Walla Walla Settlements

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WALLA WALLA SETTLEMENTS began in July 1818 when the North West Fur Company established an Indian trading post, Fort Nez Perce, later Fort Walla Walla, on the east bank of the Columbia River at its junction with the Walla Walla River. Waiilatpu, the mission of Marcus Whitman, built in October 1843, twenty miles up the river from the post, was the next white settlement. Although Whitman, his family, and twelve other missionary residents were massacred in a Cayuse raid in 1847, a new settlement of French-Canadians and Indians sprang up nearby, known as Whitman, or French Town.

A few white families had settled in the Walla Walla Valley by 1855, at the time of the Indian uprising in eastern Washington, but these families were ordered out by the U.S. Indian agent and Fort Nez Perce was closed. A new Fort Walla Walla, a U.S. military post, was erected in November 1856, about twenty-eight miles up the river (on the site of the present city of Walla Walla).

The Washington territorial legislature created Walla Walla County in 1854. By 1859, with the end of the Yakima Indian Wars, 2,000 white settlers lived in the valley. In 1862 the city of Walla Walla was incorporated, and in the early 1870s a railroad was completed connecting it to the town of Wallula at the mouth of Walla Walla River. These towns prospered during the gold rushes in eastern Oregon and western Idaho, beginning in 1860.


Daugherty, James H. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman: Pioneers of Oregon. New York: Viking Press, 1953.

Jeffrey, Julie Roy. Converting the West: A Biography of Narcissa Whitman. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

Miller, Christopher L. Prophetic Worlds: Indians and Whites on the Columbia Plateau. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1985.

R. C.Clark/a. r.

See alsoColumbia River Exploration and Settlement ; Indian Missions ; Indian Trade and Traders ; Indian Treaties ; Oregon Trail ; Washington, State of .

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Walla Walla

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