Etcetera - 11/28/11

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Time and again, Fort Walla Walla Museum visitors asked personnel for more historical data about the old fort. It was among the things most requested by visitors.

A project undertaken by the museum to meet this demand is nearing fruition with the publication of "An Illustrated History of Fort Walla Walla."

James Payne, museum director, and Laura Schult, collections manager teamed to produce the 64-page book, which includes Capt. F.H. Pope's 1908 "History of the Fort," said Paul Franzmann, communications manager. James and Laura weren't alone in its production, however. Warren Rood undertook its layout, and Elaine Prentice and Celia Andrews proofread and edited it.

Funding came from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and other regional sources.

The story of the military's presence in the region will be available in early December, Paul said in a release. The book includes the arrival of Lewis and Clark in 1805, continues through the fur trade era, missionary period and the Army post's existence until its official abandonment in 1910 and brief re-opening in 1917, he said. The book also features historical images, drawings and artifacts. Copies are expected in the museum store in early December. The cost is $18.95. Pre-publication copies may be ordered at $13.95 at the store, 755 Myra Road. For additional details, call 525-7703.

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Sacajawea is widely known for her role in the Lewis and Clark expedition when it crossed the wilds from the Midwest to the Pacific Ocean. Not as famous, however, is Marie Dorion, an Iowa Indian who guided the second venture in 1811-12, led by Wilson Price Hunt.

Larry Widner spoke about Marie's contributions during his presentation to the Milton-Freewater Rotary Club.

His reference was "Marie Dorion, The Trail of the Pioneers," compiled by Harry Ringhand and published by The Valley Herald, Inc. in 1971.

Then 21 and the mother of two children, Marie led the expedition, which passed through this area en route to the coast. She died at 64 and is buried in Gervais, Ore.

The book names many of the party and some of the people whose names are familiar in the Walla Walla Valley. "As the presentation progressed, members of the club added their historical knowledge of the people who were named in the story and linked them to local family names we hear frequently," said Robby Robbins, the club's reporter. For more information, contact Larry at 541-938-5518. For more about Rotary, contact Robby at robby@valint.net.

Marie Dorion Park on the Walla Walla River is named in her honor, as is Madame Dorion Memorial Park at the junction of Washington State Highway 12 and Highway 730, where the Walla Walla and Columbia rivers converge.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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