Among those who are successfully following the profession of teaching in San Jose, is Mrs. William H. Carmichael, whose many estimable qualities have won for her the respect and admiration of an extensive circle of friends. Mary Pierce, as she was known in maidenhood, is a native daughter of California, born in San Francisco, her parents being Patrick and Mary (Culligan) Pierce. In the late '50s her father came to California by the Isthmus of Panama route, first engaging in mining in Placer County, after which he went to San Francisco. He assisted in the construction and became yard foreman for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, occupying that position until his hand was crushed in an accident, when he acted as helper in the yard. After thirty years of faithful and efficient service he was pensioned by the company and he passed when seventy years of age, continuing active until the last. The mother died during the infancy of the subject of this review.

The youngest in a family of five children, Mamie P. Carmichael, as she is familiarly known by her many friends and particularity by the Native Daughters all over the state, pursued her education in Notre Dame College of San Francisco and after her graduation she entered the San Jose State Normal, from which she was graduated with the class of 1892. She then took up educational work, teaching for the first two years at Guadalupe and afterward at San Jose, being thus engaged until September 15, 1898, when she was married in this city to William H. Carmichael, a native of San Jose, born March 6, 1869, and a son of Jacob and Mary (Comons) Carmichael. Jacob Carmichael was born in Ohio, and coming to the Coast became a pioneer business man of San Jose, being engaged in general merchandising at the corner of Market and Post streets for many years, and became well and favorably known. The Carmichael family trace their ancestry back to Pennsylvania and Virginia. Some of the ancestors served in the Revolutionary War, three of Jacob's brothers served in the Civil War, two of them being wounded. Jacob Carmichael passed away in 1881, his widow surviving him till 1914. They reared a family of four children, William H., Dr. Thos. Carmichael, Emeline, Mrs.. A. J. Henry, of San Jose; and Cecilia, who is an instructor in the Grant School.

William H. Carmichael was born in the same house in which his widow now resides, at 312 West San Fernando Street, and on entering business life he secured a position in Spring's clothing store, gradually working his way upward until he became head salesman. For fifteen years he continued in this responsible position, during which period he gained a comprehensive knowledge of the trade, and he then embarked in the clothing business on his own account as a member of the Carmichael-Belaris Company. At the end of ten years, in 1910, he disposed of his interest in that enterprise and became one of the founders of The Adler, Inc., Mr. Carmichael being vice-president and secretary, and established two stores in San Jose, one in San Francisco and one in Sacramento, with which he remained until his demise, March 15, 1912.

Mr. and Mrs. Carmichael became the parents of seven children: Jacob and Pierce, both graduates of San Jose High, now attending Junior College; William H., also a graduate of San Jose High, who is now connected with the Moorehead-Fleming Drug Company; Arthur and Merritt, who are attending high school; and Keith and Mary, who are pupils in the grammar schools.

When national issues were at stake, Mr. Carmichael cast his ballot in favor of the candidates of the Democratic party, but at local elections he voted for the man who in his estimation was best fitted for the office, regardless of political affiliation. His fellow-citizens recognized his worth and ability, and from 1894 until 1898 he served as police and fire commissioner. He discharged the duties of those offices with faithfulness and efficiency, being actuated at all times by a public-spirited devotion to the general good. He was a member of Palo Alto Parlor, now San Jose Parlor, N. S. G. W., and was past president, and served as district deputy several terms. He was also a member of the Independent Order of Foresters. He took a most active and helpful part in the work of public progress and improvement and his integrity in business affairs, his fidelity in friendship and his devotion to home and family were characteristics which won for him the high and enduring regard of all with whom he was associated.

Mrs. Carmichael is a member of Vendome Parlor, N. D. G. W., No. 100, San Jose, and has taken a prominent part in the activities of that order, having served as president of the local parlor, and was grand president of the Grand Parlor in 1916 and 1917, and as such visited every parlor in the state. After her husband's death Mrs. Carmichael continued her interest in The Adler, Inc., being elected a director and vice-president of the company and she gave her undivided attention to the business until 1915, when she disposed of her interest in the company. Soon she found she was not content with inactivity and so turned to her old profession and again took up educational work and is now in charge of the sixth grade at the Grant School. She has been very successful as an instructor, her thorough training and natural qualifications well fitting her for work of this character. She is a member of the city, county, and state teachers' association. The home in which she now resides was erected in 1865 by Mr. Carmichael's father and as a member of one of the pioneer families of San Jose she well merits the respect in which she is universally held.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1008
Transcribed by Joseph Kral


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight