The Pellissier House Museum, Bethulie

The Rev Jean Pierre Pellissier (1808-67), of the newly created Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, arrived in the Cape in 1831. He stayed in Wellington to learn Dutch, and then moved further north to Bethulie. His house was built in 1834-35 by C Gosselin, a craftsman with the Society, and it is now one of the oldest buildings in the Free State.

The Pellissier House Museum
The Pellissier House Museum

The London Mission Society had previous tried to establish a church in this area, working with the local San Bushmen, but were unsuccessful and their buildings and land were transferred to the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society. The Rev Pellissier was firstly a missionary, but he also worked to educate the local people, and to teach them about healthcare. There was at one time an accusation against him, unproven, of adultery which must have set tongues wagging in the small settlement! The house is now a Museum, managed by local people.

Rev Pellissier as a young man (https://pathfinda.com/en/bethulie/activities-entertainment/pellissier-house-museum/122)
Rev Pellissier as a young man (https://pathfinda.com/en/bethulie/activities-entertainment/pellissier-house-museum/122)
The Pellissier House facing the garden
The Pellissier House facing the garden
The Pellissier House porch facing the road
The Pellissier House porch facing the road

The Rev Pellissier married Martha Thorpe Murray (1814-87) who was born in Dublin and emigrated to South Africa with her parents and siblings as part of Parker’s Party of 1820 Settlers. The Pellissiers had nine children, four of whom died as young children or babies and are buried with their parents in the private cemetery behind the house. It is sad to see that three of the four children were under 16 months – in remote settlements like Bethulie so many children must have died young.

The graves of Rev Pellissier and his wife behind the house
The graves of Rev Pellissier and his wife behind the house

You may be interested in
The Pellissier House Museum
Martha Murray
Ds Jean Pierre Pellissier
Bethulie & The Gariep Route
10 Things to do in the Gariep

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s