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> CHARLES SITZMAN COLLECTION   > PICO CANYON/MENTRYVILLE

California Star Oil Works Time Book.
October 1887 - April 1889.


California Star Oil Works time book (log of employee hours and rates) for the Pico Canyon oil wells, October 1887 through April 1889. Cardboard cover with leatherette finish, 4x6.5 inches.

From the collection of Charles E. Sitzman, who was superintendent of the Pico Oil Field from 1927-1937. Donated in 2004 by his grandson, Merle Cook, to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. (Read this and this.)

This is the only known document from Mentryville from the time of its namesake, Charles Alexander Mentry, who was the original oilfield superintendent and held that post until his death in 1900.

Two oil companies operated in Pico Canyon at the time — California Star, and the Pacific Coast Oil Company (PCO). The CSOW wells, including the famous CSO-4 well that Mentry deepened in 1876 to make it California's first commercially productive oil well, were on the north side of the canyon. The PCO wells were on the south side.

This is the CSOW time book. It shows payments to workers for every other month — October, December, February, April, June, August. This suggests that all workers worked on all wells, whether CSOW or PCO, and half their pay was charged against CSOW and the other half against PCO. There must have been a corresponding PCO pay book for the other months.

The base rate at this time was $2.50 per day. The top rate was $4.00, increasing to $4.50 at the end of this period. We don't know, but the difference in pay was probably based on skills and position. Some workers received a pay increase during this period; again we don't know if it was based on merit, tenure or a change in position.

Alex Mentry earned a fixed salary of $150 per month and received half-pay for certain months, probably when he was away on vacation.

The same holds for Matt McCormick, presumably the assistant superintendent. He earned a salary of $100 per month, increasing to $125 in June 1888.

All workers listed in the time book appear below. Not all of them worked at the same time. The highest number of workers for any month was 22 (April 1889), plus Mentry and McCormick. The lowest number is 2 in December 1888, plus Mentry and McCormick, who received half pay; the second-lowest is 11 (plus Mentry) in December 1887. So the production must have slowed in winter as workers went home for Christmas.

Some names, such as Forker and Pardee, would become well known around Newhall in later years.

NameDaily Rate
E.R. Billings$2.50
John Blaken/a
D.W. Boice2.50
E. Borchert2.50
J.S. Brown2.50
William Buckley2.50
Charles Cada2.50
Joe Cahner2.50
James Caughlin2.50
D.A. Connell2.50
M.A. Craig3.50
S.R. Craig2.50
J. Daly2.50
Dan Daugherty2.50
W.C. Downing4.00
S.H. Drew4.00
J.A. Floyd3.50, $2.50 starting April 1889
W.N. Forker4.00
George Gilson4.00
M.F. Gormley4.00
William Grable2.50
J.A. Hamilton3.00
W.E. Hancock2.50
C. Honsal(?)3.00
O.J. Howard2.50
P.V. Kinnear3.00
Jos.? Jas.? Klewitz      2.50
C.F. Lane2.50
F.A. Lorbeer2.50, $4.00 starting April 1889
John Mahoney2.50
F.S. Mathers3.00
D.O. McCormick2.50, $4.00 starting Oct. 1888
H. McCormick4.00
Matt McCormick$100/month; $125/month starting June 1888
Robert McDougal2.50
W.J. McMillan4.00
C.A. Mentry$150/month
William Michaels2.50
H. Miller4.00
James Miller2.50
W.E. Pardee2.50
C.F. Pattee2.50
Vernon Reed3.50
P. Regan4.00
George Requa2.50
J.W. Saunders3.00, $3.50 starting April 1889
John Saynor4.00
H. Shaffer4.00
J.W. Skelton2.50, $3.00 starting April 1889
A.A. Sloan2.50, $4.00 starting Oct. 1888
A. Smith4.50
F.R. Smith4.00
F.N. Stone4.00
Wm. Thuetse(?)4.00
C.C.P. Tyler2.50
John Veight2.50
W.J. Wheeler2.50
Richard Winslow3.50
George Ziegler4.00


SZ8701: Download original images and larger views here. Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society collection.
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Mentryville 1890s-1900s

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Machine Shop 1910s

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CSO Jackline Plant

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PCO Jackline Plant Remnants

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Darryl Manzer at Firehouse ~1961

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Darryl Manzer at Field Office ~1961

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Pico No. 4, 1961

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PCO Jackline Plant Removal 1974-75

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CSO Jackline Plant 1974-75

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A.C. Mentry Blacksmith Forge

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