Tribes take ownership of historic battle site

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LOWDEN -- A portion of the site where Walla Walla County's first European settlement was located is under new ownership.

Under an agreement with the Frenchtown Historical Foundation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have taken possession of the lower portion of the property lying along the Walla Walla River near Lowden.

In a release, the foundation's board of directors said the agreement with the tribe was approved in late November.

The foundation will continue to develop interpretive facilities on the upper portion of the site surrounding the Frenchtown cemetery. The tribes and the foundation will also coordinate the administration of the site's upper and lower portions.

The settlement dates from 1823-1824 when French Canadian employees of the Hudson Bay Company's trading post at Wallula built cabins in the area a decade before the arrival of American missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.

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