Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


There were many in Monterey county who felt at the time of the recent passing of James Edgar McDougall, for years one of the prime factors in commercial affairs of this county, that the life of this public-spirited and energetic citizen had been cut untimely short and there were many expressions of regret on the part of those who surveyed his accomplishments and reviewed his useful life that he could not have been spared for even greater things. Born and reared at Salinas, early schooled in commercial forms and under his sturdy father's thoughtful preceptorship prepared for large activities in the commercial field, James E. McDougall had become one of the best known figures in local banking circles and was doing a good work in that particular field of commercial activity when ill health compelled his retirement. He thereafter found an outlet for his energies along other and less confining lines and in various forms of development work had discharged his duty to his community, so that the memory of his fruitful life is honored and will be long kept green.

James E. McDougall was born at Salinas, May 8, 1873, and was the elder of two sons of James H. McDougall, banker, merchant, publicist and community builder, who was for many years recognized as one of the real leaders in the common life of this section of California and concerning whom further and fitting mention is made elsewhere in this work. Reared at Salinas, James E. McDougall completed his schooling in Stanford University and early became connected with the operations of the Salinas City Bank, that sterling old financial institution that was founded in 1873 and of which his father was for years the president. Beginning as a clerk in this bank he was advanced by well earned promotion until he had reached the position of assistant cashier and was preparing for further advancement in the service of the bank when ill health compelled his retirement and for some time thereafter he sought relief in travel. Mr. McDougall also had other interests of a substantial character in and about Salinas, was vice president of the J. H. McDougall Company, a mercantile establishment, and became possessed of valuable property not only in Salinas but in Pacific Grove, in Los Angeles, in Santa Cruz and at other points. He died on January 24, 1923.

On August 12, 1903, Mr. McDougall was united in marriage to Miss M. Raymond, who with their son, Kenneth R. McDougall, survives. The son is now (1925) a student at Stanford University, pursuing his studies there with a view to adopting the law as a profession. Mrs. McDougall was born in the Shingle Springs settlement in Eldorado county and is a representative of one of the pioneer families of the state. Her father came to California in the days of the "rush" in 1849, becoming one of the leaders in hydraulic mining operations in the Mother Lode country. Since the death of her husband Mrs. McDougall has been making her home at Pacific Grove and at Palo Alto and has been, giving her attention to the property interests of her late husband. Among these is the well equipped and handsomely appointed McDougall bath house at Pacific Grove, to the management of which, in season, Mrs. McDougall gives her personal attention. It will be recalled by the old timers here that Pacific Grove in the "days of old" was chiefly notable as the scene of the annual Methodist camp meetings held there and to which great crowds foregathered during the continuance of these sessions of religious activity. Pacific Grove is no less a conspicuous place of resort now, but it is as a pleasure resort that it is chiefly known among Californians and to the thousands of tourists who annually make a stop there on their tour of the beautiful bay country. Pacific Grove is also famous as the starting point for the attractive Seventeen-mile Drive ending at the historic old Hotel Del Monte, most beloved of all California resorts.

The Pacific Grove bath house, of which Mrs. McDougall is the proprietor, came into the hands of her late husband in the spring of 1922, less than a year before his death, and in the following season she took charge of the establishment and has since developed and improved it in keeping with growing modern requirements and the increasing demand made each season for the excellent facilities it offers to the people who come by thousands to enjoy the wonderful beach. By common consent Mrs. McDougall's great bath house at Pacific Grove is regarded as the most up-to-date and sanitary establishment of its kind on the coast and it is her endeavor constantly to improve its already well nigh perfect facilities. Every accommodation is offered visitors in the way of comfort and entertainment and high praise is accorded the management for the admirable provisions made along this line. This bath house had its beginning back in 1895, when A. McDougall put up there a small bath house, a shed-like affair with a canvas roof, for the accommodation of those who came to the beach for bathing purposes. C. Burks later acquired the property and in 1902 W. F. Smith bought it. Two years later Mr. Smith organized a company and started things going along somewhat more systematic lines, erected a then ample bath house, cleared the beach, built the present concrete pier and advertised Pacific Grove as one of the most attractive bathing beaches on the coast. In 1912 this company disposed of the plant to William H. Foster and five years later, in 1917, it came under the control of the McDougall interests, passing in April, 1922, into the hands of Mr. and Mrs. James E. McDougall and, as noted above, since the death of the former has been under the management of the latter. Mrs. McDougall has done much to beautify the surroundings of the bath house, and her great dahlia gardens in proximity to the beach plant are the objects of the admiring attention of all who pass that way.

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.