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A lively little town at the confluence of the Touchet River and the Walla Walla. Lewis and Clark named the main Touchet River “White Stallion,” but by the time the town was platted April 12, 1884, the name Touchet was generally accepted.

In the period of prairie schooners, road agents, and Native Americans, numerous stage lines carrying mail followed this route. One line operated between The Dalles and Walla Walla; the Thomas line ran from Wallula to Boise by way of the Woodward toll road and Walla Walla. In 1864 the great transcontinental stage lines of Ben Holladay, who later became one of the West’s foremost railroad builders, were extended into this territory.

West of Touchet, the walls of the valley seem to close in upon the highway. Here the trees and bushes, so familiar along the upper Walla Walla, gradually disappear; rolling, sage-covered hills are crisscrossed by jack-rabbit trails on both sides of the road, and the wind whips tumbleweeds into roadside ditches.

The Walla Walla & Columbia, one of the earliest railroads in the Territory, once ran along this route. Begun in 1872, the old road was a monument to the perseverance of Dr. D. S. Baker, its builder, who, despite general ridicule, laid the tracks that were later purchased by a transcontinental line. Part of its train crew was a collie dog that ran ahead of the train to drive cattle from the right-of-way. One town name origin is that the word is believed to have been from the French toucheur, or cattle drover, or from the French verb toucher, one meaning of which is “…to drive, to strike with a whip…” A second meaning suggests that the word is actually Native American in origin and means “…to cure fish before a fire.”