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Living History Performance: Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, Fur Trade Legend

  • Fort Walla Walla Museum 755 Myra Road Walla Walla, WA, 99362 United States (map)

Jean Baptiste Charbonneau was the son of Sacagawea, of Shoshone and French-Canadian heritage. At 7 months old, he accompanied Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery to the Pacific in 1805. When the expedition returned the following summer, he was toddling and quickly becoming the expedition’s pompous “little dancing boy,” in William Clark’s words.

After the expedition, Clark adopted Charbonneau and took him to St. Louis, where he was educated in the finest European tradition. At 18, he accompanied Prince Paul Wilhelm to Germany and spent six years enjoying the royal lifestyle and becoming fluent in four languages.

Back in the American West in 1919, Charbonneau became an explorer and guide, a fur trapper and trader, a military scout, and gold prospector. At one time, he served as mayor of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, in what’s now Oceanside, California.

Jean Baptiste "Pomp" Charbonneau is portrayed by acclaimed first-person interpreter Garry Bush.

Earlier Event: August 4
Musical: Annie