A pioneer of Santa Clara County and a resident of San Jose for more than a half century. Thomas A. Carroll has ever done his share in the upbuilding and development of this thriving city. He was born in Ireland, February 15, 1843, and spent the first year of his life on the Atlantic Ocean in a boat which had been driven by a storm until it had reached such a dismantled condition that it had been given up for lost, and it took full twelve months to get into port. The Carroll family settled at New Haven, Conn., and the father, who was a gardener, lived and died there, in the month of March, 1859, the mother having passed away in 1857.

Thomas A. Carroll was educated in the schools of New Haven, and at the age of fifteen years, after his parents had both passed away, went to New York in 1860 and entered a blacksmith's shop where he thoroughly learned his trade. He followed in that line of work until the year of 1864, when he started for California, coming by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and arriving in San Francisco, stopped about two months and in April landed in San Jose. He worked for a local blacksmith for about four months, then engaged in business for himself, establishing his shop at the corner of St. John and First streets in 1864. After eighteen months, he moved to 184 West Santa Clara Street and inside of four years this young stranger had four men employed, one of them the man he learned his trade from in New York, and he continued here until he retired from business life in 1918

He had, during his early years of work here, animals brought from a fifty-mile radius which were supposed to be impossible to handle, but under his system, were made safe for any place. At this time he was the oldest man living who had been continually in business at the time he opened his shop. He became very well-known and throughout the country, as his work was the very best, he did a prosperous business and accumulated sufficient means to enable him to live comfortably the remainder of his days.

Mr. Carroll's marriage on September 12, 1871, united him with Miss Helen Kell, who was a native of California, having been born in San Jose, a descendant of a good old pioneer family, who came across the plains in the year 1844. They became the parents of seven children; Patrick William, a postgraduate of University of California, is a first lieutenant in the U. S. Army; Helen G. is teaching in Alameda; Bernard D. graduated from the San Jose high school and died in January, 1901; Mary J. is also a teacher in Oakland; Charles C. is an electrical engineer in Salinas. Mrs. Carroll passed away on August 20, 1911.

Mr. Carroll has been a very prominent figure in the local affairs of San Jose, and he has always been active in the Board of Trade and later its successor, the Chamber of Commerce. At the time of the earthquake he was one of the most zealous workers in giving relief to those who suffered losses in this time of stress. In religious faith, he is a Catholic, and in national politics, he gives his allegiance to the Democratic party, and has been a well-known figure at the city, county and state conventions, serving on the State Central Committee for twenty-five years. He served for eight years on the city board of education and was the chairman of school house and site committee during the rebuilding after the earthquake in 1906.

During the high water of 1867 boats ran in front of Carroll's shope at No. 184 West Santa Clara Street, a little episode worth mentioning here that will show the conditions of the early days of San Jose. It was during this flood when Mr. Carroll was living on Santa Clara Street near the river, that he arose to see the high water and what damage it might be doing. As he made his way towards the scene of disaster he heard cries of distress and saw buildings ready to topple into the water. He saddled his horse and rode to the corner of St. Augustine and Santa Teresa Streets and could see people in the water. One woman with a babe in her arms was holding to the limb of an elm tree and calling for some one to save her child. Mr. Carroll had just helped rescue a Mr. Doherty, and then started for the lady, swimming his horse to reach her. She handed the child to him and said she would get out some way. Turning his horse he swam him towards the shore but before he reached it a submerged limb hit the horse and toppled him over, he going up stream and Mr. Carroll down, landing some distance down stream. He handed the baby over to some women to be card for and then helped make a raft with which others were rescued from their perilous positions. There were several houses washed down stream during the flood period.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 453

NEWS of MURDER...............
Stockton Daily Independent
Stockton, San Joaquin Co., CA

From San Jose, Aug. 22 1872 -- The Grand Jury today returned a true bill of
indictment for murder against Thomas A. CARROLL, who shot and killed
POLLETT, a Frenchman, on the New Almaden road some time since. His bail is
fixed at $10,000, having procured which he was released.

Stockton Daily Independent
Monday, 29 July 1872
transcribed by Dee S.

From San Jose, July 28 -- SINGULAR AFFAIR -- Last night about half past 9
o'clock, as Thomas CARROLL, a blacksmith of Santa Clara, was driving along
the Alameda road, he saw 2 men ahead, who, on his approach, separated,
allowing him to drive between them and he supposes intended to attempt to
catch his horses' bridle. He whipped up and escaped and nothing was said.
Arriving at KITT'S, CARROLL procured a rifle and young KITT to accompany
him and drove back to capture the supposed highway men. He met them and
order them to turn around and go into town. One stopped, the other didn't,
and CARROLL states that the latter drew up his gun. CARROLL then fired, the
ball striking his forehead passing through the brain. The other party
surrendered and was brought into town and a party went out and brought in
the body, which proved to be H. PATTEL of San Francisco, a florist. The
prisoner was Andre BORERDIN, boquet manufacturer, of San Francisco. CARROLL
says he was certain from their demonstrations that they tried to stop him.
BORERDIN states that PATTEL was a little drunk, and when they left San Jose
would not let him put caps on their guns. He said they came out to collect

SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight