Los Angeles County
FRANK KANNING MOTT
MOTT, FRANK KANNING, President of the Frank K. Mott Company and Mayor of Oakland, California, was born in San Francisco, January 21, 1866, the son of Peter D. and Fannie (Kanning) Mott. When he was two years old the family moved to Oakland and established their home there. He was married in San Francisco, January 10, 1911, to Mrs. Gertrude Bennett. From 1872 to 1877 he attended the Prescott Grammar School in Oakland, and on the death of his father, in 1877, he was induced by his mother and George F. Degan to enter the latter’s Classical School, an institution which prepared students for the University. After a year’s attempt to digest Latin and Greek roots, for which he had little liking, his desire to contribute to the support of his mother prompted him to seek permanent employment.
During his year at Mr. Degan’s Academy he had made a little money by “carrying a route” in Oakland for the San Francisco Bulletin, but in 1879, when he was thirteen years old, he found the opening for which he was looking, to the Western Union Telegraph Company. Here he acted as messenger boy, and before the end of the year, when the telephone system was installed, he became clerk, and the first telephone operator in Oakland.
He was subsequently promoted to the post of assistant lineman and collector, but as his income was still insufficient for his needs he abandoned this business, and in 1882 entered the hardware store of George S. Brown as clerk. Brown sold out to W. C. Fife in 1884, but Mr. Mott continued to act as clerk until 1889, when, the business passing to E. A. Howard & Co., he became a partner in the firm. He remained as such until 1899, and then purchased the Howard interest in the Oakland store, which he conducted along until January 1, 1907. He then sold out to enter the real estate business, in which as successor to Breed & Bancroft, he is still active.
Through these years of success in his own private affairs he was equally busy and effective in other commercial activities. By inducing a number of the Oakland merchants to join a sort of tentative Chamber of Commerce he practically pioneered the movement for the establishment of the Merchants’ Exchange, of which he was made a director. He was also a director of the Board of Trade and presided at the meetings which were held for the purpose of forming the present Chamber of Commerce.
The same qualities that have distinguished his business record have been conspicuous in his political life. At the age of twenty-one he was a delegate to the County Convention of 1887, and through successive years he was also a delegate to the City Conventions. His first political office was that of member of the City Council, to which he was appointed, January 1, 1895, by Mayor Pardee. Subsequently elected for the full term, for one year he served as President of the Council. He was renominated for another term, but declined for business reasons. In 1899 he was again nominated by the Republican Convention, indorsed by the Municipal League and Democrats, and elected by a handsome majority. With the same indorsements, (sic) plus that of the Union Labor party, he was re-elected in 1907, 1909 and 1911, and is strenuously and characteristically today carrying out his pledges, to the immense advantage of the city of Oakland. Mayor Mott has always been aligned with the elements that stand for public spirit and civic improvement. He is ambitious to unite the various factions into a unified movement for the city’s real progress, and the many enterprises successfully undertaken through his administrations for the civic betterment of Oakland argue eloquently for his sincerity and ability.
Besides his presidency of the Frank K. Mott Company, he is President and Director of the Piedmont Hills Improvement Company, the Pleasant Valley Improvement Company, the Suburban Development Company, Humboldt Count Land and Development Company; Vice President of the Masonic Temple Association; Director, Security Bank and Trust company and the Mascot Copper Company.
His clubs are: Nile, Athenian, of Oakland, and the Union League of San Francisco. He is also a member of the B. P. O. E., Knights of Pythias, Masons, Scottish Rite, Knights Templar, Moose Lodge, and the Native Sons of the Golden West.
Transcribed 2-26-09 Marilyn R. Pankey.
Source: Press Reference Library, Western Edition Notables of the West, Vol. I, Page 207, International News Service, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta. 1913.
© 2009 Marilyn R. Pankey.