PIONEER OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Bio- Pen Pictures-
SURNAMES: THEUERKAUF, SILENT, PLAUER
MATTHEW TANTAU-deceased. The subject of this sketch was born in
North Germany in 1815. Of his youthful days no more is known than
that a fifteen years of age he became a sailor boy, and that he
followed the seas until he reached manhood. After leaving the
ocean life, he wedded Miss Catherine Theuerkauf, a sister of Frederick
Theuerkauf, at Cincinnati, Ohio,. where their eldest child, Mary, was
born. She is now the wife of Charles Silent, an attorney at law,
residing in Los Angeles. Later, Mr. Tantau made his home in New
Orleans, and there his two sons, George F., now a business man of San
Francisco, and Frederick, were born. Later still, Mr. Tantau
again became a resident of Cincinnati, where he engaged in different
occupations, making in each steady progress toward a competence.
At one time he was engaged in grocery trade in that city. During the
time that he lived there his son August was born.
Mr. Tantau, finding that his health was giving way, by the advice of
physicians concluded to come to California. In company with
Frederick Theuerkauf, an old friend and a neighbor both in New
Orleans and Cincinnati, he came to this valley by the Isthmus
route, in 1852. On the west bank of Campbell's Creek, on what is
now the Bollinger road, in the Doyle Distinct, they bought out a
Spanish grant, 200 acres of land. Mrs. Tantau and the children,
coming by the same route, joined the family in 1853.
In company with Mr. Theuerkauf, the subject of our sketch worked the
property until 1862, at which time they owned about 500 acres. Mr.
Tantau's family residence, on the Bollinger road, a little west of the
crossing of Campbell's Creek, was established in 1854, and four years
later his partnership with Mr. Theuerkauf was dissolved, and their
interests divided. Mr. Tantau, who had come to the valley with a good
working cash capital for those years, by industry and economy added to
his estate, until at his death his real personal property amounted to
His youngest children, Emma and Flora, were born in this
county. The former is now the wife of John Plauer , of San Jose.
Mr. Tantau was possessed of a vigorous vitality and a strong
intellect. He helped many a poor worthy man, but never gave
assistance to the unworthy. His last years were filled with
suffering, which was born with Christian fortitude. His useful
and honorable life was closed in April, 1881, his widow surviving until
July 25, 1886. The lives of both Mr. and Mrs. Tantau exemplified
the religion which they professed.
SOURCE: Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World of Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H.S.
Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. page 541 Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben
SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHIES
SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY