Black, a tall, powerful, raw-boned man with red hair, was 46-years old when he assumed job of master of the Walla Walla trading post. Gov. George Simpson wrote this about him in his Character Book: "The strangest man I ever met."
Black first came to North America from Scotland in about 1810. He worked for the North West Company until it merged with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821, and then as as a clerk for Hudson's Bay Company in Walla Walla. He was transferred to Fort Kamloops in British Columbia, Canada, in 1830.
He wrote a "vocabulary" of the Cayuse language that helped later efforts to revive the extinct language. Historians and anthropologists have found cultural and ethnographic information about regional American Indian people from his writings.
Fort Walla Walla Museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through October. 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, contact Fort Walla Walla Museum at 509-525-7703, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit fortwallawallamuseum.org.