Missionary to be portrayed at Museum

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WALLA WALLA -- Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road, will hold a Living History Company presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday. Catholic missionary Father Eugene Chirouse will be portrayed.

Chirouse, from France, arrived at Fort Walla Walla on Oct. 5, 1847, with Pascal Ricard and four missionary Oblates. It was a perilous time.

On Nov. 29, 1847, Dr. Marcus Whitman, wife Narcissa and 12 others were killed by members of the Cayuse tribe. A number of others were taken as prisoners. The Catholic fathers and missionaries were called upon to be peacemakers.

Amidst the turmoil, Chirouse and another Oblate were ordained on Jan. 2, 1848,the first ordination in what is now Washington state.

During the 1850s, settlers began populating the Walla Walla territory. Walla Walla County was formed April 25, 1854. Chirouse ministered to the Catholics. Among the arrivals to the territory were miners and soldiers. Many were suspicious of the priest's closeness to the tribes, while the tribes suspected that the priests and new settlers were allies. The priests attempted to be the peacemakers.

In 1853, Chirouse founded the St. Rose of the Cayouse mission at the mouth of Yellowhawk Creek. He met with Gov. Isaac Stevens as Stevens travelled eastto assume his duties in Olympia.Chirouse was also present at the Walla Walla Treaty Council of 1855.

During the Indian Wars in 1856, he was transferred to the Puget Sound area, where he lived and worked for most of the rest of his life. He died in British Columbia, Canada, in 1892.

Chirouse is portrayed by Jean-Paul Grimaud, owner of Blue Mountain Lavender Farm.

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 free for those under 6. For more information, call 525-7703, or visit www.fortwallawallamuseum.org.

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