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Land King
The Story of David Jack
Chapter Four - David Jack's Family


Monterey Jack CheeseDavid JACK and his wife Marie had a total of nine children seven of who survived namely their five daughters, Janet, Lee, Mary, Vida, and Margaret, and two sons, William, and Romie. Because of JACK’S financial success none of his children suffered from the same disadvantages as JACK and his family back home in Scotland did. Their father’s money paved the way for success in any profession they chose to enter. As stated earlier, JACK placed a great emphasis on education and Mary and Lee both attended MILLS COLLEGE an exclusive university in America from which they both graduated in 1887,

For postgraduate work, Mary elected four more years of music study in Boston. Lee furthered her studies in languages and art in San Francisco, Oakland, and New York. She joined Mary in Boston, where they took courses in business. Vida, the youngest child, was lame as a child and was educated privately before attending schools in Oakland and Berkely, where she was found to be a bright student. Her teacher in Monterey was Lou Henry, the future wife of United States President, Herbert HOOVER. Margaret attended, in turn, the Cole Grammar School in Oakland, the Boston Girls’ Latin School, Cornell, where she graduated in 1895, and Radcliffe. In an advisory letter to her parents, she suggested that her younger brother, Romie, should come east for study to develop his backbone. She felt that he would be forced there to study harder.

Janet and brothers William and Romie also benefited from an excellent education and all the family took part in the family business

Lee and Mary both followed active careers in the family enterprise. They served as Administration Officers, including terms as Presidents of the family corporation known as the David Jack Corporation. They both handled their business competently; Lee especially showed shrewd administrative and business sense. Both sisters subsequently used their fortunes to assist future Mills students of the future.

At the age of 85 years David JACK relinquished control of the family business to his wife. On July 5, 1907 she deeded all her real and personal property to the David JACK Corporation chartered two days earlier in Nevada. Exclusively the children operated the corporation. The corporation paid an income to Mr and Mrs JACK. David JACK died in 1909 and the "San Francisco Call" of Tuesday, January 12th had the following notice;

"David Jack multi millionaire and the largest and richest landowner of Monterey County died at his home in Monterey at 12.30 o’clock yesterday afternoon (Jan 11th) at the age of 87 years. Born in Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland in 1822, Jack came to the United States in 1841, and in 1849 reached California settling a year later in Monterey"

JACK’S grave marker in Monterey Cemetery simply reads:

‘ DAVID JACK(S) (1822 – 1909) NATIVE OF CRIEFF, SCOTLAND, CAME TO CALIFORNIA 1849’

His wife died in 1917.

William, the older brother served as the first President. At the same time he was President of the Monterey Board of Trustees from 1906 to 1911. Soon after his marriage to Bertha Wilcoxen of Salinas, he began to suffer from poor health and embarked on an extended vacation. He died on 29 January 1937. His obituary stated;

‘ Will JACK, native son of Monterey and member of one of the pioneer families of the community, passed away here this morning after prolonged illness. He was the son of the late David JACK and Maria Romie JACK, both of whom were members of old Monterey County families. Mr JACK had recently observed his 70th birthday. He was born here on 4 January 1867.

He received his early education at the University of the Pacific at San Jose, California later going to Cornell University and subsequently to the Harvard Law School where he graduated with the degree of LL.B in 1894.

Mr JACK was admitted to the practice of law in the States of Massachusetts and New York, being affiliated with the legal department of the German Legal Aid Society.

Later he returned to Monterey where he organised the DAVID JACK CORPORATION and became its President and General Manager. He served successfully in this capacity for many years.

Mr JACK also took an active interest in municipal affairs and was Mayor of Monterey during the years 1905 to 1910, during which time the city had a very successful administration.

He was a member of the Monterey Masonic Lodge and of the Knights Templars of Watsonville. He served as Master of the Monterey Masonic Lodge for a period. He was also a member of the Monterey Elks Lodge.

Will JACK was loved by a large group of friends who admired him for his integrity, honesty, and kindly interest in his fellow citizens. Among his acquaintances and business associates his word was always as good as his bond.

Mr JACK is survived by his sisters Janet (Jack) BALCH, Lee L. JACK, Mary (Jack) THOMAS, Margaret A. JACK, and Vida G. JACK and by his brother Romie C. JACK.

Funeral services will be conducted by the Monterey Masonic Lodge at 2PM. Monday afternoon from the Monterey Presbyterian Church. Rev. T.J. BARKLE will assist with the services.

The Paul Mortuary is in charge of arrangements’.

Mary JACK assumed his role in 1913 and in 1914 became the official president. Romie had been placed on salary earlier as manager of the corporation owned Abbot Hotel in Salinas. Janet, the oldest sister, sold her stock back to the corporation and withdrew as director in 1911. An honour graduate of the University of the Pacific, she had gone on immediately in 1886 to Cornell where she met Alan C. BALCH an engineering student. They married in Oakland in 1891, and for a few years both were in the family business circle. BALCH borrowed money from David JACK to become established in the electrical industry. He worked his way from the Pacific Northwest to the Los Angeles area; he was a pioneer in the development of power for pumping water and oil. He and Janet gave their time to Philanthropy when he retired in 1927. He also served as Chairman of the Board, of the California Institute of Technology, and a Trustee of the establishment. He died in 1943. Janet died soon after him.

The corporation was terminated in 1919, when its properties were divided equally among the six remaining shareholders. Merging their shares the three unmarried sisters formed the L.M. and V. JACK firm with Lee as President, Margaret Vice – President and Secretary Treasurer.

Distributions from the estate of Mary Jack (Thomas), who died in 1955, were settled in 1986. Through her residual trust Mills received $2.5 million, approximately $1.3 million in 1986 and roughly $53,000 annually between 1962 and 1985. Lee arranged for most of her estate to be shared equally between the University of California, Stanford, and the California Institute of Technology. Indirectly, Mills also benefited from the estate through a bequest of $10,000 from Margaret for whom Lee left a lifetime trust. David JACK and his wife inculcated in their children, through guidance in religious education and social, economic, and ethical practices, a firm belief in excellent formal education and through the years both the parents and their children bequeathed millions of dollars to various educational establishments throughout the country.

Margaret JACK the last remaining member of the family died in 1962 and this brought to an end the 112 year JACK family business. In her advanced years, Margaret JACK gave back to the people of Monterey, most of the land, which her family had held for many years. In doing so, many have speculated that she was exorcising the ghost of what had been considered to be the greed of her father when he had obtained the land in the first place.

On her death, all that remained of the family holdings, which were in her possession and care, went to Stanford University, where academic chairs in certain disciplines were eventually named in memory of some of the family. The bequest was said to have been the largest since the University’s founding.

Coincidentally or otherwise, none of JACK’S children had children of their own and it seems that the curse placed on David JACK many years before had been realised?


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