In addition to the rise in grain and agricultural production, the introduction of dairy cows into Monterey County by the Canadian Carlisle Abbott in 1865 started the butter and dairy product industry in MOnterey County. Although Abbott was later made bankrupt by his financing of the railroad, the dairies continues, in part due to the influence of newly arrived Portuguese, Danish, and Swiss immigrants. In fact, the popular cheese known as “Monterey Jack” originated in the Carmel Valley (the term “Jack” refers to the press in which the cheese is formed, not a person’s name).
Water Usage
Before the construction of the San Clemente Dam (1914), when Monterey County Water Works Co. built the road over Abbott’s Bluff (now Carmel Valley Rd.), the road (wagon rd.) to upper Carmel Valley and Tassajara Hot Springs was via Chupinas Canyon, called Chupinas-Hughs rd., to Corral De Tierra to Salinas-Monterey County Road. Upper Carmel Valley was more connected to Salinas than the lower valley and Monterey Peninsula, thus the reason for Swiss Italian names (landowners) in the region, Francioni, Piazzoni, Berta, and other prominent Salinas businessmen. The Chupinas Rd. was traveled by stage and wagons bringing mail and vacationers to the famous spas and hot springs of the Tassajara Resort. This continued until the period shortly after the completion of the Dam, when the improved Carmel Valley Rd. went all the way to the Tassajara Rd.
The early settlers of the region were rugged, honorable, hard working people; resourceful. They were rather isolated, completely self reliant. They produced their own food, built their own shelter. The only time they went to town was for business or to buy cloth for making clothes or tools they couldn’t make themselves. They proudly maintained their honesty and morals. Old timers recall the time a drifter violated a local girl. He was run down and hanged on top of the mountain alongside the Chupinas Rd. for all travelers to see and as a warning that none of the stuff is tolerated around there.
The Dairymen’s job was a 20 hr. day job. Their day started before dawn chasing down the cows and ended with putting the fresh milk in quart containers and delivering it to the shelf (later ice-box) in the kitchen of the neighbors. Most of the milk went for cheese and the Condensers in Salinas. The early dawn took on a bit comedy appearance as with the first spark of light, you would see funny looking black silhouettes of men, that is, men with stools strapped to the seat of their pants, running around to capture the cows, bucket in one hand and the other free to grab the halter. They had to capture the cows and in one swooping motion hold it as they swung the bucket underneath, squat down on their attached stool, grab a tit and the rest was automatic motion.
Dairies required large volumes of water daily. After the milking, the cows required washing, using 60 gals. per cow; each cow drank 16 to 18 gallons per day depending on the amount of milk they gave. If a cow gave 10 gallons, she had to drink 20 gallons a day. The equipment and working areas were thoroughly washed at the end of each day. Ranchos Los Tularcitos was a good provider of water with the all year running Tularcitos Creek, ample distribution with ample distribution of mountain springs and several creeks located throughout the Rancho.