Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Hon. Ernest Michaelis, a popular and fearless justice of the peace, representing the municipality with both efficiency and dignity, was born at Bismark, in Prussia, July 2, 1847, and as a youth learned the barber's trade but tiring of this he ran away from home to try his fortune in the new world. He never lost his affection for his father, however, and when he had settled down, and had begun to earn a fair living and to be able to maintain an independency, he sent for the father to come to America and join him so that through this filial act, the old gentleman was able to spent the remainder of his days with his son, passing away November 29, 1908, at the ripe old age of ninety-one years.

When he left home Ernest Michaelis shipped on a merchant vessel and thus came to the new world at New Haven, Connecticut. After a while, being out of funds, he started to walk to New York but happening to stop at Bridgeport, Connecticut, there secured employment as a polisher, and also worked as a varnisher in the factory of Messrs. Wheeler & Wilson, the sewing-machine manufacturers. He had every prospect of doing well there and of advancing his material interests but his irrepressible patriotism led to his enlisting, on January 27, 1863, in the cause of the Union, joining Company H, Second Connecticut Heavy Artillery, under Colonel Kellogg, serving with honor until he was discharged January 27, 1865. He saw considerable fighting, and with one exception, his regiment lost the largest number of men of any regiment in the entire service.

After his discharge, Mr. Michaelis again worked as a barber but later enlisted in the regular army and was chosen recruiting sergeant. In 1868 he availed himself of a possible assignment to the Fourteenth Infantry, and in due time was ordered to Arizona for service, arriving in August of that year at Angel Island, on his way to Arizona, with a detachment of soldiers. Later he secured an honorable discharge in Arizona and returned east but he was soon again in San Francisco, where he engaged in business from 1870, becoming part owner of the Washington Baths, one of the old landmarks of the city. Intending to go to the coal mines, Mr. Michaelis arrived in Monterey in 1879, but finding that the favorable reports of the mining conditions had been greatly exaggerated, he again took up the barber's trade which he followed at Monterey for twenty years. From 1894 to 1900 he also conducted the Monterey Cypress, which he published in his own building and under his personal supervision but finding that he had too much to do he closed his shop. For the past thirty-four years, or since 1890, he has been a well known justice of the peace at Monterey and it is doubtful if anyone could have proven more competent. Judge Michaelis is a republican but he never allows his political preferences to bias his judgment or affect his official acts.

Mr. Michaelis was married to Miss Wilhelmina Erdlen, a native of Augsburg Bavaria and their union has been blessed with five children, two boys and three girls. Mrs. Michaelis died April 3, 1917, leaving as an inheritance a blessed memory.

Judge Michaelis is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and also belongs to the Spanish War veterans. He is likewise a member of the Moose. Widely known and everywhere esteemed, he has the good will or gratitude of many, and all recognize his fairness and impartiality in office and his loyalty in all matters of citizenship.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.