Immigrant stories shared at museum


Fort Walla Walla Musuem

755 Myra Road, Walla Walla

Fort Walla Walla Musuem

WALLA WALLA — Fort Walla Walla Museum Living History portrayals this weekend include James McAuliff, as told by Clark Colahan, on Saturday, and Charles Tung, detailed by Galen Tom, on Sunday. Performances start at 2 p.m.

Born in Malta in 1828 to Irish parents, James McAuliff was an Irish-American veteran of the war with Mexico in the late 1840s.

He traveled with his regiment to a number of states, then, for valor and “gallant services shown on the field” during the 1855 Battle of Walla Walla, he was promoted to captain in the Oregon Volunteers.

A successful merchant, farmer and sawmill owner, he was elected mayor of Walla Walla 11 times and became known as one of the town’s most-beloved citizens.

McAuliff often played his fife as he led parades in Walla Walla.

In the years surrounding vigilante activity in Walla Walla, he served as sheriff and as a member of the Territorial Legislature.

Galen Tom’s story about Tung gives an additional view of immigration to this area.

Tung rose above prejudices to become a community leader.

He was born in San Francisco and moved to Walla Walla in 1880.

Fluent in both English and Chinese, Tung often translated for local Chinese people.

Walla Walla was no different than many communities in the United States in the late 1800s, which placed harsh restrictions on its Chinese population.

Tung’s accounts are filled with a perspective from those difficult days.

He owned Kwong Chung Sing Company, importing Chinese silk, porcelain and tea to Walla Walla.

He was secretary-treasurer of the Chinese-operated Pacific Enterprise Corporation that built a two-story structure at Fifth Avenue and Rose Street in 1911.

In 1930, Tung departed the United States for China to enroll his daughter in Chinese schools, and did not return until 1939 because of the war there.

While in China, he operated a bank in Canton Province.

Both Living History Company re-enactors encourage audience participation and questions.

Fort Walla Walla Museum is at 755 Myra Road, and is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Admission is free for members and children under 6; $3 children 6-12; $6 seniors and students; and $7 adults.

For more information visit or call 509-525-7703.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in