John Syme was born in Kirriemuir, Forforshire, Scotland, June 3, 1820. In 1848, he moved to Quebec and in November, 1849, he embarked on the four month long voyage around the Horn to San Francisco.
He first worked on the docks in San Francisco and for a short time he worked in Humboldt County under contract to get out piles for the wharves in San Francisco.
He began his mining experiences in the Spring of 1851 when he went to Eldorado County and built the first five-stamp quartz mill in California. John was trained in scotland, as a carpenter and his engineering skill was a great asset in building the stamp mills.
In the Fall of 1851, he sold his interests in Eldorado and went to Shasta County. He formed a partnership with John Souter and they discovered the Franklin and Washington mines near French Gulch. He designed and built a quartz mill at each.
Julia parker was born in boston, September 19, 1844. She was the fifth of eight children born to Ann and John Parker. They had come from Ayreshire, Scotland, and then to Boston. When Julia started school in Oakham, a small community west of Boston, she wanted a middle name like the other students so, she called herself, Julia Bostonian Parker.
In 1866, John and Ann brought Julia and their youngest son, William, across the continent by train and covered wagon to join their other children in Shasta County. They lived with their daughter Agnes and her family at Piety Hill (Igo).
Julia became the first teacher at Eagle Creek (Ono) probably commuting
from the family home at Igo on horseback. A year later, she replaced her
sister, Maria, as teacher at French Gulch.
November 16, 1868, John Syme and Julia Parker were married at Piety Hill by Judge C.C. Bush. They bought the home of Henry A. Sweet which still stands on the main street of French Gulch. There, their seven children were born.
|William James||1873-1931||auto mechanic in San Francisco|
|Helen Annie||1875-1943||private Secretary to State Attorney General|
|Maria (Myra)||1877-1962||private Secretary to President of General Petroleum|
|Mary Isabelle||1880- 1957||married Dolles Garvin|
|Jean Agnes||1883-1962||married James Stevens Fuller|
John became a citizen September 20, 1856. He was a charter member of Western Star Lodge F & A M and a member of French Gulch Lodge #75 I.O.O.F.
Though he became quite deaf from the pounding noise of the mills, John worked at mining and milling in the French Gulch area all his life. He died at home at French Gulch on, February 15, 1907.
Like her father, Julia was active in the community -teaching, nursing, organizing, church services and funerals, theatrical productions and social events. After John's death she was still active but only in the summer when she lived in the family home with her daughter, Mary, and the Garvin family, winters she spent with daughters, Helen and Myra, who had gone to San Francisco in the 1890's to become "lady typewriters". She stayed with them most of the last five years of her life. She died in San Francisco in 1925.
Source: Shasta Historical Society