Location: > Brea California USA Oil Fields

Looking at time gone by just before WW II circa 1942 - our relatives hammered out a living in the oil fields of Brea California.
(USA didn't join in WWII until 2 years after England and Canada were involved - it took the slaughter of Pearl Harbour before Congress would issue the orders)

Charles William Croteau (b: 1881 d: 1956) and Ellen (Fetcher) Croteau (b: 1876 d: 1856)

Brea California, USA
circa 1930 Oil Fields

History of Brea CA, USA  - this is a snippet of what is provided on the history of the City of Brea.

Nestled in the foothills on a plateau at the northern tip of Orange County, Brea was known as a place where tar seeped from the hills. The word "Brea" means tar in Spanish. In early history, Indians and pioneers used chunks of the oil-soaked earth for fuel and domestic purposes like heating their homes and waterproofing their roofs. Then came the big oil boom!

In 1894, the Union Oil Company purchased 1,200 acres of land to be used for oil development. They struck it rich in 1898 when the first oil well, Olinda Oil Well #1, came in - thus creating an oil boom in the hills of Brea and Olinda and paving the way for the thriving city that Brea is today.


I recently acquired some family photo's from Russell McKay a relative of Charles and Ellen (Nellie) Croteau.  It is nice of him to share these with the rest of us.  I have posted his first e-mail here to help explain the below photographs.

"Hello from Texas, Paul!

I was surfing the web trying to trace down information on my relatives and finally found your website -- very nice!!! I only recently found the first name of someone I only knew as my Mother's Uncle Croteau and Aunt Nellie Croteau (Fletcher), but finding his name "Charles" brought up your site.

I actually have some photos that I have been scanning that have Charles Croteau, his wife, their chow dog and their house in them and am more than happy to share them with you if you find any suitable. My mother was ten years old when she and her family (the Fletcher's) took a train trip to California in 1930 to visit the Croteau's. They did live in Brea, California as your information shows, but Charles wasn't a garbage man. He worked in the oil fields as a stationary STEAM engineer (not sanitary engineer!), running the boilers that probably supplied power to the oil field equipment. Oddly enough, my Grandfather Fletcher also worked a similar job, eventually becoming a supervisor in the Boston & Maine railroad's power plant in North Billerica, Massachusetts.

I am so happy to find some information on this part of the family, and as I said, would be more than happy to share any or all of the photos I have related to Charles Croteau. I will attach a couple for starters.

The information I have for Ellen (Nellie) Fletcher is as follows: Born November 8th, 1876 in Bulwich, England and died in 1956. Charles also died in 1956.

Thanks for your time and for your great work on the website! --RJ--"

To contact Russell McKay send an E-mail: lokomac8@embarqmail.com

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Page last modified: 26-Oct-2016