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Baltimore Petroleum Company records

Identifier: MS-0210

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Scope and Contents

The collection consists of one holograph copy of the minute book, (1864-1866, 1881) of The Baltimore Petroleum Company and 127 cancelled stock certificates representing shares in the same company. The minutes cover the period May 1864 to June 1866 and September 1881. Apparently, no meetings were held between 1866 and 1881. The minutes are in the handwriting of John S. Dickinson who was secretary/treasurer of the company. The minute book begins in May 1864 with the charter of the company which describes its founding, purposes, location of wells, distribution of shares, meetings of stockholders, election and duties of officers, dividends, and wages of workmen. Minutes taken at meetings of the Board of Directors and those of stockholders are also included. Listed are people who served as elected officers and a register of stockholders and their corresponding number of shares. Reports from the treasurer include values of lands and leases in Vernango County, Pennsylvania and expenditures for equipment and office maintenance. Progress reports on the yield of the wells are included as well as an account for the transfer of leases in Pit Hole Creek, Vernango County from John S. Kayser of West Chester County, Pennsylvania and New York to The Baltimore Petroleum Company. Entries from September, 1881 reflect the wishes of the stockholders and the consequent approval of the directors to disband the company. The stock certificates were issued by The Baltimore Petroleum Company and list the name of the stockholder and the number of shares owned. They were issued 1864-1865 and were apparently turned in when the company disbanded.


  • Creation: 1864-1881


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

This collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Administrative History

The Baltimore Petroleum Company was formed May 5, 1864 in Philadelphia. Its founders were Clifford Pemberton and David Pleasants of Philadelphia and Thomas Poultney, Jr., Henry B. Wilson and John S. Dickinson of Baltimore. The purposes of the company were mining and quarrying for oil and the sites for exploration were in the townships of Cornplanter and President, Vernango County, Pennsylvania. An office for business transactions was established in Baltimore and an on-site office was maintained in Oil City, PA. The capital stock of the company was one hundred thousand shares of the par value of five dollars for each share. Initially, Henry R. Wilson, Thomas Poultney, Jr. and John S. Dickinson were the major shareholders but the distribution of shares changed during the company's existence.

The company purchased land and leases in Vernango County, Pennsylvania and invested in equipment for putting down wells. Progress reports were given at regular meetings for stockholders and directors which were held at the Baltimore office. By June 1865, the company had been interested in 23 wells, of which, only 4 had yielded oil. The company continued drilling efforts at Pit Hole Creek where operations had proved successful for other companies. In June 1866, the petroleum mining business remained unprofitable although The Baltimore Petroleum Company had managed to continue debt-free.

Records are unavailable after 1866 but it is likely that anticipated revenues from oil were never realized. September 8, 1881, the stockholders met and voted to surrender the company's charter and to distribute its assets. The Board of Directors met the following day and voted to carry out the resolution of the stockholders. The company disbanded in 1881.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 legal half-size document box, 1 flat box (20.5 x 14.5 x 1.5 inches))

Language of Materials



The Baltimore Petroleum Company was formed May 5, 1864 in Philadelphia.


The provenance of this collection is unknown. It was grouped with the records of the Maryland Mutual Insurance Co. Ms. 115 and made a separate collection in February 1989.


A description of the oil business in Vernango County, Pennsylvania can be found in: Eaton, S.J.M. Petroleum: A History of the Oil Region of Vernango County, Pennsylvania. Phila.: J. B. Skelly & Co., 1866. The collection consists of one minute book, (1864-1866, 1881) of The Baltimore Petroleum Company and 127 cancelled stock certificates representing shares in the same company.


The collection is described in Guertler, John T., ed., The Records of Baltimore's Private organizations. New York: Garland, 1981

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in February 1989.

Baltimore Petroleum Company records
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA