“My father’s name was As-kal-wilsh . . .”
-Ec-cle-sic (Amelia Durival in McChesney Rolls, Statement 47)
In 1851, a headman named Os-wal-licks and his wife Arkensee resided at Pillar Rock, where they established a long-lasting Chinookan legacy through their offspring. Many of their descendants remained at Pillar Rock or in nearby communities, like Altoona, Dahlia, and Brookfield for several generations. Until the 1940s, these remote areas remained inaccessible, except by boat.
Os-wal-licks and Arkensee had two daughters, who both married French-Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) men. On July 8 1839, Elmermach, also known as Alvamox or Mary Anne, married Alexis Aubichon, a 27-year veteran fur trader and independent trapper. When Aubichon retired in 1841, the family relocated to the French-Canadian settlement in the Willamette Valley known as French Prairie. There, Alexis participated in forming Oregon’s Provisional Government and the Aubichons became successful farmers. They also raised a family of eight children, operated a ferry landing and de facto hotel from their home, and became integral to the growing community.
Like her sister, Ec-cle-sic, or Amelia, wed a French-Canadian HBC employee, Urbain Heroux (Ero), sometime before or after 1840 when their son, Julian, was born at Fort Vancouver. A daughter, Margaret, followed in 1841. Ec-cle-sic did not remain married to Heroux for long. In 1842, he became implicated in the murder of John McLoughlin, Jr. at Fort Stikine. The murder never went to trial, because many believed the death had occurred in self defense. Still, the HBC sent Heroux to several different posts and ultimately to Canada.
In 1844, Ec-cle-sic gave birth to a son by Peter (aka Pierre) Durival, and by the time Heroux died in in 1853, Ec-cle-sic and Peter had settled at Pillar Rock to raise their growing family. Ec-cle-sic eventually gave birth to at least 14 children, with Durival acting as stepfather to her first two.
Many Chinook now trace their lineage from Os-wal-licks and Arkensee, Elmermach and Ec-cle-sic, through families who continue the Chinook legacy begun at Pillar Rock since long before recorded history. Margaret Ero would establish the well-known Pickernell line in Chinook country, with families like Petit, Luscier, Corwin, Stephan, and Johnson, among others, stemming from these early residents of Pillar Rock.