1888 Bio

Bio-Pen Pictures

the proprietor of  Rengstorff's Landing, and a prominent agriculturist of Fremont Township, ranks among the early settlers of Santa Clara County. He dates his birth in Hanover (then an independent province, but now a part of the great German Empire), September 29, 1829. He is the son of Fred. and Amelia (Hambruch) Rengstorff.. He was reared and educated in his native province, and when twenty‑one years of age (1850) he embarked on a sail vessel bound for San Francisco. The long journey around Cape Horn was attended by no unusual event. Em­barking in May, the port of San Francisco was reached in November. Our subject found employment on the steamer Jack Robinson, plying between the city and Alviso. After spending three months in that work, he engaged in farm labor near San Jose. Years were spent in working for others, he carefully saving his earnings meanwhile, in order that he might purchase land, and thus give employment to others, rather than depend on others for employment. This worthy object was accomplished in 1857, when Mr. Rengstorff purchased land in Fremont Township, within one mile of the landing now bearing his name, and near where he now lives. In 1859 he commenced business at the Landing, where he erected large and substantial buildings, and was soon ranked among the leading business men of that part of Santa Clara County. The shipments of grain from his landing in the early years were enormous. All kinds of produce raised in the valley in those years found its way to market by water, and a large district on the west side of the valley made its shipping-point at Rengstorff's Landing. The principal articles of shipment are now hay and lumber, though grain is still handled to some extent. Storage for 3,000 tons of hay and large quantities of grain and lumber is among the facilities found at the Landing. Mr. Rengstorff is largely interested in agriculture, owning six large farms, and furnishing employment for many men, although much of his land is rented. On one of his ranches located in the mountains in San Mateo County, there are indications of the existence of silver ore and other valuable minerals. His San Mateo property contains about 1,200 acres, and is chiefly valuable for its redwood and other lumber. His fine home farm, with several farms near by, and a half interest in 500 acres near San Jose, make him one of the county's wealthy men. All his prosperity is the result of an active, energetic life of industry, combined with fine business qualifications. He came to this county ignorant not only of its manners and customs, but also of its language. He possessed a cash capital of $4.00—hardly sufficient for more than one day's subsistence—but rich in the possession of strong hands, a courage that nothing could daunt, a will and a purpose to dare and to do,—a working capital that may well be envied.

In November, 1857, Mr. Rengstorff was united in marriage with Miss Christiana Hassler, who was born in Wurtemburg, Germany. Their six children bear the following names: John, who is engaged in business at Seattle, Washington Territory; Marie, Elise, Helena, Christine, Nanna, and Henry. The family home on the Bay road, one and a half miles north of New Mountain View, is a commodious, substantial residence, furnished throughout with all that marks the fine home of this progressive age. Nothing necessary to comfort, that money can procure, is found lacking. Politically, Mr. Rengstorff is identified with the Republican party. Alive to the importance of efficiency in our public schools, he is a Trustee of the Whistman District. A firm believer in the Christian religion, he is also a Trustee of the Presbyterian Church of Mountain View.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 417-418

1922 Bio

Pioneer Farmer of Santa Clara County and San Mateo County, California


A man of many resources and adaptability was the late Henry Rengstorff, who came to California in 1850.  His contribution to agriculture and horticulture in the Santa Clara Valley is hard to estimate, for he owned six valuable and well-improved farms throughout the county.  When he arrived in California he had little in a financial way, but his mind was well stored with the practical and homely maxims of the German people, and his youth had been spent in an atmosphere of refinement.  He was born September 29, 1829, near Bremen, Province of Hanover, Germany, the son of Fritz and Amelia (Hambruch) Rengstorff.  His father, Fritz Rengstorff, was an educator, and also the owner of a tavern on a country road a few miles from the seaport town of Bremen.  His mother, also born in Germany, preserved the longevity in the family, attaining to the age of ninety-four years.  The father lived to be sixty-six years old and had, besides Henry, on son, Fritz, and two daughters.

  Henry Rengstorff was reared and educated in his native province, and upon reaching twenty-one determined to seek a newer country and there establish a home and fortune.  The spring of 1850 found him afloat on a sailer, bound for San Francisco via Cape Horn.  From San Francisco he came to Santa Clara County and worked on farms in the neighborhood of San Jose until 1853, when he purchased a squatter's right to 290 acres on Silver Creek and engaged in general farming and stockraising for three years.  His next squatter's right was of 290 acres, and in 1864 he purchased his home place of 164 acres, on which his daughter, Mrs. W. F. Haag, now lives, one and a half miles north of Mountain View.  This place was devoted to the raising of grain and hay, as was also the farm of 227 acres near Milpitas.  A farm of 117 acres on the San Francisco Road, near Los Altos, was planted entirely to fruit, and the farm of 1,200 acres in San Mateo County was devoted to general farming and stockraising.  He also owned a ranch upon which was built the Rengstorff Landing, and a half interest in a ranch of 520 acres east of San Jose. For a number of years he rented all of his farms and his son, Henry, assumed the management of the Rengstorff Landing and the warehouse.

  The marriage of Mr. Rengstorff occurred in San Jose about 1855, and united him with Miss Christine Hessler, a native of Germany, who lived to share in his well deserved fortune.  They were the parents of seven children: Mary, who became the wife of A. C. Martel**, died and left two sons, Robert and Alfred; John H. married in Seattle and removed to Nome, Alaska, and there died; Elise is the wife of Dr. O. P. Askam, died and left two children, Earl L. and O. Perry, who were overseas during the late war; they are both professional musicians; Christine F. became the wife of Robert McMillan and they have one child, Daniel H., who was in the naval reserve during the late war; he later became a student at the Law School of the University of California, and in 1920 met death in an automobile accident in San Francisco; Henry is a rancher of Mountain View; and Charles W. passed away in infancy.  Mr. Rengstorff passed away in 1906 at the age of seventy-seven, and his wife survived him until 1919 and reached the age of ninety-two.  Mr. and Mrs. Rengstorff were active in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Mountain View and were liberal contributors. After his arrival in California he strove to establish a school system, and served as school director for many years and erected the schoolhouse in the Whisman district.  With characteristic perseverance and thrift he worked to realize his ambitions, and he was highly esteemed throughout the community for his many sterling qualities.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 383

**Transcribers note: Marriage License on File at the San Jose Historical Museum


Title: Marriage License File
Location: San Jose Historical Museum
Call #:
Source:    Source Date: 11/12/1891
Volume:    Page:
Note: Groom: MARTELLE, A. C.