The Living History Company at Fort Walla Walla Museum is in its 19th year and is planning another full season for 2017. Organized in 1998 by Walla Walla City Council member Barbara Clark and her husband Dan, the company has grown from about a dozen authentic characters out of 1800s Walla Walla to over fifty. The goal of the company is to bring to life the exhibits at the museum with live presentations every week from April through October, telling visitors dramatic stories about the lives of a variety of Walla Wallans and the issues of their day, and allowing visitors to question the characters about their lives and times.
This year’s schedule continues the company’s tradition of 2 pm presentations every Sunday from April through October, and also on Saturdays from June through August.
William was an ambitious, diligent and resourceful man and never let tragedy or setbacks keep him from his ultimate goal of prosperity. His saga begins in England and winds through Boston, San Francisco, Idaho, British Columbia, Australia, Hawaii, Seattle, and finally Walla Walla. Though he ultimately achieved his goals of a beautiful family and accumulating wealth and respect, it was a difficult road with many triumphs and misfortunes.
William Kirkman is portrayed by long-time Kirkman House board member Rick Tuttle.
Suzanne Cayouse Dauphin was born in 1825 in the land of the Cayuse, one of this region’s homeland tribes. In 1840 she married Mathieu Dauphin, a free trapper of St. Louis, Missouri. Mathieu and Suzanne traveled to Fort Hall in Utah Territory (near present day Pocatello, Idaho). The first two of their seven children were born there. Subsequent travels took them to the California gold fields in the Yuba River area and French Prairie on Pudding River near Gervais, in Wasco County, Oregon, before finally homesteading near Frenchtown, a French Metís community located just west of Walla Walla. Their 160 acre donation claim encompassed the present town of Lowden. Mathieu died in 1867 and was buried north of the family home on their land claim. Upon his death, Suzanne became one of the first Indian land title holders in the Northwest. Suzanne died in 1876 and was buried in St. Rose of Lima cemetery at Frenchtown.
Suzanne Cayouse Daupin is portrayed by Judith Fortney.
Pierre Chrysologue Pambrun was born at L’Islet, Quebec on 17 December 1792. He served the Canadian (British) Voltigeurs (Light Calvary) as a Lieutenant in the War of 1812 before joining the Hudson’s Bay Company as a clerk in 1815. In 1816 Pierre was captured by the bois-brûles (Northwest Company employees) at the Seven Oaks Massacre at Red River (Winnipeg, Manitoba). He spent two years in Montreal and London, testifying in court proceedings brought by the Hudson’s Bay Company to recover damages. Pierre first crossed the Rocky Mountains in 1823, to New Caledonia, now British Columbia. Pierre married Catherine Umfreville in 1838 at Fort Vancouver on the lower Columbia River.
Pierre and Catherine met Marcus and Narcissa Whitman in 1836 at Fort Nez Perce and accompanied them down the Columbia to Fort Vancouver. In 1841, while riding along the Walla Walla River to check his gardens and presumably to visit the Whitmans, Pierre was impaled on the saddle horn of his bucking horse at what is now Nine-Mile Ranch. He was attended by Marcus Whitman and died six days later.
Pierre is portrayed by his great, great grandson, Sam Pambrun, local historian, teacher and past president of the Umatilla Historical Society.
Members of the Living History company lead a tour from McCool Cemetery to the Poor House Cemetery to Fort Walla Walla Cemetery.
Perspective is a significant reason behind the study of history and the existence of museums. Knowing what the past gave to the present and how people of the past dealt with problems is critical to making informed decisions about the future. Join our full Living History company as they present “A 19th Century Party! Looking Forward from the Past.” This is the last Living History performance of the season.
Are you interested in sponsoring this program? Contact the Museum to find out how!