Living History players highlight Frenchtown

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Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road, will have Living History presentations 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, stage coach operator and miner John Abbott will be portrayed by Rod Hahn.

Abbott ran stage lines in the Willamette Valley until 1859 when he brought his Concord coach to Walla Walla and established the first stage line in the Walla Walla Valley. The line connected Walla Walla with the steamers on the Columbia River at Wallula. He also established a stage line from Walla Walla to the Boise gold fields and later went into farming and stock raising here.

On Sunday there will be a Frenchtown rendezvous, with Suzanne Cayouse Dauphin, Andrew Pambrun, William McBean, and Father J.B.A. Brouillet portrayed.

Frenchtown was located between Touchet and College Place where French-Canadians, often with their Indian wives, settled after working for the Hudson Bay Company trading post at Fort Nez Perce, later known as Fort Walla Walla. The Frenchtown settlement began about 1823. By the time the Whitmans arrived in 1836, it numbered more than a dozen cabins.

In December of 1855, following the Walla Walla Treaty Council in June, the four-day Battle of Frenchtown, also called the Battle of Walla Walla, took place in the area. The fighting resulted in the killing of Walla Walla Chief Peopeomoxmox while he was a hostage of the volunteers.

In 1876, the St. Rose of Lima Mission and cemetery were established on a portion of the battlefield nearby. Although the mission was later abandoned, the cemetery records show where approximately 60 French-Canadians and several Indian wives had been buried.

The ensemble features Rich Monacelli as Hudson Bay Chief Trader William McBean, Judith Fortney as Cayuse Indian woman Suzanne Cayouse Dauphin, Sam Pambrun as Hudson Bay Factor Andrew Pambrun, Jeannot Poirot as Father J.B.A. Brouillet and Clark Colohan as Captain James McAuliffe.

Following the Living History presentation, architect Jim Stenkamp and Frenchtown Historical Foundation members will present the draft master plan for the Frenchtown Historical Site being developed west of Frenchtown Road, and will lead a discussion on preservation efforts.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors 62 and up and students, $3 for children 6-12 and there is no charge for those under 6. For more information, call 525-7703 or visit www.fortwallawallamuseum.org.

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