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Charles Canfield (Charles Canfield)

Charles Canfield

Industrialist.  A major developer of the oil industry in Southern California and Mexico,  and closest friend and business partner of  Edward L. Doheny.  Charles Adelbert Canfield was born in Springfield,  New York.  In 1869 he set out for Colorado as a prospector and struggled for 17 years in the Southwest before striking it rich in the Comstock silver mine in Kingston,  New Mexico.  He moved to Los Angeles in 1887 and invested his fortune in the area’s land boom,  only to lose it when the market collapsed three years later.  Soon afterwards he encountered Doheny,  a buddy from his prospecting days,  who convinced him that there was oil to be found in the city.  Canfield put up $400 for a three-acre parcel near what is now Dodger Stadium,  and in November 1892 the two men made the first successful oil strike in Los Angeles.  Creating the Coalinga Oil Company in 1896,  Canfield helped persuade the Atchinson,  Topeka,  and Santa Fe Railroad to convert from coal-burning to petroleum-fueled engines,  initiating a new era in transportation.  In 1902 he and Doheny founded the Mexican Petroleum Company (later Pan American Petroleum and now Pemex),  which made Mexico the world’s second-largest oil-producing country.  Tragedy struck in 1906 when his wife,   Chloe Phebe Canfield,  was murdered at their Los Angeles home by a disgruntled former employee;  he subsequently established several charitable organizations in her memory.  Canfield also had vast real estate holdings and helped develop the cities of Beverly Hills and Del Mar,  California. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)  Family links:  Parents:  Orville Sillick Canfield (1816 – 1891)  Sally Briggs Canfield (1822 – 1909)  Spouse:  Chloe Phebe   Canfield (1860 – 1906)*  Children:  Daisy Emma Canfield Moreno (1884 – 1933)*  Caroline Canfield Spalding (1890 – 1970)*  Siblings:  Laura Maria Canfield (1842 – 1843)*  Numan Canfield (1844 – 1850)*  Wallace Canfield (1847 – 1862)*  Charles Canfield (1848 – 1913)  Numan Orville Canfield (1850 – 1914)*  Laura M. Canfield Wescott (1858 – 1903)*  George Elmer Canfield (1861 – 1928)*  Milton T. Canfield (1866 – 1941)* *Calculated relationship


  • May, 15, 1848
  • USA


  • August, 08, 1913
  • USA


  • Evergreen Cemetery
  • California
  • USA

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