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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Tadaatsu Matsudaira, Colorado’s First Japanese Pioneer

Tadaatsu Matsudaira, the son of Japanese nobility, was born in 1851. He sent to the U.S. in 1872 with his brother, Tadanori, to attend Rutgers University in New Jersey.

In 1879, he married Carrie Sampson, daughter of the first superintendent of the Golden Reform School.  Failing health brought him to Denver in 1886 where he became the State Inspector of Mines’ assistant and a civil engineer with the State Engineers Office.  He died on January 26, 1888 at the age of 33.  He has been recognized as the first Japanese resident of Colorado.  A red granite monolith, erected by the Oriental Culture Society, marks his grave in Block 13 at Riverside Cemetery.

In 1989, his descendants erected a red granite cenotaph* in his memory in Block 26.

*Cenotaph is a memorial to a person buried elsewhere.