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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Sacramento ranks among the rising young clergymen of the Sacramento diocese, whither he came by appointment immediately after he had been ordained to the holy priesthood in Rome. The family of which he is a member is noted for the scholarly attainments of its male representatives and for their devotion to the cause of the church. Out of a family of seven there are five now living, all of whom are men of conspicuous mental endowments and extraordinary intellectual attainments. The eldest. Rev. J. H. Ellis, is pastor of the church at Jackson, Amador county, this state. The third, T. H., is now a student in the Propaganda University in Rome, Italy. The fourth, Vincent C, is a student in the Catholic University at Dublin, Ireland. The youngest, James P., is a civil engineer of superior qualifications. The father, James Ellis, is himself a man of education and ability. During young manhood he had married Miss Anne Clyne, who died in Ireland in June of 1911, and who was a member of a distinguished Catholic family, one of her brothers, Father P. J. Clyne, who died in Grass Valley, Cal., having been long and successfully connected with the Sacramento diocese.

The county of Westmeath, at no great distance from the city of Dublin, Ireland, is the native home of Father Ellis, and July 24, 1881, the date of his birth. In young manhood he was sent to the national schools. Religious training, begun with his first instruction by his parents, was continued after the age of eleven years in the Christian Brothers college at Mullinger, where he completed the regular course of study, graduating in 1897. Immediately afterward he entered All Hallows' college in Dublin, where he took a course in philosophy. The four years of study in that institution were most helpful and profitable. With his graduation in 1901 he turned his steps toward Rome, where he studied theology at the Irish college and the Propaganda university and in 1904 was graduated with high honors. May 28 of the same year he was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood in the St. John Laleran Cathedral at Rome. Under an appointment to the Sacramento diocese he came to California, where he became assistant to Father L. Kennedy in St. Bernard's church at Eureka. From there he was transferred to Sacramento during December of 1909 as pastor of the parish of the Immaculate Conception. The first services he lield in a temporary edifice, which soon was enlarged. At this writing plans are in readiness for a Romanesque structure of brick, to have a (capacity of seven hundred persons. The parish property consists of one-half block, bought in 1909, and bounded by Orange, Sacramento, Thirty-second and Thirty-third streets. On the corner of Thirty-second street and Sacramento avenue he has erected an attractive parochial residence. Soon a parochial school will be added to the group of buildings, and these, upon the completion of the edifice, will give ample facilities for the training of children and the religious needs of the five hundred families comprising the parish. In the parish there are various organizations for the upbuilding of the church, including the Altar and Sanctuary societies. Children of Mary and the Holy Name society, all of which are proving most helpful as an aid to the pastor in his many responsibilities. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011