Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


The superior caliber of California lawyers is well exemplified in the life and career of the Hon. Silas W. Mack, a widely known and popular attorney and the efficient United States commissioner at Monterey. A native of the province of Quebec, Canada, he was born in Hatley township, Stanstead county, August 12, 1866, the eldest son of Carlos Franklin and Clara W. (Chamberlain) Mack, and spent his boyhood days on a farm. The first to bear the name in America, John Mack, came over in Governor Winthrop's colony in 1669, and a few years later settled in Lyme, Connecticut, whence his descendants removed years later to Mariow, New Hampshire. Among them was Squire Silas Mack who fought under General Stark in the war of the Revolution. Having pushed yet further north, the boundary line between the United States and Canada as established by treaty in 1842, found the descendants of this Squire Mack owning farms four miles north of the international boundary.

Silas W. Mack enjoyed the advantages offered by excellent Canadian schools and as a member of the class of '90 was graduated from McGill University, at Montreal, where he received the coveted Bachelor of Arts degree. He then took up teaching and for two years was principal of Dunham Academy in Quebec. In December, 1892, he decided to regain the citizenship which his forebears had unintentionally lost and came to California, making his way to the Salinas valley where his uncle, Charles G. Chamberlain, was then residing. Here he studied law in the offices of the late Hon. J. K. Alexander, at Salinas, and was admitted to the bar in 1894. He then opened up an office in Gonzales and for eight years practiced there.

In May, 1903, Mr. Mack came to the Monterey peninsula and he has since here steadily built up a lucrative practice. In 1912 he was appointed United States commissioner for the northern district of California by the late Judge J. De Hayden. The First National Bank of Monterey was organized in his office over twenty years ago and he is still a director and the vice president of that bank. He was also one of the organizers of the Bank of Carmel, of which he is also director. He has served as president of the board of trustees of the Pacific Grove high school. In national politics he is a republican.

Mr. Mack was married October 16, 1895, to Daisy Maud Winham, of Salinas, daughter of the late Dr. W. P. L. Winham, and the following children have blessed the union: Silas Franklin Mack, born August 27, 1899, a graduate of the University of California, now taking postgraduate work in the Biblical Seminary in New York and director of religious activities in the Community Presbyterian Church of Maple-wood, New Jersey, and who was married to Miss Kathryn Kocher, of Berkeley, June 26, 1923; Wilfred Theodore Mack, born October 4, 1900, also a graduate of the University of California and now doing postgraduate work thereat; Henry Whitcomb Mack, born July 18, 1903, a junior in the same university and president of the Student Volunteer Union of Northern California; Arthur Frederick Mack, born August 29, 1906; and Dorothy Elizabeth Mack, born February 8, 1911.

Mr. Mack served as president of the Monterey Peninsula War Work Council during the World War; for twenty years was on the executive committee of the Cal. (N.) State Sunday School Association, of which he also was chairman for several years; and for many years has been a trustee of the Mt. Hermon Association. He is, needless to say, an enthusiastic student of the Bible having been a Bible teacher for about forty years during the last twenty of which he has also acted as superintendent of the Bible School of Mayflower Congregational church of Pacific Grove. Believing that every one should have some form of recreation, Mr. Mack indulges in botanical research and the study of archaeology and now has in course of preparation a genealogy of the allied families of Mack, Chamberlain, Winham and Clark.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.