French-Canadian priest John Baptiste Abraham Brouillet, a Québéçoise, came to the Walla Walla Valley in September, 1847, just a few weeks before the incident at Whitman Mission. He established his own mission about 25 miles south of the Whitmans shortly after he arrived. Although Father Brouillet and Marcus Whitman had some disagreements when Catholic priests first came to the valley, they nevertheless developed a friendship.
Brouillet was on his way to Whitman Mission to verify a rumor of a terrible occurrence and found the Whitman’s bodies, along with eleven others killed on the scene. A handful of Indian warriors responsible for the slayings were still present. When he arrived, Joseph Stanfield, a Métis, was preparing the bodies for burial and Brouillet helped inter them. Brouillet also helped arrange the release of 60 captives taken at the Mission.
Father Brouillet went on to become a pioneer figure in Walla Walla’s Catholic institutions, purchasing the land for St. Vincent’s Academy in 1863, and founding Saint Patrick’s School for boys in 1865. He also founded Des La Salles school for boys, that later became Desales High School.
Father Brouillet is portrayed by ski instructor, woodworker, and retired teacher, Jeannot Poirot.