Contra Costa County












JOSEPH MAYO.  Although not a Californian by birth, Mr. Mayo has spent so much of his life in this state that he is thoroughly acquainted with its possibilities and intelligently conversant with its history.  Ever since boyhood he has made a specialty of electricity, and the knowledge he has acquired of this science easily places him in the front rank of the electricians of his part of the state.  At this writing he supplies electric lights for his home town of Martinez, as well as the neighboring towns of Port Costa, Antioch and Crockett, in which four places the list of subscribers aggregates more than three hundred.


Mr. Mayo was born in Rock Island, Ill., July 14, 1866, being a son of Henry H. and Agnes (Ingram) Mayo.  When but a boy he came to California and completed his studies in the San Francisco schools.  At sixteen years of age he became an apprentice in a job printing office, but remained there only a short time.  Becoming interested in electricity, he took up its study and acquired much theoretical knowledge from text books, but gained an even more valuable practical experience by working as a wire man and through various other positions until he became manager of a lighting plant.  It was his ambition to acquire a plant of his own, and this desire was gratified in 1898, when he organized the Contra Costa Electric Light Company of Port Costa.  In 1903 the concern was reincorporated as the Contra Costa Electric Light & Power Company, and the offices were transferred from Port Costa to Martinez.  As soon as a plant could be erected, the towns of Port Costa and Crockett were furnished with an excellent system of lighting, an improvement that was greatly appreciated by the people.


July 4, 1899, the park at Martinez was illuminated by electricity through the energetic efforts of Mr. Mayo, who took this method of convincing the people there of the merits of his system.  Popular appreciation at once took a practical form.  The only facility for lighting previously consisted of a small gas plant.  The people were awake to the need of better facilities.  Applications came to Mr. Mayo for the lighting of stores and houses, and he now furnishes, in the streets of Martinez, thirty-five lights of thirty-two candle-power each, besides three arc lights.  In 1901 the plant was abandoned and since then the current of electricity has been purchased of the Bay Counties Electric Company.  Promptness is one of Mr. Mayo’s chief characteristics.  In the interests of the company and its patrons he gives faithful service.  Nothing is neglected which will enhance the success of the system and its appreciation by the people of the four towns to whom a supply is furnished.


By his marriage in 1888 to Louise Jensen, Mr. Mayo has three children, Agnes L., Herbert J., and Clarence I.  In fraternal relations he is identified with the Woodmen of the World; also with Sotoyome Lodge No. 133, F. & A. M., of Healdsburg, Cal., in which he has served as master.  His Masonic connections further include membership in Martinez Chapter No. 31, R. A. M. of Martinez, and the Eastern Star, with which his wife is also identified.  He is also an active member of the Martinez Volunteer Fire Department.





Transcribed by Donna Toole.

­­­­Source: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Page 922. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

© 2016  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

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