Strathearn Perthshire Scotland > History > People > David 'Monterey' Jacks

Famous People: David 'Monterey' Jacks

David 'Monterey' Jacks (1822 - 1909), the Californian rancher who first marketed Monterey Jack Cheese on a large scale, was born in Crieff.

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In 1849 David Jacks arrived in California to seek his fortune and ended up owning more land in Monterey County than anyone else.

Early Spanish colonists in California introduced Queso del Pais - literally 'country cheese'. At the peak of his agricultural empire Jacks had 14 dairy ranches which in total gave him 60000 acres of prime agricultural land. With such 'muscle' Jacks totally dominated the manufacture of local cheese by the 1880s.

At first he marketed it as Jacks Cheese but soon customers were calling it simply Monterey Jack and that was the name which stuck.

Monterey Jack cheese, when aged two or three weeks is pale with a smooth mild flavour. Dry Monterey Jack which is aged more than six months has a rich sharp flavour and is an ideal cheese for grating

The local Strathearn family name of David Jacks appears to have been Jack with no 's', however in California he was know as David Jacks. But it does seem interesting that the cheese name became the original family name Jack.

David Jacks died in 1909 and was buried in Monterey, California. © 2008

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