The PELLISSIERS are my maternal grandmotherís side. They orginated in France in a sheep farming tradition.


My great-great-grandfather Jean Francois PELLISSIER (1791-1866) was a successful sheep farmer in Ancelle, a small town in the Alps, at about 4,000 feet elevation. He married a much younger woman from the vicinity, Adelaide BELLUE (1806-1882). They had eleven children, of which nine were boys.

Ancelle Ancelle in its Alpine Valley

Since Ancelle is just a few kilometers from the larger town of Gap, it is not unlikely that Francois went down to the valley in 1814, to cheer Napoleonís triumphal return from exile on Elba as he marched through Gap on his way north to Waterloo.


The youngest of the large family was Germain PELLISSIER (1849-1908), my great-grandfather, who left home at a young age since he arrived in San Francisco in 1867, at the age of 18.

He promptly moved to Los Angeles where there was a growing French presence. He established a lodging house and livestock farm, at the corner of Seventh and Olive. Subsequently several of Germainís nephews followed him, resulting in an extended PELLISSIER agricultural clan in the Central Valley of California.

Germain married Marie Julie DARFEUILLE (1860-1947) at the Notre Dame des Victoires church in San Francisco in 1876, when she had just turned 16. She was a recent arrival in the US, having survived the difficult siege of Paris during the 1870 war, when the population was driven to eat pets and rodents.

In 1882 Germain bought a 156-acre parcel from the Southern Pacific Railroad, situated at the corner of Wilshire and Western (boulevards today, dusty wagon roads then)and two miles outside of town at the time. The cost was $3,200, or $20.50 per acre. He farmed barley and ran a large flock of sheep, mainly the Rambouillet and Merino breeds, gaining world recognition a a breeder based on the record wool production of several of his top rams.

The large parcel of land exploded in value as Los Angeles grew outwards, driving the price of his land up to $2,700 per acre, allowing him to retire from his livestock business to enjoy the returns from real estate development and the respect earned from being an early settler of the region.

Germain and Marie Julie replaced the old ranch house with a large new home at the corner of Serrano and Seventhth street, a prime location inside the "Pellissier Square" development. As a very young child, I rember being spooked by the dark and creaky upstairs of this old, 1900-vintage house, now long-gone.


Germain and Marie Julie had two daughters, the youngest of which, Adelaide (1892-1975) became my grandmother.

Adelaide went on at age 18 to marry my grandfather, Hoyt MITCHEL, who was also making his way in the world as an oil wildcatter and as a real estate developer.

My maternal grandparents each have their own biographical note at the following links:



Germain Pellissier Great-Grandfather Germain Pellissier

Germain Pellissier The New House Replacing the Ranch House