Frenchtown e-newsletter no. 1

We’re new to the online newsletter business, and we’d welcome your feedback. Let Toni Jones know if you have comments or ideas. Stay tuned for tips about archives and exhibits, Frenchtown family histories, book reviews, and updates about the events and work of the Frenchtown Foundation.

In this Issue

La boîte à recettes: Tourtièr

Letter from a Newbie

Blue Mountain Community Foundation Matching Campaign

There are many ways to explore and experience the past. As the days get shorter, why not try cooking? Tourtière, or meat pie, is a traditional holiday dish in French Canada. Note the use of cinnamon and nutmeg, normally found only in sweet dishes in American cooking. This recipe makes two pies, one for you and one for your matante.*

I have prepared this dish twice now. The first time, I was so very surprised to love the cinnamon and savory mix. I made hand pies and shared with no one. Each day they tasted better. Then I made the large pie and decided I must share. Was I crazy to love this new flavor combination so much? Was it in my genetics to love it? My dinner guest, of non-French-Canadian descent, ate three helpings. Give it a try. I know I’ll be making more. 


  • 2 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 1/2 c cold water
  • 1 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 c finely chopped celery
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried savory
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt
  • 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Pastry for two double-crust 9-inch pies
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • In a large, heavy frying pan, combine pork with cold water and heat to boiling point. It should be slightly soupy. 
  • Add onion, celery, pepper, bay leaf, savory, rosemary, nutmeg and cinnamon. 
  • Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 1 1/4 hours; stir often. Add more water if necessary to keep mixture moist. Halfway through cooking time, season with salt to taste.
  • Stir in rolled oats and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bay leaf and allow mixture to cool. Setting the entire pot in the snow bank speeds up this process!
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Line two 9-inch pie plates with pastry. When meat mixture is lukewarm, divide it evenly between the two pie shells.
  • Brush around outer edge of pastry with the beaten egg. Place top crust on the tart and press gently around the edge to seal. Trim pastry, crimp edges and cut steam vents in top crust. Decorate as desired.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375°F and bake another 25 minutes or until crust is golden.

Nutrition: Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1.9mg

*matante: a Quebec term referring to an aunt or female relative.

Letter from a Newbie told me my great-great-great grandparents were Mathew and Suzanne Duffy. told me who they were.

Connecting with Frenchtown has led me to my cousins, Sam Pambrun and Judy Fortney. Judy told me my great grandfather, Treffle Sears, was called The Big Sioux, and Sam spent an entire day showing me many places where my ancestors lived their lives. He has shared dozens of amazing family stories with me. I have information and family beyond my wildest dreams. I am grateful for the many hours of toil, sweat and, no doubt, tears, that have gone into creating this tangible and intangible connection to our shared family histories.

When I read Sarah’s article in the last Frenchtown News newsletter about the challenges facing the foundation, I was very, very much caught off guard and very, very much saddened.

So, yes,, it would deeply matter to me if the Frenchtown Historical Foundation ceased to exist. It matters enough for me to donate my time to producing this newsletter, champion the cause for donations. and become an active member of this group who have accomplished so much in raising awareness of Frenchtown history and the contributions of our ancestors to our communities.

I look forward to many new friends and conversations.


Nov 30: Blue Mountain Community Foundation Matching Funds Campaign Launch

The Valley Giving Guide is a year-end fundraising event sponsored by the Blue Mountain Community Foundation to bring donations and attention to the many incredible non-profit organizations working in our region. This is the second year that the Frenchtown Historical Foundation has participated. Toni and Judy and Sarah have also benefited from free training sessions on marketing and campaign management for board members–another amazing benefit! 

We’ll be sharing more information about the campaign, and about prizes (a bottle of Pambrun Chrysologue) and raffles (an ivory Chief Joseph Pendleton blanket) you can win by participating.

Coming soon:

2021 Frenchtown Rendezvous Report

Chuck Sams III, Frenchtown descendant and nominee for Director of National Parks

Planting Seeds: native grasses at the Frenchtown site

Sneak Peek: Sam Pambrun and Toni Jones 

Next month’s recipe: Butter pie 

Frenchtown Rendezvous 2021 is free!

The great outdoors is the best place to be in a pandemic. Rendezvous 2021 will be short, sweet, outdoors – and free!
It looked like Rendezvous 2021 was going to be yet another thing COVID took away. By midsummer it was clear that the pandemic wasn’t over, and wasn’t going to be over in time for an indoor event in September. So we’re switching things up a bit.For starters, we’re not going to charge any money.We’re also not going to serve food, so that’s probably a good thing.

Come out to the Frenchtown site to explore original and reproduction fur trade era artifacts presented by William McBean as played by Richard Monacelli. Bring your kids – they’ll get to handle the objects, ask questions and take pictures.

We’ll also be holding a silent auction–you can support Frenchtown and stock up your wine cellar at the same time! Wines by Dumas Station, Isenhower Cellars, Barons Winery, Pambrun wines, and many more. Please wear a mask in any situation where you are not able to practice social distancing.

When: September 25, 20212-4:30 pm (Silent Auction ends at 4:00)

Where?Frenchtown Historic Site8364 Old Highway 12, Walla Walla, WA