The Valley of Heart's Delight

Bio- Pen Pictures-


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 $65,000.

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