Crockett is located on the Mexican land grant Rancho El Pinole made to Ygnacio Martinez, and is named after Joseph B. Crockett, a judge on the California Supreme Court. The town started when Thomas Edwards Sr. bought 1,800 acres (730 ha) of land from Judge Crockett in 1866. Edwards built his home in 1867 and when other settlers arrived, he started the first general store in Crockett. Edwards' home still stands and is known as "The Old Homestead", a California Historical Landmark. Crocketville post office was established in 1883, and the name was changed to Crockett later that year.
In 1906, an agricultural cooperative of Hawaiian sugar cane growers built a sugar factory in Crockett, eventually turning it into a company town for the California and Hawaiian Sugar Company, (better known as C&H). The cane was grown in Hawaii and delivered by ship to Crockett, where the C&H refinery turned it into a variety of finished products.
C & H soon became a dominant force in Crockett, which has been called a "company town."[a] By the 1920s, the company employed about 95 percent of the residents. Employment peaked at 2,500 just before WWII broke out. C & H helped its employees obtain land and bank loans so that they could build houses. Company architects worked on designing the houses. The company funded many school and civic programs.