Missionary, mayor's wife to be portrayed at museum


Two Living History portrayals are lined up this weekend at Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road.

Maria Greenwood Whitman will be portrayed by Barbara Clark at 2 p.m. Saturday. Whitman came to Walla Walla in 1862 to join her husband who had been recently elected as the city's first mayor. She was born in 1828 in Portland, Maine, and was the daughter of a lawyer. She was educated in the Boston area, where she met E.B. Whitman. They married and had two sons.

In 1850 E.B. Whitman traveled west to seek his fortune in the California gold fields. Maria Whitman remained in Boston to raise her children until her husband 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.

A Catholic missionary who became the first priest ordained in this region, Father Eugene Chirouse, will be portrayed by Jean-Paul Grimaud at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Chirouse was born May 8, 1821, in Bourge-de-Peage, France. He was one of five Missionary oblates to travel with Father Pascal Ricard from France on the 2,000 mile journey to Oregon Territory. The group arrived Oct. 5, 1847. Upon arrival, Fathers Ricard and Blanchet began building a mission. Chief Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox allowed them to build among the Walla Wallas, and a crude hut called St. Rose Mission was completed in October 1847 at the mouth of the Yakima River. Chirouse and Charles Pandosy were ordained on Jan. 2, 1848.

During the 1850s, settlers began to arrive and Fathers Chirouse and Pandosy ministered to the Catholics among them. In 1853, Father Chirouse founded the St. Rose of the Cayouse mission at the mouth of Yellowhawk Creek. He met with Gov. Isaac Stevens and was present at the Walla Walla Treaty Council of 1855 conducted by Stevens. At the end of 1856, he was transferred to the Puget Sound area. He died in 1892 in British Columbia, Canada.

Also on Sunday Tales o' the Trail, the museum's children's reading circle, will meet 1 p.m. in the conference room of the entry hall. The program features volunteers reading aloud age-appropriate books of regional historical interest to children ages 5-9. A craft activity is offered. The program lasts 30-45 minutes.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, through Oct. 31. Admission is free to members and children under 6, $3 for children ages 6-12, $6 for seniors 62 and older and students, and $7 general admission. Membership includes free admission to more than 40 Living History performances and other benefits, beginning at $25. For more information, contact Fort Walla Walla Museum at 509-525-7703 or e-mail info@fortwallawallamuseum.org. Online see fortwallawallamuseum.org.


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