Posted in Early Montclair, History

Medau Family

Alameda County: The Eden of the Pacific 1898

 In 1857  J.H. Medau purchase approx. 500 acres for in what was then Piedmont or hills in the back of Piedmont.  He bought the property as a ranch.  The very best of the land was land was sold for $30.00 an acre and some of the ranch “the poorer land” was located in East Piedmont was sold for $10.00 an acre.

 The ranch was located in the area that is now the Montclair Business District and Montclair Park.

Medau Family
Medau Family – Montclair Park – Oakland History Room – no date

For over 20 years he was a school trustee to Fruitvale and Hays Districts. Some of his children attended the Hays School.

He retired to a new home he had built at East 12th, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Medau Oakland Directory 1895
J H Medau – Oakland Directory 1898
Medau Oakland Directory 1917
J.H. Medau – 235 E 12th – 1917


His Family

John Heinrich “Henry” Medau (1831-1918) was born in Holstein, Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1851 and became a naturalized citizen in 1857.   He was a tobacconist by trade, and it is said he worked in that position in San Francisco before moving to the Oakland.

Mr. and Mrs. Medau -date unknown

In June 1860, he married Regina Robenger (1860-1916), who was also born in Germany.  They had the following children, all born at the ranch.

  • Edward
  • Theodore
  • Pauline
  • Adelphine
  • Matilda
  • Henry
  • Louisa
Oakland Tribune April 21, 1916


I have been an Oakland history buff since going on an Oakland Heritage Alliance Tour of the Fernwood Neighborhood in the Montclair District of Oakland, in the mid-80's. On that tour, I learned that there use to be a train (Sacramento Northern) that ran through Montclair, in the early 1900's and that people lived the area as early as 1860's. I have been hooked ever since. Since then I have spent a lot of time looking into the history of Montclair and I have learned a lot. I feel this will be the best way to get it out of my head and onto paper.

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