California Genealogy and History Archives
county of Fermanagh, around whose history there cluster legends of
romance and tales of tragedy, formed the environment familiar to the
childhood days of William F. Gormley, who was born in the village of
Irvinestown, March 5, 1862, and belonged to an old family in the north
of Ireland. Memories of those early years, as they mingle with the
interesting activities of maturity, form a pleasant background to life's
bright picture of earnest purpose and manly action. The first eventful
change in the family affairs came in 1871 with the departure of the
father, Thomas Gormley, from the old Irish home. For years he had worked
in Fermanagh as a mill-wright and pattern-maker and his removal to
California was the result of a contract to look after the mining
interests left by William Hughes, one of the pioneers of Eldorado county
at a camp known as Georgia Slide and who had some years previous been
struck by a large rock in the mine and received fatal injuries. The
following year the mother with their two sons and one daughter followed
Mm to America and joined him in Eldorado county.
was in 1871: that the family came to Sacramento, where the father
entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad shops as a machinist
and later was pattern-maker. He is now making his home in Sacramento,
his wife, Mary Ann Gormley, having passed away November 2, 1903. William
F. Gormley was but twelve years old when his parents brought him to
Sacramento, and he entered the city schools to complete his studies.
During 1877 he became an apprentice in a bookbinding establishment and
at the expiration of his time he continued at his trade in the state
printing office, where he remained for a period of nine years
altogether. When the state established a bindery in 1886 he secured a
position there in a very humble capacity and at low wages. Although at
that time he voted the Democratic ticket while the head of the
department, A. J. Johnston, was an ardent Republican, owing to his
efficiency in the business he rose to the assistant foreman and the
difference of his political views with those of his superiors was not
allowed to jeopardize his position. Eventually, when he was assistant,
he tendered his resignation in order to enter other lines of business.
undertaking business which he still conducts was established by Mr.
Gormley October 1, 1897, and later he erected the substantial structure
at No. 914 Eighth street, where he established a public morgue, the
first in the county. Elected coroner in 1902, he was re-elected to the
office at the expiration of his term four years later and during 1910 he
was chosen for the third term, which he now fills. During February of
1911 he purchased the former home of Grove L. Johnson, father of the
present governor of California, which is located at No. 720 H street.
Through various improvements and enlargements he has built up one of the
finest establishments of its kind in the northern part of the state and
to add to the convenience of his equipment he recently purchased an
automobile ambulance. During the period of his association with the
bookbinding business he attended the convention of the International
Brotherhood of Bookbinders at Buffalo, N. Y., in May of 1895 and in that
session he received the honor of election as vice-president. For one
term he held office as president of the Federated Trades Council.
With the honored Bishop, Thomas Grace, acting as officiating clergyman, the marriage of William F. Gormley and Mamie E. Fogarty was solemnized January 8, 1896. They are the parents of three children, namely: William Manogue, born February 1, 1897; Thomas Grace, March 27, 1898; and Mary Frances, August 20, 1901. Mrs. Gormley is a member of a pioneer family and is a niece of Rt. Rev. Patrick Manogue, remembered with affection as the first bishop of the Sacramento diocese, embracing all of Northern California and Western Nevada. With his family Mr. Gormley holds membership in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament at Sacramento. That prominent and successful Roman Catholic fraternity, the Knights of Columbus, has in him a loyal and generous member. Recognition of his ability has come in his. selection to serve as grand knight of the local council. He is a member of the local branch of Catholic Knights of America, of which he has served as both secretary and president. In 1895 he was honored by being chosen by the state convention as representative from California to the National Convention of the Catholic Knights of America at Omaha, Neb., and his influence was apparent in many of the measures adoi)ted by the assembly.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011