Mrs. Susan E. Tilden
Alviso Pioneer Family
see Alviso Township

BIO Pen Pictures


MRS. SUSAN E. TILDEN. Among the representative people of Aliviso is the subject of this sketch, a brief history of whose life is as follows: Mrs. Tilden was born in New York City, November 7, 1832, her parents being Jacob and Lydia (Brower) Ortley. Her father was a sea captain by profession and a large ship owner. His sudden death from cholera in 1833 left the care of the family upon her mother. The latter, December 28, 1837, married Daniel Harker, a contractor and builder of New York city. His son by a former marriage was Joseph Harker, a resident of the Everett House, New York, for twenty-five years. Daniel Harker died in 1842, leaving two children, Charles H. and Louisa. February 17, 1852, Mrs. Harker started with her family for California, taking passage in the clipper ship Racehound for a voyage around Cape Horn, and her death occurred on this voyage, when the vessel was off Cape Horn, May 4, leaving Mrs. Tilden and her younger half-brother and sister in a comparatively unprotected state. Upon her arrival in San Francisco, with characteristic energy and independence, she decided to provide for herself. Her brother, J. J. Ortley, of Alviso, took charge of her half-brother. She kept her half-sister with her, and for the following years, until 1856, supported both by clerking and the millinery business.

May 1, 1856, she was married by the Rev. Doctor Thomas, of San Francisco, to Henry F. La Bau, a native of Philadelhia, Pennsylvania, and in June of the same year they took up their residence in Alviso, where Mr. La Bau was bookkeeper and cashier for A. B. Rowley, in his extensive grain warehouse, and also for R. K. Ham. Mr. La Bau was thus engaged until a short time before his death, which occurred January 23, 1866. His parents were Jonathan and Margaret (Bergasse) La Bau. His paternal ancestry were Huguenots who left France during the reign of Louis XIV and settled in New Jersey. His maternal grandfather was born on the island of Scio, of Greek parents, and came to this country while young, settling in Philadelphia. In 1849 Mr. La Bau left New York city for California, bringing with him sufficient stock and material for erecting and furnishing a general merchandise store. On arrival in this State, he established himself in business in Sacramento, on K Street, and continued for a few years as a member of the firm of H. F. La Bau & Co. Meeting, however, with too great losses by fire and flood, he gave up his place there, and in 1853-56 was a resident of San Francisco, where he was a member of the Vigilance Committee, and also of the division of the Fire Company having charge of Empire Engine, No. I. A brother, N. B. La Bau, of New York city, who married Mary A., a daughter of Commodore Vanderbilt, was at one time a member of the New York State Legislature Assembly, and occupied several very prominent political positions.

September 3, Mrs. Tiden consummated her second marriage, being united with David R. Tilden, of Alviso. Mr. Tilden was born in Northfield, Vermont, April 2, 1832, his parents being David R. and Nancy Tilden. They came of the same stock as the late Samuel J. Tilden, of New York. Mr. Tilden has a brother of Hebert N. Tilden, a wholesale merchant of San Francisco. While in business in Alviso he occupied the positions of postmaster and justice of peace. Mrs. Tilden continued her residence in Alviso, where her husband was engaged in mercantile pursuits, until his death, which occurred April 6, 1875. Mrs. Tilden is the mother of four children, two of whom are now living, viz: Marguerite F. La Bau, and Minerva Tilden. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Tilden devoted herself to the care and education of her children, and in 1878 moved to San Jose in order to secure the advantages of the higher schools. In 1880 she returned with her family to Alviso.

Desirous of some occupation, Mrs. Tilden, in 1883, opened a general merchandise store in Alviso, and enterprise which, with the able assistance of her daughters, she has successfully conducted, having the most complete and best appointed store in Alviso. In this connection it is worthy of mention that, in 1887, Mrs. Tilden built the finest residence in Alviso, being a large two-story house of modern architectural design, and has surrounded the same with well-ordered grounds.

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. p. 277-278

transcribed by Carol Lackey