Alex Mentry (Alex Mentry)

Alex Mentry

Oilman, Folk Figure. Born Charles Alexander Mentrier in France in 1846, Alex Mentry came to the Newhall, California area in 1873 to make his fortune. An experienced oil driller in Pennsylvania, Mentry soon landed a job digging wells in the Santa Clarita Valley, north of what would become Los Angeles. In 1875 he formed a partnership to purchase a moderately-producing claim in nearby Pico Canyon. Mentry used what may have been California’s first steam-powered oil rig to drill a fourth well. On Sept. 26, 1876, Pico No. 4 started pumping out oil and it continued to pump oil for over 100 years. It was the first commercially successful oil well in the western United States. In 1900, at age 54, Alex suffered the ignominy of death by bug. He kept getting bitten by a bug (alternately known as “The Kissing Bug” and the “Assassin Bug” and “Bloodsucking Cone Nose”) while he slept. Every time he was bitten, he got sicker and sicker. Finally, in 1900, he got bit by this mysterious bug one last time…on the lips. He was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles, where he died on October 4, 1900. He was laid to rest in the Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights, where other family members are also interred.  (bio by: Shiver)


  • March, 27, 1847
  • France


  • October, 10, 1900
  • USA


  • Evergreen Cemetery
  • California
  • USA

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