According to the stories that were passed down to me, my great-grandfather, John William Bellinger, put quite a bit of money into the purchase of oil stocks. Among the companies in which he invested in the 1920s and 1930s were Pioneer State Oil Company (stock certificate shown here), Invader Syndicate, Kosse Perpetual Royalty Syndicate, and Texas Oil News Lease Interests. Those are the companies whose stock certificates survive in my family genealogy archive.
My Mom related that her mother would get so infuriated at her father for buying all of these oil stocks that there was a time when she burned a stack of them in the burn barrel. Even in today's money, the cost of these stocks would be fairly significant, so what he spent in the 20s and 30s was a small fortune.
In July 1980, Parade magazine (the one in the Sunday newspaper) ran an article called "Old Stocks Can Pay Off." Mom and I took the advice in the article and wrote to the offices of the Secretary of State in Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. Oklahoma and Texas had no record of the oil companies and the one from Colorado was dissolved in 1929.
I may have to resurrect the search for information about these companies through the magic of Google. If nothing else, they are interesting documents to add to the family story.
I hope these companies weren't bought out by BP!!!