Seven Frenchtown figures to be portrayed Sunday

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A West Point graduate who helped survey a road crucial to settlement in the Northwest will be portrayed Saturday.

Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road presents Living History portrayals at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, Lt. John Mullan will be portrayed by Walla Walla businessman Ron Klicker on Saturday, at the pioneer settlement.

West Point graduate John Mullan was assigned to Isaac I. Stevens' survey party in Washington Territory exploring the country for a northern railway route to Puget Sound. In the winter of 1853-54, Stevens left Mullan in western Montana to mark a wagon and railroad route from Fort Benton at the headwaters of Missouri River to navigable waters on the Columbia River. The western terminus was the old Fort Hudson's Bay Company Fort Walla Walla near Wallula. This route became the Mullan Road.

The Mullan Road was the first wagon road to cross the Rockies and the first highway in the Northwest. Though it was frequently in such disrepair that only foot travelers and pack animals could follow its course, especially through the mountains, the road was instrumental in the development of the Inland Northwest.

On Sunday, seven people who were influential in the nearby community of Frenchtown will reunite at the museum and share their lives and views with visitors.

Frenchtown was located in the area roughly between Touchet and College Place where French-Canadians, often with their American Indian wives, settled after working for Hudson's Bay Company. The Frenchtown settlement began about 1823, and by the time Marcus and Narcissa Whitman arrived in 1836, numbered more than a dozen cabins. A plaque on the south side of Old Highway 12 commemorates the area; a cross and spire on the north side locates the former St. Rose of Lima Cemetery.

The performance will feature important figures from the history of Frenchtown. Interpreters may include Judith Fortney portraying Suzanne Cayouse Dauphin, Sam Pambrun as Hudson's Bay Company Post Factor Andrew Pambrun; Jeannot Poirot as Father J.B.A. Brouillet; Hudson's Bay Company Post Trader "William McBean;" Jean-Paul Grimaud as Father Eugene Chirouse; J.R. Lieuallen as A.P. Woodward; and Clark Colahan as Captain James McAuliff, who participated at the Battle of Frenchtown.

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. For more information, call 525-7703 or e-mail info@fortwallawallamuseum.org.

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