courtesy Oliver family

William Letts Oliver (August 6, 1844 – November 4, 1918) was a mining engineer who, along with Freeborn Fletter, founded the California Cap Company, the first U.S. manufacturer of blasting caps used for explosives in mining. He was also the principal owner of the Oliver Manufacturing Company.

The family lived at 1066 - 12th St. in the 1890s. They later lived at 101 Vernon St. (251 Vernon after 1912 renumbering.)

W. L. Oliver and his son Roland were amateur photographers, with over 2,700 of their photos collated on the Online Archive of California.

blasting caps 1101 Vernon St. 31066 12th St., Oliver family collections, OAC 2

Death and Burial

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William Oliver died November 4, 1918, after an illness of several months. His funeral was held at the family home on November 7, 1918, and he is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in a mausoleum just below "Millionaire's Row."

His estate was assessed at $636,631. Half went to Carrie, and half was divided among the children. The primary assets were stock in Oliver Investments, Oliver Manufacturing, and California Cap Company. 5

Links and References

  1. Blasting Items/California Cap Co Hal's Lamppost

  2. Oliver Family Photograph Collections Online Archive of California

  3. William Letts Oliver house, 101 Vernon Street, Oakland Oliver Family Photograph Collections, Online Archive of California

  4. Death Calls Wm. L. Oliver, Mine Expert Oakland Tribune November 5, 1918
  5. Oliver's Estate Is Appraised at $336,631 Oakland Tribune June 11, 1919