||Missionaries became interested in the Oregon country.
||A delegation of western Indians visited St Louis seeking to find the "power"
behind the white man. A Methodist publication portrayed the visit as western
Indians searching for teacher's and the Bible. While not accurate, the book non
the less stirred interest in sending Missionary's west to the Oregon country.
||The American Board Commissioners of Foreign Missions (Protestant),
dispatched the Rev. Samuel Parker and Dr. Marcus Whitman to Oregon country for
the purpose of selecting mission sites. Stopping at a a Fur-trade Rendezvous,
the two became convinced that the mission concept was going to work. Whitman
turned back to recruit additional workers, Parker continued on to Oregon to
explore and locate promising sites for the missions.
- Dr. Marcus Whitman, with the Rev. Henry Spalding and his wife, Eliza,
William Gray, and Narcissa Prentiss moved west by wagon.
- Dr. Marcus Whitman married Narcissa Prentiss on February 18.
- Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding were the first white women to travel
- The party reached the Columbia River on September 1, stopped briefly at
Fort Vancouver (HBC HQ), and then returned up the Columbia in search of good
locations for the missions. The women stayed on at Fort Vancouver as guests of
John McLoughlin (HBC Chief Factor).
||Dr. Whitman opened his mission among the Cayuse at Waiilatpu ("place
of the people of the rye grass,"). Spalding opened his among the Nez Perce
at Lapwai. (about 100 miles apart). At Waiilatpu, a large adobe house,
gristmill, sawmill, and blacksmith shop were constructed.
||Spalding published the first books in the Northwest on a press brought to
Lapwai. Books were printed in the Nez Perce and Spokan tongues.
||The emigrants began moving into the Northwest. The mission became an
important station on the Oregon Trail.
- The church Board that had originally dispatched the missionaries, started
hearing reports of dissension at the missions. This, combined with a lack of
funds prompted the Board to order the Waiilatpu and Lapwai stations closed.
- Whitman undertook a midwinter overland journey to convince the board to
leave the missions open. Whitman was accompanied by Asa Lovejoy.
- Whitman reaches St. Louis on March 9.
- The Board, persuaded by Whitman, rescinded its orders.
- Whitman returned to Oregon with a wagon train serving as physician and
- Whitman led the first wagon train all the way to the Columbia River on his
- Emigrants bring a measles epidemic. The epidemic spread rapidly among the
Cayuse, who had no resistance. In a very short time half of the tribe was dead.
Whitman's medicine helped white children (who had some resistance) but did
nothing for the Indian children. The Cayuse believed they were being poisoned
to make way for the emigrants.
- On November 29, a band of Cayuse Indians attacked the mission killing
Marcus Whitman, his wife, the Sager boys (who the Whitman's had taken in as
orphans), and nine others. While some at the mission escaped, 50 people, mostly
women and children, were taken captive. The captives, with the exception of
three children who died of the measles, were ransomed one month later by Peter
Skene Ogden of the Hudson's Bay Company. The killings ended the Protestant
missions in the Oregon country and started a war against the Cayuse by whites
from the Willamette and lower Columbia Valleys.