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Land King
The Story of David Jack
Chapter Three - David Jack and America


William’s son David was born in CRIEFF on April, 18,1822. In his early years he was said to be a somewhat solitary youth who had few friends. This may have been an indication of his independence and single mindedness that would reveal itself in later years.

Little is known about his early life in Crieff, but he did work for a while in one of the handloom weaving shops, which existed in Crieff at the time. David clearly had aspirations, which he probably felt he could not achieve in Crieff at that time, and by the age of 19 or 20 years, he decided to emigrate to America, which was fairly common practice in these days. Indeed, David’s brothers, Peter, James, and John had emigrated a number of years before him, although Peter returned to Scotland a short time after. James and John however, settled in the Long Island area of New York and became successful storekeepers.

It has been written elsewhere that JACK left Crieff in 1841 following the death of his father, in order to lessen the burden of his widowed mother. This is inaccurate as his father lived until 1855. After following his brothers out to America, David worked for seven years for an army contractor in Williamsburg, Virginia, and then in Fort Hamilton, New York. One of the regular visitors to his store at that time was one Robert E. Lee who visited the store to inspect ‘caisson wheels’. Lee of course went on to become General LEE, a famous leader during the American Civil War. JACK got to know him well and is said to have liked him.

In 1848 JACK read of great wealth to be found in California around the time of the California gold rush. Like most men of his age at that time, he decided to go there and give it a try. Before he left, he invested his total savings of $1,400 dollars in revolvers which he intended to sell on to law –abiding and lawless alike, thinking that both would pay a handsome price for such items at that time in Californian history. He arrived in San Francisco in April, 1849 where he sold his entire investment in revolvers for $4,000 dollars in the first 48 hours, making a 286% profit in the process. He immediately made his way to the Gold Mines, but found little success. Returning to San Francisco he gained employment as an Inspector in the Custom House earning 100$ a month. His capital of $4,000 dollars was put to good use. He lent portions of it at an interest of 2% a month.

In 1850 a business trip took him to Monterey, then a small town with a population of less than 1,000. He saw potential in the town however, and moved there the following year. At first JACK was employed by Joseph BOSTON, who operated a general store on Olivier Street. JACK also boarded with BOSTON at his residence on Van Buren Street. JACK very much admired BOSTON and his position in the community. BOSTON’S house was a wonderful old house with a history of its own and JACK vowed that one day he would own the property which he eventually did.

Next, JACK clerked for two years for another Scots pioneer James McKinley who owned a dry goods store in Monterey. At the same time, JACK who was very ambitious carried out various farming enterprises, hiring men to cultivate land for him. He became involved in the growing of potatoes which he felt sure would be successful. However, a combination of a falling market and being ripped off by schemers and speculators led to this enterprise petering out. An example of his failure around this time is when he was forced to sell hogs he had purchased for about $3,000 for $50 dollars.

Following the death of his father, JACK returned home to Crieff in 1856 to visit his family, perhaps feeling pangs of homesickness. He left his meagre holdings in the hands of agents and went to Scotland for a year during which time he raised the headstone in memory of his father at his grave in Muthill Churchyard. He returned to California in 1857.

About this time, the chapter in David JACK’S life, which led to his becoming one of the country’s largest and richest landowners, was about to occur. David JACK was about to engage in an enterprise, along with his partner, Attorney, Delos ASHLEY which would result in him becoming a landowner far beyond the wildest dreams of any Scottish laird, but which would lead to his being reviled by some.

In 1830, the Mexican government had granted 30,000 Acres of land to the City of Monterey. When California became a state and the United States took provenance of the town, a problem facing the new governor was how to settle the land claims of the former Mexican province. Under Mexican law there were three main dispositions of land; first, the large "ranchos", countless acres of land granted to the early Spanish settlers and their descendents, second the mission properties including the church, its gardens and outbuildings with additional acreage to be held in trust for the Indian neophytes; third the pueblo lands which were allotted for use of the community and its citizens.

After the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1851, at the conclusion of the Mexican – American war, a board of three commissioners was appointed to hear the cases within a period of two years. This would prove very difficult for those who had to provide funds for the legal action and travel necessary for the hearings. Because of the confusion, delay, and appeals, it was nearly ten years before the appeals were settled.

In 1853, the "pueblo" of Monterey hired Attorney Delos Rodeyn ASHLEY to legitimise its claims to 29,698.53 acres of land before the United States Land Claims Commission in San Francisco. He was successful and presented a bill of $991.50 to the city fathers. However, the treasury cupboards were bare. The State Legislature therefore passed a bill, which allowed the Monterey city government to auction off its town lands in order to pay off the debt owed to ASHLEY. The auction took place at 5PM on February 9, 1859 on the steps of the Colton Hall. All 29,698.53 acres of Monterey pueblo lands were auctioned off. The sole bidders at this auction were David JACK and Delos ASHLEY. The total selling price was $1,002.50 all of which was given to ASHLEY. ASHLEY sold his interest to JACK a number of years later.

Many have speculated since, that JACK and ASHLEY engineered the entire purchase, from the start. Therefore JACK came to own 30,000 acres of magnificent, scenic countryside surrounding Monterey as well as the town itself.

The City of Monterey tried twice, unsuccessfully to reclaim its lost lands. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which eventually ruled in JACK’S favour. This event became known locally as ‘THE RAPE OF MONTEREY’.

JACK embarked on what appears to have been an almost obsessive taste for land acquisition. He soon learned that the Californians in the Salinas were more adept in their saddles than they were in business, many of them hard pressed for money because of dry years when they had been forced to sacrifice cattle, and they were lax in the matter of taxes. JACK began to pay overdue taxes on good land, allegedly without troubling to notify the owners. When the inevitable showdown came, he simply pointed out that he was within his legal rights, and that if they paid him with interest they could have their land back. He also foreclosed on defaulted mortgages. This, he again allegedly did, by pinning foreclosure notices on outlying reaches of the respective properties. If English speaking, the notices were posted in Mexican and vice- versa. Piece by piece was added to his holdings through mortgage and tax sales and other shrewd practices. At his height JACK was said to own around 100,000 acres of Monterey County Lands.

Due to these practices however, JACK incurred the enmity of the native peoples and others. Indeed the locals are said to have placed a curse on he and his family that they should have no issue who would benefit from what they considered to be his ill-gotten gains. Those who lost their lands to Jack considered him a Land Thief, but Jack considered them to be ‘squatters’ on his property. This led to the formation of an organisation calling themselves ‘The Squatters League of Monterey County’. In 1872 the League wrote to Jack;

"…You have been the cause of unnecessary annoyance and expense to the settlers…now if you don’t make that account of damages to each and every one of us within ten days, you son of a bitch, we will suspend your animation between daylight and hell"

Around this time the famous author Robert Louis STEVENSON was visiting California and heard the stories surrounding JACK and his land acquisitions. In his book ‘ACROSS THE PLAINS’ STEVENSON wrote;

‘ In the meantime however, the Americans rule in Monterey County. The new county seat Salinas City, in the bald, corn bearing plain under the Gaelano Peak, is a town of purely American character. The land is held, for the most part, in those enormous tracts which are another legacy of Mexican days, and form the present chief danger and disgrace of California; and the holders are mostly of American or British birth; We have here in England no idea of the troubles and inconveniences which flow from the existence of these large landholders, - land thieves, land sharks, or land grabbers, they are more commonly and plainly called. Thus the town lands of Monterey are all in the hands of a single man. How they came there is an obscure, vexatious question, and rightly, or wrongly, the man is hated with a great hatred. His life has been repeatedly in danger. Not very long ago, I was told the stage was stopped three evenings in succession by disguised horsemen thirsting for his blood. A certain house on the Salinas road, they say, he always passes in his buggy at full speed, for the squatter sent him warning long ago. But a year since, he was publicly pointed out for death by no less a man than Mr Dennis Kearney. Kearney is a man too well known in California, but a word of explanation is required for English readers. Originally an Irish drayman, he rose, by his command of bad language, to almost dictatorial authority in the state; throned it there for six months or so, his mouth full of oaths, gallowses, and conflagrations; was first snuffed out last winter by Mr Coleman, backed by his San Francisco vigilantes and three gattling guns; completed his own ruin by throwing in his lot with the grotesque green backer party; and had at last to be rescued by his old enemies, the Police, out of the hands of his rebellious followers. It was while he was at the top of his fortune that Kearney visited Monterey with his battle cry against Chinese labour, the railroad monopolists, and the land thieves; and his one articulate counsel to the Montereyans was ‘to hang David Jack’. Had the town been American, in my private opinion this would have been done years ago. Land is a subject on which there is no jesting in the West, and I have seen my friend the lawyer drive out of Monterey to adjust a competition of titles with the face of a captain going into battle and his Smith and Wesson convenient to his hand’

All the hassle generated from the purchase of the pueblo lands seems to have been too much for JACK’S partner ASHLEY and in 1869 he left Monterey after selling off his holdings to JACK. His reasons for leaving are probably best summed up in a letter that he wrote to JACK as early as 1862, when he wrote; "Why don’t you leave Monterey for a place where a man can have a dollar and not be envied"

However, JACK stayed on in Monterey and continued to amass land. The pueblo lands alone consisted of some of the richest and most valuable property in all California consisting as it did of the present day cities of Pacific Grove, Del Rey Oaks, and Seaside, the Del Monte Forest, Ford Ord, and the spectacular coastline of 17 mile drive. His land also comprised the area of Pebble Beach, best known nowadays of course, for it’s Championship Golf Course. JACK owned many of the historic Spanish, and Mexican adobes of Monterey as well as properties extending far into the inland valleys behind the Monterey coast. The highest point of the Monterey peninsula stood on his land and is still known as ‘Jack’s Peak’. Indeed, there is ‘Jacks Peak County Park’ which overlooks the spectacular Monterey Peninsula and is located about two miles from scenic highway 68. A natural reserve, the park’s 525 acres of ridge top is set amidst native Monterey pines. The abundance of trees, flowers, and wildlife, found at Jack’s Peak make it the destination for any nature enthusiast. Linda LARSON, a guide with the Department of Parks and Recreation, Monterey, is in no doubt how history should remember David JACK. She states; ‘He was indeed a controversial figure, but, as far as we know, broke no laws. It is very important I believe, to be very careful about passing judgement on people such as he who came from a different time and a different culture. He is certainly not atypical of the high-powered businessmen of his day. He also contributed a great deal to this area as did his children.’

One of JACK’S other business interests was a dairy, which he owned on the Salinas River. It was here that JACK produced a cheese which origins can be traced to the Spanish Franciscan fathers who came north to California from Mexico during the early days of the missions. The fathers proved that necessity is the mother of invention. Left with an oversupply of fresh milk, they devised a way of preserving the milk by converting it to cheese. The result was a soft, creamy, light delicacy, which became known as "Queso blanco pais" the country peasant cheese and "Queso blanco" the white cheese. "Queso Blanco" became a staple diet of the Spanish-speaking settlers. JACK eventually had a partnership in 14 dairies, with Spanish and Portuguese dairymen. Together they dominated North Californian dairy farming. JACK suffered from the same problems of surplus milk. He solved this problem in a similar manner to the Franciscans and produced his own cheese marketing it as ‘Jacks Cheese’. It became very popular on the West Coast and people began asking for it by name and ‘MONTEREY JACK’ became synonymous with this white, creamy cheese. To this day the cheese is very popular and can be found in most large supermarkets. It is also a staple ingredient in various Mexican dishes and in Pizzas. The Sonoma Cheese Factory in California alone produces some 10,000 pounds of Jack Cheese daily, and the cheese accounts for about 10 per cent of all cheese production in California.

However, like so much else in David Jack’s life, the question of who put the ‘JACK’ in Monterey Jack cheese is not devoid of controversy. A debate has raged on in California for many years into this question. A number of other persons manufactured similar cheeses before David Jack, one of whom was a Domingo Pedrazzi of Carmel Valley, California. He manufactured a cheese, which apparently required ‘the application of pressure’. This ‘pressure’ was brought to bear by means of a ‘house jack’, hence ‘Jack Cheese’. Pedrazzi’s cheese became known as ‘Pedrazzi’s Jack Cheese’. What is not in doubt is that David JACK was the first person to commercially manufacture the cheese in a large scale and successful way.

One thing, which may have contributed to the controversy, is that David Jack was known in California as David Jacks. Quite why or when the ‘S’ was added to his surname is not known, although there is no reason to believe it has any sinister connotations. After all, if one wanted to change one’s name for any reason, one would do more than simply add an ‘S’. It is possible that none of Jack’s immediate family in America were aware of this fact.

The author is inclined to believe that the ‘S’ was added through common usage. Jack owned so much land and property, and with Jacks being a more possessive sounding name, people would often refer to property or places owned by him, such as ‘David Jack’s Church’, ‘Jack’s Peak’, Jack’s Cheese’ and so on. It does not therefore require a large leap of imagination to understand why people started using the extra ‘S’. Perhaps David Jack got to like the name in such form, or believed it to be more American sounding, and therefore adopted it.

Another possibility is raised when one reads the various postings within the Jack/Jacks Genealogy Forums on the World Wide Web. A number of Genealogists researching their own Jack/Jacks lines have found the same anomaly, with different members of the same family spelling their surnames, both with and without the ‘S’. One researcher found that the anomaly in one case was down to a Census taker, spelling the family surname, on that occasion without the ‘S’, instead of with it. It is just possible, that such an error resulted in the confusion surrounding David Jack’s name, on his arrival in America.

For the purposes of this Biography however, the author is inclined to refer to Jack (and his family) by his given birth name, the name he appears quite content to have used whilst home in Scotland.

Members of his own family commented upon JACK’S surname change in 1929. At that time, Josiah Van Kirk THOMPSON, a prominent, wealthy, Pennsylvania coal baron was researching the American Revolutionary War history, of a number of families connected to him in the Cumberland County area of Pennsylvania. One such family was the Jack Family. During the course of this he visited another immigrant from Scotland, William JACK, at his home at 70, Moore Street, St. Thomas, Ontario, CANADA.

William JACK was a Nephew of David JACK, the son of David’s half brother, Peter, and was able to relate to THOMPSON some of his family history. THOMPSON wrote down details of his research into what is now the ‘JV THOMPSON JOURNALS’, and what he learned from William JACK is contained within its 28 volumes. He writes;

" I arrived here just as it struck eleven and have been talking to Mr and Mrs Jack for an hour, and will now make record of some of the things they tell me. Mr Jack’s grandfather, William Jack lived at Crieff, Scotland, where he was a Sawyer, running a sawmill. He had a brother Robert Jack who owned a little bit of land within a mile of Braco village of about 200 people (Silverton Farm – Author).

He was married but did not have any children. Mr Jack remembers being in his house once when he was a small boy and says he died shortly thereafter and was a pretty old man. He is buried in the Established Church Presbyterian burying ground there, where several Jacks own layers. He says there were nine families of Jacks in Braco, but none related to the other, so far as they knew, but showing that the family probably lived there many generations. (Correct – since the 17th Century – Author).

They had all gone from there when they left for America on June 8, 1907, and she followed on August 17, 1907, being the last of the Jacks to leave Braco, as there was nothing there to give them a livelihood"

" Mr Jack thinks his grandfather, William Jack was dead before he was born and would be buried at Crieff or Muthill. He don’t know the name of his first wife, his own grandmother, (Elizabeth Christie – Author), but says his second wife was Janet Campbell (this is wrong, his second wife was called Janet Mcewan – Author) who they think survived him. He thinks his father Peter was the oldest (this too is wrong – he was the youngest, Alexander, James, John, Robert, and Elizabeth arrived before him, in the first family – Author) and then they know of but Christine (wrong – ‘Christian’ – Author) in Scots, Kirsty, and David.

Peter, John and James came to the States and Peter went back to Scotland but John and James stayed. Either John or James never married, but the other married and left but one child, a daughter of whom they have no trace. David joined them in the States prior to 1849 as he left about then on the trek to the California gold fields, but John nor James went.

David after appeared with money and they believe he got what his half brothers John and James had, for he became a loaner of money on land in California to Mexicans and foreclosed the mortgages so extensively that the Mexicans were out for his scalp to kill him, but never got him. In 1866, he went back to Scotland and took his sister Kirsty to California to keep house for him and later married a Penna Dutch wife, much younger than himself and with whom Kirsty could not agree, and she went to a ranch of her own where she was kicked by a colt curtailing her activities, but she lived until six or seven years ago when she died at San Luis Obispo, bound to be in her nineties Mrs Jack says and is buried there. It was she who gave the old bible to her brother, Peter in 1866. David’s family settled her estate about four years after her death.

David went back to Scotland a year or so after Mr Jack was married and had a talk with him about the rivers of Scotland not washing away the banks like a river in California that went through his land did. He said he could drive a whole day and never get off his own land. David died in Monterey, California about twenty years ago, say in 1909, shortly after they came here when Mrs Jack’s sister saw in the ‘Edinburgh Scotsman’ a column article of his death saying he was a native of Crieff where all of William’s children were born. This article spoke of his being a multi millionaire, his estate being valued at ten million dollars. Mrs Jack says his widow who survived him was rich when he married her. Mr Jack says he was past 80 years old when he died"

"Mr Jack said that the article about his Uncle David Jacks said that he had a lawsuit about some land in California which was in the courts for 30 years, but the Scotsman David, finally won the suit. Apparently a similar case to that of Stephen Girard who likewise acquired his Penna lands by foreclosure. Mr Jack said all their people in Scotland spelled the name "Jack" and none of them spelled it Jacks, and he said David put the ‘S’ to the end of his name after he came to America"

Although many people viewed JACK in a negative fashion, he had friends during his lifetime as well, both amongst the historians of the day, and from the people who undoubtedly benefited from his generosity. The renowned historian Hubert Howe BANCROFT stated;

"It seems paradoxical that it should be the fate of most good men to have enemies…He whose deeds and successes are a reflection on the indolence of others will always be a subject of diatribe"

JACK was apparently a deeply religious man, and although some of his business actions were considered in some quarters to be immoral he was deeply self-conscious about breaching the laws of society and morality. On April 20, 1861, Jack married Marie Christina Soledad Romie whose parents were German immigrants to Mexico. She was born in Oajaca, Mexico in 1837 and came to Monterey with her family when she was four years old. She and Jack had nine children, seven of whom survived into adulthood, five daughters and two sons. As a young Scottish lad of indifferent schooling JACK saw the value in a proper education and his children were encouraged to pursue their own educational goals and all went on to attain a high level of academic attainment at various colleges and universities.

David JACK was a devout Presbyterian, but supported the Methodist and Episcopal Churches as well. He taught Sunday school for many years, and, in fact, was supposed to have fallen in love with his future wife, when she was a student in one of his classes. A story existed, told by Louis Sanchez, whose mother was Nellie Vandergrift Sanchez, sister of Fannie Osbourne Stevenson, and therefore a nephew of Robert Louis Stevenson. ‘He and several of his boyhood friends would attend Sunday school on the second floor of the Pacific House, which was owned by Mr Jack. After dutiful recitation of the catechism, the boys would line up at the door and receive a coveted nickel from Mr Jack, and then after sedately walking to the end of the block, would "run like hell" to the church to hear Mass. He also remembered that the poor could depend on a basket of food when they knocked on the door of the house at Van Buren Street. Another early resident of Monterey, Mrs Millie Birks, remembered that at Christmas time, the Jack home was always open and there was an abundance of good things to eat, candy, fruit, and other treats for anyone who came. She also remembered Mrs Jack as a "very kind and loveable person".

JACK was also a major contributor to the Presbyterian Church in Monterey, sometimes referred to as ‘David Jack’s Church. Another instance of his charity was his support of the religious retreat known as Pacific Grove. Pacific Grove was situated on JACK’S land, Punta De Pinos. JACK invited Mr and Mrs. W.S. ROSS to live on this property. After a summer of wonderful weather, their health was recuperated. On hearing of this, a group of religious leaders assembled to form the ‘Pacific Grove Retreat Association’. JACK sold them 100 acres of ocean front land, only charging them $1 an acre to legalise the transaction and donated $30,000 to the association to make internal improvements. Pacific Grove soon became a world renowned retreat considered by many to be more popular than San Francisco. Robert Louis STEVENSON during his sojourns in California also wrote about Pacific Grove saying;

"I have never been in any place that seemed so dreamlike, Pompeii is all in a bustle with visitors, and its antiquity and strangeness deceive the imagination; but this town had plainly not been built above a year or two, and perhaps had been deserted overnight. Indeed, it was not so much like a deserted town as like a scene upon the stage by daylight, and with no one on the boards. The barking of a dog led me at last to the only house still occupied, where a Scots Pastor and his wife pass the winter alone in this empty theatre. The place was the ‘Pacific Camp Grounds, the Christian Seaside Resort’. Thither in the warm season, crowds come to enjoy a life of teetotalism, religion, and flirtation, which I am willing to think blameless and agreeable"

JACK also instigated an idea of leasing land on shares, a scheme that helped his farm tenants survive through periods of drought and famine. His treatment of Asian emigrants was fair and his ideas in this regard were more enlightened than many other landowners. In 1874 the Monterey and Salinas Valley Railroad, a narrow gauge line, was built between the two towns by Monterey businessmen and Salinas Valley farmers. The total cost of this enterprise was $360,000 of which JACK contributed $75,000, borrowed on his Ranchos, Chualar and Zanjones. He also acted as unpaid treasurer. He ‘sank’ over $40,000 dollars in this road, which was finally sold to the Southern Pacific Company from which JACK received little or no profit. JACK was a friend and business associate of the Railroad Tycoons known as the ‘BIG FOUR’, Leland STANFORD, Charles CROCKER, Collis P. HUNTINGTON, and Mark HOPKINS, and sold them a great deal of land, for their railroad constructions, including almost the entire Del Monte Forest, which he owned at one time, for six dollars an acre. Leland STANFORD went on to become Governor of California, and the prestigious and world-renowned Stanford University in California, was so named in his honour.

BARROWS and INGERSOLL, who wrote a biographical history of the coast counties of California, said of JACK;

" Of course the lands which Mr Jack bought, or had to take, or was besought to take many years ago, are much more valuable now than they were then. But it should be remembered that money at interest at the rates current in earlier times, would have doubled many times over in the last thirty or forty years".

Hubert Howe BANCROFT also stated;

" Mr Jack came into possession of his estates, on the whole, by fair dealing, through force of that good fortune, business judgement and character which are very generally admitted to be the birthright of the Scots".

And further from BARROWS and INGERSOLL;

"It may be true to say, though not miserly, he was fond of money, and that it was his strongest ambition to purchase every rod of land to which he could see his way…we are quite willing to admit, that Mr Jack like most mortals, is susceptible of flattery to no inconsiderable extent…There may be times when his charity to the foolish and erring was not as liberal as people would have expected".

When one looks into the question of Jack’s land dealings in Monterey, and the opinion held of him by some, even to this day, one is left with the question, what did he do that caused him to be reviled so much by the Montereyans, and is it justified? Like many entrepreneurs of the past, and indeed today, Jack was clearly imbued with a cold, calculating, ruthless streak. But were the Montereyans themselves the Architects of their own misfortunes? Once again, Robert Louis STEVENSON may give us some insight into the kind of people that Jack was dealing with when he wrote about two reputed murders, which occurred in Monterey during his time there, he describes them thus:

"As the Montereyans are exceptionally vile speakers of each other and of every one behind his back, it is not possible for me to judge how much truth there may have been in these reports"

And of the business acumen of the locals he wrote:

"Again, the Mexicans having no ready money to speak of, rely almost entirely in their business transactions upon each other’s worthless paper. Pedro the penniless pays you with an I O U from the equally penniless Miguel. It is a sort of local currency by courtesy. Credit in these parts has passed into superstition. I have seen a strong, violent man struggling for months to recover a debt, and getting nothing but an exchange of wastepaper. The very storekeepers are averse to asking for cash payments, and are more surprised than pleased when they are offered. They fear there must be something under it, and that you mean to withdraw your custom from them. I have seen the enterprising chemist and stationer begging me with fervour to let my account run on, although I had my purse open in my hand", "Now this villainous habit of living upon ‘tick’ has grown into Californian nature, I do not mean that the American and European storekeepers of Monterey are as lax as Mexicans: I mean that the American farmers in many parts of the state expect unlimited credit, and profit by it in the meantime" "It seems as if certain sorts of follies, like certain sorts of grain, were natural to the soil, rather than to the race that holds and tills it for the moment"

It is not hard to understand then, how people such as this would find Jack’s business philosophy rather different to what they had been accustomed to. David Jack’s Scottish Presbyterian background which would have inculcated in him an attitude towards money, best summed up in the old Scots adage ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ was always going to be at odds with the lax attitudes of the local people. But did this make Jack a bad person? It seems to me that the people of Monterey, could, and perhaps should have learned something from Jack. The politics of envy were clearly as potent then as they can be today.

There seems little doubt however, that the poor, native peoples of Monterey were swept away in the tidal wave of progress that existed at that time. David Jack was not alone in this however, as many high powered businessmen of the time such as the aforementioned ‘BIG FOUR’ were involved in various business enterprises which showed little or no concern for their effects on the local populace. However, whilst Jack has gained little but historical opprobrium, others, such as the ‘Big Four’ are hailed as important, and worthy historical figures.

If I can borrow from STEVENSON one last time;

" But revolution in this world succeeds to revolution. All that I say in this paper is in a Paulo – past tense. The Monterey of last year exists no longer. A huge hotel has sprung up in the desert by the railway. Three sets of diners sit down successively to table. Invaluable toilettes figure along the beach and between the live oaks: and Monterey is advertised in the newspapers, and posted in the waiting rooms at railway stations, as a resort for wealth and fashion. Alas for the little town! It is not strong enough to resist the influence of the flaunting caravanserai, and the poor, quaint, penniless native gentlemen of Monterey must perish, like a lower race, before the millionaire vulgarians of the Big Bonanza"

Despite his successful business dealings in the United States it seems that JACK did not forsake his family and friends back in Scotland, and he regularly contributed financially during times of hardship as these letters from home indicate. The letters are as they were written and are not grammatically improved.

Perthshire Scotland
Braco village March 3 1876

" Dear Brother,

I duly received your letter of the 5 Feb on the 27th at 11am and I was glad to see it, I went to Crieff on the following day and transacted your business which you will see by the receipts, Dear brother you speak of paying me for doing so, I think I have been well paid for all the trouble it was to me, your two old women was very glad to see me, I come now to speak personally of your old friends I do not think that Betty Law will need another £10.00 from you, she is very poorly I do not think she be able to go to Crieff, get her bill cashed, she told me that you was not to give her share to Mrs Mcnaughton as you had the full power to do what you please with it. She would rather anyone get it, nor her, but I see myself they are at enmity the one with the other and what the reason is, I know not, my time was short with them. The next is Mrs Mcnaughton; she is well in health but has lost a cow and calf, valued £18 about a week ago. All she had to say was that she would like to have the money about the New Year. She went to the bank with me, I cashed her bill of which you will see that I am a witness, she told me that she had two daughters in America that was very kind to her, she was very anxious to know if I got any money from you but she was none the wiser for asking. I was hearing that Miss Buchan of Aranbank was going to get married shortly but I have not heard the exact time. It is to a clergyman not far from Aranbank. His father is some small farmer, the name is Bryce, they have been selling a great deal of property this some time past. I hear that her sister is coming home from India but whether her sister and husband will be going live in Aranbank after Louisa leaves is a thing I do not know; when I was at Gilmertown I had not time to make a call. Dear brother I come now to speak of myself I thank you very kindly for the money you have sent time after time and I hope it will be a blessing to you and me, it has been a great benefit to me and the family, there is none of them able to keep themselves yet, and there is none of it foolishly spent. I am writing this letter for the post as I know you will be anxious until you receive it, and when you receive it you will send an answer and let me know if you are satisfied with the way I have settled your business. Please send a paper also, give myself and wives best respects to sister D McEwan. Dear brother may god’s blessing rest and abide on you and me and all belonging to us (adieu)

Peter Jack

Peter JACK died in Braco on 26 June 1886, aged 73 years.

This, from Peter’s wife, Isabella;

Stirling Oct 16 1891

6 Lower Bridge St

To David Jack Esq.
Monterey California

Dear Brother in Law

Just a few lines to let you know how we are all getting on. I was to have wrote to you long ago but I have been in very bad health all summer. Since ever I had the rose in my head it has been very bad sometimes, times it was like to make mad, it all broke out and a trained nurse came every day for four months to drip it and then I got a cleaved bone take out of it and she came every day for two months more but thank god it is much better now, but I have to very careful of it yet. Louisa is much stronger, this season nor she was last one, and she has had a great deal to do with me being so bad. The rest of the family is all well as far as I know; the two that went to America never write to me, I have had no word from them for two years. We have had a very warm summer in Scotland this year and I hear there has been a very good crop of all cereals. The potatoes is very cheap at present, but I am never outside. I hope this will find you and your family all well and that you and Mrs Jack is keeping well, for like me you are getting up in years. We cannot to be so well as when we was younger. I hope that you have had a better crop this year nor the last three seasons. I am sorry to have to ask you for a little help again, for my rent is due on eleventh of November and I am not able to meet it, it is very hard living in Stirling nor it was in Braco. I had leave the house at No. 8 and am staying in No. 6, now it is just the same house only downstairs. We have very close wet weather here at present . Old Mr Brydie in Silverton has died about two months ago, that is yon old man we was taken to when we was up at Uncle Robert’s old place, when you was home. He was in his ninety year, so that is the last friend we have had at Silverton. Give my love to Mrs Jack and all the family, not forgetting yourself and aunty Kirsty when you see her and thank you for your great kindness and for all that you have done for us in the past and I will be very grateful if you could send me a little help at present for help. This place is not like Braco at all. Hoping god will bless you and prosper you all is the earnest wish and prayer of yours faithfully

Isabella Jack

Louisa also sends her love to you all.

This from his niece Louisa Jack;

6 Lower Bridge St

Stirling

2 March 1903

Dear Uncle and Aunt,

I now take the pleasure to write you according to my promise. But I am very sorry to inform you that mother is not improving much and is still confined to her bed. The doctor is still attending her and he says she is very feeble and requires as much nourishment as we can give her that is the only thing to keep her up.

Mother hopes that you have had a happy and pleasant winter and that you are all enjoying the best of health. Business here in Stirling is very dull, nearly all the works are on short time and there are an awful lot of men going about idle. I think that the very bad weather that we have had here had something to do with it. We have scarcely had any frost or snow this winter at all, nearly every day has been wet and very stormy.

Dear uncle I am sending a paper with this mail, I hope you will get it all right, with best love to all.

I remain your affectionate niece

Louisa Jack

PS I will let you know how mother is keeping

Louisa herself, eventually immigrated to America where she ended her days in Cleveland, OHIO.

JACK’S family back home in CRIEFF were no less concerned for him than he was for them. An excerpt from a letter from his sister CHRISTIAN, 14 February 1861 states;

" My dear brother I feel very uneasy about you on account of this coming warfare, will it affect you, you must write and tell me the real truth what you think about it"

Christian, who was known to the family as ‘Kirsty’ eventually joined David in America where she acted as his Housekeeper. However, she had a falling out with David’s wife, and moved to San Luis OBIPSO where she spent the rest of her days. It should be pointed out that in none of these letters do Jack’s family add the ‘S’ to their surnames. Notwithstanding this, on addressing their letters to their relation, they do refer to him as David Jacks. A curiosity, which may never be satisfactorily explained.

David JACK is known to have visited CRIEFF as a millionaire businessman. He apparently received a cordial welcome from older residents who knew him before he left for America. Among a number of local luminaries who met him at this time was a former Provost of CRIEFF, Mr MACROSTY, who later had a local park named after him. MACROSTY made repeated suggestions to JACK that he may wish to remember his hometown in some tangible manner. JACK never took him up on this suggestion. He perhaps felt that the town had done little for he or his family that deserved such charitable reciprocation.


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