Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


This gentleman was born in the Province of Quebec, on the 26th of February, 1828. As his parents were citizens of the United States, residing for the time in Quebec, and the subject of this sketch came to the United States to reside at the age of eighteen years, he is therefore a citizen of the United States without the aid of the naturalization law. His parents were farmers, and his early life was passed on a farm, his early education being acquired in the district schools of Canada. At fifteen years of age he attended a select school in Sycamore, De Kalb County, Illinois, alternately going to school and working, as the exigences of his life permitted.

In 1850 he crossed the plains for California. After mining on the middle fork of the American River, in 1850 and 1851, where he made some money, he went East and married Elizabeth Merryman. In 1852 he re-crossed the plains with his young wife, and located near Sacramento, where he followed farming for two years, when he went to Nevada City, and began the dairy business. In 1857 he removed to Marin County, and pursued dairying and stock-raising upon an extensive scale. He remained here until 1865, prospering in business and accumulating considerable property and money. When, in the year 1865, he came to Monterey County, he brought, as his capital, some six hundred head of stock. Purchasing a league of the Buena Vista Rancho, he continued his former business of dairying and stock-raising, with unprecedented success, until he had a dairy of fifteen hundred cows, at that time probably the largest in the United States.

In 1868 he built the Abbott House, in Salinas City, at a cost of $45,000. He also bought eight thousand acres of the San Lorenzo Rancho, and raised cattle for the market. He was the principal promoter and organizer of the Monterey and Salinas Valley Railway Company?peace to its ashes. This last venture proved his financial Waterloo, and he went to Arizona, in 1879, to recuperate his fortunes. He began raising and slaughtering cattle, and is now a member of a syndicate owning a band of four thousand head of cattle, and an extensive cattle ranch.

In 1887 he returned to Monterey and leased from Alberto Trescony the Tularcitos Rancho, of thirteen thousand acres, near Monterey, his lease extending five years, with the privilege of purchase, at any time before its expiration, at the present valuation. His chances are now bright for occupying his former financial position in the county.

During Governor Irwin's administration, Mr. Abbott was elected to the Legislature from this county, in which position he rendered valuable services. He was a delegate to the National Republican Convention in Philadelphia, in 1872, when General Grant was nominated. He has always been a consistent and enthusiastic Republican, and has taken an active part in politics. His positions have come to him unsought. His wife, and three of the four children which blessed his married life, are yet living. His son, H. E. Abbott, is a prominent and highly respected merchant of Salinas.

Source: Monterey County : its general features, resources, attractions, and inducements to investors and home seekers. Salinas, Calif.: E.S. Harrison, 1889, 89 pgs.