The Living History Company at Fort Walla Walla Museum is in its 20th year and planning another full season for 2018. 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.
Full schedule forthcoming.
Walla Walla in the 1860s was a boom town with a wide range of adventures available – vigilantes, rough and tumble fights, midnight hangings, and many people stopping for supplies as they passed through on their way to the gold fields in Idaho's Orofino and Boise Basin. E.B. Whitman, first mayor of Walla Walla, can tell you of those times. After marrying and having two sons in Boston, Whitman left for California to seek his fortune in the gold fields in 1850. Twelve years later, he reunited with Maria in Walla Walla, where his cousin Marcus had lived. He was elected several times as mayor of Walla Walla and was prominent in the community throughout the rough and violent times of the mid-1860s. Over the years he served as sheriff, justice of the peace, and clerk of the school board, as well as in other positions.
E.B.Whitman, true to his public-spirited character, is restored to life by local attorney and civic activist Daniel Clark.
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.
Charles W. Phillips, portrayed by his grandson Dick Phillips, will be talking about his involvement with the conception of two major Walla Walla parks. His interest in flora and landscaping was instilled in him by his mother, whose roses and beautiful yard were commented on in the August 31, 1866 Walla Walla Statesman. The City and Dreamland Parks (now Pioneer and Jefferson
Parks, respectively) are still an integral part of the tapestry of this area.
In 1862 Mrs. Whitman came to Walla Walla to join her husband E.B. Whitman, who had been recently elected as the city’s first mayor. She was born in Portland, Maine, in 1828, the daughter of a lawyer, and was educated in the Boston area where she met her future husband. The couple married and had two sons. In 1850 Mr. Whitman traveled west to seek his fortune in the California gold fields. Mrs. Whitman remained in Boston to raise her children until E. B. had chosen a new location for the family. After 12 years, the couple reunited in Walla Walla where they were active in civic affairs and resided for the rest of their lives. Mrs. Whitman will share music of her time with Museum visitors.
James McAuliff came to the Walla Walla valley at the end of the Mexican-American war. For valor shown in the 1855 Battle of Walla Walla, he was promoted to the rank of captain in the Oregon Volunteers. A successful merchant, farmer, and sawmill owner, he was elected mayor eleven times and became known as the town's most beloved citizen. In the years surrounding the vigilante activity in Walla Walla, he served as sheriff and member of the territorial legislature.
James McAuliff is portrayed by Clark Colahan.
Sebastian Colon came to Walla Walla around 1872, one of the earliest Hispanic settlers to arrive in the valley. Born in Spain around 1831, Colon worked in the placer mines of California before coming to Walla Walla. Here he worked as a freight packer moving mail between Boise, Idaho, and Walla Walla. Later Colon opened a restaurant and was eventually nicknamed the “Tamale King of Walla Walla.”
Sebastian Colon is portrayed by Victor Trejo.
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.
Rev. James H. Wilbur was a pioneer Methodist preacher, teacher, and Indian agent. “Father Wilbur,” as he was most often called, will focus on his 22 years of work on the Yakama Indian Reservation at Ft. Simcoe. Originally assigned and hired by the Indian agent to begin a school there, he twice complained in person to President Lincoln about treatment of tribal members by Indian agents and their cronies. During his second visit to Washington, D.C. in 1864, Lincoln appointed him Indian agent, a role he kept for most of the next eighteen years.
Wilbur’s presentation will reflect on more recent news he has learned from a conversation with a professor of cultural anthropology – a field that did not exist in Wilbur’s time. He has also learned of an official apology written two decades ago by church leaders, which acknowledged damage done by missionaries in destroying tribal cultures.
James Wilbur is portrayed by Chuck Hindman.
Jake Klicker came from Buffalo, NY to Sprague, Washington Territory while working for the Northern Pacific Railroad from 1872–1882. Jake arrived in Walla Walla that same year. In his spare time, he and his brothers homesteaded what would later be called Klicker Mountain. He married Almina Ross Garland in 1893 and opened a hotel and bottling works. Almina began raising strawberries, which is still in operation to this day. Jake and Almina’s ventures are somewhat typical of families setting out to make a living in the frontier west.
Jake Klicker is portrayed by Ron Klicker.
Pioneer missionaries Cushing and Myra Eells arrived in the Valley in 1838. They settled among the Spokane Indians until the tragedy at the Whitman's mission in 1847, when they moved to the Willamette Valley.
They returned to the Walla Walla Valley at the close of the Indian wars in 1859 to reclaim the mission grounds at Waiilatpu, the Whitman Mission site. There, Cushing decided to found an educational institution, the Whitman Seminary. In 1883 it became Whitman College as a result of the Eells efforts that continued throughout their lives.
Reverend Eells is portrayed by Whitman College Professor of Rogers Miles.