Levi & Hyman Mitchell, Pioneer Merchants of Tulare County, California

Levi & Hyman Mitchell

Levi Mitchell of Visalia, CA, WSJH V2/3

Levi Mitchell of Visalia, CA,

Values Codes I-E-L

Levi Mitchell was born in 1810 in what we now call Germany.

Hyman Mitchell was born in 1814.

The family came to the United States in 1817 to live with a brother in Little Rock Arkansas, Dr. Jacob Mitchell.

Along the way . . .

Sometime before 1850 the brothers, Levi and Hyman Mitchell came to California.

They opened a store in Stockton.

Levi Mitchell traveled to the mining camps selling merchandise from the store.

Hyman Mitchell handled the day-to-day business in their store.

Hyman Mitchell lived in Stockton where he married Susie Jacob, sister of Elias Jacob [Click here for Elias Jacob exhibit].

Together they had two children, Michael and Bertha.

Susie Mitchell died in 1857, and a year later, Hyman married her sister, Dorathea Jacob.

Visalia & White River

Levi Mitchell moved to the lower San Joaquin Valley and opened a store in Millerton in 1852, and then another store in Visalia on Main Street.

Hyman Mitchell moved to Visalia in 1957 after the death of his first wife.

The Kern River gold rush of 1855 established Visalia as an important trading center. – the only town between Stockton and Los Angeles.

One of the growing mining camps nearby was Tailholt on the White River.

In 1860, in partnership with Archie Donaldson, Levi Mitchell built the White River House, which became one of the valley’s best known hotels. Across the street, Levi Mitchell opened a store.

In 1862, Levi Mitchell was appointed Postmaster and the name of the town was changed to White River.

Every miner knew that Levi Mitchell was good for a “grubstake.”


In 1866 Levi Mitchell married Annie Stargarth in Stockton.

Together they had four children, Joseph, Michael, Jacob, and Hyman II.

When Levi Mitchell died in 1885, she was faced with running the business.


Hyman Mitchell died suddenly in 1859.

Hyman is buried by his first wife, Susie in Stockton’s Temple Israel Cemetery.

For more information on Levi & Hyman Mitchell see the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • Pioneer Merchants of Tulare County, California, by Annie R. Mitchell, WSJH, Vol. 2, Issue #3, 1970.

Any additional information or pictures would be appreciated.