THE FRANCK BROTHERS (Frederick & Ignatz) pioneer settlers of French Gulch, and leading mine-owners and merchants, are natives of Mannheim, Baden, Germany. Their ancestors were Germans and their father was a soap manufacturer of that country.
The older brother, Frederick Franck, was born January 15, 1826. He was educated in his native town and there learned the trade of lock-making. In 1846 he emigrated to New York, and from there went to St. Louis and worked at his trade four years. In 1850 he started with a mule team across the plains for California, the land of gold. They came to Sacramento by the way of Ringgold, and on the last part of the journey suffered much for want of food, and were greatly reduced. While recovering strength at Sacramento he worked at his trade for two months. He then started for the mines at Salmon River and mined there all winter, then went to Whiskytown and worked in the mines successfully until the following spring. In 1852 he came to French Gulch and mined until September, 1853. Having made a good stake he returned to St. Louis and spent the winter, coming back to California across the plains. In 1854 he opened a store at Dutch Gulch, -- minersí supplies and general merchandise. After being there a short time he removed to French Gulch and continued the same business until 1856, when his store burned and he met with a heavy loss. His brother had joined him, and they built their present store building, a fire-proof one, in 1867. They are also interested in a ranch on which they raise fruit, clover, potatoes and vegetables.
Frederick Franck was married in 1854, to Miss Elizabeth Garecht, a native of Germany. They have had twelve children, all born at French Gulch. Those living are Fritz William, John C., Henry, Louise, William, Gustave, Julia, Lena, Eliza and Mary.
Ignatz Franck, the younger brother, was born July 12, 1831. He was educated and learned the carpentersí trade in his native land, and came to the United States in 1846. He worked at his trade in St. Louis until 1852, when he came to California and mined on Feather River. After a short time spent in mining, he engaged in an enterprise to turn the river, and lost all he had. Then he came to French Gulch and engaged in mining, with good results. In 1860 he returned to Germany to visit his friends, remaining six months. After his return to California he engaged in quartz-mining with his brother. In their first venture they lost $2,000; but in his next, with his nephew, J. C., they made $3,000 a piece, and afterward sold the mine for $4,500. He then bought a mine in Deadwood, in connection with the McDonald Brothers, paying $1,100. This they still own. They have taken out $450,000, and they are still developing the mine.
Mr. Franck was married in 1870, to Mrs. Eliza Stark, a native of Germany. They have had six children, born in French Gulch, namely: Henry, George, Louise, Annie, Maggie and Clara. Mr. Franck has been a Republican since the organization of the party. He is an Odd Fellow, and has been Treasurer of his lodge for the past twenty-five years. The Franck Brothers are among the best known and most honorable and reliable men of Shasta County.
Source: Memorial & Biographical History of Northern
California, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1891
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler