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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The 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.

It 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.

The 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. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011