Early pioneer women to be portrayed



Kristin Hair as Paul Kane.

The Living History Company of Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road, brings two pioneer portrayals to life this weekend.

At 2 p.m. Saturday in the Museum's pioneer settlement Harriet Hart Beach portrays her great-great-grandmother, Nancy Estes Wiseman. Nancy Wiseman was among the earliest pioneer women in the Walla Walla Valley, known for her strength and resilience. Born in Arkansas in 1842, at age 17 she married Jonathon "Tip" Wiseman. Their honeymoon was spent on a wagon train along the Oregon Trail headed for the Pacific Northwest. The couple had 11 children during their years together, all of whom survived. Their first son, William Nathan, was the first Euro-American male child born in the region. Her father, Thomas Estes, moved to the Walla Walla Valley from Arkansas shortly after, in 1860.

The Estes and Wiseman's stock farms were located first in the Dry Creek Valley northwest of Walla Walla before they moved to Eureka Flat. She will also speak about the early railroads in the area.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, artist Paul Kane will be portrayed by Kristen Hair. Born in Ireland in 1810, Kane's family emigrated to Canada. He was largely a self-taught artist. With the support of the Hudson's Bay Company, in the summer of 1847, Kane stopped at Hudson's Bay Company Fort Walla Walla on the Columbia River near the mouth of the Walla Walla River. He also briefly visited Whitman Mission, only months before the tragedy occurred there in 1847. Kane accompanied Marcus Whitman on a visit to the Cayuse people living nearby and drew a portrait of Tomahas, whom Kane called "To-ma-kus," the man who was named as Whitman's murderer. Kane's travel report noted that relations between the Cayuse and the mission' settlers were already tense during his visit in July. Kane produced more than 100 canvasses based on his sketches. Some of his work was displayed to critical acclaim at the World's Fair in Paris in 1855 and others were sent to Buckingham Palace for review by Queen Victoria in 1858.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 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.


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