Madame Marie Dorion - St. Louis, Oregon
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member ddtfamily
N 45° 07.366 W 122° 56.574
10T E 504490 N 4996590
Quick Description: Marker for a heroic Oregon Country Indian Guide
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 6/25/2013 4:19:06 AM
Waymark Code: WMHCXR
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 4

Long Description:
This historic marker, located on the northwest corner of the intersection of St. Louis Road and Manning Road, pays tribute to Marie Dorion, an American Indian woman who served as a guide and translator for the Astor Expedition to the Oregon Country.

Born about 1786, she was an Iowan Indian who as a teenager married Pierre Dorion, a French Canadian. Like Sacagawea six years earlier, she served as an interpreter to help guide a party of white explorers to the northwest, although her journey was longer and the difficulties encountered were more difficult. She is especially remembered for an act of heroism during the journey:

"In the cold of January 1814, she took a horse and her children and set off for her husband's camp. After three days of fighting through mountainous snow, she reached the campsite – only to find that her husband was dead. Giles LeClerc, who was badly wounded, told her that the three of them had been attacked that morning while working their traps. Pierre and Jacob Reznor did not survive.

Marie put Giles onto her horse with the two boys and began the frigid three-day journey to the main campsite – but had to stop when Giles’ condition worsened. Although she desperately tried to save him, he died. More horror greeted her back at the main camp: all the men there had been murdered, scalped, and dismembered. She was alone in the wildness with her little sons.

Gathering some food supplies, she loaded the boys onto the horse and headed west, away from enemy territory. For three months, Dorion and her children crossed deep snow in the Blue Mountains of what now is eastern Oregon and Washington. When they were near starvation, she killed and butchered her horse. The smoked meat kept the little family alive, while she used the horse’s hide and cedar boughs as shelter. When it appeared that spring had come, she and her sons again moved west – only to be caught by another blizzard. Finally, they arrived at the Columbia River and found refuge amongst the Walla Walla tribe. She and the little children had walked some 250 miles." -Source: Young and Brave: Girls Changing History

Marie ultimately settled in St. Louis, remarried and lived here until her death in 1850. A notable local mystery is connected with her remains.Upon her death in 1850, she was buried inside the original St. Louis church. When that church was burned in 1880, her remains were forgotten and their exact whereabouts are no longer known. The current 1880 church building was erected but the exact site of Dorion's remains are unknown.

The text of the marker reads:

MADAME MARIE DORION

BORN ABOUT 1786 - DIED 1850
SYMBOLIC OF FAITH, LOYALTY AND LEADERSHIP
INDIAN GUIDE FOR WILSON PRICE HUNT PARTY
MOTHER OF FIRST WHITE CHILD
BORN IN THE OREGON TERRITORY 1811

PRESENTED BY DORION CLUB OF PORTLAND OREGON
1950


Click a photo to enlarge

Historic Topic: Pioneer

Group Responsible for placement: Other

Marker Type: Roadside

Region: Willamette Valley

County: Marion

Web link to additional information: [Web Link]

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

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