“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Walla Walla in Walla Walla County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)


Frenchtown Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2020
1. Frenchtown Marker
Inscription.  Fur traders began coming to this area after the 1804-06 Lewis & Clark Expedition. In 1818, the Canadian Northwest Company established Fort Nez Perce, the first trading post in this area, near the confluence of the Walla Walla and Columbia rivers with the permission of Walla Walla leader Tamatappam. In 1821, the post became the Hudson's Bay Company when the two fur companies merged. Later it was known as Fort Walla Walla, different from the more recent military fort at the town of Walla Walla. The early Hudson's Bay Company employees with their wives, most from local tribes, began to build cabins and establish frams in this valley in 1823-1824.

Frenchtown was a collection of French-Canadian log cabins scattered among Indian camps, beginning west of present-day Lowden and extending almost to today's Walla Walla. It could be said that Frenchtown's Main Street was the Walla Walla River.
In 1836, when American missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman established their mission two miles east of here, there were already around a dozens of French-Canadian families occupying log cabins and farms in the area. One of these early settlers.
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Louis Tellier, was hired by the Whitmans as a millwright. By 1847 there were over 50 Metis, or mixed blood, families living along the Walla Walla River and nearby Mill Creek, Pine Creek, Dry Creek, and Mud Creek.
During the Yakama War in 1855, nearly all Frenchtown residents were forced to leave, but some returned along with other French and Métis families at the war's end, including an 1859 influx motivated by mining prospects in Idaho. In 1863, a Catholic chapel that was burned during the war was rebuilt and moved here, and a new cemetery was established along the river. Around 1870, a log schoolhouse was built nearby, and in 1876 the Saint Rose of Lima Mission and the final cemetery was established here in the heart of historic Frenchtown.
Erected by Tamastslikt Cultural Institute.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 46° 3.049′ N, 118° 30.513′ W. Marker is in Walla Walla, Washington, in Walla Walla County. Marker can be reached from Old Highway 12 near U.S. 12. The marker is located at the top of the hill in Frenchtown Historic District, near the St. Rose Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8174 Old Highway 12, Walla Walla WA 99362, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this
Frenchtown Marker, map detail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2020
2. Frenchtown Marker, map detail
General idea of Frenchtown area 1872 as remembered by Thomas Bergevin (1866-1958).
marker. Local Tribes (here, next to this marker); The Battle of Walla Walla (here, next to this marker); Saint Rose Mission (here, next to this marker); Welcome to the Prince's Cabin (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hudson's Bay Company (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Prince (approx. 0.2 miles away); French-Canadian Cabin Design (approx. 0.2 miles away); St. Rose Mission (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Walla Walla.
Also see . . .
1. History of Frenchtown -- Frenchtown Historic Foundation. (Submitted on October 27, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
2. Walla Walla Frenchtown is established about 1824. -- History Link. Frenchtown is a general designation used throughout North America for locations characterized by the early settlement of people of French extraction. Frenchtowns are often associated with early fur-trading posts, especially those of the Hudson's Bay Company, but are typically located at some distance from the posts. (Submitted on October 27, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
Frenchtown Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2020
3. Frenchtown Marker
St. Rose Cemetery in the background.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 27, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 184 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 27, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Jun. 2, 2023