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Living History: Isabella Kirkman, Irish Immigrant and Society Maven

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

Meet Isabella Potts Kirkman, the girl who grew up on a flax farm in Ballybay, Ireland and traveled to America to join her sisters in California. Was she an indentured servant? A mail order bride? Isabella will tell all: her humble origins in Ireland, her journey to the New World — even a family scandal! In 1867, she married William Kirkman — the cattleman, farmer and entrepreneur. She’ll share her struggles in the rough and tumble mining towns of Idaho, where William continued his interest in the cattle business until they moved to Walla Walla. Isabella will recount incidents of her life as a society matron here, where with the help of her Chinese domestic, she and William raised their children and entertained the Who’s Who of Walla Walla. Her home is now known as Kirkman House Museum, an elegant brick home built in the Italianate Victorian style.

Isabella Kirkman is portrayed by Kirkman House Board Member Susan Monahan.

A Living History performance at Fort Walla Walla Museum brings history to life with reenactors portraying real people from the area's past. This year’s schedule continues the company’s tradition of 2 pm presentations every Sunday from April through October, and also on Saturdays from June through August.

Earlier Event: May 18
Annual Big Blue Boosters Auction
Later Event: May 22
Wine & Jazz Wednesdays