Biography of Joseph Charles Boyd

Joseph Charles Boyd, who is filling the position of county surveyor of Sacramento county, has in the line of his profession controlled many engineering projects which have been of much value to central California. He has attained precedence of many in his profession, having won an enviable position through marked ability and a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the great scientific principles which must underlie all practical and successful work in this direction.

Mr. Boyd is a native son of San Francisco, his birth having occurred on the 19th of February, 1864. James L. Boyd, his father, was born in Montreal, Canada. He was a stevedore and died about 1876. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Sarah Martin Wallace, was born in the north of Ireland and was a representative of an old Protestant family of Scotch descent. She died in 1898 at the advanced age of eighty-two years. In their family were three children, the brother of Joseph C. being George W., who is a mechanical engineer of San Francisco. Her sister is now the wife of J. C. Pierson, city engineer of Sacramento.

Joseph C. Boyd having completed the work of the grammar schools in San Francisco continued his studies in the high school of that city, and on graduating put aside his text-books in order to enter upon the study of engineering under the direction of Mr. Pierson, who was then the engineer in charge of the construction of the Bear river dam and other works connected with the state engineer’s office. This was in the year 1879, and Mr. Boyd has continuously followed engineering since that time. He remained with Mr. Pierson until 1887 and served as deputy county surveyor of Sacramento county, performing various duties in connection with the work of the office. From 1887 until 1889 he was associated with the engineering department of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in the construction of its line between Raymond and Berenda and the coast line extension from Newhall, now Saugus, to San Luis Obispo. In 1889 he was elected county surveyor of Sacramento county, serving until 1891, during which time he did important service as an engineer in the reclamation of several hitherto unimproved districts in and adjacent to Sacramento county. From 1892 until 1894 he was city engineer of Sacramento under Mayor Comstock, and in 1895 was chosen for the office of county surveyor by popular suffrage. He has since been continued in this position, serving there for the third term, which will expire in 1907. His work in this connection has been of an important character, and that he has the entire confidence and support of the public is indicated by the fact that he has been three times chosen for the position. Not alone to the duties of the office, however, has his attention been given, although he never allows anything to interfere with the faithful performance of the tasks which devolve upon him as a public official. He is a director of the Frederick Mier Company, and was one of its organizers and incorporators. This company was incorporated for one hundred thousand dollars, and does a general business in buying and selling real estate and loaning money. For a number of years he has been a director in the Elks Hall Association, which is capitalized for sixty thousand dollars, and he has been interested in a number of mining and canal projects in California, which have resulted in financial benefit to the stockholders and have been a marked source of good in the improvement of the state.

On the 25th of April, 1888, Mr. Boyd was united in marriage to Miss Julia L. Mier, a native of Sacramento and a daughter of Frederick Mier, a capitalist of this city, who was one of the pioneer residents of California, arriving in this state in 1849. He was at one time the owner of Sutter Fort, also of the Sacremento electric light plant, of an excelsior manufacturing establishment and the Ione Coal Mine. He was likewise proprietor of the Capital Furniture Company of Sacramento, and the extent and importance of his business affairs made him one of the most prominent men of the city, his prestige, however, being won through individual capability and the strong purpose and excellent management which he displayed in the control of his business interests. The Mier family is of German descent. through his marriage mr. Boyd has become connected with several of the most prominent business men of central California. He is a brother-in-law of Robert White of the firm of White & Bauer, of the San Francisco News Company; of W. E. Palmer, cashier of the Humboldt Savings Bank, of San Francisco; and of J. R. Mier, assistant cashier of the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company of San Francisco. To Mr. and Mrs. Boyd have been born two children, Melvin D. and Lauretta, both in school.

Mr. Boyd belongs to the Native Sons of the Golden West, to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and to the Masonic fraternity. In his political views he is a Republican, active and earnest in support of the party, and it was upon the Republican ticket that he was elected to his present position. His entire life having been spent in California, he has witnessed much of its growth and improvement, and his own labors have been a material factor in the development and progress of the central section of the state. He is not only well trained in the line of his chosen profession, but is thoroughly reliable and trustworthy, and his honor and integrity stand as an unquestioned fact in his business and political career.

Source: Leigh H. Irvine; A History of the New California Its Resources and People, 2 Volumes; New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903.

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