A far-seeing, thoroughly progressive merchant who has helped to make San Jose an advantageous center for the building material and fuel trade, is Joseph Russo, of the firm of Williams & Russo, whose well-known establishment is at 79-81-83 South Third Street.  He was born in Virginia City, Nev., on November 13, 1889, the son of Peter and Isabella Russo, who had come to Virginia City seventeen years before.  In 18966 they moved still further west, to California, and at San Jose embarked in the grocery line.  Mr. Russo is still living, in very comfortable circumstances at the age of seventy-six, but his good wife, who labored with him, passed away on March 30, 1921, aged seventy-two.  This worthy couple were the parents of five sons and two daughters, of whom Joseph Russo is next to the youngest.
Coming to San Jose with his parents when he was six years of age, he attended the Grant grammar school, and for three years pursued the high school courses in the San Jose high school, after which he entered Heald's Business College, from which he was graduated in 1908.  Then he entered the service of H. Hart & Co., the pioneers in building materials and fuel, for whom he worked as a bookkeeper; and when Mr. Hart retired in 1913, Mr. Russo acquired  his interest, and from that time the firm was styled, as it is toady, Willams & Russo.  Alfred S. Williams sold his interest to G. R. Abraria in March 1919, but they continue business under the old name.  They do an extensive business, delivering with auto trucks.  Besides the office and salesroom on South Third Street, they have large warehouses on Fourth and Virginia streets with spur from the Southern Pacific Railroad Company.  They supply building materials to local contractors, and are very large dealers in wood and coal, giving particular attention to the retail end of their business, and so have a peculiar relation to the development of both San Jose and the surrounding country.  It is pleasant to note that in this matter of assisting to maintain efficiency and the highest standards in both construction and public taste, Williams & Russo discharge their responsibility with credit.
In San Jose, April 15, 1917, Mr. Russo married Miss Rose Abraria, a native of San Jose, and their married life has been made happier by the birth of two children, Dolores Elizabeth and Junior Joseph.  The family attended St. Patrick's Catholic Church, and Mr. Russo is a member of San Jose Lodge No. 879, Knights of Columbus, and of San Jose Lodge No. 522 Elks.  Mr. Russo is straightforward and honorable, his honesty and integrity of purpose never having been questioned.  He believes in treating everyone fair and square; when anyone has a just grievance he right it, a policy that has , no doubt, been a large factor in his having built up such a large business.

from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page  1535