SOOKE HISTORY: Descendants of a West Coast princess

The Parman family reunion in 1975. (Sooke Region Museum)

The Parman family reunion in 1975. (Sooke Region Museum)

Elida Peers | Contributed

This family photo taken in 1975 was a reunion celebration for the 38th anniversary of Byron Parman and his wife Hazel, descended from the West Coast princess Owechemis.

The story is that the young princess was given by her father, the chief, as a peace offering to stop the intertribal wars on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Eventually Owechemis was to marry Aaron Denton White, an immigrant settler from Britain who was a road foreman that helped build East Sooke Road.

The couple lived in East Sooke and later on, after she was widowed, Mrs. White, whose husband had called her Kitty, moved to live in a little cottage at the west end of Grant Road in Sooke.

The couple had four daughters and one son, and it was daughter Abba that was mother to Hazel (Hutchinson) Parman, pictured here seated second from left. In 1938 Hazel met and married Byron Parman, who worked for Elder Logging and later Butlers.

The Parman reunion took place at the home of daughter Janice Dunnett and husband Gerry, who lived right across from the Stickleback Eatery at Coopers Cove.

At rear left is the Parman’s youngest son Galen, who is married to Martha, and lives at Cedar. Next is Bill, who lives at Clearwater, then Rose Marie, who lives in High River Alta., next is Janice (passed away), then Claudette, married to Paul West; the couple lives at Cochrane, Alta,, then comes Richard who lives near Nanaimo. Next is Charles, married to Ruth; they live in Abbotsford.

Seated at left is Elaine McLean, who lives at Cedar, then Hazel Parman with logger husband Byron, followed by Audrey Goudie. Audrey, whose husband Wilbert Goudie has passed away, was happy to go over the updates about her siblings with me, when we visited at her home at the Sooke Legion’s Diamond Jubilee Housing.

Mama Parman was known to be such a warm-hearted lady that she gained a reputation for taking in strays and giving them a bed to sleep in – by strays, we mean whatever young fellows who might be in trouble and nervous about going home late at night, knew they could always rap on the Parman door and find refuge for the night.

It was this type of story that brought a lot of smiles when middle aged men told reminiscences at her memorial service held at the Sooke Legion in 2013.


Elida Peers is the Historian of the Sooke Region Museum.