Monday, November 15, 2010

A follow up note on Marie Dorion

As I noted in the previous blog on Marie Dorion, after she survived the winter in the Blue Mountains she spent time at Fort Okanogan and Fort Walla Walla. These forts were not military forts. They were fur trading posts set up by the Hudson Bay Company for trading purposes and as centers of operation. She lived at these posts from 1814 to 1840.

Which got me wondering if she or her two sons had encountered David Douglas, the English naturalist who visited the Pacific Northwest in the mid 1820s and spent time at both forts. David Douglas' name covers lots of Washington's landscape as the Douglas fir bears his name. I found one reference to Toupin, Marie's third husband. Douglas had traveled with Toupin and several other Hudson Bay Company members to the Clearwater and Snake River junction east of Walla Walla. Toupin was an interpreter. He apparently got in a heated dispute with a Nez Perce chief and according to Douglas "the poor man of language had a handful of his long jet hair torn out by the roots". Toupin survived the encounter and he and Marie moved to the Willamette Valley in 1840. Being very early settlers there, they would have been of great assistance to all new comers.

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