California Seaports: Crockett

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: ° Alameda: ° Berkeley ° Oakland
Contra Costa County: ° Crockett, ° Martinez ° Port Costa
Marin County: ° Point Reyes, ° San Rafael (China Camp), ° Sausalito, ° Tiburon
° Mendocino ° Sacramento
San Francisco (City and County)
Solano: ° Benicia (St. Paul's Church), ° VallejoMare Island
Sonoma: ° Petaluma ° Fort Ross
CENTRAL & SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: ° Long Beach ° Los Angeles ° Monterey County ° San Diego County ° Santa Barbara ° Santa Monica ° The Channel Islands


Crockett is located on the Mexican land grant Rancho El Pinole made to Ygnacio Martinez, and is named after Joseph B. Crockett, a judge on the California Supreme Court. The town started when Thomas Edwards Sr. bought the land from Judge Crockett in 1867. Edwards built his home and established a company town for the C&H Sugar company.

Located outside of the town of Crockett, the 1,939 acres of Crockett Hills Regional Park were likely hunting, gathering and burial grounds for Native Americans.

It was later settled by Italian and Portuguese immigrants, followed by ranchlands, and more recently were part of the industrial history of the region.

The original ranch barn, milkhouse, and corrals can still be seen in the Crockett Ranch staging and picnic area. (Today, the refinery’s silos are seven stories high; full, they could supply seven Western states with sugar for 19 days. Inside, the plant smells like molasses.)

September 22, 1881, Livermore Herald, Livermore, California

Contra Costa News

There is a new town being built about three miles from Port Costa, near the grange's shipping point, to be named Crockett, in honor of Judge J. B. Crockett of East Oakland.

December 8, 1881, Livermore Herald, Livermore, California

Contra Costa News.

A three story hotel, building 30 x 90 feet besides kitchen and dining room is in advanced stage of completion at the new town of Crockett on the Straits of Carquinez seven miles below Martinez, and other buildings, besides those for the foundry and machine shops, are soon to be erected.

January 7, 1882, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

The new town of Crockett, six miles west of Martinez, exists on paper. A fine three-story hotel, and a large brick structure for the manufactory of Mr. Heald, of Vallejo, is nearly completed. It will employ about 200 workmen. With the opening of spring the town will doubtless take steps in advance.

The Grange warehouses and other storehouses at Martinez, Antioch and Port Costa are stored with grain to oversowing, and new ones are being built to meet the demand. The new ferry, boatBenicia has just been completed, and commenced her trips between Martinez and Benicia.

April 26, 1890, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

A Bay Excursion

The steamer T. S. Walker will leave Clay street wharf tomorrow at 9:15 a.m., returning at 7:30 p.m. The steamer will touch at Vallejo, Martinez and Crockett. Fare for the found trip will be fifty cents.

April 2, 1892, San Francisco Call

The Risdon Iron Works

Crockett.Port Costa.The managers of the Risdon Iron and Locomotive Works are considering a proposition to establish works at Crockett near Port Costa. If the company determines to locate there an extensive plan will be established.

May 6, 1896, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

Note and Comment

Jeannette W. Downer, the thirteen-year-old daughter of Hart Downer of the Crockett "Record," contributed to that paper last week a sketch entitled "Elsie's Visit to the Flowers," which gives evidence of unusual ability in one so young.

December 7, 1897, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California

Water for Sugar Makers

OAKLAND, Cal., December 6. The new beet sugar refinery at Crockett, of which Geo. W. McNear is the head, will receive its water supply from the San Joaquin river, that stream being tapped at Antioch and the water piped to Crockett, a distance of thirty-five miles. Surveys for this pipe line, which will be one of the largest in the state, exceeded in size only by that of the Spring Valley Water company under the Bay of San Francisco, have been made. Surplus water will be used to supply towns or manufactories located along the proposed line.

September 14, 1897, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California

The Kllby Manufacturing company of Cleveland, Ohio, has received a contract for the erection of buildings and for furnishing machinery to the amount of $500,000 to $600,000 for an extensive beet sugar plant and refinery to be located at Crockett, Contra Costa County, California.

June 18, 1899, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California

Country Real Estate: The Star Hotel at Crockett, in the center of the town, with a lot 75x140 feet and doing a profitable business; for sale at a bargain.

March 31, 1900, Pacific Rural Press

California Agriculture in 1899

Mr. Claus Spreckels of San Francisco has furnished the following report of the conditions of that great industry in California. California might well be proud of her development in this direction, in which she leads all States in the Union, with a promised development impossible to her competitors. Mr. Spreckels says : The success that has marked the development of the beet sugar industry in California during the past ten years has been gratifying to those who have labored to that end, and who now see it firmly established as one of the leading industries of the State. The abundant evidence afforded of capital rapidly flowing in this new direction attests the value and adaptability of California soil and climate to the culture of the sugar beet. New factories are being built and the capacity of many now in operation doubled. Thousands of acres are being planted to beets which heretofore were devoted to grazing and grain raising. They will not only yield greater returns to the farmer, but will give employment to a vastly larger number of laborers.

The operating beet sugar factories of the State are located as follows: Spreckels Sugar Company, Spreckels, near Salinas, Monterey County; American Beet Sugar Company, Oxnard, Ventura county; Chino Valley Beet Sugar Company, Chino, Riverside county; Alameda Sugar Company, Alvarado, Alameda County; California Beet Sugar Refining Company, Crockett, Contra Costa county; Union Sugar Company, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo county; Los Alamitos Sugar Company, Los Alamitos, Orange County.

Estimated Output - Season 1899
Short Tons
Spreckels Sugar Co. 25,000
American Beet Sugar Co. 10,000
Alameda Sugar Co. 4,500
Chino Valley Beet Sugar Co. 6,000
California Beet Sugar & Refining Co. 3,000
Union Sugar Co. 3,000
Los Alamitos Sugar Co. 1,000
Total 52,500

December 17, 1900, San Francisco Call

Negotiating for Track of Sugar-Beet Land
Hawaiian Refining Company to Purchase Fifteen Hundred Acres Near Embarcadero.

PETALUMA, Dec. 16. A deal is being consummated in this city for the purchase by the California and Hawaiian Refining Company of a 1500-acre tract of the Senator Jones estate ranch in the reclaimed marsh lands below Embarcadero, to be used in the cultivation of sugar beets. The company now has under cultivation 3000 acres of reclaimed land at Reclamation, on Petaluma Creek, and K. G. Raaf, manager of this ranch, is negotiating for the new purchase.

While the crop at the Reclamation ranch has not been as successful as might have been wished, Manager Raaf is hopeful of better returns next year. The crop last year was 5000 tons of cleaned and prepared beets. With the new territory, if the deal be successfully carried through, and with increased cultivation at Reclamation, the crop the coming year is expected to be in the neighborhood of 30,000 tons. If the Jones tract is cultivated a crusher will be located at Reclamation and the beets will be put through the crushing process before they are taken to the refineries at Crockett.

July 22, 1901, San Francisco Call

WAREHOUSEMEN, grain handlers and sack sewers are hereby notified to remain away from Vallejo, Crockett and Port Costa until further notice. By order Bay Counties Warehousemen's Protective Association No. 9228.

August 11, 1901, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Strike at Crockett

VALLEJO, August 15 -- News was received from Crockett this afternoon that all the warehousemen went out today. A number of deputy sheriffs are on the seen to prevent disorder.

April 2, 1902, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California

Meets Death on the Rails.

CROCKETT, April 1 -- Westbound train No. 1 on the Southern Pacific struck and killed an unknown man at Crockett station this afternoon. Coroner Curry will hold an inquest in Martinez tomorrow.

In 1906, the California and Hawaiian Sugar Refining Company began refining pure cane sugar in the small town of Crockett, California, north east of San Francisco along the Bay and Carquinez Strait. As cargo ships off-loaded raw cane sugar from the Hawaiian Islands, the refinery employed 490 people and produced 67,000 tons of refined cane sugar.

Some of the 450 workers at this union plant are third-generation employees. In the 1920s, 90 percent of the residents of Crockett worked here; now, less than 1 percent do. Named for Joseph B. Crockett, a California Supreme Court judge and early landowner, the town has a museum staffed by former sugar plant employees and replete with vintage issues of The Cubelet Press, the C & H newsletter.

January 24, 1903, San Francisco Call

Elderly Resident of Crockett Walks Out of a Window While Asleep.

CROCKETT, Jan. 23. Some time during last evening James McMinnaman, an old citizen of Crockett, while in a somnambulistic state, walked out of a window from the room in which he was sleeping in the Western Hotel and was killed. McMinnaman leaves a family of four children. His wife died in this place about five years ago.

October 15, 1905, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California

Crockett Refinery to Resume

MARTINEZ, October 14. An official announcement was made today that the sugar refinery at Crockett will be opened and placed in active operation March 1, 1906. The mill will employ upward of 300 operatives. The Crockett refinery is the property of the Californian and Hawaiian Sugar Refining company, which is controlled by a number of Hawaiian sugar men.

March 29, 1906, Los Angeles Herald

Refinery Nears Completion

San Francisco, March 28 -- The new refinery of the California and Hawaiian Sugar Refining company at Crockett will be put in operation on April 1.

January 20, 1907, San Francisco Call

Crockett Has a Poolroom

CROCKETT, Jan. 19. -- Crockett is greatly agitated over the establishment by Vallejo sporting men of a poolroom with card game attachments. It has been opened as a branch of the big establishment that flourishes in Vallejo. The people of Crockett are alarmed by the big play which the resort is obtaining from the employes of the sugar refinery. A petition is to be presented to the Supervisors of Contra Costa County, asking that an anti-poolselling ordinance be passed.

January 20, 1907, San Francisco Call

McFadden Scores Knockout

CROCKETT, January 19 -- Jack McFadden of Honolulu knocked out Young Buckley of Denver just as the gong sounded for the end of the fifth round at the boxing show of the Crockett Athletic Club last evening. The battle had been fast and furious previous to that time. Jimmy Quinn of Vallejo was put away by Johnny Jones in the second round.

November 28, 1907, San Francisco Call

Saloon Man Kills Robber

November 27 -- Timothy Crowley shot and killed a burglar this morning who had pried his way into Crowley's saloon shortly after midnight.

The Contra Costa County's most famous labor battle took place in 1938 on Crockett's main street between rival CIO and AFL labor unions over control of the C & H sugar refinery's labor force. The conflict brought Crockett national attention.

All roads into Crockett were sealed off by the California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff's Department in order to control the growing bloodshed. The C & H sugar refinery struggled under the nation's economic collapse in 1929. Sugar prices fell dramatically. Pay cuts, reduced working hours and a shrinking work force hit the workers of C & H hard. These stern business measures kept the refinery operating, most workers employed and the Crockett population more prosperous than many communities around the nation. Nevertheless bad times and more liberal labor laws led the C & H employees to organize for improved rights and benefits. The CIO Sugar Workers Union and the ILWU Warehouse Union struck in 1935 and 1937. Then in 1938 an especially bitter strike tore apart the close knit Crockett community. The violent labor dispute eventually pitted neighbors against neighbor and brother against brother.

September 11, 1909, San Francisco Call

Meetings -- Lodges

The Irish Nationalists of Crockett and Port Costa will hold their picnic tomorrow, September 12, at East Shore park Stage. Take Key Route ferry, thence by Piedmont train to 40th st., then change to San Pablo ave. county line cars for park.

Crockett is an unincorporated town, it has no law . . . in town at least. If you're an outsider, you WILL be noticed.

Today, Club Tac on Pomona Street in Crockett is a bar, pool hall and restaurant. It is loosely considered the center of Crockett "culture." Club Tac's walls are covered with images of various chapters of E. Clampus Vitus, an organization that began in the mid-1800s and continues to this day. "E Clampus Vitus" actually means nothing. According to their "literature," it is either an historical drinking society or a drinking historical society. In any case, it is a fraternal organization that has spent more than 100 years (since 1849) running around the country placing plaques on and around Gold Rush historical sites before and after ridiculous drinking ceremonies, initiations, and rituals, i.e. placing dead chickens on one's head. You can be reasonably assured that some of the people at the bar have been there since around the time of California's Gold Rush.

January 23, 1896, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California

Tastes the Hidden Sweets of E Clampus Vitus.
Put to Sleep in the Mysterious Coffin and Given an Ice Water Bath.
Thankful That He Has Been Permitted to Enter a High-Class American Lodge.

MARYSVILLE, Cal., Jan. 22. Lord Sholto Douglas was initiated last night into the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, and the crowning feature of his life in California has been reached.

Member of E Clampus Vitus.

The E Clampus Vitus, or as it is more familiarly known the Clampers, is a body composed of the most prominent men of Marysville, and organized for the purpose of putting strangers through a "course of sprouts" that makes them ridiculous and a laughing-stock for the time being, but admits them to the rank of good fellowship thereafter.

Strange as it may seem, Lord Sholto Douglas will leave Marysville under the impression that he has joined the fine order, for, as Jimmy Fadden would remark, he has not yet found out "wat t'ell."

Douglas was taken to Turner Hall last night after the close of the performance "Confusion." After being blindfolded in the anteroom he was led into the hall, where over 500 Clampers were congregated and the ritual began.

He was given a ride in a wheelbarrow up a cleated board held at an incline by two brothers, who dropped it when the barrow reached the top of the rocky grade. He was then put through the cave of silence, a big sheetiron cylinder, into which he was forced on all fours.

The cylinder was then rolled over and over and several of the brothers engaged in the pleasing pastime of pounding upon it with boards and hammers.

E Clampus Vitus Plaque in Volcano, California.

After this Lord Douglas was given the blanket elevation five or six times, and then stripped to the waist and painted by the Noble Artist.

He was next placed in the coffin, the lid nailed down, the prayers for the dead said over him by Noble Grand Humbug E. A. Forbes, and the coffin was hoisted about three feet over a big tank of ice-cold water. The words "Ashes to ashes, water to water," were pronounced, the spring was touched and the bottom of the coffin fell open, depositing the nobleman in about three feet of water.

This was the last degree. Douglas was called on for a speech, but was unable to do more than express his gratitude for the kindness shown him by initiating him into the mysteries of an American society of high renown.

The lodge proposed that he stay over with his company until to-night and promised a big house. He agreed, and tonight the opera-house was packed.

Lord and Lady Douglas were today driven around town in an open four-in-hand, under the espionage of the Clampers, followed by a carriage in which Grand Bugler Leech sat and blew upon the huegag, a big horn that can be heard all over town. Douglas stood the ordeal last night it is a trying one with a deal of pluck that created considerable surprise.

If you cannot find recommended books locally, consider the links provided to which has proven to be reliable on service and delivery.

Immigration at the Golden Gate: Passenger Ships, Exclusion, and Angel IslandImmigration at the Golden Gate.Immigration to California.
Robert Eric Barde
Perhaps 200,000 immigrants passed through the Angel Island Immigration Station during its lifetime, a tiny number compared to the 17 million who entered through New York's Ellis Island.

Nonetheless, Angel Island's place in the consciousness of Americans on the West Coast is large and out of proportion to the numerical record. Angel Island's Immigration Station was not, as some have called it, the Ellis Island of the West, built to facilitate the processing and entry of those welcomed as new Americans. Its role was less benign: to facilitate the exclusion of Asians, starting with the Chinese, then Japanese, Koreans, Indians, and all other Asians.

The Children of Chinatown: Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco, 1850-1920Children of Chinatown.
Wendy Rouse Jorae

California.Family Skeletons.Family Skeletons: Exploring the Lives of Our Disreputable AncestorsFamily Skeletons.
Simon Fowler, Ruth Paley
Most families have a skeleton. You may have already discovered yours via the grapevine or your own research. Or you may simply be intrigued by the dark side of our past. This popular history explores the behaviour of our disreputable ancestors from the unfortunate to the criminal, and introduces a host of colourful characters including 17th century witches, 18th century 'mollies' and Victorian baby farmers. Thematically arranged by skeleton, the text also describes how society punished and provided for its 'offenders' - as well as the changing attitudes that could ultimately bring acceptance.

Italy on the Pacific: San Francisco's Italian Americans (Italian and Italian American Studies)Italians in San Francisco.
Palgrave Hardcover)
Sebastian Fichera
San Francisco’s Italian immigrant experience is shown to be the polar opposite of Chicago’s. San Francisco’s Italian immigrants are shown as reintegrating into the host society fairly smoothly, whereas the Chicago group’s assimilation process broke down in dramatic ways.

Russian San Francisco (Images of America)Russian San Francisco.
(Images of America)
Lydia B. Zaverukha, Nina Bogdan, Foreward by Ludmila Ershova, PhD.
Even before San Francisco was founded as a city, Russian visitors, explorers, and scientists sailed to the area and made contact with both the indigenous people and representatives of the Spanish government. Although the Russian commercial colony of Fort Ross closed in 1842, the Russian presence in San Francisco continued and the community expanded to include churches, societies, businesses, and newspapers. Some came seeking opportunity, while others were fleeing religious or political persecution.

California.Migration in World HistoryMigration in World History.
(Themes in World History)
Patrick Manning
Drawing on examples from a wide range of geographical regions and thematic areas, noted world historian Patrick Manning guides the reader through trade patterns, including the early Silk Road and maritime trade, effect of migration on empire and industry, earliest human migrations, major language groups, various leading theories around migration.

California.Merchants of Grain. Merchants of Grain:
The Power and Profits of the Five Giant Companies at the Center of the World's Food Supply
Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.
Dan Morgan
Details how a handful of families have controlled the worlds grain trade for centuries. A great piece for families that till the soil, but one that is even more important to the people who live in the city; and have no idea of the power and control that these families wield.
From Captain John R. Sutton: "I am a captain on Mississippi River towboats. I have pushed millions of tons of grain down the Mississippi River for years. But I never really understood the global impact of the world's grain company's until I read this book."

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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