Family history says that a member of the House of Teck in Germany killed an officer of the German Army during a dispute and had to flee the country. This incident happened sometime in the 1700s. The young man was related to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Queen Mary of England. This allowed them certain privileges and gave him a certain protection. The young man and a brother fled to America where they settled in Pennsylvania and changed their name to Tack.

Johanne C. Tack was born about 1773. He married Maria Helfrich on May 14, 1796, at St. Michael's Zion Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Johanne and Maria had seven children. Their youngest child, Nicholas, was born on June 5, 1811 in Harrisburg, Pa.

Nicholas Tack was a merchant tailor in Harrisburg. In April 1832 he married Eleanor Megagrge. Nicholas and Eleanor had 12 children, 11 of whom were born in Pennsylvania. Their youngest child was born in Crescent City. Nicholas Jr. was their second born child. Two of their daughters died very young.

In Nicholas Tack, with his son Nicholas Jr., left Harrisburg and sailed around the Horn for California and arrived in Crescent City the same year.

Family follows

The following year, Eleanor came west to join her husband with eight of their children. Their eldest son had married and remained in Pennsylvania.

Eleanor and her children sailed to Panama and crossed the Isthmus on mule back. The children ranged in age from 2 to 19. Eleanor brought with her a chest of drawers and the first sewing machine to come to Crescent City.

Nicholas Tack Sr. was one of the first innkeepers in Crescent City. He was proprietor of the No. 8 Hotel in Crescent City in 1856. In 1857 he leased the American Hotel and completely renovated it and added a bar. He opened the hotel as proprietor on July 1, 1857, and ran the hotel until 1859.

In 1857 Nicholas Tack Sr. was elected Del Norte County's first sheriff. He served as a supervisor from 1860 to 1861. Then he was justice of the peace from 1863 to 1865.

In 1863 Nicholas established and was proprietor of the Altaville Hotel. Altaville was a bustling mining town where chrome and copper were mined. He ran the hotel until 1879 when it closed, due to the closing of the mines. Nicholas moved his family to Smith River in 1879 where he was involved in a number of business ventures. Nicholas went into partnership with Theron Crook and ran the Delta Saloon and Billiard Parlor in Smith River for a number of years.

Last days

By 1890, Nicholas had dropped out of the business world due to old age and physical disabilities. For the last 10 years of his life, Nicholas was looked after and well cared for by his sons and daughters.

Eleanor Tack died March 7, 1897. Nicholas Tack Sr. died June 19, 1901. Both are buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Crescent City. Nicholas enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest Mason in the county. At the time of his death at 91, he was also the oldest man in Del Norte County.

Reach David Gray, a Del Norte Historical Society volunteer, at