Contra Costa County











     Noteworthy among California's early pioneers was the late Ernest William Rehnert, for eight years a resident of San Francisco and for more than thirty years one of San Pablo's respected citizens.  A Prussian by birth, he brought to this country those habits of industry and thrift characteristic of the people of the fatherland, and in the home of his adoption acquired a good position among the well-to-do citizens, as an agriculturist meeting with success.

     A native of Prussia, Mr. Rehnert was born September 6, 1824.  Learning the blacksmith's trade when young, he followed it in various European places, the last city of Germany in which he was employed having been Hamburg.  Immigrating to the United States in 1847, he settled in Galveston, Tex., where he worked at his trade for a year, after which he served as a veterinary surgeon in the army thus taking part in the Mexican war.  Migrating across the continent in 1851, he arrived in San Francisco on December 16, and was there employed as a blacksmith for eight years, working as a journeyman the first two years and being in business on his own account the last six years.  Skilful in his labors, he won a large patronage and acquired considerable money.  Becoming a resident of the city, he bought a lot and built a house at No. 310 Fremont street, and a few years later, needing a more commodious dwelling, he bought a home for himself and family on Second street, between Alice and Harrison streets.  Coming to Contra Costa county in October, 1859, Mr. Rehnert bought a squatter's claim to one hundred and twenty-five acres of land in San Pablo, and improved the ranch now owned and occupied by his daughter, Louise E. Rehnert.  Embarking in agricultural pursuits, Mr. Rehnert devoted himself to general farming, continuing as a stock-raiser and grain-grower until his death, in 1892.  During his early life Mr. Rehnert worked for a time in the mines, going to Fraser river during the excitement that followed the discovery of gold in that region, but as a farmer he met with the greatest success.  He was a man of much energy and enterprise, and in connection with his operations operated a threshing machine many seasons, having the distinction of being the first in this locality to run a traction engine.  He also carried on blacksmithing to some extent, having a shop on his farm.

     In Texas, June 15, 1851, Mr. Rehnert married Barbara Miller, who was born in Germany and died in San Pablo in 1898, aged sixty-eight years.  Of their union five children were born, namely:  Charles W., and Louise E., twins who died in infancy, and Anna W., who died when twenty-one years of age.  In 1893 Charles W. Rehnert married Hattie Ward, by whom he has had two children, Ernest V., deceased, and Cecil W.  After the death of Mr. Rehnert the old Spanish title to land in this part of Contra Costa county was settled.  The lands were claimed by the government, and Mr. Rehnert's widow and daughter, Louise E., purchased the old home estate, subsequently building the house now owned and occupied by the daughter.  They also bought the Oakland property, owned by herself and brother, and they still have the San Francisco property, which was the first home their parents bought after coming to California.





Transcribed 9-6-16  Marilyn R. Pankey.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Page 1316. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016  Marilyn R. Pankey.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library