Tiburcio Parrott was born in Mazatlan, Mexico, in 1840. His mother, a native of Mazatlan, was the mistress of his father, John Parrott, who was U.S. Consul in Mazatlan. Tiburcio was brought to the United States at the age of eleven to complete his education. He later studied at Stoneyhurst College in England. In 1862, after a short stint on Wall Street, New York, Tiburcio moved to San Francisco and started working for his father.
Tiburcio had an interest in the Rattlesnake Quicksilver Mining Company in Lake County. His mining interests brought Tiburcio frequently through the Napa Valley.
John Parrott died in 1884 and shortly thereafter his wife, Abby, bought an 800-acre property for Tiburcio just northwest of St. Helena. At the time the property was a barren waste of rock and bushes, though a century earlier it had supported a large encampment of Native Americans, the people who came to be called the wappo by Spanish settlers.