The Oil Boom and Foltz’s Companies

From Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz -- Online Notes For The Book

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LIONEL V. REDPATH, PETROLEUM IN CALIFORNIA - A CONCISE AND RELIABLE HISTORY OF THE OIL INDUSTRY OF THE STATE (1900) is a contemporary examination of the boom, though it does not mention Foltz’s companies. Redpath discusses Women’s Pacific Coast Oil Company, calling it a great success, unlike the many “fake oil companies” which were not so well managed. Id. at 82. As mentioned in Chapter Four, Elizabeth Kenney was one of the young women lawyers in L.A. whom Foltz admired; she was President of the women’s oil company, and wrote to Foltz addressing her as “my friend and inspiration,” praising Foltz’s oil magazine and concluding “am glad you are booming in the oil business.” OIL FIELDS & FURNACES, Sept. 1901, at 63. On the boom generally, see Gerald D. Nash, Oil in the West: Reflections on the Historiography of an Unexplored Field, 39 PAC. HIST. REV. 193 (1970); see also LEE M. A. SIMPSON, SELLING THE CITY: GENDER, CLASS AND THE CALIFORNIA GROWTH MACHINE, 1880-1940, at 47-48 (2004).

Foltz’s Star Oil Company was incorporated in West Virginia in January of 1901, which was also the corporate location of the Clara Foltz Goldmining Company. See, Chapter Four of WOMAN LAWYER. In March, her friend and intimate, C.E. Gunn, filed the articles of incorporation for the Non-Assessable Oil Company and the Par Value Oil Company on the same day in Arizona. Seemingly untroubled by the lack of either assets or principals in the state of incorporation, Foltz advertised the Arizona advantage. Under the territory’s laws, stockholders could not be personally taxed or assessed for the debts of the corporation. Clara Foltz, I Thank You, OIL FIELDS AND FURNACES, July 1901, at 15.

Letters from David Foltz to William Toland mention “our” oil company. Id. at Jan. 11, 1911 & Dec. 11, 1911 (Toland family papers, on file with the author). One letter is on the stationery of The Kern Petroleum Company, dated Dec. 27, 1911, which says it was incorporated under the laws of California in 1910. In 1920-21, Foltz was promoting the Foltz Oil Producers Syndicate. This venture came to an end in August of 1922 when State Corporations Commissioner E. M. Daugherty suspended the sales of shares in the corporation for reasons he did not disclose. The San Francisco Examiner speculated that Foltz's venture may not have complied with the corporations commission regulation that 80% of money invested in oil drilling companies must be spent on development. S.F. EXAMINER, Aug. 12, 1922, at 3.

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