Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


In the annals of Monterey county there are few men held in higher esteem than the late James H. McDougall, at one time postmaster of the city of Salinas, for many years one of the leading merchants of the city, tax collector for the county of Monterey and at the time of his death the president of the Salinas City Bank, the oldest financial institution in Monterey county. Mr. McDougall, a Scotchman by birth, came to California in the days of his boyhood and early became familiar with developing conditions. He took an active and interested part in development work and in time came to be one of the real leaders in the general civic and commercial life of the community, his efforts ever being directed in such channels as promised to more effectually promote the common interest. Mr. McDougall lived to be nearly eighty years of age. It therefore is but proper and fitting that in this history of the county, whose interests he did so much to promote, there should be presented some modest tribute to his memory together with a brief review of his life and of his services to the community.

James H. McDougall was born in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, in the year 1836. When he was six years of age his parents, in 1842, came to America with their family and settled in Lake county, Illinois, not far north of the present great city of Chicago, which at that time was just beginning to attain some degree of commercial importance. There the family remained until in 1854, when they came to California, arriving in Monterey county, June 9, after a wearisome journey across the plains and the mountains. James H. McDougall then was eighteen years of age, a stout, starchy kid, keen for the adventures offered amid the strange new conditions here and ready to take his part in the labors that confronted the pioneers. He aided his father in getting the home place established and remained under the parental roof until after he had attained his majority, when he "struck out for himself." Working during the winters in logging camps and sawmills and during the summers at ranch work he was thus engaged until in the late '60s when, with the money he had been able to save, he began to invest in cattle and start on the larger operations which in time brought him much success. He established himself in business as a cattle buyer in Salinas, where he also was engaged in the grocery trade, this latter line occupying much of his attention for twenty years or more. One of the leaders of the republican party in his home county, he for two terms served the county as tax collector and in other ways did his part in promoting civic affairs. When the local water and light plant was erected he was elected secretary of the company having it in charge and in that capacity did much to get this public service corporation going right. In 1900 Mr. McDougall was elected president of the Salinas City Bank, which was organized in 1873, and he was retained in that position. As befitted his labors and his talents, Mr. McDougall became quite well-to-do and at his death left a considerable estate, he long having been rated as among the most substantial citizens of this section of the state. The McDougall block in Salinas is a fitting monument to the substantial character of his efforts to build up the city. In 1872 James H. McDougall was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bardin, who was born in Mississippi and who had come to this state with her parents when a girl, and to this union were born two sons, the late James Edgar McDougall, concerning whom further mention is made elsewhere in this work, and Charles E. McDougall.

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.