Monthly Archives: July 2017

Third Tuesday Event Focuses on the French Canadian Influence in Union County

Why is Ramo Flat called Ramo? Who was Mose Lore? Was Nelson Murray born in Canada as Narcisse Morais? The answers to these questions will be revealed when the Union County Museum continues their Third Tuesday event, July 18, 7 p.m., in the Little White Church across Main Street from the museum, in Union.

At the end of the 18th century, the big fur trade companies – Northwest Company, Hudson Bay Company – built trade forts throughout northwestern North America, from Vancouver on the Columbia up to the 60th parallel in what is now British Columbia. These companies employed French Canadian voyageurs as guides and river men. When the fur trade ended, these men stayed in the Northwest. Many married Native American women and settled in communities near the former trading posts.

In the 1860s and 1870s, some of the French-Canadian settlers – trappers, carpenters, gamblers, horsemen, blacksmiths, farmers, and saloon keepers, many with their wives and children, came to Catherine Creek. They came from French Prairie in Marion County, from the Red River settlement in Manitoba, and from Frenchtown in Walla Walla. Almost all were born in Canada; almost none came here directly from Canada.

The Union County Museum invites you to discover the French Canadian settlement of Union – how it came to be, how it was connected to the other Frenchtowns of the northwest, and how it was written out of history.

Presenter Sarah Hurlburt is an associate professor of French at Whitman College and the secretary of the Frenchtown Historical Foundation in Walla Walla, WA. Her research specializes in the French-Canadian communities of the northwestern United States in the 19th century.

John Sheehy, a board member of the Union County Museum Society, grew up hearing stories about the old French Canadians in High Valley. He has been researching the French Canadian community of Catherine Creek since 2012 and contributed to this presentation.

Do you have an area of expertise you would like to share, concerning the area’s social, geological or cultural history? If so, please contact John Sheehy, 541.805.1001, to talk about your speaking experience and topic of choice. The next Third Tuesday takes place August 15.