William Dormody

Submitted by Pamela Paris


William Dormody was born in County Kilkenny in Ireland. After coming to the United States he was engaged in merchandising in the town of Springfield, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was also one of the pioneer merchants of El Dorado County arriving in the county around 1851.

In January 1854 he purchased Green Springs Ranch, approximately 1000 acres, from the estate of Nancy Hitchcock for $6,400. The ranch had fifty-four living springs of water on it and provided plenty of water for the live stock. Great quantities of hay were cut from it every year. The ranch was a popular retreat for travelers and wedding parties. The ranch was destroyed twice by fire.

William Dormody was a very active man and successful in business. He was one of the early merchants in the county opening stores in Kelsey, Georgetown and Coloma. In 1854 when the Sunday Law was passed, he was among the businessmen who gave notice to the public that they would close up their stores on Sundays starting on or after December 10, 1854. A fire consumed his store in Georgetown on 7 July 1856.

Mr. and Mrs. Hill ran William Dormody's hotel and store in Coloma. It was through the Hills that he met Sarah Francis Norton, Mrs. Hill's sister. She was 18 years old and he was 60 years old but the age difference didn't stop the two of them from marrying. Thomas Conger, Justice of the Peace, married them in Sacramento on 1 January 1856. After the wedding they settled at Green Springs Ranch. Their marriage was blessed with eight children: Leonard, Mary, Sara, Rose, Hugh, William, Cecelia, and Thomas.

Mr. Dormody died from an accident on 4 September 1876. He lost control of his team and his wagon crashed. He was buried at St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery in Folsom, California. He had been an active member of the Pioneers of El Dorado Branch of the Territorial Pioneers.

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