San Jose Daily Mercury, January 16, 1895. Obituary.


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J.J. hailed from the great state of New York.
A man of vision, he was dedicated to the concept that electricity would oust gas as the source of city lighting. In 1861 he moved to San Jose and made a name for himself as editor and publisher of the San Jose Daily Mercury.

The hope was that light-emitting towers, situated strategically, would do away with the need for gas street lamps.

He dealt harshly with criticism, using a powerful cane in place of his fists. People tended to give J.J. a wide berth.

In 1881, he used the bully pulpit of his editorial page to propose that San Jose be electrified, offering up a design of his own - a tower rising over the intersection of two streets.

On June 11, 1881, San Jose approved the $4,000 tower.


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