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Remi Nadeau, L.A. Freighter & Hotelier

Remi Nadeau, A Prominent And Old-Time Citizen Passes Away.


[Los Angeles] — Remi Nadeau, one of the oldest, wealthiest and best-known citizens of Los Angeles county, died at his residence, corner of Fifth and Olive streets, between 4 and 5 o'clock yesterday morning.

He had been suffering from a complication of liver, kidney and heart troubles for three months, but his condition excited no apprehension on the part of his family till within a week. Friday night he rallied, and the household was much encouraged by his favorable symptoms. At 9 o'clock that night he expressed great hopefulness. His son Joseph said something about not liking to leave him for the night, but Mr. Nadeau said that it would be all right — he believed he would be well soon. Early yesterday morning, however, he rose from his reclining chair and lay down upon the bed. Here he complained of nausea; and had hardly spoken when he was dead.

Remi Nadeau was of French descent, but was born near Quebec, Canada, 67 years ago, and came to the United States when a young man. He settled in Minnesota, and followed his trade, that of a miller. Twenty-six years ago he came across the plains, pausing awhile in Salt Lake City, where he put up one or two mills.

He did not settle permanently here at first, but has been a resident of this county for about 20 years. His first business venture here was in freighting. He had only an ox-team and wagon for capital, but secured a loan of a few hundred dollars from Prudent Beaudry and with this embarked as a freighter between this city and Utah and Nevada. The venture was successful and his business grew.

At last he became associated with Judson and Belshare[1], of San Francisco, and the firm did an enormous freighting business between Los Angeles and Inyo counties, hauling bullion from the mines to this city and supplies from this city to the mines. Their freighting was on a colossal scale, and the profits — they got 10 cents a pound for freighting — were enormous, too. Mr. Nadeau became rich, and when the Inyo boom petered, went into Los Angeles county real estate.

He began to invest in land about 12 years ago, and by degrees became owner of a farm of nearly 3600 acres near Florence, besides other property. The farm was originally devoted to grain. Then Mr. Nadeau tried the beet-sugar experiment on a huge scale, but unsuccessfully. About five years ago he turned to the better-paying business of vine-growing, and has made a great success of it. At the time of his death his vineyard covered 2400 acres, and was probably the largest in the world.

Eight years ago he purchased the property at the southwest corner of Spring and First streets; and in 1882 he began thereon the construction of the huge block now known as the Nadeau House. This building cost $165,000; and the land upon which it stands is worth at present prices fully as much more.

The entire estate left by Mr. Nadeau is probably well over $1,000,000 — all accumulated by honest hard work, energy and intelligent foresight. He was a man of much strength of character, a Republican by conviction, but never a politician nor an office-seeker. His qualities of mind and heart won the respect of all who knew him. He leaves four children — Joseph F., of this city; George A., of Florence; Miss Minnie J. F. Tilton, of Concord, N.H., and Mrs. Mary R. Bell, who resides 7 miles south of this city. His sister, Mrs. Lapoint, also resides in this city.

The funeral will take place from the residence, southwest corner of Fifth and Olive, at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Webmaster's Note: Nadeau was born Sept. 21, 1821, in Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada. His grandson of the same name owned property in present-day Canyon Country. His great-great-grandson of the same name is an author of Los Angeles and California history books.


1. Belshaw. Click here.

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