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Living History: Sam Black, Hudson’s Bay Company Clerk

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

Sam Black was the master of Fort Nez Perce at the mouth of the Walla Walla River from 1825 to 1830. He was 46 years old when he assumed charge of the Walla Walla post. He first came to North America from Scotland around 1810 and eventually went to work for the North West Company.

When the Hudson’s Bay and North West Companies merged in 1821, changing the post’s name to Fort Walla Walla, Black was not immediately rehired. He was eventually brought back on as a clerk. Because of him, we have a “vocabulary” of the Cayuse language that was the beginning of all later efforts to revive an extinct language; historians and anthropologists also gleaned other cultural and ethnographic information about regional Indian people from Black’s writings.

Sam Black is portrayed by Tom Williams.

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: June 22
Downtown Farmers Market
Later Event: June 22
Wine Alley Passport