Le Sueur, Minnesota.
Home of Dr. William Worrall Mayo,
father of the famous Mayo Brothers

Early Life of Dr. Mayo

It was a long, rough road that took young William Mayo from his life in England through years of medical study to eventually become known as Dr. W. W. Mayo who, with his sons, established the most famous clinic in the world.

William Worrall Mayo was born in Eccles, England on May 31, 1819 and studied medicine in Manchester, Glasgow and London. In 1845 he emigrated to the United States where he worked as a pharmacist at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He soon moved to Lafayette, Indiana where he helped operate a men's tailoring business. While living in Lafayette he decided to enroll for a 16-week course at the Indiana Medical College and, in 1852, he took a position in St. Louis as an assistant in anatomy at the University of Missouri medical department.

Mayo House - Le Sueur Photo by Joel D. Irish 08/03/03

Built in 1859 by Dr W W Mayo.
The family lived here until 1863.

Information about the book: The Doctors Mayo.

The Minnesota Years

In 1854 he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife Louise (married 1851) and daughter Gertrude (born 1853). He worked briefly as a census taker in Duluth before settling on the banks of the Minnesota River near Le Sueur in 1856. The family moved into the town of Le Sueur in 1859 where Dr. Mayo and his brother James built a house on Main Street. It was in this house that Dr. Mayo set up his first medical practice in the state of Minnesota.

During the Dakota War of 1862, Dr. Mayo and several other doctors went to the recently attacked New Ulm, Minnesota to set up emergency hospitals for the wounded. The following year he was appointed examining surgeon for the Southern Minnesota draft board in Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo family moved out of the house in 1864 and set up residence in Rochester where Dr. Mayo's medical practice gained great success.

With his sons William James (born in Le Sueur, 1861) and Charles Horace (born in Rochester, 1865) Dr Mayo established St Mary's Hospital. Opening in 1889 St Mary's eventually grew to become th Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Mayo died in 1911 and his wife, Louise died four years later.

The Cosgrove Family

The little two-story house on Main Street in Le Sueur has the distinction of being the home to two families that made an impact on America's landscape (and the world's as well). It was in this house that Carson Nesbit Cosgrove, who was instrumental in founding the Green Giant Company, lived during the period from 1874 to 1920. It was the same upstairs room used by Dr. W. W. Mayo for his office that Carson Nesbit Cosgrove sat in to study and read about crops to learn the aspects of the canning business.

In 1850, three years before Carson Nesbit (C. N.) was born, his family left Ireland to escape the Irish potato famine and moved to Westfield, New York. Carson was born on November 22, 1853 and travelled west in 1870 to live in Wabasha, Minnesota. In 1872 he moved to Le Sueur where he became a successful businessman operating a hardware store with his brother John and raising purebred Herefords. He also served on the Board of Education, was mayor of Le Sueur and a State Senator. From the 1880's to the turn of the century C. N. worked to organize the Minnesota State Fair.

One evening in March of 1903 Le Sueur businessmen met at the James Cosgrove Harness Shop to organize the Minnesota Valley Canning Company. This organizational meeting was conducted by Carson Nesbit Cosgrove who later was to serve on the board and, from 1925 to 1929, act as president of the company. He was Chairman of the Board from 1929 until his death in 1936 as the result of a car accident.

The company's name was changed to the Green Giant Company using as it's corporate symbol the Jolly Green Giant who made his first appearance in 1928 promoting Green Giant Peas.

Mayo House Retro View

Mayo House Today July 2003

The Mayo House as seen today.

The Mayo House as it might have looked
at the time of W. W. Mayo.

The Mayo House if it was being
attacked by Godzilla.

Good Things From the Valley

Green Giant Hwy sign

Smiling down from their lofty perch high above the Minnesota River Valley,
the Jolly Green Giant and his buddy the Little Green Sprout happily
welcome visitors for a pleasant 25 mile journey through the scenic valley.


Find out about Mayo House tours, the Green Giant
and a bunch of other neat things: Official Site for the Mayo House

Mayowood: The Mayo mansion in Rochester
The mansion was built in 1911 by Dr. Charles Horrace Mayo for reportedly $60,000.
Built amidst the 3,000-acre Mayowood property, the mansion is four stories tall and includes a ballroom.

Other Links:

Historical Music From Minnesota
Jesse James and Outlaw History of Minnesota
Historical Re-enactors of Minnesota

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