Joseph John Jessup was born at New Providence, Iowa where he received his early schooling. Later he attended Penn College and was a graduate student at the University of California.
Subsequently, he was a professor of mathematics at Pacific College in Newberg, Oregon and President of Whittier College for four years.
His practical experience was most diversified. For two years he was City Engineer of Whittier and worked as City Engineer at Berkeley for 12 years. He spent one year in the State Engineer's office doing water resource investigation, seven years as a Consulting Engineer with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and one year in France for the Y.M.C.A. with the American Expeditionary Force in hut construction and salvage.
He also spent two years as Consulting Engineer to the Imperial County Highway Commission and was one of the organizers and Director of the City and County Engineers Association in Los Angeles. He once was employed as a consulting engineer in Iowa and various places throughout the Southwest in sanitation and municipal Engineering. His first experience in engineering in Los Angeles was in 1891 through 1892 on Terminal Island water front development.
Mr. Jessup served three years and seven months as City Engineer. He died on October 21, 1957 at the age of 91.