Contra Costa County












FRANK CRITCHETT.  The Critchett Hotel was erected in the midst of a grain field in 1900, and was the first building to signalize the enterprise and thrift of the present community of Point Richmond, Contra Costa county.  The man whose faith and far-sightedness this hostelry represents has followed his initial service by continuous effort in behalf of the growing town, and since his arrival upon its site July 6, 1900, has established a reputation for business sagacity, reliability, nobility of character and practical experience.  As president of the Richmond Promotion Syndicate, Frank Critchett has realized a commendable ambition, and achieved a business success possible only to a man of marked ability.  His opportunity has been of his own making, and his development the work of his own energy and practical common sense.  Born in Vermont November 14, 1861, he and his sister, Mrs. E. I. Lindh of Rhode Island are the survivors of the family, his parents being deceased.  His father, Sylvester Critchett, was born in New Hampshire in 1822, and by trade was a carriage maker, following his occupation in Newport, Vt., to which place he removed in 1858.  For a time he owned and conducted a repair shop in Glover, Vt., where his death occurred in 1904, at the age of eighty-two years.  His wife, Minnie (Smith) Critchett, was born in Quebec, Canada, and died in Vermont in 1863.


Frank Critchett, the promoter of Point Richmond, began his industrial career as an errand boy in a store in Boston, his energy and adaptability soon after securing his promotion to a clerkship.  His rise to prominence has been by his own efforts.  Going to Colorado in 1884, he worked on a stock range for three years, leading the wild and adventurous life of the western cow-boy.  Here also he was destined to advance, and in time was made foreman of the Cycle Brand ranch in the Lone Tree valley.  He came to California in 1887 and spent a year in the Rhensburg gold mining camp in Kern county, later removing to Lindsay, where he conducted a hotel until going to Point Richmond in 1900.  In 1901 he began to engage in the real estate business, and April 21, 1904, organized the Richmond Promotion Syndicate, having for its purpose the upbuilding of the town and improving city or county property.  The company buy and sell lands, build and sell houses and public buildings, and operate under a charter provided by the state.  The president is Frank Critchett, and the secretary W. C. Gray.  The company own what is known as the Highland tract of thirty acres, and are the sole agents for Turpin’s Addition.  The efforts of Mr. Critchett have brought many people to swell the rapidly increasing population, and his advantage in being the first one on the spot and the practical founder of the town is too manifest to require detailed comment.


In Tulare county, August 11, 1895, Mr. Critchett married Martha Sumner, a native of that county.  He is a Democrat in politics, and was a member of the county central committee for several terms.  Mr. Critchett is an honored member of McKinley Lodge No. 347, F. & A. M., of Richmond, and he is a member and noble grand of Twilight Lodge No. 119, I.O.O.F.  He is a cautious, conservative and substantial business man, making few mistakes in his investments, and rightly estimating the many advantages of the territory in which he has elected to reside.  He has done much for Point Richmond and his name is enrolled among its most honored and reliable promoters.




[Inserted by D. Toole.]




1900 Aug 116, Oakland Tribune, P2, Oakland, California

Frank Critchett is putting the finishing touches on his store building.


1902 Sep 21, San Francisco Chronicle, P22, San Francisco, California

Will County Richmondites

Point Richmond, September 20 – The Contra Costa Supervisors have authorized the taking of a census for Point Richmond, which is soon to be incorporated.  Frank Critchett has been appointed to superintend the taking of the census.  There was some trouble in laying out boundary lines which were acceptable to all parties, but boundaries have at last been agreed upon which have met with no opposition and have been approved by the Supervisors.


1905 Apr 7, Oakland Tribune, P16, Oakland, California

Frank Critchett, at the head of the Richmond Promotion Syndicate, has awarded a contract to Fred Myers to grade the streets in the Martha Washington addition, the Turpin addition and the Highland tract.  Lots in this part of town are now going very lively.


1905 Apr 10, Oakland Tribune, P16, Oakland, California


Frank Critchett is busily engaged in putting in the Critchett Hotel building for the new tenants, Messrs. Steine & Mahanna, who will take charge as soon as the work of renovation is completed.


1905 May 11, Oakland Tribune, P13, Oakland, California

Mrs. Frank Critchett is reported quite sick at her home on Richmond avenue.


1905 May 27, Oakland Tribune, P11, Oakland, California

Sell Big Tract

The deal which has been on for several days for the sale of the Highland tract was closed yesterday.  The Richmond Promotion Syndicate, reresented[sic] by Frank Critchett, W. C. Gray and others, disposed of their interests in the Syndicate to W. B. Thurman and James W. Watkins, two men from Madera.  They are men of means and they have great faith in the future of Richmond.  They are still to make other large investments here.


1905 Jun 14, Oakland Tribune, P16, Oakland, California

Mrs. Frank Critchett was called to Los Angeles Sunday morning by a telegram announcing the sudden and critical illness of her mother, Mrs. M. A. Sumner.


1905 Jun 19, Oakland Tribune, P4, Oakland, California

Mrs. M. A. Sumner, mother of Mrs. Frank Critchett and Mrs. George Dimick, is in a very critical condition at Los Angeles.  Mrs. Critchett went down Sunday.  Mrs. Dimick and a sister at Hanford will probably go to her bedside before the week is out.  She is quite aged and seems to be giving away.


1905 Jul 11, Oakland Tribune, P16, Oakland, California

Frank Critchett, the real estate man, is on the sick list and confined to his room.


1905 Jul 14, Oakland Tribune, P10, Oakland, California

Frank Critchett, the real estate man, is engaged in making a new map of Richmond and its environs.  It takes in all the country from Schmidt village and Stege to Point San Pablo, including also the town of San Pablo.  It is a model of neatness and will be of great utility to the people having holdings within the radius of the territory embraced.


1905 Aug 11, Oakland Tribune, P10, Oakland, California

Visit Friends

J. O. Lovejoy and wife of Tulare county were in town Tuesday evening visiting at the pleasant home of their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Critchett.  Mr. and Mrs. Lovejoy are stopping in San Francisco for the present, visiting relatives and spending their vacation.  They were present at the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Critchett ten years ago, and doubtless will be among the guests at the anniversary celebration on Saturday evening next.


1906 Apr 15, San Francisco Chronicle, P49, San Francisco, California

Frank Critchett has purchased a Buick car.  Friday he stated to the Pioneer Automobile Company that if the car could make the trip satisfactorily to Halfmoon Bay he would purchase it.  The trip of eighty-five miles was made by way of Colma to the ocean and return by way of San Mateo and the county road.  Going over, the road was found to be sandy and rough, with lots of holes.  From San Mateo up the road was fair. 


1906 Sep 25, Oakland Tribune, P4, Oakland, California

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Critchett left today for a ten days’ vacation trip to Napa.  The trip will be made in Mr. Critchett’s auto.


1907 Jan 26, Oakland Tribune, P12, Oakland, California

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Critchett, who have been sojourning in Los Angeles for the past two months, have returned to San Francisco, and announce that they will again take up their residence in Richmond in the near future.


1908 Mar 9, San Francisco Chronicle, P3, San Francisco, California

A remarkable record in tire wear, which further substantiates the fact that lightweight cars prolong the life of the tires, has been established by Frank Critchett, a real estate dealer of Point Richmond and San Francisco.  Mr. Critchett has run his two-cylinder Buick touring car over 12,000 miles and states that neither of the front tires has ever been flat since he purchased the car more than two years ago.


1911 Apr 25, San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram, P2, San Luis Obispo, California

Hanford Local Paper Describes Funeral of J. F. Sumner Deceased

The following is taken from a Hanford newspaper:

Last evening F. E. B. Gates of Sparks, Nevada, who is local chairman and treasurer of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, at that place, and A. J. Melville, also of Sparks, arrived here with the body of James F. Sumner, who was acidentally[sic] killed while on his run on the railroad near near[sic] Hazen, Monday night, April 17.  The deceased was head brakeman and was on the second section of the Overland Limited, which left Reno, Nevada, at 9:50 p.m. and two hours later he fell from the train and was killed.  He fell while passing from the dynamo car to the tender of the engine, and his presence was missed when the train had arrived at Lovelock station.  As soon as he was missed trackwalkers were informed.  At about 5 o’clock Wednesday morning the body was found about 40 feet from the track near Lovelock, and the skull of the unfortunate man was crushed, and it was evident that the man was thrown from the train and striking the hard ground, rolled for some distance.  After the body was found it was placed aboard train No. 5, and taken to Hazen, where a coroner’s inquest was held.  The remains of the unfortunate man were taken on a special train to Reno, through the efforts of Mr. Gates and Mr. Melville, the latter being a distant relative, and on Wednesday the gentlemen named left with the body for this city, arriving as above stated, and the body was taken to the Rice undertaking parlors.  The deceased embarked in the railroading business when quite young, first starting out from Bakersfield.  He later went to San Luis Obispo and ran as conductor for some time.  He married Miss Meda Emerson of that place about four years ago, and Mrs. Sumner and their three year old son, Franklin, survive the father and husband, who has been so suddenly snatched from life.  Deceased was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen at Sparks, Nevada, and also of the lodge of Elks at Santa Cruz.  He was a well beloved member of those orders and a good man highly respected by all his acquaintances.  He was born near Plainsburg, Merced county, California, October 24, 1878, and soon afterward his parents moved to Tulare county, his father, J. F. Sumner, being a pioneer of that county, and was killed in the mountains of that county 30 years ago.  Besides a wife and young son, he leaves to mourn his untimely taking off, an aged mother, Mrs. Mary Sumner of Hanford, three sisters, Mrs. Martha Critchett of Oakland, Mrs. Mary Sweeney of Hanford and Mrs. Ella Demrick[sic] of Santa Rosa, and one brother, John Sumner of Arden, Nevada, and other relatives. 


The Brotherhood of Trainmen have taken every pains to attend to the sad duties of caring for the remains of their deceased brother, and with Mr. Gates and Mr. Melville, who accompanied the body here, other members of the order from Bakersfield and other points on the railroad lines, the Brotherhood participated in the last services at the cemetery here today.  The deceased had been engaged on the railroad run out of Sparks, Nev., for the past two years, and was highly regarded among his fellows.  The funeral was held this afternoon at 2 o’clock from the Rice chapel in this city, the Rev. S. J. McConnell of the M. E. church officiating, and the interment took place in the Hanford cemetery.  Appropriate hymns were sung by Mrs. George Weishar and Mrs. B. F. Denham.  The large concuorse[sic] of friends followed the remains to the Hanford cemetery, where the burial service of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen was read by F. E. B. Gates, who accompanied the remains here from Nevada.  The pall bearers were H. C. Boice, B. B. Price, W. R. McKay, J. A. Botts, O. S. Deardorff and C. F. Fuller.


1911 Apr 20, San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram, P1, San Luis Obispo, California

Sumner Buried Today

According to a telegram received in this city today from Mrs. Meda Sumner, the body of Frank Sumner was acompanied[sic] from Sparks to Hanford by Messrs. Melville and Gates, well known railroad men formerly of San Louis Obispo, and the funeral was held today at two o’clock, the remains being interred in the Sumner plot at Hanford.  From a telegram published in the San Francisco Chronicle it has come to light that Sumner was not crushed between two cars, as first reported, but was blown off an observation car, while going at the rate of forty miles per hour.  The following is the telegram:

Reno, Nev., April 18 – The terrible gale that swept across Hontan valley Monday night carried Brakeman J. F. Sumner over the railing of the observation car attached to the second section of the Overland, east-bound, and at daybreak this morning his mangled body was found near Hazen, lying near the roadbed.  The train was running at the rate of forty miles an hour when the accident occurred and the train crew did not miss Sumner until a telegram reached them far down the road.


1919 Feb 2, Oakland Tribune, P40, Oakland, California

Critchett is Farmer

Richmond, Feb. 1 – Frank Critchett, formerly a well known west side capitalist, has purchased a farm at Bethany, near Tracy, which he will operate this year on a large scale.  Critchett was one of the pioneers of Richmond.


1927 Nov 27, Oakland Tribune, P47, Oakland, California

New Brooklyn Apartments

Frank Critchett is the designer and builder of the Brooklyn Apartments at 1732 Sixth avenue.  N. T. Heaton is the owner.  All apartments are completely furnished.


Death 12 Aug 1951 in Napa, California.







Transcribed by Donna Toole.

­­­­Source: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Page 1101. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

© 2016  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library