James M. Dawson

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James M. Dawson
Employer San Jose Fruit Packing, J. M. Dawson Packing Company
Occupation Canner

James M. Dawson was the father of canning in the Santa Clara Valley. His two companies, San Jose Fruit Packing and J. M. Dawson Packing Company both influenced the development of the industry, and many of the early employees went to other companies to push the state of the art, including the Golden Gate Packing Company and California Fruit Canners Association.

A full biography appears in Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World[1].


Year Event
1871 Started in 1871 in building behind his house.
1872 Moved to 16th and Julian, worked with W. S. Stevens, brother in law.
1873 Lendrum, Burns, + Co joins in. Firm moves to new, large building at 5th and Julian, incorporated as J. M. Dawson & Company
1874 Company changes its name to San Jose Fruit Packing.
1877 W.S. Stevens goes to form Golden Gate Packing Company.
1878 Dawson has health problems, steps back from San Jose Fruit Packing.
1879 Dawson restarts as J. M. Dawson Packing Company, again behind his house.
1880 E. L. Dawson, his son, joins the business, plant fronts on Myrtle.
1883 J.M Dawson retires.
1885 J.M .Dawson dies.
1887 140,000 cases of fruit packed at J. M. Dawson Packing Company
1891 J. M. Dawson Packing Company owns most of block at Montgomery and Cinnabar.
1895 Company goes under. Sale of Cinnabar at Montgomery plant.


  1. H.S. Foote, Pen Pictures from the Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888. Transcription here.