes et. al. v. Busseyville Oil & Gas Co.” Litigation brought the company’s fate to the Court of Appeals of Kentucky.  Read about Kentucky’s Great American Oil Well.

Butler Perryman Interests

In 1917, W. E. Turnbow was found guilty of “fraudulently merging eleven worthless oil companies into one big company, the Butler Perryman Interests, and with trying to sell stock in the new company to former stockholders in the eleven original companies.” He was fined $5,000.  Henry Hoffman, former president of the Blue Bird Oil Corporation (one of the eleven companies), pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two-years and a $5,000 fine.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2019 Bruce A. Wells.

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Women entrepreneurs have been part of America’s petroleum industry since the earliest Pennsylvania oil wells.

In Bradford, Pennsylvania, home of the first “billion dollar oilfield,” a leading service company was run by a woman as early as 1884. Read about her in Mrs. Alford’s Nitro Factory.

Although Texas oilfields fueled the Allies to victory in World War I, Wyoming discoveries also played a part. The state’s drilling boom had begun in 1908 with the No. 1 Salt Creek well. It revealed a giant, often shallow oilfield. One well produced oil from 22 feet deep.

The Salt Creek field in the Powder River Basin proved to be one of the most significant in the Rocky Mountains (learn more in First Wyoming Oil Wells). Maybell B. Remore was among the “wildcatters” there. Her Women’s National Oil & Development Company incorporated in 1917. Read the rest of this entry »




stocks in progress AChances are people seeking financial information here at Old Oil Stocks in progress A will not find lost riches – see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock. The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, which depends on member 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

Visitors’ forum questions are posted on the Stock Certificate Q & A Forum and company updates regularly added to the A-to-Z listing at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? Visit again, because AOGHS continues to look into forum queries, including these “in progress.”

Acme Oil & Gas Company

One of many ventures to unsuccessfully search for oil in the state of Washington, Acme Oil & Gas Company in 1930 used a cable-tool rig to drill its Acme No. 1 well to a depth of 310 feet with no showing of oil. The company shut down the exploratory well, moved the rig 20 feet, and began drilling again. The reason is unclear, but percussion cable tools frequently got stuck, requiring down-hole “fishing.” The new effort, Acme No. 2, found showings of natural gas and oil en route to a total depth of 1,241 feet, but nothing more. Both failed wells were northwest of Ferndale, Washington. Using the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), the location of these wells was in the South half of the Southeast Quarter of Section 13, Township 39 North, Range 1 East (the drilling site is visible on Google Earth with the PLSS overlay).

It was not until August 19, 1957, that Washington state’s first and only commercial oil well was drilled. The Sunshine Mining Company Medina No. 1 initially produced 223 barrels a day of 38.9 gravity oil from a depth of 4,135 feet. The well, near Ocean City in Gray Harbor County, produced a total of only 12,500 barrels of oil before being shut down in 1961. “About 600 gas and oil wells have been drilled in Washington, but large-scale commercial production has never occurred,” Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands reported in 2010. “The most recent production, which was from the Ocean City Gas and Oil Field west of Hoquiam, ceased in 1962, and no oil or gas have been produced since that time.”

Alabama Central Oil & Gas


Alabama Central Oil & Gas Company was one of many that formed in the wake of the December 20, 1909, discovery of commercial quantities of natural gas near Fayette, Alabama. The discovery by Eureka Oil & Gas Company opened of what is now known as the Black Warrior Basin.

With the backing of Birmingham and New York City investors, Alabama Central Oil & Gas incorporated in 1910 in Delaware with capitalization of $1 million. The company offered its stock for sale to the public at $1 per share. “In this way money is to be raised for the building of plants, for refining in case of oil being brought up, and for pipe lines for the gas,” reported the publication Industrial World.

With leases on about 800 acres, Alabama Central Oil & Gas drilled its first well (the Freeman No. 1) near the Southern Railway’s Bankston Station, about 12 miles west of Fayette. Despite encouraging shows of oil and natural gas, trouble soon appeared. “One misfortune followed another, however, and finally the tools were lost…and the well abandoned,” noted Industrial World. Salt water intrusion ruined the well at a depth of about 1,900 feet. The well was later deepened to more than 2,900 feet, but with no success.

With the company’s first well abandoned, Alabama Central Oil & Gas tried again with their Woods No. 1 well, which like the first attempt, had slight shows of oil and natural gas between depths of 1,350 feet and 1,440 feet. After encountering flowing salt water in sand, this well had to be abandoned too, apparently exhausting the company’s capital. With Alabama Central Oil & Gas Company’s failure to pay its taxes for two consecutive years, its charter to do business was revoked on January 22, 1914.

The Fayette boom soon died out. By 1917, more than 40 wells had been drilled in the area but no significant new natural gas deposits were found in Alabama for several decades. Today, coal bed methane has become the focus of energy exploration in the Black Warrior Basin.

Alto Gasoline & Oil Company


Alto Gasoline & Oil Company incorporated in June 1919 with offices in Fort Worth, Texas, and promptly offered 300,000 shares of common stock to the public on the New York Curb Market. Alto Gasoline & Oil held leases in the prolific Burkburnett oilfield as well as owning a casing-head gas plant in Skiatook, Oklahoma.

By 1921 the company’s petroleum production was about 2,600 barrels of oil a day from 18 wells, with drilling underway at another 11, according to Moody’s Analyses of Investments, Industrials. One year later, 91 percent of the company’s stock was purchased by the Middle States Oil Company for a reported $954,000. Middle States Oil had a convoluted litigation history; its chairman was Charles Haskell, the first Governor of Oklahoma after statehood in 1907.

Amalgamated Oil Company

Scripophily collectors value old Amalgamated Oil Company stock certificates, which sell on Ebay and other venues. Amalgamated was incorporated in California, October 27, 1904, and by June 1910, it had total production of 4,948 barrels a day from its 138 wells. The company acquired properties from Arcturus Oil Co. and Salt Lake Oil Co. and owned a pipeline from its producing properties to Los Angeles. There, on six acres between the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, the Amalgamated Oil Company’s 3,000-barrel-a-day refinery shipped its products.

The company paid investors dividends of as much as 10%. By 1922, the Associated Oil Company of California had gained control of Amalgamated Oil Company through purchase of 50.01% of Amalgamated’s stock. Amalgamated continued to drill extensively in several California oil fields, e.g.; Coyote Hills, Santa Fe Springs, Huntington Beach, Salt Lake, and Richfield. Amalgamated brought in a 1,000 barrel a day producer (the Butterworth No. 3) in the Santa Fe Spring field. The California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has data online that will enable you to drill deeper for more information.

Despite some success, Amalgamated’s 1922 balance sheet showed a decrease of over one-half million dollars from its 1920 earnings, primarily because of increased drilling expenses. To find more about the Amalgamated Oil Company, try searching the California Digital Newspaper Collection online. For example, the company is uniquely related to the creation of the Los Angeles community of Beverly Hills. Amalgamated bought the land for oil exploration in 1905, but finding no oil, spawned the Rodeo Land & Water Company as a subdivision to develop the property as real estate.

American Oil & Refining Company

The trade publication Petroleum Age in June 1918 reported the American Oil & Refining Company, including its refinery at Cedar Grove, Louisiana, had been taken over by the newly formed Pine Island Refining Company (formerly, the American Refinery Company). Officers of the new company included R.L. Cook, president; D.H. Christman, vice president; and C.M. Cook, secretary. The next year, Oil Distribution News reported that Pine Island Refining’s plant (with a capacity to process 200 barrels of oil a day) had been purchased by International Oil & Gas Corporation. To follow this research trail further, learn about efforts to exploit the Caddo and Pine Island oilfields at the Louisiana Oil Museum in Oil City.

American Workers Oil Field Company


The American Workers Oil Field Company was underwritten by about 6,000 shipyard workers on the coast of Washington (Bremerton, circa 1919) and acquired 2,000 acres in Wyoming, encompassing areas of the Lost Soldier Field extending to Casper. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission may offer more information. Read more about Wyoming’s petroleum history in First Wyoming Oil Wells.

Anglo-Philippine Oil & Mineral Corporation

From its inception in 1971, Anglo-Philippine Oil & Mineral Corporation was in the business of mining iron ore. The company mined magnetite sand deposits along the beach of Santo Tomas, La Union, Philippines. It does not appear Anglo-Philippine Oil & Mineral was directly in the oil business – exploration, production, refining, transportation, or distribution. The company shipped more than 83,000 metric tons of iron ore to Japan in 1972. In 1996, it became an investment firm, Anglo-Philippine Holdings Corporation, traded on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Anna May Oil Company

In November 1921 the Anna May Oil Company was reported to be drilling south of Miles City in Montana’s famed Powder River Basin but its first well (No. 1 in Section 20) had to be abandoned when the drill bit stuck at about 100 foot depth and could not be retrieved. Efforts to retrieve – often called “fishing” – the stuck tool failed and the well was abandoned.  The second well in section 21 was drilled all the way to 802 feet in the shallow field without finding oil and was also abandoned.  With that kind of investment unrewarded, the company soon disappeared from financial records.




Arizona Development Company

Arizona Development Company incorporated with a Delaware charter on March 8, 1900 but the charter was repealed in 1903 and the company listed in “Obsolete American Securities and Corporations, Volume I” by R. M. Smythe. In 1921, Union Oil Company brought in the Bell No. 1 well in the city of Santa Fe Springs, California, producing over 2,000 barrels of oil a day and prompting a rush of new exploration as entrepreneurs hoped to exploit yet another oil bonanza.  A year later, the extent of the Santa Fe Springs oilfield was still undefined as dozens of new wells were being drilled and production reached 80,000 barrels of oil a day.

Arkadelphia Oil Company

Nine months after Spindletop launched the modern American petroleum industry in January 1901 with unprecedented oil production, the Arkadelphia Oil Company was formed with S.R McNutt as president and L.C. Newberry as secretary. The company’s stated purpose was “to sink oil wells at Beaumont, Texas.”

The United States Geological Survey Bulletin 212 identifies Arkadelphia Oil Company as having drilled to a depth of 1,025 feet to complete a producing well amidst the frenzy of drilling and investment in Spindletop Hill oilfield and a discovery at nearby Sour Lake Springs. Spindletop would soon produce more oil in one day than all the rest of the world’s oilfields combined. In its first year alone the field produced 3.59 million barrels of oil — climbing to 17.4 million barrels of oil by its second year.

Although Texaco, Gulf, Mobile, Humble and Sun oil companies can trace their roots to southeastern Texas, many ventures were not successful. Over supply drove crude oil prices down to as low as three cents per barrel! Production slowed down. “After yielding 17,500,000 barrels of oil in 1902, the Spindletop wells were down to 10,000 barrels a day in February 1904,” notes the Texas State Historical Association.

Market pressures proved too much for many under-capitalized ventures, Arkadelphia Oil Company among them. The Arkansas secretary of state includes Arkadelphia Oil in its “List of Domestic Corporations Whose Rights to do Business were Forfeited July 2, 1906.”




Associated Oil & Gas Company

Associated Oil and Gas Company president Harry J. Mosser was a well established oilman and entrepreneur from Alice, Texas who prospered in the exploration and production of natural gas in the 1940s and 1950s.

In addition to serving as president of Associated Oil & Gas, Mosser was also president of Orange Grove Oil & Gas Corporation, Prince Marine Drilling & Exploration Company, H.J. Mosser Oil & Gas Company, and South-Tex Corporation.  Associated Oil & Gas undertook several acquisitions, including Gulf States Development Corporation, and created subsidiaries such as George Rental Service and the Texas Gas Utilities Company. Associated Oil & Gas Company reincorporated in Delaware on October 10, 1964, but P.O. Box 66465 remained its Houston office.

In 1969, according to Financial Information’s “Directory of Obsolete Securities,” the name of Associated Oil & Gas Company was changed to A.O. Industries and its location to Coral Gables, Florida.  That company acquired Auto-Swage Products, Inc., and sought the Securities and Exchange Commission’s authority for the issue of A.O. Industries stock, “…in exchange for all the assets or shares of other corporations in connection with its acquisition program.”  The newly constituted A.O. Industries was a very diverse holding company rather than the energy and natural gas producer that was its predecessor.

By 1971 A.O. Industries’ trading volume on the American Stock Exchange was about 15,000 shares daily.  In 1974 A.O. Industries was renamed Aegis Corporation but its principal place of business remained Coral Gables, Florida.  The corporation by now had interests in tread rubber, metallurgy, ship repair and pleasure boats. As of March 18, 1981, there were almost 11 million shares of Aegis common stock outstanding – and selling for about $2.50 per share.

By 1984, when Aegis Corporation was acquired by Minstar Incorporated, the $60-million deal was struck at a price of about $6 per share.  In 1988, Minstar Incorporated “went private” as famed corporate raider Irwin Jacobs (known as “Irv the Liquidator”) paid Minstar shareholders about $400,000,000 for the company, which had evolved into a major builder of sport and pleasure boats.  In 1994 Jacobs’ new private company, Genmar Holdings absorbed Minstar Inc. In 2009, Genmar Holdings entered bankruptcy.

Atlantic Petroleum Company

Atlantic Petroleum sold on the New York Curb market for about $3 a share during 1921 until the company recapitalized and exchanged all of its Atlantic Petroleum (old) for new Atlantic Petroleum shares. The basis was five of the old shares for one of the new. When moved from the curb market to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the new stock sold for about $18 per share by the end of October 1921, up to $25 per share by February 1922.

Early in 1922 Poor’s Government and Municipal Supplement reported that 90 percent of the newly recapitalized Atlantic Petroleum had been acquired by Cosden Oil & Gas Company. Three shares of Atlantic Petroleum were exchanged for two shares of Cosden. Atlantic holdings added about 2,740 acres of producing leases in Oklahoma and Kansas with 32,318 acres undeveloped leases in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Atlantic properties reportedly produced 164,503 barrels of oil in the first quarter 1922 with successful new wells being drilled in Texas’ Bristow district.

Atlantic Petroleum stock certificates would have been perforated or otherwise canceled in the exchange with Cosden. These shares have no value as a marketable securities because the original owner named on the certificate turned it in to a transfer agent during acquisition to receive Cosden shares. Like other obsolete stock certificates, they no longer reflect partial ownership in a company. In 1925 the Mid-Continent Petroleum Company acquired Cosden Oil & Gas Company.

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The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Support this AOGHS.ORG energy education website with a contribution today. For membership information, contact bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

 
The future looked bright for three Chicago businessmen who formed an oil company that discovered a Kansas oilfield in 1922. But greed and litigation would ultimately cast a shadow across their venture into the petroleum industry.

Barrington Oil Company was incorporated July 15, 1921, by R.O. Farrell, H.M. Cassidy and B.F. Brubaker. Offices were initially located at 1404 Harris Trust building in Chicago, and the business was capitalized at $100,000. The company reportedly acquired mineral leases on more than 10,000 acres near producing wells the Sallyards, Virgil, and Rosalia oilfields in Kansas. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tulsa Producing and Refining CompanyWith oil booms in North Texas, especially along the Red River border with Oklahoma, Tulsa Producing and Refining Company incorporated to join the action in America’s growing Mid-Continent oil patch.


In February and 1919, the Texas El Paso Herald carried an advertisement for Tulsa Producing and Refining.

“A Strong, Solid Company With Two Wells Now Drilling” the advertisement proclaimed. It offered 250,000 shares of stock at $1 per share.

According to the company’s claims, the two wells were drilling in Comanche County, Texas, where Tulsa Producing and Refining reportedly held 1,000 acres under lease. Advertisements appeared in newspapers as far away as Pennsylvania, where America’s petroleum industry had begun in 1859.

Frequent references were made to an oil boom in the remote region with 328,098 barrels of oil already produced. Even more enthusiastic advertisements about Texas discoveries followed in the Pittsburgh Gazette Times in May and June 1919.


“If either of these wells come in big, the shareholders of the Tulsa Producing & Refining Company will cash in strong – and do it quickly,” extolled perhaps one of the more conservative claims.

“You will feel pretty good some of these fine mornings when your shares jump to 5 or 10 for one,” added the company. “We believe this is going to happen – and happen soon, too.”

It apparently didn’t happen. All references to the company disappear thereafter.

Interestingly, the very same oilfield vignette is used in certificates issued by the Double Standard Oil & Gas Company, the Evangeline Oil Company and the Buffalo-Texas Oil Company…among others. Many of the new companies seeking investors to chase oil riches rushed to print their “oilfield”certificates.

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The stories of other attempts to join petroleum exploration booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
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Julian Petroleum CorporationBuyers beware. While the U.S. petroleum industry has made the nation a world power with the best standard of living, there have been those who have taken advantage of “oil fever” among investors since the first commercial well in 1859. C.C. Julian and his Julian Petroleum Corporation was one. Read the rest of this entry »

 




centralized oil & gas companyThe Centralized Oil & Gas Company operated in Gotebo, Oklahoma, and was still in business as late as 1922, according to existing records.


Incorporated in Oklahoma and selling shares by 1919, the company last appeared in the American Oil Directory in 1922 – along with listing of Fair Play Oil & Gas Company and Gotebo Oil & Refining Company.

Like many other oil regions at the time, entrepreneurs in Kiowa County who could quickly secure leases on properties proximate to producing fields improved their chances of drilling a successful well.

The Oklahoma Corporate Commission has no record of a successful well drilled by the Centralized Oil & Gas Company. Note that the same oilfield vignette is used in certificates issued by the Double Standard Oil & Gas Company, the Evangeline Oil Company and the Buffalo-Texas Oil Company…among others.

Oklahoma oil history began when exploration companies rushed to Indian Territory in 1897 after a dioscovery well near Bartlesville, which came a decade before statehood. It was the First Oklahoma Oil Well, although some historians maintain a well drilled a decade earlier was Oklahoma’s Other First Oil Well. More discoveries quickly followed, each attracting investors seeking riches in Mid-Continent oilfields.

By the 1920s, auctions for Osage Nation mineral leases took place in the shade of a Million Dollar Elm near Pawhuska. South of Oklahoma City, the 1926 oilfield discovery at Seminole launched the Greater Seminole Oil Boom.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence of Centralized Oil & Gas Company participating in any booming Oklahoma oilfields beyond 1922.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Investors in the United States took note when a major Canadian oilfield was discovered south of Edmonton.

The Imperial Oil Company’s February 1947 wildcat well had revealed the Leduc formation, which turned out to be the most prolific geological formation in Alberta.

Established the same year, the American Leduc Petroleum Company’s future quickly came into doubt when a Wall Street con man became its president. Lowell Birrell used the company”s impressive name to promote bogus drilling ventures to investors. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Congressional Oil Corporation

Congressional Oil Corporation

The First National Bank Building in Wichita Falls, Texas, headquarters of the Congressional Oil Corporation. Image from a postcard, circa 1910.

Congressional Oil Corporation formed April 10, 1920, with Bernard H. Taylor as president and offices in the First National Bank Building in Wichita Falls, Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

 


Many petroleum companies use and have used the name Apex Oil. Records show a San Antonio, Texas-based company that formed and failed by 1916.

Another exploration company, Apex Oil & Gas Company, was formed in 1920 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by S.A. Logsdon, E. Bercutt and H. Robinowitz with $50,000 capital. Apex Oil & Gas reported drilling two shallow wells in Kentucky in 1922 – but with minimal oil production (about 13 barrels of oil a day).

By 1929, another Apex Oil and Gas Company formed in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. This Apex Oil drilled two dry holes in a row and did not survive the Great Depression.

Sapulpa had attracted hundreds of exploration companies after a series of gushers led to Making Tulsa “Oil Capital of the World.”


When the Glen Pool oilfield was discovered in 1905 a few miles from Sapulpa, Oklahoma was still two years away from becoming the 46th state.

Thanks to oil and natural gas discoveries, the area grew from a very small village to a prosperous city within a few years, explains the Sapulpa Historical Society.

“Because of the availability of natural gas from the Glen Pool field, glass plants located here, notes the society’s website. “We are still home to Bartlett-Collins Company, which manufactures tableware, and St. Gobain (formerly Liberty Glass Company), which manufactures beverage containers.”

According to the society, abundant natural gas supplies in 1938 attracted John and Grace Lee Frank, who moved their Frankoma Pottery plant to Sapulpa – to make a popular “wagonwheel” tableware. Learn a lot more about “Sooner State” petroleum exploration and production in Oklahoma Oil History.

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The stories of other attempts to join petroleum exploration booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s energy education mission and this website with a donation today!

 




John P. Mills Company

The Signal Hill oil discovery helped make California the source of one-quarter of the world’s entire oil output. “Porcupine Hill” was producing 260,000 barrels of oil a day by 1923 – and attracting a few shady characters.

In the summer of 1921, the Alamitos No. 1 oil exploratory well brought another spectacular California discovery – and the Signal Hill Oil Boom. As oil fever spreads, a wealthy real estate developer will take advantage of unwary investors


Signal Hill soon became known as “Porcupine Hill” as exploration companies scrambled to the Long Beach field, 20 miles south of Los Angeles. By 1923, Long Beach was producing almost 260,000 barrels of oil every day. Investors looked for opportunities.

Successful Los Angeles real-estate developer John P. Mills formed his company in 1922. He incorporated it with three trusts and a charter for financing acquisition of properties in Long Beach and developing any oil and natural gas discovered on those properties. John P. Mills Company sold large numbers of $400 units over the next two years.

But there was no oil. Subsequent court documents would reveal it was ultimately “determined that the land was nonproductive of oil.” Then the struggle and litigation began.


The property was to be sold under the provisions of the trust agreement but with the consent of about 3,000 unit holders. The proceeds were to then be divided among the holders of the various units – but agreement proved impossible.

Although litigation and appeals dragged on until 1939, the John P. Mills Organization’s pursuit of oil had long since been abandoned. By then, Mills was far more notorious for his role in Los Angeles’ scandalous “Love Mart” affair of 1931 – in which local millionaires paid for underage girls, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Read more about California oil history in First California Oil Well, Discovering Los Angeles Oilfields and California Oil Seeps.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Golden Gate Oil Company

The Los Angeles City oilfield at the turn of the century. Photograph courtesy of the California History Room, California State Library, Sacramento.

There have been many Golden Gate Oil companies. None survived long in the risky business of drilling expensive “wildcat” exploration wells even in proven oilfields.


A Golden Gate Oil Company founded in 1921 by John Flynn, Robert Tarrants and others was capitalized at $250,000. It would spend several years drilling wells in the booming Los Angeles oilfields.

There was also a 1902 Golden Gate Oil and Refining Company incorporated in South Dakota that quickly disappeared from the records. Another Golden Gate Oil Company incorporated in San Francisco in 1900, capitalized at $500,000, but also apparently became defunct.

Yet another Golden Gate Oil operated in Oklahoma’s Healdton oilfield in 1916 and drilled three wells, each producing 25 barrels a day. It also drilled at least one dry hole before exiting the state’s financial records.


(Discovered in 1913, the Healdton oilfield was known as a “poor man’s field,” because of its shallow depth and consequent low cost of drilling operations. The area attracted small companies with limited financial backing to compete with major oil companies. Among independents who succeeded at Healdton were Wirt Franklin, Lloyd Noble and Robert Hefner. Erle Halliburton perfected his method of oil well cementing in the field. Visit the Healdton Oil Museum.)

The 1921 Golden Gate Oil Company founded by Flynn and Tarrants brought in three producers in the Los Angeles oilfield between 1922 and 1923.

Although California Department of Conservation records offer maps where these wells were drilled in the Los Angeles area, they do not include the fate of the company. Learn about the city’s petroleum exploration and production history in Discovering Los Angeles Oilfields.

These “golden gate” oil companies failed, as have many in an industry that depends upon discovering commercial quantities of oil before running out of money in the high-risk gamble of exploration. Today their stocks retain only collectible value which can be found on eBay, Scripophily, and other sites.




___________________________________________________________________________________

The stories of other attempts to join petroleum exploration booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
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Sanger Oil & Refining

The Sanger Oil & Refining Company Anderson No. 1 well, drilled in 1927, generated brief excitement, but did not produce commercial quantities of oil. Photo courtesy Hardin-Simmons University.

With other companies making major oil discoveries at Electra, Ranger and Burkburnett in the early 1900s, Sanger Oil & Refining Company hoped to add Abilene to North Texas boom towns. For 22 years Charles Sanger drilled dry holes instead.

Electra’s Clayco No. 1 well erupted in 1911, revealing the poor, cotton-farming community was over a giant oilfield. About 100 miles south, a 1917 gusher at Ranger revealed yet another massive field.

One year later along the Red River border with Oklahoma, a discovery at Burkburnett added to North Texas oil fever. Years later even Hollywood took notice with the hit MGM movie, “Boom Town” Burkburnett.

These successive oil booms resulted in many newly formed companies rushing to the region seeking “black gold” for their investors.

However, as with the petroleum industry’s earliest booms in Pennsylvania, intense competition  made drilling prospects hard to come by. Confronted with expensive dry holes, most new petroleum companies failed when investors’ oil fever cooled.

Sanger Oil & Refining

Beginning in the 1920s, Sanger Oil & Refining Company drilled many dry holes near Abilene, Texas, including the Ike Brown No. 1 well, shown here as 133 on a 1940 Texas State Board of Water Engineers map.

Sanger Oil & Refining Company

When Charles W. Sanger, a real-estate entrepreneur in an Amarillo, Texas, decided to become an oil wildcatter in 1919, he moved to Abilene and launched his new company.

Sanger Oil & Refining

A former real-estate salesman established Sanger Oil & Refining Company in Abilene, Texas, in 1920. With three other oil boom towns nearby, residents hoped for a similar oil-patch fate.

Sanger established Sanger Oil & Refining Company in Abilene on February 2, 1920, with capitalization of $1.5 million. He first tried drilling exploratory wells near the Ranger, about 60 miles to the east. His sons and their sister joined the venture despite early dry holes.


Sanger drilled his first Abilene wildcat well on the Hale farm, then another on the Bowyer’s farm, both within a few miles of town and both unsuccessful. Another well named the Anderson No. 1 produced briefly, but not commercially. Well sites (then and today) were typically named after the land owner.

Despite the bad luck, Sanger Oil & Refining continued drilling its Hall No. 1 well in 1922. Many others followed.

Many Abilene residents became shareholders in Sanger Oil & Refining. Local publications provided them with oil-patch educations.

“Oil men call a showing of oil which is non-commercial – not enough to produce and sell profitably – a ‘rainbow’ showing,” explained the Abilene Reporter. “A film of crude on the waters in a slush pit catches the sunlight and breaks the reflection into the colors of a rainbow.”


Sanger spent 22 years chasing his oily rainbows near Abilene. He drilled 30 consecutive unsuccessful wells in Abilene’s Taylor County. Disappointed investors kept their faith in him.

In 1927, Sanger Oil & Refining drilled the No. 1 Shipley, eight miles southeast of Abilene and the No. 1 Gillespie, five miles southeast. The Ike Brown (drilled to a depth of 3,514 feet) and the W.N. Osborne were also dry holes.

When Charles Sanger died in November 1941, the Abilene Reporter noted that he had “poured millions of dollars into the ground along with the mud with which he plugged one wildcat after another.”

The newspaper added that despite “several promising showings had been obtained in the earliest wildcats drilled near here about the time of his arrival, Sanger always had confidence in the discovery of a major field within sight of Abilene…Sanger never found it.”

Sanger Oil & Refining

Detail from a Bird’s Eye View lithograph of Abilene, Texas, 1883, by Augustus Koch. (3) Hotel and passenger depot of the Texas and Pacific R.R. (4) Freight depot (5) Wm. Cameron’s lumber yard. Image courtesy of Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Abilene’s first commercial oil well was completed in 1928.

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The stories of other attempts to join petroleum exploration booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
___________________________________________________________________________________

Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society and this website with a donation.

 

Federal Oil and Gas CompanyRecords show two Federal Oil and Gas companies operating in the early 1900s. A West Virginia exploration and production company had offices in Akron, Ohio.

Although it reported property valuation of only $5,000 in the 1917 annual report to the tax commission of Ohio (Athens County), it was still active in 1919.

The company purchased 80 acres for $180,000 in Wayne County, the westernmost county in the state. No records show petroleum exploration activity. Read the rest of this entry »

 




California Ventura OilA wildcat well struck oil in August 1930 and for decades pumped it from the Hermosa Beach, California, city dump.


As the Great Depression began, California-Ventura Oil Company discovered the Hermosa Beach oilfield. The field proved to be an important addition to the prolific Torrance oilfield.

The Torrence field, discovered in 1922, has produced more than 227 million barrels of oil from the Los Angeles Basin. The California-Ventura Oil’s Hermosa Beach discovery led to decades of litigation and referendums. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Central-Pennsylvania-Oil-Co-stock-aoghs


Central Pennsylvania Oil Company copyrighted a prospectus in 1919 with headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania, where local library resources and newspaper archives may have more information.

Although par value typically has little relation to a share’s market price, in 1921 the company was selling stock with $25 par value and actively soliciting investors in the Harrisburg Telegraph newspaper.

Also in 1921, Central Pennsylvania Oil established several “filling stations” in the area of Reading, Lebanon, and Harrisburg. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Beaumont-Confederated-Oil-and -Pipe-stock1-aoghs

Discovered in 1901, Spindletop created the modern U.S. petroleum industry, changed the future of American transportation – and brought many new oilfield technologies. A newspaper’s questionable geology attempts to describe the new Texas oilfield.


Beaumont was just another Texas Gulf Coast town until 1901 when a nearby hill known to locals as “Spindletop” changed U.S. petroleum history – and inspired birth of Beaumont Confederated Oil & Pipe Line Company.

Far from previous production, a wildcat well erupted oil in on January 10 that would produce more oil than anyone ever imagined.

The “Lucas Gusher” spawned future petroleum giants, including Gulf Oil, The Texas Company (Texaco) and Humble Oil (Exxon). Read the rest of this entry »

 




Hog-Creek-Carruth-Oil-Co-stock-aoghs

Wherever men meet “to tell stories of great achievements of the gigantic industry, someone will always tell, amid a breathless silence, the amazing story of Hog Creek Carruth.”


He called himself J.W. “Hog Creek” Carruth. The investors he betrayed do doubt called him much worse. His “amazing story” began in a Texas boomtown.

Hog Creek Carruth Oil Company was one of several Texas exploration companies created by the ambitious Carruth, who gained fame and a name when he claimed to have discovered the giant Desdemona oilfield.

In fact, it was Tom Dees and the Hog Creek Oil Company that brought in Desdemona’s discovery well on September 2, 1918. The historic well blew in at 2,000 barrels of oil a day, delighting investors, who reportedly profited more than $100 for every dollar they had invested. Carruth was among them.

Oil Stock Promoter

Located along Hog Creek and once called Hogtown, abundant oil production caused Desdemona to boom – and speculators to swarm. As it revelled in its newfound wealth, the town earned a nasty reputation. Texas Rangers had to intervene to keep order. Carruth’s relentless self-promotion and exuberant claims about the discovery soon earned him the “Hog Creek” Carruth moniker.

“The tiny peanut-farming hamlet of Desdemona in Eastland County was transformed when oil was struck in 1918,” notes the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. “Tents and shacks sprang up all around the town to house speculators and workers who flocked to the area, and the population grew from 340 to 16,000 almost overnight.”

Awash prosperity, people and mud, in April 1920 the Texas Rangers had to be sent into Desdemona to keep order.

Awash with prosperity, people and mud, by April 1920 the Texas Rangers had to be sent into Desdemona to keep order in the oil boomtown.

A contemporary account of the boom reported, “tales of Hogtown during the wicked oil days are too lurid for these pages, but we can say that its debauchery might be so well remembered because so much of it supposedly took place in broad daylight and sometimes not in private.”

Similar Texas drilling booms were taking place in Burkburnett along the Red River and in nearby Ranger, where the “Roaring Ranger” of October 1917 was Eastland County’s first gusher. Read more in Pump Jack Capital of Texas.

With speculators eager to profit from Desdemona, Carruth formed the J. W. Carruth Oil Company in 1919. Despite drilling several dry holes, he profited from selling his exuberantly advertised company stock.

However, just one year after its discovery, the Desdemona oilfield’s production would reach its peak of 7,375,825 barrels and then drop sharply, chiefly because of over drilling, according to the Texas State Historical Association.


Sucker Lists

J.W. Carruth and his oil company prospered in 1919 by becoming a Ponzi scheme in which Carruth used naïve investors’ purchase money to pay dividends, thereby luring more buyers in a spiral which lined his pockets while emptying theirs. He personally profited by selling his buyers’ personal information.

“Sucker lists” with names, addresses and investment history of people who might buy oil shares had great value. The lists expanded during the multiple oil booms in Eastland County – and similar discoveries in Oklahoma, Kansas and California.

“Depending on the extent and quality of a list, its price ran from several hundred dollars to several thousand,” notes Roger Olien in his 1990 book, Easy Money: Oil Promoters And Investors In The Jazz Age. Predictably for Carruth Oil Company, litigation dogged “Hog Creek” Carruth.

Disputes over leasing and mineral rights continued for several years. He nonetheless sold about $600,000 worth of stock. After more dry holes and more stock sales, in January of 1922, Carruth even announced a new venture.

Hog-Creek-Carruth-Oil-Co-stock -promo-aoghs

“I have called this company the Hog Creek Carruth Company, since it resembled so closely the famous Hog Creek Oil Company which I organized in 1917 and which in 1918 paid $10,135 cash dividends for every $100 that had been invested in it,” Carruth proclaimed.

Producing a blizzard of full-page promotions in newspapers from Ft. Worth to San Antonio and Port Arthur, the oil stock salesman finally ran afoul of “blue sky” laws, which sought to restrain such scams.


“The advertising of still another promoter, ‘Hog Creek’ Carruth of Fort Worth, Texas, caps the climax,” reported the Providence News on January 3, 1923.

“Modestly he admits that wherever men meet to ‘tell stories of great achievements of the gigantic industry, someone will always tell, amid a breathless silence, the amazing story of Hog Creek Carruth.’”

Indicted in 1923 along with 25 other Texas promoters for “fraudulent use of U.S. mails,” Carruth joined some nationally recognized swindlers.

Among those indicted were some of the most infamous stock promoters of the day: Dr. Frederick Cook, who had falsely claimed to have discovered the North Pole before Robert Perry, and the “genius of bunkum,” Seymour E. J. “Alphabet” Cox, the author of such enticements as, “Oil! Guaranteed Gushers! Five hundred percent, dividends. Pots of gold!”

Hog-Creek-Carruth-Oil-Co-newspaper-stock-aoghsAfter testimony from almost 300 witnesses and a lengthy trial, Carruth, Cook, Cox and others were convicted of “dispersing stock-sales revenues as dividends, claiming income from non-producing wells, and otherwise misrepresenting the company’s position.”

Hog-Creek-Carruth-Oil-Co-stock headline-aoghs“Hog Creek” Carruth was sent to the Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas for a year. He died in obscurity in 1932.

In 1934 the Securities and Exchange Commission was established to regulate the issue and sale of securities to protect the public from deceptive stock promotions. Also see the Spear Oil Company and Arctic Explorer turns Oil Promoter.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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An aero-view or "bird's eye" map of Montrose, Pennsylvania, by Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler depicts Susquehanna County community in 1890. The area’s quarries produced a durable blue sandstone today known as Pennsylvania Bluestone.

An aero-view or “bird’s eye” map of Montrose, Pennsylvania, by Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler depicted this Susquehanna County community in 1890. The area’s quarries produced a durable blue sandstone today known as Pennsylvania Bluestone.


A decade before the Montrose Gas, Oil and Coal Company organized in 1920, natural gas was known to seep from the ground in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

“Natural Gas flowing from a hole near the back of the N. Philip Wheaton farm in Franklin township, seven miles from Montrose, has been used by the family for the past fifteen years for lighting and stoves,” noted a 1910 article in the Montrose Democrat.

Montrose, established in 1812 in the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania near the New York border, was known for its quarry sites, which yielded a blue sandstone popular as an architectural and building stone.

The Montrose Gas, Oil and Coal Company natural gas well of 1921. Although the Pennsylvania company failed, today beneath Susquehanna County lies the Marcellus Shale with an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Photo courtesy of Susquehanna Historical Society, Horgan Collection.

The Montrose Gas, Oil and Coal Company natural gas well of 1921. Although the Pennsylvania company failed, today beneath Susquehanna County lies the Marcellus Shale with an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Photo courtesy of Susquehanna Historical Society, Horgan Collection.


In late 1920, Montrose Gas, Oil and Coal launched plans to drill for natural gas to serve markets just to the north in Binghamton, New York, and to the south in Scranton.

Capitalized at $300,000, the company offered investors shares for $10 each through an expansive newspaper campaign.

“One good gas well, yielding an average of 5,000,000 cubic feet a day would mean an annual yield of $565,750,” proclaimed advertisements in the Scranton Republican.

Before the end of 1921, Montrose Gas, Oil and Coal had sold enough common stock to finance drilling near Franklin Fork, a few miles from Montrose.


The company’s cable-tool rig found natural gas at a depth of just 200 feet. Production records cannot be found.

“Many of the stockholders of the company residing in this immediate vicinity drove to the well as soon as the news was circulated in order to verify with their eyes what it seemed could hardly be true,” noted one contemporary account.

Although the company drilled a successful natural gas well, newspaper advertisements to raise capital did not attract enough investors.

Although the company drilled a successful natural gas well, newspaper advertisements to raise capital did not attract enough investors.

“A piece of tow (rope) was lighted and thrown down the ten-inch pipe, with the result that the lighted gas would flame up five feet in the air,” the report continued. “The flow has been steady ever since.”

Prospects for the company’s future looked good.

In April 1922, Montrose Gas, Oil and Coal stock still traded. As late as November, the company was considered viable and had plans to expand drilling operations in the field..if more funding could be secured.

However, the company soon disappeared from records. The Pennsylvania Internet Record Imaging System/Wells Information System, available online, may have further details.

Today beneath Susquehanna County lies the Marcellus Shale with trillions cubic feet of natural gas, stretching through parts of New York State, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

In 2012 alone Susquehanna County landowners received $300 million in lease royalties. Modern recovery techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling have enabled extraction of this trapped gas.

But for Montrose Gas, Oil and Coal Company, such technology was years away. The company’s stock certificates may be valued by scripophily collectors for artistic and historical significance.

Cartographer Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler in 1890 published an aero view of Montrose – one of more than 400 Fowler panoramas, many depicting early oil boom towns, including an 1896 panorama of Titusville, Pennsylvania, where Edwin Drake launched the U.S. petroleum industry.

Learn more about oilfield artwork in Oil Town “Aero Views.”

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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spears oil company

The Desdemona oilfield, Eastland County, Texas, circa 1919. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

Speculators once again converged on a small town in Eastland County in 1918 as yet another West Texas drilling boom began with a gusher. Spear Oil Company soon joined them.


In September a well producing 2,000 barrels of oil a day had blown in near Desdemona, one of the first Texas towns established west of the Brazos River.

Desdemona had once been called Hog Town and Hog Creek Oil Company made the discovery. Eastland County’s Ranger and Cisco communities experienced drilling booms the previous year.

The “Roaring Ranger” McClesky No. 1 well of October 1917 had reached a daily production of 1,700 barrels. Within two years eight refineries were open or under construction and Ranger banks had $5 million in deposits.

That oil field gained international fame for Ranger as the town that wiped out oil shortages during World War I, allowing the Allies to “float to victory on a wave of oil.” Eastland County’s Cisco would later gain fame as the crowded boom town Conrad Hilton visited after the war – and bought his first motel.

See Oil Boom brings First Hilton Hotel.

Spear Oil Company

Spear Oil Company organized with capitalization of $1.75 million in 1919 – the same year the Desdemona field reached its peak annual production of almost 7.4 million barrels of oil.

With J.A. Spear as president and leases to drill in Desdemona, widespread promotion of stock sales was necessary to fund the of Stephensville, Texas, based new venture’s operations. But at least one oil stock promoter who had misrepresented the value of the region’s wells in 1914 was serving time in federal prison.

spears oil companyWith oil stock promotions appearing in newspapers nationwide, states began taking action. In August 1919, the attorney general of South Carolina refused Spear Oil Company’s request to sell stock in his state because the company failed to comply with South Carolina “Blue Sky Laws.”

These new laws were designed to prevent the use of the U.S. Mail in stock promotion schemes. The South Carolina attorney general’s rejection excoriated the practice of “selling script or certificates of so-called ‘stock’ in the leasing and operation of what is claimed to be prospective development, producing and marketing of oil and gas in Texas.”


The trade publication United States Investor agreed.

“We do not recommend Spear Oil as a purchase,” noted the magazine’s editors. “Apparently the people at the head of this company are much more at home selling stock than they are in operating an oil enterprise.”

Nonetheless, within a few months, the Wilmington Morning Star published an “editorial” letter (no doubt paid for by the company) extolling Spear Oil Company properties.

“There are a number of wells being drilled on their royalties and several locations for wells on their solid leases,” the newspaper reported. “As a whole, we consider the securities of Spear Oil Company safe, with prospects for at least good, substantial dividends for many years and each of us has purchased a number of shares of their securities.”

The letter concluded: “In conclusion, we found the conditions and general outlook for the success of the company much better than we had expected, and even better than it had been represented to us. Respectfully submitted…”




Spear Oil did drill in Eastland County and complete oil wells. United States Investor was obliged to update and report net production of about 600 to 650 barrels per day from the company’s Desdemona operations in the southeast corner of Eastland County.

The company’s stock was still offered on the Fort Worth Exchange at $1.40 a share in September 1920, although it had not paid dividends and, “as yet and appears to be using its earnings for further development.”

As far away as North Tonawanda, New York, promoters of Spear Oil wrote enthusiastic endorsements recommending the company’s stock.

In 1921, Spear Oil Company spudded its Blankenship No. 1 well, but soon shut it down and moved two strings of tools and three rigs to begin operations on another promising lease. The Blankenship No. 2 well’s progress was noted in oil trade publications.

“The Desdemona field now has approximately 315 completed wells that have a daily average production ranging from 4,000 to 6,000 barrels,” Oil Weekly reported on January 14, 1922.

“During the past week, the Spear Oil Company’s No. 2 Blankenship failed to show up as a producer after being shot with 20 quarts from 3,060 to 3,070 feet,” the publication added. “This well has a total depth of 3,085 feet, and is now being cleaned out.”

Learn more how a well was “shot” in Shooters – A Fracking History.

Meanwhile, the impact of over-drilling was clear as reservoir pressures and production from the field diminished. Spear Oil’s Blankenship No. 2 well failed along with many others and funding for continued operations could not be secured.

Stockholders of the failing Spear Oil Company were approached in 1923 by the famed (but fraudulent) North Pole explorer, Frederick Cook and his Petroleum Producers’ Association.

Cook’s stock manipulations and violations of blue sky laws ultimately landed him in prison, but not before many Spear Oil share owners were conned into exchanging their stock for Petroleum Producers’ Association while paying a 25 percent “bonus.”

spears oil companyPetroleum Producers’ Association stock was as worthless as Spear Oil Company’s, but investors were convinced otherwise, largely through the extraordinary promotional machinations of Seymour Cox. “Alphabet” Cox and others were convicted of ”dispersing stock-sales revenues as dividends, claiming income from non-producing wells, and otherwise misrepresenting the company’s position.”

See Arctic Explorer turns Oil Promoter.

It was not until 1934 that the Securities and Exchange Commission was established to regulate the issue and sale of securities and to protect the public from increasingly clever stock promotions and manipulations. By then, Spear Oil Company was long gone. Its stock certificates may have value to scripophily collectors.

Led by Jeane Pruett, the Ranger Historical Preservation Society in Ranger preserves the heritage of McCleskey No.1, discovery well of the Ranger oil boom.

Support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society and this website with a donation.

 




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.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Sawyer Petroleum Company was formed by Ernest Walker Sawyer, a millionaire hotel developer and former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior.

The company was active in Beaverhead County, Montana, in the 1960s. It partnered with the Union Pacific Railroad Company in pursuit of rare-earth minerals (radioactive thorite) in the Lemhi Pass district, part of the Bitterroot Range in the Rocky Mountains.

The company’s name changed to Sawyer-Adecor International in the 1970s. In March 1997 the company was renamed again as Oil Retrieval Systems, Inc.

The newly named company reportedly was in the business of manufacturing and distributing portable swabbing units to the oil and natural gas industry.


However, the Securities and Exchange Commission records Oil Retrieval Systems Inc. as a dissolved Arizona corporation, having not filed any required periodic reports since 1996.

Sawyer Petroleum Company stock certificates sell on eBay for about $10.

The company is not related to Sawyer Petroleum Inc., founded in 1948 and today a distributor of fuels from refiners to the greater Los Angeles and Ventura Counties in California. 

In 1990, at age 71, Ernest Walker Sawyer entered the Alaska gubernatorial race “under the banner of the extremist Alaska Independence Party – a party that advocates the 49th state’s peaceful secession from the Union,” according to Ernest Walker Sawyer and Alaska: The Dilemma of Northern Economic Development, by Terrence M. Cole, in the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 82, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 42-50.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Decades before the first oil discovery in the state of Washington, Pelican Petroleum Company tried and failed.

The search for oil in the state led to many dry holes for decades after Pelican’s 1930 wildcat well in the far northwest corner.

Despite much investment by companies such as Continental, Shell, Texas Company and a host of start-up ventures, Washington’s first and only commercial oil well did not arrive until the late 1950s.

Sunshine Mining Company’s Medina No. 1 well, near Ocean City in Gray Harbor County, found a producing oil sand in 1957. It produced 223 barrels of oil a day from a depth of 4,135 feet near Ocean City in Gray Harbor County.


In 1938, the Pelican Petroleum Company and partner Peoples Gas & Oil Development Company drilled the Pelican Dome No. 1 well to 5,500 feet in Whatcom County. It was an expensive dry hole.

Although Pelican soon disappeared from the records, some collectors value its old stock certificates at about $70.

Although the search for oil in Washington began as early as 1885 with the Tacoma Petroleum Company, the geology found in prolific California oilfields simply did not extend to the Northwest.

It would take years of investing in failed wells – and a turn of the century frenzied leasing speculation – before any change. Small commercial oil wells then appeared near the Washington coast in  the 1950s after a 1951 well produced 35 barrels a day.

About 600 oil and natural gas wells have been drilled in Washington through 2010, according to Washington’s commissioner of public lands.

“But large-scale commercial production has never occurred,” adds the commissioner. “The most recent production, which was from the Ocean City Gas and Oil Field west of Hoquiam, ceased in 1962, and no oil or gas have been produced since that time.”

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Mountain-States-Resources-stock-aoghs


Mountain States Resources Corporation was incorporated in Utah on April 15, 1969, for the purpose of mining and mineral extraction as well as oil and gas exploration, development, and production.

The company drilled for oil in Utah’s Emery and San Juan counties and conducted mineral prospecting for several years.

The only operating U.S. uranium processing plant operates in Blanding, San Juan County, which also includes several oil and natural gas fields.

The “Tin Cup” field, discovered by Marathon Oil in 1981, is about 20 miles southeast of Blanding.


According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mountain States Resources discontinued operations in 1993 and by June 30, 1995, listed assets of just $440 with liabilities of $934,444.

In a September 29, 1997, using a reverse merger with recapitalization and reorganization, Mountain States Resources – with neither assets nor operations – became Micro-Media Solutions, Inc.

Micro-Media Solutions went public in 1998 as a technology corporation, “formed to provide computer hardware and peripherals, internet services, service and support, maintenance, installation services, network systems integration…and related turnkey services to the public and private sectors.”

Obsolete Mountain States Resources Corporation stock certificates have nominal collectible value.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Doughboy-stock-AOGHSDespite national and sometimes international attention given to America’s early oilfield discoveries, for the few companies that made them, hundreds others went bankrupt seeking similar fortunes. Doughboy Oil Company investors did not find oil riches.

In the early 1900s, several states from California to Kansas and Oklahoma, attracted news companies – and potential investors – to well-publicized “gushers.”

By the 1920s, a series of giant oilfields discoveries in Texas – Electra, Ranger and Burkburnett – led to a drilling frenzy. See Pump Jack Capital of Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

 




California-Oil-and-Gas-stock-aoghs


When Home Oil Company’s “Blue Goose” gusher came in at a reported 1,000 barrels a day near Coalinga, California, in 1898, a drilling frenzy soon followed.

Among those looking for “black gold” riches midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles was former California State Attorney General W.H.H. Hart, William Graham, and their associates, who incorporated the California Oil & Gas Company with capitalization of $2 million. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Lincoln-Idaho-Oil-Company-stock4 -AOGHS


“The occurrence of oil in southwestern Wyoming has been known for nearly three-fourths of a century,” reported the U.S. Geological Survey in 1914.

Alfred Reginald Schultz, author of Geology and Geography of a Portion of Lincoln County, Wyoming, noted that early trappers and fur traders regularly visited oil springs.

“The first published account of oil in southwestern Wyoming resulted from an examination made by the Mormons in 1847 on their pioneer journey across the great plains,” he added.

Although the oil from springs in Uinta and Lincoln counties was dark and heavy, its low sulfur content convinced Schultz, “this petroleum is one of the most valuable that I have ever examined.”


Ranchers used the oil as machine oil and it “proved highly satisfactory,” he added. “It did not rise to the surface, but appeared to drain into the soil that filled the valley; at several points oil was encountered by sinking shallow wells a few feet into this soil.”

Needless to say, this 1914 USGS report inspired independent petroleum companies to drill in southwestern Wyoming. One of them, Lincoln-Idaho Oil Company, drilled an exploratory well that showed sufficient promise to prompt drilling of a second well nearby on the company’s Big Piney lease.

This well number two, called the “Lackey Well,” in August 1919 produced a gusher from less than 1,000 feet deep. The well was “a sensation in western Wyoming oil circles” according to the Salt Lake Mining Review.

Lincoln-Idaho-Oil-Company-stock 3-AOGHS

“In February of 1919 Mr. Lackey brought in a third well about three-quarters of a mile north of his first attempt,” noted a 1920 article in the Salt Lake Mining Review, which included these images.

Unfortunately, Lincoln-Idaho Oil would not be among those to succeed in the Big Piney.




Under company President Thomas Clinton, Lincoln-Idaho spudded its third well and a fourth about six miles south of Kemmerer, Lincoln County, where Clinton maintained an office. Capitalized at $500,000, the company was authorized to sell 250,000 shares of stock. Commissions were limited to 25 percent, but zealous reporting of the company’s drilling success generated enough sales to sustain drilling operations.

In 2000, the massive top section of a circa 1955 production derrick was moved to a Big Piney park, "as a tribute to the contributions made by the oil and gas industry to the community," which decorates it for Christmas. Photo by Dawn Ballou.

In 2000, the massive top section of a circa 1955 production derrick was moved to a Big Piney park, “as a tribute to the contributions made by the oil and gas industry to the community,” which decorates it for Christmas. Photo by Dawn Ballou.

“If you want to make some easy money, this is your opportunity,” declared a newspaper advertisement as the company’s stock sold for 21 cents per share and its crude oil production settled at about 100 barrels a day. The remoteness of the Big Piney oilfield from any railroad transportation made small production operations like Lincoln-Idaho Oil Company very risky.

“The Lincoln-Idaho Oil Company, the largest operator in the Big Piney field, Lincoln County, will do no more drilling…but will hereafter be classed as a holding company,” the Oil & Gas News reported in 1921.

An unsuccessful effort to amend the company’s oil prospecting permit in 1922 was litigated until 1925, ending in a judgment for the Department of the Interior and against Lincoln-Idaho Oil. Thereafter, the company disappears, leaving only collectible stock certificates behind.

Learn more in First Wyoming Oil Wells.

Exploring Southwestern Wyoming


“Going back to 1847, heavy oil from a seep at Fossil and Spring Valley was reported to have been used for greasing wagons, and ranchers and cowboys,” explained Barbara McKinley of the Green River Valley Museum.

Oil from a seep at Birch Creek was seen on horses’ hooves in 1892.

According to McKinley, geologists had surveyed the east side of the Wyoming Range early in the 20th century and predicted a positive outlook for oil production. Natural gas there at that time had no value – at least there was no market.

Although several companies began drilling in Lincoln County and neighboring Sublette County in 1904, “activity really began taking off in earnest during the late teens,” she reported in a 2003 article for the Sublette Examiner.

“Charlie Budd and Charles Lackey were busily promoting the Dry Piney area and brought in Cretaceous Well No. 1, but bad luck seemed to dog their efforts,” said McKinley.

The Green River Valley Museum began in 1990 thanks to the Big Piney Centennial Committee. Barbara McKinley (June 9, 1933 – Dec. 28, 2011) served on the first board of directors of the museum.

The Green River Valley Museum began in 1990 thanks to the Big Piney Centennial Committee. Barbara McKinley (June 9, 1933 – Dec. 28, 2011) served on the first board of directors of the museum.

W.D. “Bill” Newlon was drilling, and the Lincoln-Idaho No. 2 well reported a “good flow” of oil in 1919, she noted. “Everything was off to the races by the 1920s.”

But trouble loomed for Lincoln-Idaho Oil Company and others.

“Right at this time, turmoil also developed in the area when in 1920, the federal government changed the method governing oil and gas drilling and ownership rights from placer law to a lease system,” McKinley explained. “Prior to that time, placer mining law, such as that used for gold, covered the rights to find and produce oil.”

A person or company had to discover oil in commercial quantities before being able to secure title to the claim. Title was granted to the person striking oil first and anyone else drilling on the claim lost out.

“Some companies who were working to prove up on their claims lost out as other individuals or companies rushed to lease up the land from under them,” McKinley concluded. Visit the Green River Valley Museum in Big Piney.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Yankee-Girl-Oil-Company-stock-aoghs


The discovery of the Los Angeles City oilfield by Edward Doheney in 1892 set off a boom that within a few years put more than 200 oil companies and 2,500 wells within Los Angeles city limits.

Yankee Girl Oil Company was one of them.

Among the new companies seeking “black gold” riches in southern California, Yankee Girl Oil organized in July 1901 in the Territory of Arizona and capitalized at $400,000.

Based in San Francisco, the company acquired leases in the Los Angeles City field and drilled its first two wells between today’s Colton and West Court streets just north of Vista Hermosa Natural Park.


Investors – and speculators – bought Yankee Girl Oil shares for about 40 cents each. Investment analysts offered their qualified approval.

“The holdings appear to be such that with capable management and sufficient time and capital for development the stock should become of value,” United States Investor reported.

“Well No.1 was completed about a year ago and has been yielding oil steadily since,” noted a November 1901 article in Pacific Oil Reporter. “The company owns its own tanks, and the wells are pumped by the most improved pumping plant obtainable.”

Although each of Yankee Girl Oil’s two wells produced oil  (totaling about 32 barrels a day), increased drilling and production costs and fierce competition did not bode well for the exploration company.

The Los Angeles City oilfield reached peak production of over 2,200 barrels a day. Learn more in Discovering the Los Angeles Oilfield.


This continuing glut of supply drove oil prices down to just 15 cents a barrel by 1903.

“There was so much cheap oil that to reduce the tremendous surplus, the city began spraying it on unpaved roads to hold down the dust,” notes one historian.

With low production, no margins, and insufficient capital to continue operations, Yankee Girl Oil Company was one of many fatalities in the scramble for Los Angeles oilfield wealth. Collectible, the company’s stock certificates appear online for sale through scripophily sites.

Also see Discovering the La Brea “Tar Pits” and Oil Queen of California.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Twelve miles inland of the Pacific Ocean in the Conejo Valley, Thousand Oaks, California, has more than 125,000 residents, "nestled neatly within a picturesque plateau, rimmed by scenic hills, mountains and trees," notes a local realtor.

Twelve miles inland of the Pacific Ocean in the Conejo Valley, Thousand Oaks, California, has more than 125,000 residents “nestled neatly within a picturesque plateau, rimmed by scenic hills, mountains and trees,” notes a local realtor.


Conejo Hills Oil Company’s history is the story of a single California well, spudded by one company and drilled for years by many others in what today is a residential neighborhood of Thousand Oaks, one the wealthiest cities in America.

This lush valley region – about 35 miles from Los Angeles on the stagecoach route to Santa Barbara – was part of the Karn Pederson Ranch near Rancho El Conejo. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Mrs. H. H. Honore Jr. of Chicago in 1915 was named president of a new petroleum exploration company led exclusively by women.

Mrs. H. H. Honore Jr. of Chicago in 1915 was named president of a new petroleum exploration company led exclusively by women.

Although later derided for having “petticoat management,” a 1915 oil company run by women was part America’s growing suffrage movement. The Woman’s Federal Oil Company of America was a gender pioneer.

At the time, with nine out of 10 wells resulting in “dusters,” far more exploration companies failed than succeeded. Competition was fierce in the technical, speculative and very expensive search for new oilfields.

Most newly formed enterprises were run by men whose ambitions often exceeded their drilling experience and investment capital.

One gender exception was Mrs. H. H. Honore Jr. of Chicago. In 1915 she was named president of a new oil company led exclusively by women – five years before they were granted the right to vote for a U.S. president.

The Woman’s Federal Oil Company of America incorporated on November 22, 1915, in the District of Columbia with $750,000 capitalization. “Mrs. Honore was head of the company, which kept mere males out of the organization,” noted one reporter.

“The history of this woman’s oil corporation forms an intensely interesting story of the rare accomplishment of women, absolutely unaided by man,” gushed the reporter about the widow of prominent real estate businessman Harry H. Honore Jr.

“The reason men were kept out,” the reporter added, “is because ‘women are destined for equal leadership with men in the world of finance and promotion.'”


The company’s officers included, “some fifteen other equally well-known women, as executives and directors, (who) began the tremendous task of establishing a dividend-paying oil industry.”

More than 2,100 women bought shares in Woman’s Federal Oil and by 1917 it had acquired a charter to do business in Kansas.

Although the company acquired leases for 350,000 acres in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana, Woman’s Federal Oil’s first two success wells came in Illinois.

In April and June of 1918, the company drilled near the town of East Oakland, Illinois. Both wells produced commercial amounts of natural gas. The company paid first dividends to stockholders the same year.

“It is no wonder that the entire financial world is doffing its hat to the Woman’s Federal Oil Company of America, and to the able women who manage it,” reported one industry trade journal. “This woman’s enterprise has made good.”

womans-federal- oil-co-stock-aoghs

However, the next three exploratory wells drilled by Woman’s Federal Oil were expensive dry holes. Debts soon mounted and investors became wary. An article in a popular investment magazine did not help the company.


“Woman’s Federal Oil Company of America is purely a speculation and in our opinion, you would be better off to leave the stock alone,” declared editors of United States Investor magazine in January 1919.

The magazine frequently issued far harsher criticisms. In May 1919 it exposed the Prudential Oil and Refining Company as a stock scam run by notorious ad-man Seymour E. J. “Alphabet” Cox.

Petticoat Management

Meanwhile, Woman’s Federal Oil’s former company attorney, George Holmes, led a move against the board of directors to oust Mrs. Honore and her fellow female executives, whom he described as “petticoat management.”

“These women have no idea of the relation between income and disbursements,” proclaimed Holmes at a contentious meeting that included both sexes.

“Jeers, taunts, wild shouts prevailed through every minute of the session,” and the New York’s Syracuse Journal reported this exchange at the meeting:

 The victory was short lived, although the company failed soon after men join the board in 1920.

The victory was short lived, although the company failed soon after men joined the board in 1920.

“I don’t think you’re much of an oil man, Mr. Ellis” interrupted Mrs. Honore. “And your statements are not true.”

“I don’t think you’re much of an oil woman, Mrs. Honore,” replied Ellis. 

Mrs. Honore shattered her gavel.

“I am merely trying to get efficient management,” Holmes maintained. “I am prepared to go the limit, in court or out, to get this management, which the stockholders are entitled to,” Holmes said.

In the end, the attorney’s move to change board leadership failed.

“Women Triumph Over Men Foes In Oil Company,” exclaimed the Syracuse Journal headline when a final board vote retained Mrs. H. H. Honore Jr., as president. But the victory lasted only a year.

Despite some reported successful wells in Kansas oilfields, Woman’s Federal Oil’s fortunes continued to diminish. A January 12, 1920, meeting of stockholders in Chicago reviewed the company’s financial position. “The value of the 75,000 shares of stock, held mostly by women, deteriorated from $1,087,500 to $75,000,” noted one reporter.

“Amid heated argument five directors were elected. All were men. Mrs. H. H. Honore Jr….made no effort to retain her place on the board,” added a brief article headlined, “Woman’s Federal Oil Co. Has Merry Meeting.”


Mrs. Honore, who had resigned on December 31, 1919, was unavailable when creditors, including a bank in Independence, Kansas, announced the firm should be thrown into bankruptcy.

A newly formed H & H Oil Company of Kansas City prepared a stock exchange agreement to avert bankruptcy – but the best stockholders could hope for was receiving a fraction of their investment.

“Oil company which tabooed mere man, to pay 20-cents on dollar,” concluded a June 1920 newspaper. Although neither company survived, Woman’s Federal Oil stock certificates are valued by collectors.

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was ratified on August 18, 1920. Mrs. Harriet Denham Honore, widow of Harry H. Honore Jr., died in New York City at 75 on July 18, 1938. “Although her marriage had united her to one of Chicago’s wealthy families, she had been reduced to the gifts of friends and a $20 a month old-age pension,” reported the New York Times.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Craven-Oil-Desdemona-TX-AOGHS

Craven-Oil-and-Refining-Co-stock-aoghsSoon after World War I, the son of a famous general sought opportunities to get rich in the booming oilfields of Texas.

Leonard Wood Jr. was the son of Major Gen. Leonard Wood, a famed Medal of Honor recipient and former chief of staff of the Army. Wood also was a veteran of military service, having served in the Great War as a lieutenant in the 81st Infantry Division. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Corpus-Burke-Oil-stock-ad-AOGHSA wave of speculation followed North Texas petroleum discoveries beginning in 1911.

Oil booms in Electra, nearby Ranger (1917), and Burkburnett soon after brought many hastily created oil companies rushing to North Texas.

But as petroleum historians have noted, because most of the productive acres already had been leased, most of these companies would fail. Investors often still sought instant riches. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Holly-Oil-stock-AOGHS


The Holly Oil Company was organized under the laws of Colorado, on June 14, 1921, to acquire and develop oil lands located in California’s Huntington Beach oilfield. It was a sugar company’s idea.

Although oil seeps along California’s coastline had drawn petroleum companies there as early as the 1890s, it would be decades before the rich pools were revealed. Stretching from Huntington Beach to north of Santa Barbara, several fields contained billions of barrels of oil.

Huntington Beach’s growth began following a May 24,1920, discovery of the largest California oil deposit known at the time.

The Huntington Beach oilfield, circa 1926. Although still a productive oilfiled, less drilling by the early 1950s led to dismantling of derricks within the city and along the coast. Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.

The Huntington Beach oilfield, circa 1926. Although still a productive oilfiled, less drilling by the early 1950s led to dismantling of derricks within the city and along the coast. Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.


Wells sprang up overnight and in less than a month the town grew from 1,500 to 5,000 people. A real estate boom brought thousands to the nearby community of Sunset Beach.

The city’s derricks were disappearing by the time the the last successful well was drilled in 1953 – the same year the city’s first surf shop, Gordie’s Surf Boards, opened.

Oil for Sugar Beets

At Huntington Beach, the Holly Sugar Company’s sugar beet refinery near the intersection of Gothard and Garfield streets had been there since 1911.

In order to devote the 14.7-acre property entirely to drilling for oil, the company disassembled its sugar beet refinery and shipped to Torrington, Wyoming, where it was rebuilt and operating by 1926.

Stockholders of Holly Sugar Company, founded in 1905 in Holly, Colorado, were given first preference to purchase shares of the new Holly Oil Company stock at $2 a share. It seems to have been a sweet deal.


The former sugar beet refinery property soon had 16 producing wells (including a 1,150 barrel a day well in 1922). Five railroad sidings were constructed to handle the 24-hour-a day-oil operations.

By 1923, daily oil production from Holly Oil wells reached 6,300 barrels. Records show the company was still actively drilling in the Huntington Beach oilfield in 1926, drilling the Conrad No. 1 well and the 1927 Huntington No. 2 well.

The California Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources’ last record of Holly Oil Company drilling was in 1940 when the company drilled and plugged the Meherin No. 1 well in San Luis Obispo County.

With its finely detailed vignette of an eagle with shield, Holly Oil Company stock certificates can be found online valued at about $50.

America’s offshore exploration industry began in the 1890s with drilling piers along the West Coast. Learn more California petroleum history in Discovering the Los Angeles Oilfield.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Architectural drawing of the Boston Building in Denver.

Architectural drawing of the Boston Building in Denver.

In 1917 and 1918, with the United States fighting in World War I, the Double Standard Oil & Gas Company sought investors for the booming oilfields.

“Double Standard Oil & Gas Company is the owner of valuable oil leases in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming,” the company told potential investors. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Richfield-Oil-Corp-stock-AOGHS

Two years before Alaska statehood, Richfield Oil Corporation made an oil discovery that greatly benefited the exploration company (today’s ARCO) and the “north to the future” state.

Atlantic Richfield

Alaska’s oil production soon accounted for more than 90 percent of Alaska’s general fund revenues.

Richfield Oil began in the petroleum business in 1915 as the Rio Grande Oil Company of El Paso, Texas. At the time, its main business was supplying U.S. military forces with gasoline in support of operations against Pancho Villa.

By 1936, Rio Grande had reorganized and merged with other companies to become Richfield Oil Corporation. Twenty years later, Richfield discovered an oilfield, that today is considered the state’s first commercial well (a 1902 well actually had revealed the Alaska Territory’s first commercial oilfield).

In July 1957, Richfield Oil’s Swanson River Unit No. 1 well, which produced 900 barrels of oil per day from a depth of 11,150 feet to 11,215 feet. The company had leased 71,680 acres of the Kenai National Moose Range, now the 1.92 million acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. More discoveries followed and by June 1962 about 50 wells are producing more than 20,000 barrels of oil per day.


“The U.S. Congress viewed that discovery as the foundation for a secure economic base in Alaska, and statehood was granted two years later,” explains the Alaska Resources Council.

A decade later, the discovery of the giant Prudhoe Bay oilfield on Alaska’s North Slope will make Alaska a world-class oil and natural gas producer – a status reaffirmed in 1969 with the discovery of the nearby Kuparuk field, the second largest in North America after Prudhoe Bay.

Four of the ten largest U.S. oilfields have been discovered on Alaska’s North Slope. In 1973, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act authorized construction of the 800-mile Trans-Alaska pipeline system from Prudhoe Bay to the port of Valdez.

Richfield Oil Corporation merged with the Atlantic Refining Company to form Atlantic Richfield Company in 1966.


In 1999 BP Amoco purchased ARCO for $26.8 billion in stock, making BP Amoco the world’s second-largest petroleum company.

Regarding the certificate’s potential value, if the shareholder named on the certificate failed to surrender it during a change of ownership (merger, sale, etc.), the stock shares would have been cancelled on the books and any remaining value turned over to the Unclaimed Property Division of the owner’s state.

Obsolete Richfield Oil Corporation stock certificates are offered online for about $10.

For more detailed history, see From the Rio Grande to the Arctic: The Story of the Richfield Oil Corporation, by former CEO Charles S. Jones.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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It was the greatest petroleum exploration and production since the birth of the U.S. oil industry in 1859. Hundreds of new companies formed in the wake of the spectacular 1901 “Lucas Gusher” at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas. See Spindletop creates Modern Petroleum Industry.

It was a highly competitive and risky business. Among those ready to make fortunes for investors were two new “Gladys Oil” companies. One was from Beaumont, the other from Galveston.

Contemporary maps show the Gladys Oil Company of Beaumont to have drilled a successful well very close to the famous January 10, 1901, “Lucas Gusher” well on Spindletop Hill.

That same year, after 29 days of drilling in block 37, the company reported production from “Gusher No. 67” at a depth of 1,025 feet. Locating the “black gold” did not necessarily promise success.


In a scenario that would repeat itself in other oilfields in coming decades, production from the giant field soon brought a collapse in oil prices. By January of 1902 stocks of both Gladys Oil companies were trading for less than 10 cents a share.

By 1903 the Texas Secretary of State reported that Gladys Oil Company of Beaumont had “forfeited its right to do business in the state of Texas” due to a failure to pay franchise taxes.

The company was sued, lost, and United States Investor magazine reported it to be worthless two years later.

Meanwhile, because some cash-strapped and desperate companies made questionable claims, newspapers began referring to Spindletop as “swindletop.”


The Gladys Oil Company of Galveston lasted a little longer than its Beaumont twin, but not without controversy.

In 1907, Success Magazine named the company in its “Fools and their Money” expose of fraudulent promotion schemes perpetrated by the New York, Chicago, and Beaumont Security Oil Trust.

The trust had proclaimed, “it was impossible to lose” with an investment Gladys Oil Company of Galveston. In 1911 R. M. Smythe’s, Obsolete American Securities and Corporations, reported the stock to be worthless.

Read about Pattillo Higgins, the man behind the great Spindletop discovery, and his Gladys City Oil, Gas & Manufacturing Company. See Prophet of Spindletop.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Santa-Fe-Dome-Oil-Co-stock-aoghs


In 1921, Union Oil Company brought in the Bell No. 1 well in the city of Santa Fe Springs, California.

The Union Oil gusher, which produced more than 2,000 barrels of oil a day, prompted a rush of new exploration as entrepreneurs hoped to exploit yet another California oil bonanza.

A year later, the extent of the Santa Fe Springs oilfield was still undefined as dozens of new wells were being drilled.

Amid this drilling fever, the Santa Fe Dome Oil Company was formed and funded by investors whose purchase of stock provided the cash to acquire a lease and drill as close as possible to known producing wells.


Meanwhile the region’s oil production grew, reaching 80,000 barrels a day. By the end of the 1920s, the oilfield’s production, which exceeded production at the more famous Signal Hill field. Also see Signal Hill brings California Oil Boom.

Santa Fe Springs became a promoters’ paradise, notes one historian. Prospective investors were bussed to the field, served free lunches in circus tents, and regaled with stories about fortunes to be made in oil.

Santa Fe Dome Oil joined the oil rush and bought a lease on the Myer property in Los Angels – today found at Shoemaker Avenue, between Beaty and Sunshine streets.

The company drilled its first well about a mile south of the proven producing area but came up dry. With falling cash reserves, a second attempt was made within a hundred feet of the company’s first attempt – not an uncommon practice, given the technology of the day – but this well also was a dry hole.

Santa Fe Dome Oil Company disappeared from financial records.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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aladin-oil-and-refining-stock-AOGHS


Although the state of Washington has never been close to becoming a major producer of oil, that has never stopped exploration companies from trying.

Beginning as early as the late 1880s, speculators and drillers fruitlessly tried their luck – sometimes in areas even known to have burning oil and coal-gas seeps.

Hundreds of companies tried and failed, some never raising enough cash to drill a single well in the rugged country. Independent oilman Aron Hover’s petroleum company apparently was among them. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Golden-Goose-Oil-and-refining-co-stock-aoghs


Golden Goose Oil and Refining Company promoted sales of its stock in Texas newspapers during February of 1919, urging investors to buy at “10 cents A Share While It Lasts.”

Newspaper advertisements made many incredible claims, including: “Think for a minute what it means to the olden Goose Oil and Refining Company and its shareholders for the big companies to spend practically $200,000 on these deep tests, as it is only 100 yards from from the producing wells…”

The company purported to own a 20-acre lease in the prolific Burkburnett oilfield – where there was a “frenzied rush” and “virtual stampede for acreage in this immediate vicinity.”

The company’s stock was available at the Burkburnett Oil & Trade Exchange in Fort Worth. Advertisements proclaimed that “Golden Goose Stock Will Go Sky High.” It didn’t.

Golden Goose Oil and Refining Company certificates may have value to scripophily collectors. Learn more about the North Texas petroleum history in “Boom Town” of Burkburnett.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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 Searching for oil in Humboldt County, California, North Counties Oil Company had trouble with its drilling crews. The company secretary's wife cooked for the outfit, which attempted three wells.

Searching for oil in Humboldt County, California, North Counties Oil had trouble with its drilling crews. The company secretary’s wife cooked for the outfit, which attempted three wells.


Ernest C. Matthews, proprietor of a music and stationery store in Eureka, California, incorporated North Counties Oil Company on May 14, 1920. On and off over the next 16 years, he drilled wells in Humboldt County.

None of the wells proved successful.

Capitalization was 500,000 shares at a nominal par value of $1 each. More than 170,000 shares were issued. The company’s future depended upon finding oil with their first well, spudded in March 1921 on the Mattole River near Honeydew.

The area had seen brief oil excitement circa 1865 and again in 1898, but none of the exploratory wells proved commercial.

North Counties Oil drilled on the Etter Ranch in Section 36, Township 2 South, Range 1 West. The well showed promising signs of oil and natural gas before being beset by mechanical difficulties. By 1922, the California State Mining Bureau noted of the well, “Finances low – trouble with crews – Reynolds now drilling. Secretary’s wife cooking for outfit.” The well failed.




Still confident there was oil on their lease, North Counties Oil returned five years later to drill a second well within a few hundred feet of their first. It was not a commercial producer.

Another 10 years passed before North Counties made its third and final attempt, spudding a well within sight of its two others in September of 1936. This well was a dry hole. North Counties Oil Company seems to have run out of both money and luck.

W. O. Kinsman was company secretary, so Mathews – the music store proprietor – and Kinsman’s signatures may be on the company’s collectible stock certificate. But officers changed over time. F. M. Reynolds and Stanley Barry later served as president of the failed oil exploration venture.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Anglo-American-Oil-Co-stock-aoghs


The Anglo-American Oil Company of Beaumont was one more than 400 speculative oil companies organized in the wake of the great discovery at Beaumont, Texas, on January 10,1901…on Spindletop Hill.

The well flowed an estimated 100,000 barrels of oil a day and changed America forever.

Thousands of investors rushed to southeastern Texas to capitalize on the petroleum boom – even as the region’s oil production skyrocketed, driving oil prices to new lows. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Hoffman-Oil-and-Refining-AOGHSHenry H. Hoffman formed several petroleum companies and split his time between New York City and Houston.

With interests in both oil exploration and refining, he had early hopes of finding his fortune at the Goose Creek oilfield 21 miles southeast of Houston.

Goose Creek had produced only dry holes and marginal oil wells prior to a gusher in August 1916 (it also was where Howard Hughes Sr. secretly tested a prototype two-coned bit in 1909). The discovery well initially produced 8,000 barrels daily, indicating Goose Creek was a large oilfield. Houston drilling companies rushed to the area to bid for leases, build derricks and drill wells.

However, in October 1916, Hoffman withdrew from his interests in the Goose Creek and nearby Humble oilfields and organized two new companies.

Hoffman-Oil-Refining-stock-ad-AOGHSHoffman Oil & Refining Corporation was formed to acquire and operate refineries. This company incorporated in November 1916 with Hoffman as president and was offered at $10 per share.

Hoffman began running newspaper advertisements that capitalized on Americans’ growing patriotism as World War I raged in Europe.

Noting the importance of investing in U.S. refineries to “Help Uncle Sam’s Big Navy,” one ad claimed there were profits to be made from Hoffman Oil & Refining: “Yes, wealthy Chicago people and elsewhere are buying this Refinery stock up fast. Don’t delay. Get in while you can.”

Hoffman also formed the Hoffman Oil Company, capitalized a $4 million and focused on exploration and production. The two companies shared the same officers. He then purchased “moving picture machines” for a traveling promotion concept.


After acquiring 12 projectors, Hoffman ordered 24 reels of original oilfield scenes to market a stock selling campaign in a number of the larger cities. His plan included renting a room at each location and giving a free show. His oil company stock was then offered for sale.

Hoffman’s motion picture sales presentations apparently were more successful than his attempts to find, recover, and refine oil. In Ohio, he was indicted by a grand jury “for advertising securities for sale in that state without obtaining a license.”

In August of 1918, Hoffman Oil & Refining acquired Buffalo Oil & Refining with the understanding that Buffalo shareholders were to receive 10 shares of Hoffman stock for one of their shares. There were few benefits.

Although Hoffman’s company once again held properties in the Goose Creek oilfield – as well as leases in the “Roaring Ranger” oilfield and the Burkburnett oilfield – the company’s fortunes continued to fade. Read more about these internationally famous North Texas discoveries in Pump Jack Capital of Texas. 


By July 1919, Hoffman Oil & Refining had lost its charter to do business in Texas.

“We do not assume to pass upon the merits of the particular stock offered by Henry H. Hoffman as an individual or through the Hoffman Oil Company,” declared a January 1920 article in Trust Companies magazine about his exploration company.

“But it is a horse of another color when Hoffman uses letter heads bearing the imprint ‘Union Trust Company,’ and in small type underneath the word ‘incorporated’ as bait to secure investors throughout the county,” the magazine concluded.

In March of 1920, the Oil Trade Journal announced that Turnbow Oil Corporation was being organized to take control of the failed Hoffman Oil & Refining. Hoffman was listed as Turnbow Oil vice president.


The takeover, which also absorbed the Interstate Oil & Refining Company of Texas, included Hoffman’s eight-story office building in Houston and a 1,000-barrel-a-day refinery on the Houston Ship Channel.

Desperation behind the Turnbow Oil deal was revealed in a November 1920 United States Investor report that noted the value of Hoffman Oil & Refining stock:

The fact that recent quotations on Hoffman Oil & Refining are from one and one-half to three cents per share gives rather conclusive evidence as the sharp decline in value of the stock. This would be placing a value of $15,000 to $30,000 on the assets of this corporation which originally attempted to float $10,000,000 of stock. Of course, nothing like the entire capital was ever issued and consequently the market value is even smaller than the above figures indicate.

Turnbow Oil – and all of the Henry H. Hoffman’s petroleum corporations – failed to survive. Ross S. Sterling, founder and president of Humble Oil Company (now ExxonMobil) constructed a highly successful major refinery at Goose Creek oilfield in 1921.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Southwestern-Oil-Development-Co-stock-AOGHS


A geyser of oil from a wildcat well in Eastland County, Texas, in 1917 made headlines worldwide. “Roaring Ranger” erupted in revealed a North Texas oilfield that would help win World War I.

Although many oil exploration companies prospered in the Ranger, Texas, oilfield, a serpent doomed one in June 1920.

According to the Engineering and Mining Journal, Southwestern Oil Development Company was established in June 1919 by prominent mining men from New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

Capitalized at $2 million, the company offered 600,000 shares to the public at $1 par value. “Proceeds from the sale of same will be used in the purchase of properties and their development,” the founders proclaimed.


Their new company would soon begin drilling several miles northwest of Ranger on the border of Eastland County, where an boom had been underway since October 17, 1917, when the McCleskey No. 1 Well struck oil at a depth of 3,432 feet and roared in with a daily flow of 1,600 barrels.

That discovery gained international fame for Ranger as the town whose oil wiped out critical oil shortages during World War I, allowing the Allies to “float to victory on a wave of oil.”

Visiting after the war, a young Conrad Hilton saw long lines of roughnecks seeking a place to stay. He bought the two-story red brick motel in Cisco. Learn more in Oil Boom Brings First Hilton Hotel.

Conrad Hilton visited Cisco, Texas, intending to buy a bank. When the deal fell through, he went to the train station across the street to a two-story red brick building called the Mobley Hotel. He noticed rougnecks from the booming Ranger oilfield waiting in line for a room.

Conrad Hilton visited Cisco, Texas, intending to buy a bank, not a hotel. When the bank deal fell through, he went to the train station. Across the street was a two-story red brick building called the Mobley Hotel. Hilton noticed the large number of roughnecks from the Ranger oilfield waiting in line for a room. The rest is history.


Meanwhile, with “Roaring Ranger” still in the headlines, Southwestern Oil Development Company assured potential investors that it would avoid risky wildcat prospects – and drill only near areas of proven potential, including a well producing 9,000 barrels of oil a day.

Shareholders were encouraged by telegrams: “The Southwestern properties are right in the center of the Ranger district with producing wells on all sides which gives it every indication of a good gamble.”

By June 2, 1920, the year-old company’s exploratory well in the Ranger oilfield had reached 3,000 feet with eight-inch casing at a cost of $75,000.

Shooters-pouring-nitro-AOGHS

Simply pouring nitroglycerin was risky enough in the late 19th century oil patch. Doing it at night for an illegal well “shooting” led to the term “moonlighting.”

The well, in Stephens County’s Gunsight district, penetrated a limestone formation about 450 feet above the more prolific Ranger limestone.

To begin production from the newly completed well, an expert “shooter” was brought in – see Shooters – A “Fracking” History.

Disaster ensued as the “heavy charge of nitroglycerin” was lowered into the well. “Enter the serpent,” explained the Bisbee Daily Review.

“The shooter had lowered the charge to something over 200 feet. At that point a huge snake slid silently from under the derrick platform and onto the platform close to the shooter,” the newspaper reported. “The man naturally became nervous. He unconsciously pressed the trigger and the charge was exploded when it was little more than half way down.”

With the $75,000 well wrecked and an effort to drill another nearby abandoned, Southwestern Oil Development Company disappears from records. Scripophily collectors today offer this snake-bit company’s obsolete stock certificates for about $25.

Learn more North Texas petroleum history (and other big oil and natural gas discoveries in Electra and Burkburnett) in Pump Jack Capital of Texas.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Southwestern-Oil-Development-Co-stock-AOGHS2

 




As is often the case, several petroleum companies have shared popular names, and this is the case with Evangeline Oil Company.

A circa 1920 certificate is for one Evangeline company that drilled in Texas’ world famous Burkburnett oilfield. It was a dry hole. Read the rest of this entry »

 




The U.S. petroleum industry was just a decade old. As oil discoveries spread from northwestern Pennsylvania, efficiently transporting the new resource became critical.

According to its 1867 prospectus, the Staveless Barrel and Tank Company was organized under the laws of New York and capitalized at $500,000 with 5,000 shares at $100 each. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Midfields-Oil-Stock-Colorado-AOGHSIn 1918, a number prominent citizens of Yuma and Wray counties in Colorado got together to form the Midfields Oil Company, capitalized at $100,000 with H. F. Strangways as president.

The local newspaper, the Wray Rattler, followed the company’s progress and published advertisements. Stock was offered at $10 per share.

“The control of the company is in the hands of honest, capable, well known business men of Yuma County, and is in every way a home institution,” proclaimed one ad.

Although oil was the objective (natural gas pipeline infrastructure being nonexistent), Midfields Oil’s first drilling attempt 16 miles south of Wray produced “a showing” of gas in the “Black-Wolf Basin” and was abandoned.

A second well in 1919 proved to be the discovery well for the Beecher Island natural gas field in the Niobrara shale formation, which remains active today. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Galloway Oil Corporation came to life as a combination of companies. The Galloway Oil Lease Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Galloway Oil & Refining of Fort Worth, Texas, combined in 1923 to form Galloway Oil with $10 million in capital stock.

Just two years earlier, Missouri officials had revoked Galloway Oil & Refining’s charter for failure to pay taxes.

A skeptical article in United States Investor described the highly promoted combination as “attempting to reload stockholders in the defunct concern” by the “Galloway oil interests of Fort Worth.”

Galloway advertised the combination as a way to exploit properties held by Galloway Oil Lease Corporation in the Burkburnett and Desdemona oilfields in Texas.


Learn more about North Texas oil discoveries in Boom Town Burkburnett.

The “Galloway interests” were very active in the merging of petroleum businesses.

They had previously merged Texas-Penn Oil Company with the Galloway Oil & Refining under the name of Galloway Consolidated Company – as well as forming the North Iowa Oil & Refining Company of Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1917.

Today, Galloway Oil Lease Corporation and the other Galloway enterprises stock certificates can be found on eBay. They only have collectible value.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Texas Oil Products Company incorporated in 1918 with $850,000 capitalization specifically to build a $750,000 refinery near the Houston & Texas Central Railroad south of Dallas, just outside of Waxahachie’s western city limits.




Texas-oil-products-refinery-AOGHSFounded in 1850, Waxahachie has been an agricultural, commercial, and transportation center in North Texas. Ellis County was one of the nation’s largest cotton-producing counties during the early 1900s.

With U.S. demand for gasoline soaring, the Texas Oil Products sought new technologies for its new refinery, planning for a capacity to process 3,000 barrels of oil a day.


The company turned to the Bostaph Engineering Corporation, which had recently patented a “ramage vapor-phase cracking process” (patent no. 1,224,787) to increase the amount of gasoline that could be extracted from each barrel of oil.

Construction began in 1920 and the Waxahachie refinery was up to 1,000 barrel a day capacity by 1922. The company marketed its high-grade gasoline as “Topoline.”

Although incorporated in Arizona, the Texas Oil Products executive offices were in Detroit. The president was G. Carl Fisher and vice president was Robert J. Fisher.


In December 1922, United States Investor reported the company, now capitalized at $3 million, had run afoul of the Michigan Securities Commission and was suspended from selling its stock.

“Many reputable brokers of Detroit are not handling the stock,” the publication noted. Some reports said the company floundered due to legal difficulties and pollution.

By court order, Texas Oil Products Company’s idled refinery was sold in 1930 to Star Oil & Refining Company of Fort Worth.

Today the Waxahachie Country Club sits on the old refinery property.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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National-Union-Oil-and-Gas-Co-stock-AOGHS


Although it would be put on the “List of Get-Rich Quick Promoters” by one investment magazine, the National Union Oil & Gas Company drilled a deep well in Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin half a century before major discoveries there.

The company filed for incorporation in Oklahoma on August 25, 1916, financing its operations through the sale of stock. By May 1917, the company drilled successful wells in Sumner County, Kansas, with total production exceeding 4,000 barrels.

By February of 1919, World’s Work magazine reported National Union Oil & Gas Company’s capitalization of $1 million – but also placed the company on its “List of Get-Rich Quick Promoters.”


The company nonetheless pursued investors in Custer County, Oklahoma, and spudded a deep test well five miles north of Clinton on February 26, 1920.

“The derrick of the National Union Oil & Gas Company is among the first of the forest of derricks that will likely transform the Custer County landscape,” the Western Oil Derrick newspaper optimistically reported.

Although the company’s 1920 deep-well experiment failed to find an oilfield, in 1979 a well drilled just a few miles away produced natural gas from 24,996 feet. The No. 1 Sanders well was part of the Anadarko Basin natural gas boom.

“For 20th century’s final quarter the basin remains the frontier of deep drilling technology centered on Elk City, ‘Deep Gas Capital of the World,'” notes the According to the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma.

anadarko_shale_mapsetup001

The Anadarko Basin is a geologic feature covering about 50,000 square miles in west-central Oklahoma and northern Texas.

“The shallow horizons of Greater Anadarko account for much of this nation’s proved gas reserves,” the association adds. “The Deep Anadarko Basin of Western Oklahoma is one of the most prolific gas provinces of North America.”

Expanding operations in 1921, the National Union Oil & Gas board of directors proposed acquisition of the Modern Refining Company, which owned a 1,000 barrel a day refinery in Blackwell, Oklahoma. This required an increase of capital stock to $250,000 and a one-for-one exchange of shares with Modern Refining Company.

Still seeking new oil production, the company drilled two wells in the town of Oxford, Kansas, sharing the risk with several companies for one of the wells. The other, the Collins No. 1 well, was near the corner of today’s West College Street and North Sumner Avenue. Few details remain about either well.


In July, August and September 1922, National Union Oil & Gas produced a total of 7,572 barrels, according to Oil Weekly. Meanwhile, dozens of major discoveries were occurring in the area around Seminole, Oklahoma, and in the Texas Permian Basin. Learn more in Greater Seminole Oil Boom and Santa Rita taps Permian Basin.

As late as February 1925, the Oklahoma City company was still actively pursuing leases, paying $40,000 for one valuable 80-acre parcel. Litigation apparently followed in 1933. Thereafter, the research trail goes cold. Online collectors offer the obsolete National Union Oil & Gas stock certificates for sale.
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The stories of many exploration companies trying to join petroleum booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?

AOGHS.org welcomes sponsors to help us preserve petroleum history. Please support this energy education website with a donation today. Contact bawells@aoghs.org for information on levels and types of available sponsorships.  © 2018 AOGHS.

 




Buck-Run Oil-and-Refining-Co-stock-AOGHS


Amidst World War I, the Buck Run Oil and Refining Company incorporated in Delaware on November 13, 1917.

After the war, on July 12, 1920, the company combined with the Republic Oil Company and the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Company to form the Fulton Group of Oil Companies.

At the time of consolidation into the Fulton Group, Buck Oil & Refining was contributing “the greater part of the oil,” but production soon fell off to less than 100 barrels of oil a day.

Producing wells in remote locations and transportation costs compounded Buck Run Oil’s problems. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Aetna-Petroleum-Corporation-stock-AOGHSThere have been many oil companies named Aetna over the years.


In Delaware on July 29, 1920, Aetna Petroleum Corporation was created from the merger of several existing smaller oil companies in Texas: Republic Oil & Refining; Ranger Central Oil & Refining; Eastland Oil & Refining; Ocean Oil & Refining; King 8 Oil; and M. P. Burk Oil.

Shares of the old companies were exchanged for Aetna Petroleum which began operations with about 30 producing wells and daily output of 1,400 to 2,500 barrels – a portion of which was contracted for sale at $3.85 per barrel. Read the rest of this entry »

 

  

old oil companies

This vignette is from a Shell Oil Company engraved certificateThe certificate’s value to collectors is about $40.


You found an old petroleum stock certificate in your attic and hope you might be a millionaire. Unlikely, but here is a free discussion forum about old oil companies. Be sure to check the more than 100 old oil companies already researched in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? 

Welcome to the American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s discussion page for often obscure petroleum stock certificates.

Although the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, launched by a 1859 discovery in Titusville, Pennsylvania, has drilled millions of wells, chances are the certificate you found will not make you rich.

As Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin notes in his book, The Prize, more than 150 years of boom-and-bust cycles have witnessed the rise and fall of many thousands of exploration companies.


Your grandparents’ certificates are likely among the many casualties of a bust cycle. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Oil-ads-Milwaukee-Journal-June-2-1918-AOGHS


In October 1917, Wyoming Peerless Oil Company stock promotions first appeared in the pages of the Cheyenne State Leader, Laramie Republican and Wyoming Tribune newspapers.

Within a year the new exploration company’s advertisements appeared in newspapers as far away as Milwaukee, Wisconsin: “Action Not Promises Our Motto,” noted one placed in the June 2, 1918, Milwaukee Journal (above).

Many U.S. newspapers at the time included similar promotions as oilfield discoveries proliferated from California to Kansas.

Oeerless-oil-stock-ad-AOGHSDemand for gasoline was skyrocketing, both for Model T Fords and World War I, which the United States would soon join. Oil companies proliferated.

Some used questionable claims to keep investors unaware of how risky and expensive the business finding and producing oil truly was.

Nine out of 10 exploratory well attempts proved to be dry holes – and drilling was expensive in such remote areas.

The Wyoming Peerless Oil Company set its sights on drilling a well six miles from the nearest producer in the Big Muddy oilfield east of Casper. Stock was initially offered at three cents per share. “Don’t wait for our first well to come in. You might not be able to get this stock then for less than 25-cents or 50-cents per share.”

Wyoming-big-muddy-oilfield-marker-AOGHSThe Big Muddy oilfield, located about four miles west of Glenrock in Converse County, was discovered in 1916, a discovery that touched off widespread drilling and brought about one of Wyoming’s famous oil booms. Today, a marker on the south side of Hwy. 230 at the junction with County Road 33 describes the historic field:

Big Muddy oil field is a typical Wyoming oil producing structure. The field, discovered in 1916, has produced over 30 million barrels of high quality oil.

Strata here were arched upward at the time the Rocky Mountains originated over 60 million years ago, to form anticline, or dome. Because oil is lighter than water, it rose to the crest of the dome where it was trapped in pore spaces between sand grains. The Wall Creek sand lies at a depth of near 3,000 feet and the Dakota sand at about 4,000 feet. The first oil well in Wyoming was drilled in 1884. There are now about 100 oil fields in the state.


Seeking more investors, advertisements reported Wyoming Peerless Oil ‘s drilling progress on its Big Muddy exploratory well: Down 1,475 feet by June of 1918; down 1,675 feet by July and down to 3,315 feet by August of 1919.

Although rumors of a dry hole began to circulate, the company continued to solicit more investors to fund deeper drilling. But after reaching 4,050 feet without finding oil, company officer Charles Straub announced the well would be abandoned.

If more funds could be secured, Wyoming Peerless Oil would drill a second well, Straub added.

“Efforts have been made to extend the limits of the (Big Muddy) field in every direction, but these efforts have all been failures and the area of the field is plainly marked,” reported the Oil and Gas News reported (this would change in 1950 with a discovery to the east of the field).


By February 1920, stockholders from Denver had petitioned a court to put the Wyoming Peerless Oil Company into receivership, alleging mismanagement by Straub and other company officers. Straub responded with a $50,000 libel suit, reported by the Casper Daily Tribune on March 5, 1920.

The results are obscured, but Wyoming Peerless Oil never drilled a second well and the company disappeared from newspaper accounts.

The Big Muddy oilfield now has produced more than 300 million barrels of oil and wells are still pumping.

The first record of oil in Wyoming came in 1832. An expedition led by Captain B.L.E. Bonneville took the first wagons through South Pass. Fifty years later, prospector Mike Murphy, bought an oil lease on the site of Capt. Bonneville’s “great tar spring” southeast of Lander.

Learn more in First Wyoming Oil Wells.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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American Controlled Oilfields was incorporated in Maryland January 10, 1925, ”to contract for lands, maintain claims, oil wells, gas wells, oil lands and other real property.”

Incorporated by Camille Weidenfeld, Robert O. Deyer and Enos Curtain with offices in the Calvert Building in Baltimore, the company was capitalized at $12.5 million and assigned a stock par value as $5.

American Controlled Oilfields, Inc., eventually owned acreage in Louisiana (De Soto and Sabine parishes) and Kansas (Anderson County). Read the rest of this entry »

 


Probably formed during the North Texas oil booms of the 1920s, Horseshoe-Western Oil Company of Wichita Falls, Texas, did not leave much of a footprint after the Great Depression.

The company began with leases on 30 acres in Tillman County, Oklahoma, just across the Red River Texas border of the booming oil town of Wichita Falls.

The new company guaranteed to drill at least one well to a maximum depth of 2,000 – promising to pay 75 percent of earnings in monthly dividends to investors if the well was successful.

The company’s “Get in Today” advertisement in the Corpus Christi newspaper proclaimed riches to be had by acting quickly.


“We warn you right now – that if you have any idea of thinking this over for a week or so, you had just as well forget it now, because we expect of be sold out and drilling by that time,” the Wichita Falls oil company declared.

“We want you to look over all the companies and see if any offer you the square deal we do,” the company added, noting its leadership would remain in Wichita Falls. It claimed to have leases on a famous producing region.

The Burkburnett oilfield, discovered on July 29, 1918, on S.L. Fowler’s farm, had brought thousands of people to North Texas. Twenty trains ran between Burkburnett and Wichita Falls every day.

With only $130,000 in capitalization, it does not appear Horseshoe-Western Oil Company survived. Learn more about North Texas petroleum history in Pump Jack Capital of Texas.

Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society with a donation.




 




He was a controversial North Pole visitor whose fraudulent claims were part of failed oil company ventures, a mail fraud conviction, and jail time.

In 1917 controversial Arctic explorer Dr. Frederick Albert Cook conducted geological explorations in Wyoming for his newly formed company, the Texas Eagle Oil Company of Fort Worth - but falling oil prices forced him into bankruptcy.

In 1917 controversial Arctic explorer Dr. Frederick Albert Cook conducted geological explorations in Wyoming for his newly formed company – but falling oil prices forced him into bankruptcy. Fraudulently promoting oil ventures will land him to jail.

Arctic explorer Dr. Frederick Albert Cook in 1908 made the widely accepted claim to have reached the North Pole.

Although he was celebrated in newspapers as having achieved this milestone – his claim was later found to be false.

Many considered Cook a fraud soon after Admiral Robert E. Peary made a better documented journey in 1909.

Cook would spend years defending his claim – despite a lack of navigation evidence. He published My Attainment of the Pole – and threatened to sue anyone who said he had faked the trip. Then he got involved in the oil business.

In 1917 Cook conducted geological explorations in Wyoming for his newly formed company, the Texas Eagle Oil Company of Fort Worth.

Wyoming’s first real oil boom had arrived in 1908 when Salt Creek’s “Big Dutch” well came in as a gusher, bringing a flood of entrepreneurs and investors.

However, even with new railroad tank cars, Wyoming oil could not compete in eastern markets because of transportation costs. Read more Salt Creek history at First Wyoming Oil Wells. Read the rest of this entry »

 




Texas-oil-and-refining-co-stock-aoghs


The Texas Oil & Refining Company (sometimes known as Douglas-Texas Oil & Refining) was organized in Fort Worth in 1919 with capital of $200,000. It acquired an oil refinery in Port Arthur.

In October 1919, Texas Oil & Refining controlled leases in Comanche and Tillman counties of southern Oklahoma –  2,000 acres northwest of the famed Burkburnett oilfield.

Learn more about North Texas oil history in Boom Town Burkburnett.

The company also leased land south of Tulsa, where it drilled a 1,900-foot dry hole (No. 4 Henderson well) near Okmulgee.

Texas-Oil-and-Refining-Co-stock2-aoghsAlso in 1919, the company brought in two producing wells on its 680 acre lease in Oklahoma’s Beggs-Bixby oilfield also near Okmulgee.

In 1920, the company drilled a wildcat well in South Texas’s Gonzales County (No. 1 Hassman well) a mile west of the town of Coast. No results can be found.

The October 9, 1919, issue of Oil & Gas News promoted the company’s efforts with photos and names of company sites, principals, and investors.

A fair amount of dispersed activity and apparent success mark the company’s efforts, but it nonetheless soon disappears.


The petroleum business had a lot to do with the “Roaring 20s in Okmulgee, according to local historians.

About 35 miles north, a 1905 discovery of the Glenn Pool oilfield – located between Okmulgee and Tulsa – had brought the first rush of exploration companies and prosperity.

An oil find closer to Okmulgee came in the year of Oklahoma’s statehood, 1907.

The region’s wells were relatively shallow, about 1,500 feet deep, which lowered drilling expense. The high quality of the oil produced from these Oklahoma wells also made them attractive to investors.

“Unlike the thick, sour oil from Spindletop, the famed 1901 Texas discovery that had already played out, this oil was light and sweet – just right to refine into gasoline and kerosene,” says Norman Hyne, a professor of petroleum geology at the University of Tulsa. See Making Tulsa the Oil Capital.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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kokernot-oil-company-stock-AOGHSJames E. “Pa” Ferguson, the 26th Governor of Texas, was elected 1915 and impeached in 1917.

He soon formed the Kokernot Oil Company in Temple.

In 1920, Ferguson pursued investors with lengthy editorial appeals in newspapers, including folksy tales in the Schulenburg Sticker in Schulenburg, a community halfway between San Antonio and Houston.


Seeking $10 per share for his petroleum exploration company, the former governor appealed to investors in 1921. He explained that his lease was just just 15 miles southeast of the booming Humble oilfield.

“If you can afford it, I want you to buy anywhere from one to ten shares in the Kokernot Oil Company, an association, which is capitalized at eighty thousand dollars and is drilling a well on 4,428 acres of land situated 30 miles east of Houston,” Ferguson noted on April 8.

“No honest man can say for sure that he will strike oil. But we are in oil country,” he added.


Acknowledging that “times are hard,” Ferguson told his newspaper readers to “invest only what you can afford to lose.”

Still the politician with a gift for gab, he further explained: “If we hit the juice a small investment will make you plenty of money. If we don’t, just cut out a few pair of them silk sox and one of them silk shirts, and get some good cotton goods like you used to wear, and you won’t know the difference.”

The former Texas governor’s company seems to have disappeared completely after 1921. Although there may be more information about its fate in Texas Railroad Commission records, it remains unclear whether Kokernot Oil Company ever completed a well.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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The American Indian Oil & Gas Company was incorporated by Wiley W. Lowrey, E. S. Hutton, and J. W. Bates on May 3, 1917.

The company formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with capital of $300,000.

By 1918, American Indian was operating from 321 Dewey Avenue, Poteau, Oklahoma, with eight successful natural gas wells yielding 50 million cubic feet daily. Read the rest of this entry »

 




During 1919, the Cauble Oil Company solicited investors through frequent promotions in Texas newspapers.

Advertisements in the El Paso Herald and San Antonio Evening News declared the company to “Have the Proven Acreage” in Texas’ famous Burkburnett oilfield.

Learn about that historic 1918 discovery in Boom Town of Burkburnett.

Cauble Oil shares were offered at $10 and the company capitalized at $85,000 to secure enough funding to drill.

Advertisements declared, “Our property is surrounded by hundreds of PRODUCING wells.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

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.

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 drilled 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 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.

“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

It was further reported in 1902 that company has 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.
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The stories of many exploration companies trying to join petroleum booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?

AOGHS.org welcomes sponsors to help us preserve petroleum history. Please support this energy education website with a tax-deductible donation today. Contact bawells@aoghs.org for information on levels and types of available sponsorships.  © 2017 AOGHS.

 

ajax oilEstablished soon after World War I, the Ajax Oil Company was among hundreds that rushed into Texas oil fields seeking a fortune from “black gold.”


The company was organized by members of the Sowell family in Dallas as a joint stock association on July 25, 1919. It was capitalized at $4,950,000 and offered both Class A and Class B shares.

Ajax Oil acquired leases in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana including some in the Ranger oil field and the Burkburnett oil field. Production from these North Texas fields were making headlines worldwide. Read the rest of this entry »

 





As petroleum booms spread from Texas and Oklahoma to California in the early 1920s, exploration companies competed desperately to find investors.

While some companies may have exaggerated drilling successes, others resorted to fraud using the U.S. mail.

In 1922, the Ranger Petroleum Company was indicted along with five other companies by a federal grand jury in New York.

The indictment described a stock promotion scheme based on the merger of Ranger and the others into the Century Consolidated Oil Company, capitalized at $10 million.


“The federal prosecutor explained that the consolidation of the five oil companies and the organization of the finance corporation was to enable the promoters under indictment to launch a gigantic stock-selling campaign through the mails,” reported the New York Times.

Investigation revealed that the promoters had made false representations in their stock selling campaign, claiming to have “over 100 producing wells in proved territory” when in fact the total was less than six wells under the company’s control.

Ranger Petroleum Company soon disappeared. Today its stock certificate is valuable only to collectors.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Great Western Oil & Gas Company was solvent in 1959 with owners listed as James C. Meade (later of Meade Energy), Firth C. Owens, and R.P. Ross.

The company held geologically “promising” leases at that time, but heavy expenditures in the unsuccessful development of these leases led to financial difficulties beginning in 1961.

By February 1962, Great Western properties were worth only $60,000 and the bankruptcy presumably followed in 1964. A number of similarly named but unrelated oil companies have come and gone over many years – beginning as early as the 1860s.

A long defunct namesake was established in 1864 as the Great Western Oil Company. That company’s zenith was a 1902 gusher, discovered at a depth of 683 feet, which opened the Sour Lake oilfield 20 miles northwest of Beaumont, Texas.

Originally known as Sour Lake Springs because of its sulfurous spring water popular for its healing properties, a series of oil discoveries brought wealth and new oil companies to Hardin County in southeastern Texas.

As the science of petroleum geology evolved, some experts predicted oil was trapped at Sour Lake similar to Beaumont’s Spindletop field, which produced from a salt dome.

A series of major oil discoveries at Sour Lake, Texas, near the world-famous oil gusher of 1901 at Spindletop Hill, will help turn the Texas Company into Texaco.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Golden-Valley-OilAlthough geologist Gordon Campbell started off strong as a Montana independent producer, his promotions proved better than his production.

Golden Valley Oil & Gas Company was formed in Great Falls on February 22, 1921, capitalized with just $100,000. Its president and chief geologist was Campbell.

V.G. Kirkpatrick and J.F. Dealy were officers in the company, which soon listed a Spokane, Washington, office address.

Campbell was a pioneer in Montana’s early petroleum industry. He helped develop the Kevin-Sunburst oilfield after his wildcat well struck oil near the town of Shelby on April 14, 1922.


Although Campbell’s well produced little more than 20 barrels a day, his discovery opened an oilfield stretching from Shelby to the Canadian border. But the well’s low production did not bode well for Golden Valley Oil & Gas.

Other companies made enough discoveries that in 1924 a small Sunburst refinery began processing the oilfield’s production. The Texas Company (the future Texaco) acquired the refinery in 1928 and produced lead gasoline during and after WWII.The well’s low production did not bode well for Golden Valley Oil & Gas.

As the Great Depression approached, Golden Valley Oil & Gas Company was just one of many oil ventures in which Campbell participated.


When finances of one company got into trouble, he apparently moved on to another, establishing Gordon Campbell Petroleum Company and Campbell Oil Company among others.

Although convicted as early as 1922 for a stock promotion scheme, Campbell was actively promoting drilling ventures in 1933 when his Golden Valley Oil & Gas Company drilled in the Belmont Dome area of Golden Valley County.

Campbell’s latest wildcat venture was promoted as a bargain, offering stock at $1 per share (with a 100 share minimum)..


“Our well is showing up exceptionally good,” proclaimed one company advertisement. “We had a showing of dark green high gravity oil at 520 feet, and have now encountered a better showing at 1,150 feet.”

The company reminded investors that Campbell was a geologist and “the discoverer of oil in Montana and the man who mapped the Kevin-Sunburst structure and drilled the first well in that $30,000.000 field.”

However, as often happened in the Montana oilfields, Campbell’s drilling equipment failed him. The well reportedly was lost to stuck tools at 3,608 feet. Golden Valley Oil & Gas Company and Campbell faded away.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Price River Petroleum Company was a small “poor boy” venture whose future would be determined by the success or failure of its first wildcat well, drilled with monies raised from stock sold to hopeful investors.

With only $250,000 capitalization, Price River Petroleum gambled on drilling a well in Utah’s Carbon County near the town of Price.

In November of 1928, the Deseret News noted, “Drilling at the Price well has been slow and discouraging during the past few months.”

The Salt Lake City newspaper described the necessity for the company to assess its shareholders with a one-half cent per share charge – to purchase new casing and tools for continue drilling.


Utah’s Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil, Gas and Mining notes that the well reached a depth of 3,335 feet without finding oil.

It was a dry hole, bankrupting the Price River Petroleum Company and rendering its stock valueless. Oil had first been discovered in Utah around 1891, but it wasn’t until 1948 that large-scale commercial production began.

After drilling for oil in Utah for more than 25 years, J. L. “Mike” Dougan, president of the small independent Equity Oil Company, completes the state’s first commercial well in the Uinta Basin.


Today, Utah is ranked 11th in oil and 9th in natural gas production.

A drilling boom continues today – thanks to giant reserves of coalbed methane gas. As of 2010, Utah has produced more than 8.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas valued at more than $1.7 billion.

Price River Petroleum stock certificates have value only to collectors.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Prudential-Oil-and-Refining-stock-aoghs


The Prudential Oil and Refining Company, organized in 1917 with $3 million capitalization, was a stock scam executed by Seymour E. J. “Alphabet” Cox, a notorious oil promoter and ad-man who was pilloried in the press for his unscrupulous schemes.

United States Investor magazine reported on May 10, 1919, that Prudential Oil and Refining stock was then selling for about four cents per share via Cox’s Prudential Securities Company.

“We would hate to pay even that small amount for it,” the publication noted.

Cox was described as “the author of some clever literature which holds a lure to the uninitiated (but) without further comment on his golden promises, we would advise that you find more substantial ways than this for placing your money.” Read the rest of this entry »

 




Seaboard-Oil-Gas-Co-stock-aoghs


Seaboard Oil & Gas Company is sometimes confused with a different organization – Seaboard Oil Company – which by way of mergers and acquisitions, became part of The Texas Company in 1958.

The company was organized on in March 1918 capitalized at $1.5 million. It established offices in Oklahoma.

By 1920, the company reported 33 producing oil wells and the income resulted in dividends to investors and the purchase of additional leases and assets.

However, a dispute with the Bank of Oklahoma resulted in extended litigation. Seaboard Oil & Gas nonetheless acquired Mid-Texas Petroleum Company and its producing properties in Young County, Texas.


Buy 1922, the company’s profits were substantially diminished because of the reduced market price of oil. Investment analysts urged caution.

“The last statement of the company available to us did not indicate so strong a financial position as to warrant recommendation by us that this stock is deserving of consideration as a speculation at existing prices,” reported United States Investor.

In 1924, the company removed its $5 par value from issued stock, pending listing of a new stock of no par value.

The company’s fortunes continued to fade and in 1926, it tried to raise additional funding through an increase in capitalization to $3.5 million with a corresponding stock marketing push.

Stocks were sold as late as 1930, but the company lost its charter and went out of business. No shareholder equity survived at that time. Old Seaboard Oil & Gas Company stock certificates have only collectible value. Read more about companies that rushed to Texas oilfields in the 1920s in Pump Jack Capital Of Texas.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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ALLIED-OIL- CORP-stock-aoghs


Investors were in for anxious times only a few years after Allied Oil Corporation incorporated in 1917.

With $12.5 million capitalization and an authorized 1.6 million shares of common and 350,000 shares of preferred stock, the company added companies.

Allied Oil took possession of the stock of Consumers Gas & Fuel Company of Texas, Dalsa Oil Company of Texas, San Jacinto Petroleum Corporation and Alamo Petroleum Corporation. It also owned most of the stock of Western Globe Oil Association of Texas.

However, Allied Oil’s brief lifespan played out on the pages of United States Investor – and the publication’s responses to increasingly nervous investors. Read the rest of this entry »

 




The man behind Admiral Oil Company ended up on an island – a federal  penitentiary in Puget Sound, Washington.

Admiral Oil was one of many sham companies created by Gilbert S. Johnson, who was indicted October 5, 1922, in Los Angeles.

A grand jury determined that Johnson “did devise and intend to devise, a certain scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money and property, by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.” Read the rest of this entry »

 




Texas-United-Oil-Co-stock-aoghs

Although William S. Pratt entered the oil business in Wyoming in 1915, he soon moved to Kansas and organized the Wichita Eagle Oil Company.

Pratt started the Texas United Oil Company in July 1919. The Texas comptroller’s office reported his Dallas company produced more than 31,000 barrels of oil in the year’s last quarter.


Pratt solicited investment capital using newspaper advertisements placed across the country – in Troy, Syracuse, and Plattsburgh, New York; Spokane, Washington; El Paso, Texas, and Washington D.C.

From December 1919 through 1920, company advertisements promised: For Quick Returns and Unlimited Profits Invest With the Texas United Oil Company… 27 Wells Showing Initial Production of 8,700 Bbls. Daily.

However, one investment magazine described the company as unlikely to prosper. The assessment was accurate. By December 1920, Texas United Oil Company entered into receivership and did not emerge until April 27, 1921, reorganized and with a new president, Aldred S. Wright of Philadelphia.

Despite the reorganization, Texas United Oil Company did not survive long.

United States Investor reported a year later that Texas United Oil Company had very little value.

“It is of course not listed on any of the principal exchanges,” the magazine noted, adding that no dividends had been issued since 1920. “The company had about $1,300,000 stock outstanding and there was one public offering by people in Hartford, Connecticut, at $2 per share. Two cents per share is approximately the price now.”

Texas United Oil Company Chronology


October 1, 1919 – The Texas United Oil Company of Dallas produces 31,541 barrels of oil valued at $10,789 between October 1 and December 31, 1919, according to the Texas comptroller.

December 21, 1919 – In one of its first newspaper appearances, Texas United Oil Company President W. S. Pratt describes the company’s leases and production success in the Northwest Extension of the Burkburnett oilfield.

Pratt announces that the company’s trustees have resolved to increase capital to $5 million and he encourages potential investors to purchase Texas United Oil Company stock at $2 per share to enable “development of our many properties and the purchase of additional production.” – ad in Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington

January 3, 1920 – Texas-United Oil Company is promoted in an open letter advertisement sent from Electra, Texas, “to our stockholders and others” from J. R. Lucore, shareowner, of Olean, New York. Lucore reports very positive on-scene observations of drilling and production in progress. His endorsement follows:

“The Texas United is a sure and safe investment for anyone to buy stock in. No one need be in the least afraid to invest as large as one see fit and his investment will be the safest and surest of any company operating in the State…I expect to arrive home in a few days and will enlarge my stock order to you in the Texas United Oil Company on my arrival.” – ad in Gloversville, N.Y., Morning Herald

Texas-United-Oil-Ad-AOGHSJanuary 31, 1920 – Texas United Oil Company is reported as formed by a Declaration of Trust filed on July 2, 1919, with trustees L. W. Harrington, Herbert Bingham, H. C. Ralph and J. M. Davis. It receives a poor recommendation:

“Our information as to the management is that it is not as economical as it might be, and that operating costs are likely to be altogether too high because of rather poor judgment in planning the work.” – article in  United States Investor

February 21, 1920 – The Texas United Oil Company of 1209 Half Main Street, Dallas, Texas, asserts that the United States Investor’s bad recommendation refers to another company of the same name whose headquarters is in Wichita and not Dallas. Texas United Oil Company protests that “conclusions relative to the Wichita enterprise cannot fairly be applied.” Investigation planned. – article in  United States Investor

February 25, 1920 – Texas United Oil Company proclaims itself as “The King of the Oil Companies” and promises 30 percent dividends and $5 million in capital stock with 12 producing wells. – ad in Spokesman Review, Spokane, Washington

March 13, 1920 – Texas United Oil Company promotion continues, citing “12 producing oil wells – over 3,000 barrels daily” and “30 percent dividends have been paid in 7 months” Shares are offered at $2. Agent is J. S. Miramon, Rensselaer Hotel, Troy “Salesmen wanted: Liberal commission. Phone for appointment.” – ad in Troy (N. Y.) Times

April 17, 1920 – J. S. Miramon, now of Barows Company, 141 Broadway, New York City, advertises “Wise Investors, Increase your income” with Texas United Oil Company’s “2% monthly dividends, with record of 39% in dividends past nine months.” – ad in El Paso (Texas) Herald

April 10, 1920 – Analysts confirm poor recommendation after consulting with Texas United Company, the New York City based owners of Texas United Oil Company. “We cannot do otherwise than classify this as the ordinary type of oil gamble, a quite unproven enterprise, depending for its future upon the skill with which it is managed. – article in United States Investor


May 15, 1920 – Tex-Uni-Co. (trademark for Texas United Oil Company) advertises 18 producing wells, two ready to come in per April 30 telegram testimonial by Ralph P Reed, president National Investors Protective Corporation.

“These dividends will make a total of 43 ½ percent in cash and stock dividends paid in less than one year.” A. E. Roberts and Co., Washington, D.C. – ad in The Federal Employee, Washington D.C.

May 30, 1920 – Texas United Company promotes its Texas United Oil Company (Tex-Uni-Co.) as having rapidly grown from its origins in July, 1919 with 389 acres and two 2 producing wells, yielding about 42 barrels a day of production grown until. – ad in Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York

Jun 2, 1920 – “For Quick Returns and Unlimited Profits Invest With The Texas United Oil Company” upstate New York advertisement proclaims “27 Wells Showing Initial Production of 8,700 BBls. Daily.” – ad in Daily Republican, Plattsburgh,  New York

December 1920 – Texas United Oil Company enters into receivership.

February 25, 1921 – Advertising continues for twelve producing wells 30 percent dividends.” – ad in Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington

April 16, 1921 – Value of Texas United Oil Company plummets as it is reported to have “been the subject of much litigation of late…Texas United shares have declined to around five cents since their first appearance upon the market at $2 per share.” – article in  United States Investor

April 27, 1921 – Texas United Oil Company emerges from receivership reorganized and with a new president, Aldred S. Wright of Philadelphia.

November 11, 1922 – Texas United Oil Company “is of little value …two cents per share is approximately the price now.” – article in United States Investor

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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Sawyer-Adecor International’s roots go back to a 1901 Arizona gold ore discovery in western Mohave County that brought investors scrambling.

In 1906, the Tom Reed Gold Mines Company, Oatman, Arizona, incorporated, purchased the “Argo Gold Mine” and started producing gold two years later.

The property yielded about $13 million (gold was then priced at $20 an ounce) between 1908 and 1931.

But as the vein depleted, Tom Reed Gold Mines Company fortunes’ faded. The mine produced its last gold nugget in 1939.

In 1956, the Sawyer Exploration Company of Los Angeles filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission to take over and reactivate the moribund Tom Reed Gold Mines Company, using incorporation date (1906) and renaming itself Sawyer Petroleum Company.


Ernest Walker Sawyer, a former Assistant Secretary of the U. S. Department of Interior, was named president.

Sawyer Petroleum then actively engaged in mineral exploration in Beaverhead County, Montana, and in the 1960s partnered with the Union Pacific Railroad Company in searching in the Lemhi Pass for rare-earth minerals like thorite, a rare nesosilicate of radioactive thorium.

In September 1969, the company changed its name to Sawyer-Adecor International and exercised a one-for-five reverse stock split. Each five shares of Sawyer Petroleum were exchanged for a single share of the new Sawyer-Adecor International.

Such reverse stock splits often resulted in a reduction in the number of a corporation’s shares outstanding that increased the par value of its stock or its earnings per share, according to Investopedia.

“It’s usually a bad sign if a company is forced to a reverse split,” added the investment magazine. “Firms do it to make their stock look more valuable when, in fact, nothing has changed. A company may also do a reverse split to avoid being delisted.”


In March 1997, Sawyer-Adecor International filed again with the Arizona Corporation Commission to rename itself Oil Retrieval Systems, Inc. (ORSI). Its corporate office changed to Fort Worth, Texas.

ORSI executed a one for ten reverse stock split leaving the company with six million shares of common stock and an estimated public float of 300,000 shares. The business was reported to be manufacturing and distribution portable swabbing units to the oil and natural gas industry.

ORSI failed to file required periodic reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission for several years. In 2002, the SEC recorded the company to be administratively dissolved.

Stock certificates from Tom Reed Gold Mines Company, Sawyer Petroleum, Sawyer-Adecor, and Oil Retrieval Systems retain only collectible value.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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