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David Jacks

(David Jack)

1822 - 1909

Entrepreneur and land speculator who gave his name to 'Monterey Jack' cheese. Born David Jack in Crieff (Perth and Kinross), he emigrated for the USA in 1841, joining his older brothers who had established themselves as shop-keepers on Long Island (New York). In 1848, Jacks joined the gold-rush to California, making his way there by sea, via Cape Horn. Settling at Monterey in Northern California, he began purchasing land almost immediately and by 1869 he owned 12,150 Ha (30,000 acres), doubling this by 1903 and becoming one of the wealthiest landowners in the USA. He gained a dubious reputation for his controversial land dealings, which often involved him acquiring land by foreclosing on loans and mortgages.

Using milk from his sizeable dairy herds, Jacks was the first to mass produce the American cheese 'Monterey Jack'. This is somewhat similar to a soft cheddar and a development of the local 'Queso del Pais', which had been brought to California by the Spanish.

Deeply interested in education, Jacks and his family gave significant endowments to California's colleges and universities. His legacy to Monterey was that his large land-holdings, which would otherwise have been sub-divided and developed as smaller sections, permitted later development to take place in a managed way.

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