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Title: Whitman's Ride Through Savage Lands - with Sketches of Indian Life
Author: Nixon, Oliver Woodson
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Whitman's Ride Through Savage Lands - with Sketches of Indian Life" ***

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 Ride Through Savage Lands

[Illustration: OLIVER WOODSON NIXON. M. D., LL. D.]

 Ride Through Savage Lands
 Sketches of Indian Life

 O. W. Nixon, M.D., LL.D.
 Author of "How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon," "The Mountain
 Meadows," Etc.

 Introduction by
 James G. K. McClure, D.D., LL.D.

 Profusely Illustrated

 Published by
 The Winona Publishing Company



_I respond with pleasure to the invitation to write a series of
sketches of pioneer missionary history of early Oregon for young
people. Its romantic beginnings, of the Indian's demand for "the
white man's book of heaven," and especially to mark the heroic act of
one who, in obedience to a power higher than man, made the most
perilous journey through savage lands recorded in history. The same
leading facts of history I have before used in my larger work, "How
Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon." In this I have simplified the story by
omitting all discussions with critics and historians, stated only as
much of historic conditions as would make clear the surroundings, and
have interwoven with all, real incidents from wilderness and savage
life. They are not only the experiences of the heroic characters, but
some of my own when the West was wild more than a half a century

 _O. W. N._

_Biloxi, Miss., January, 1905._


No character in Sir Walter Scott's tales appeals more directly to my
heart than "Old Mortality." He had a high and noble mission, to make
live again the old-time worthies, and to keep in remembrance the
brave deeds of the past. Any man who follows in his footsteps, and
makes the world see in vivid light the heroes of another day, is to
me a public benefactor. When, then, Dr. Nixon writes of "Whitman's
Ride Through Savage Lands," and shows the force, wisdom, and
unselfishness of Dr. Marcus Whitman and his accomplished wife, I feel
like doing everything within my power to express my gratitude and to
secure the reading of his book.

The tale, as he tells it, is very interesting. It is a tale that has
been often in the mind of the American public of late years, but it
cannot be too often told nor too often pondered. It has in it the
very elements that nurture bravery and patriotism. Dr. Nixon tells it
well. In simple, straightforward language he gives us the whole story
of Dr. Whitman's life-career, indicating the forces that inspired
him and the results that attended his efforts. Dr. Nixon sees in the
events of the story the guiding and determining hand of Providence.
With a wisdom justified by the needs of the ordinary human mind he
calls attention to the part God himself had in the career of his
hero, and thus he gives to his story an uplifting significance which
a thoughtless reader might fail to note.

It is the glory of our American life that every part of our land has
its splendid heroes. The Atlantic and Pacific coasts are one in
having been the scenes where courage and devotion have expressed
themselves. The earlier years of our national history brought into
recognition the deeds of greatness done in the East. These later
years are being used to make manifest the endurance and manliness
that marked so much of settlement and progress in the West. Plymouth
deserves its monument to the Pilgrims. So does Walla Walla deserve
its monument to Dr. Marcus Whitman. From boundary to boundary of our
wide domain we have had heroes, the stories of whose lives tend to
make devotion to duty and allegiance to God transcendently beautiful.

Among such stories this of Dr. Whitman has high place. The
personality of the author of it comes often to the front in his
pages, but none too often. His own experiences serve to heighten the
effect of the story, and give deeper impression to the facts

I look forward to the influence of this book with pleasure. I see
boys and girls rising from the reading of it with clearer views of
self-sacrifice, and with a more determined purpose to make their
lives daring for the good.

The book carries with it a conviction of the worth of the best
things, that is most healthy. It teaches important lessons concerning
missionary helpfulness, that the reader accepts without being aware
of the author's purpose.

A nation to have the lion's heart must be fed on lion's food. The
story of Dr. Whitman is such food as may well nourish the lion heart
in all youth, and develop in our American homes the noblest and most
attractive Christian virtues.





 BIRD-WOMAN)                                             13


 SPEECH--SKETCHES OF INDIAN LIFE                         22


 MARRIAGE AND SECOND JOURNEY                             36


 AND THE END OF THE JOURNEY                              61


 DAILY EVENTS                                            74


 CONTEST                                                 89


 AND WERE OPPOSED TO EXPANSION                           96


 THE CAPITAL                                            104




 MASSACRE AT WAIILATPUAN                                148


 COLLEGE THE GRAND MONUMENT                             172


                                                FACING PAGE

 OLIVER WOODSON NIXON                        _Frontispiece_

 SACAJAWEA (the Bird-Woman)                              16

 Photo.)                                                 22

 STRANGE VISITORS IN OLD ST. LOUIS                       28

 AN INDIAN WELCOME                                       40

 PACIFIC SPRINGS, JULY 4, 1835                           57

 THE TOILSOME TRAIL TO OREGON                            64

 home of Nekahni)                                        80

 PEAKS                                                  100

 LOST IN THE ROCKIES                                    118

 WHITMAN CROSSING GRAND RIVER                           132

 MARMADUKE ISLAND (B. H. Gifford, Photo.)               140

 THE ASSASSINATION OF DR. WHITMAN                       152

 DR. D. K. PEARSONS                                     164

 MEMORIAL HALL, WHITMAN COLLEGE                         176


 COLLEGE                                                182


    _The Lewis and Clark Centenary Exposition in Portland. The Great
    Captains. Their Guides, Hoe Noo Chee and Sacajawea (The

A great Exposition of the arts and industries of the whole wide world
is to be held this summer in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon.
It is to commemorate the grand achievement of a few brave men and one
brave woman, who lived, labored, and conquered a century ago. At the
call of their commander, they exiled themselves from home and
friends; they crossed the wide deserts, climbed through gorges and
peaks of the "great Stony Mountains," struggled through the pathless
forests of giant firs, lived among wild beasts, and wilder men, until
they reached the pathless Pacific Ocean--that was then but a waste of
water, where great whales sported and the seals found abundance of
food amid rocky shores and islands for safe homes. Now teeming
multitudes inhabit the fertile plains; through the rugged mountains
pass the great highways of the world--along the charted coast are
many ports, where white-winged fleets lie at anchor and the great
black freighters load and unload the commerce of many lands. But
Portland still retains many of the old landmarks. The beautiful
Columbia River still flows by it to the sea, forests are not far
away, and "the everlasting hills" are about it, with their
white-capped peaks piercing the sky.

A hundred years ago, a vast and unknown wilderness stretched from the
Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean--it was a land of mystery of unknown
extent. Millions of wild cattle that we call buffaloes roamed over
its plains, wild beasts hid away in its mountain fastnesses, the
beavers and otters built their homes along its rivers, and wild
tribes of savage men made pitiless war upon each other, though not
destitute of many noble traits of character. The young republic of
United States had far more territory east of the Mississippi than
they could manage or protect, so gave small care or thought to what
lay beyond. But one thing they had learned, that, for their own
safety from foreign aggression, and the protection of their commerce,
they must gain possession and control of the great river. Thomas
Jefferson, that wise and far-seeing statesman whose name and fame
grow as the years go on, was President at that memorable time of
great opportunities, and through his influence with Congress induced
them to make the great Louisiana purchase, which gave to our
government the Southern and Gulf states, the control of the
Mississippi River, and, as Jefferson believed and claimed, the whole
country to the Pacific Ocean. He had, perhaps, but little knowledge
of its vastness or its value, but it has been said that his friend,
the great naturalist Audubon, who wandered up and down the world
searching out its wonders and beauties, had told him many things
about the great western country. So he again appealed to Congress for
an appropriation to send out an expedition to learn something of the
nature and value of their new possessions. The pitiful sum of two
thousand five hundred dollars was allowed. Captains Lewis and Clark
of the United States army were selected to lead the expedition, and
with them were sent a botanist, a geologist, an engineer, and some
soldiers, who were required each to make a full report of their
journey, which took three years to accomplish. It is significant of
the indifference of the government in the matter that these reports
were sent to Washington and were laid aside for several years
when--through Jefferson's influence again--the captains' reports were
handed over to Richard Biddle of Philadelphia, who made a brief
abstract of them, constituting one small volume, that passed for many
years as an account of the Lewis and Clark exploration, and it has
not been until within the past three years that any genuine copy of
these reports has ever been published. It is small wonder then that
thirty years later Oregon remained an almost unknown and unclaimed
country. The young captains and their company, full of enthusiasm for
their work, made their preparations and purchased their supplies,
mostly at their own expense, and left the last marks of civilization
at St. Louis in the spring of 1804.


Guide of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.]

The heroic little company made its first winter camp at Fort Mandan
on the Upper Missouri, ready for an early start in the spring. The
success of the expedition in a strange land through the long line of
savage tribes was dependent largely upon a good guide and
interpreter. Lewis and Clark had secured Toussaint Chabonneau, a
Frenchman, who had renounced civilized life, married, and settled
among the Indians. He had traveled over wide stretches of country,
and had a small knowledge of the language of several tribes.
Sacajawea, the wife of Chabonneau, was a handsome Indian girl of
seventeen years. She had been captured by the Minitaree Indians when
a small child, from the Shoshone Indians far up in the Rocky Mountain
region, held by them as a slave, and sold to the Frenchman who made
her his wife. Sacajawea was delighted with the prospect of again
journeying toward her old home, but continued to do the menial work
for the company, as is customary for Indian women. Captains Lewis
and Clark, before many weeks upon their journey, saw that their real
guide and interpreter was not Chabonneau, but Sacajawea, his wife.
Their way along the great river proved the identical route which the
captive child had taken from her home into slavery, and with Indian
nature and sagacity, every notable spot remained in her memory. She
told them of the streams in advance that flowed into the great river,
and the tribes through which they were to pass; she told them her
history; she was the daughter of the great chief of the Shoshone
Indians, who were rich in land and horses. They owned large
possessions reaching to the foot of the Rockies, to which they came
during the summer months. It was there where she became a prisoner.
When they reached the place she ran like a child and pointed out the
spot in the bushes where she hid to escape her enemies.

Captain Lewis said: "Our hope now is to find these Shoshones and
their horses. Here we must leave our boats and prepare for mountain
and land travel." Sacajawea explained the habits of her tribe the
best she could, but it was a vast wilderness by which the company was
surrounded. Both Captains Lewis and Clark with their best men scoured
the country, and finally succeeded in finding the Shoshones, who had
fled from their supposed enemies. They were led before the great
chief Cameahowait. There they told of Sacajawea as best they could,
which at once aroused attention. The chief ordered horses and
provisions, and with many friends of the lost princess they went with
Captain Lewis and his men to camp. Sacajawea recognized her brother,
now head chief of the tribe, and as well the playmates of her
childhood, and with tears in her eyes, and dancing with joy, she
embraced them. The talk was long, for the Indian girl had to learn
the fate of her family and friends. Had she desired she might have
remained and resumed an easy life with her tribe.

Nothing now was too good for the white men, for they were brothers
and friends. Sacajawea was their interpreter, and they received
everything they needed for comfort, such as provisions and horses,
for the journey to the Pacific and the return.

In meeting the many savage tribes and asking favors and permission to
travel in safety through their domains, it was not the flag nor the
guns they carried, but Sacajawea with the papoose upon her back and
her wise diplomacy that opened the way and made them welcome. Upon
the home journey the little Indian girl rode ahead with the captains,
having richly earned her honors and the love of all. When the
journey came to an end, Captains Lewis and Clark begged that
Sacajawea and her husband accompany them to Washington, but
Chabonneau preferred the wild life he had chosen, and the brave
little woman dropped from civilized history.

Well may the women of beautiful Oregon in the coming Centennial take
an honest pride in commemoration of the deeds of Sacajawea. It is
most appropriate that the beautiful bronze to be then erected to her
memory has been designed and executed by an American woman, Miss
Alice Cooper, of Denver.

We copy these stanzas of a poem by Bert Hoffman, who epitomizes
admirably the reasons for Sacajawea's honored place in this
Centennial history:


   "The wreath of Triumph give to her;
     She led the conquering captains West;
   She charted first the trails that led
     The hosts across yon mountain crest!
   Barefoot she toiled the forest paths,
     Where now the course of Empire speeds;
   Can you forget, loved Western land,
     The glory of her deathless deeds?

   "In yonder city, glory crowned,
     Where art will vie with art to keep
   The memories of those heroes green--
     The flush of conscious pride should leap
   To see her fair memorial stand
     Among the honored names that be--
   Her face toward the sunset, still--
     Her finger lifted toward the sea!

   "Beside you on Fame's pedestal,
     Be hers the glorious fate to stand--
   Bronzed, barefoot, yet a patron saint,
     The keys of empire in her hand!
   The mountain gates that closed to you
     Swung open, as she led the way,--
   So let her lead that hero host
     When comes their glad memorial day!"

The heroic explorers of a century ago richly earned the honors they
are now to receive, and wherever and whenever the names of Lewis and
Clark are spoken or written in honor there also should be the name of
Sacajawea, the Indian girl of the wilderness.

Thus the crowning success of the great expedition which gave the
United States its second strong legal claim to the whole grand Oregon
country was shared by the brave, true, diplomatic Sacajawea ("the
bird-woman"). Readers of the complete story to follow will not need
to be reminded that the heroes and heroines who thirty years later
braved danger and death to save beautiful Oregon to the Union were
only making sure the grand work thus inaugurated.

In course of time vessels on voyages of discovery drifted around Cape
Horn, sailed up the long coast line of the Americas, always
searching for that which would bring them wealth. Finding the immense
quantities of furs gathered by Indians in the Oregon country, both
the Americans and the English established trading-posts on the coast.
The great Astor fortune that still remains in the family had its
origin there. But the English had more money, more men, and more
ships than the Americans, and before many years they ruled alone and
the great "Hudson Bay Company" ruled the land. They established
trading-posts eastward, and fleets of vessels carried the rich spoils
of forest and ocean to all the countries of the world. At the time of
the beginning of our story Dr. John McLoughlin was chief factor of
the "Hudson Bay Company" and virtual king of the country. He was a
noble old Scotchman, who had married an Indian wife to whom he was
loyal and true all his life. He was kind and just to red men as well
as white, and always ready to hold out a helping hand to all who came
to him. But he served the English government and was always careful
that no rivalry to the company he served should be allowed in the
territory they claimed.


    _The Visit of the Flathead Indian Chiefs to St. Louis. Was the
    Story Authentic? Incidents--the Banquet Speech--Sketches of
    Indian Life and Character. Hoo Goo Ahu and Sacajawea._

It was a beautiful morning in the closing days of October, 1831. The
trees about St. Louis were robed in their gorgeous autumnal foliage.
High above came the "honk, honk, honk" of the wild geese, as in long,
straight lines or in letter V's, they winged their way southward,
while the birds were gathering in groups, chattering and arranging
for their winter outing in warmer lands. The residents of the city
were just arousing from their sleep, smoke was beginning to curl
above the chimneys, shutters and doors were being opened for business
activities, when the strange scene was presented of four Flathead
Indian Chiefs, marching solemnly single file down the middle of one
of the principal streets. At that date the now prosperous and great
city of St. Louis was but a "frontier town," mainly noted as a
military station, and Indians were not uncommon, as all the great
and fertile country north and west was occupied by them. But these
were new and unusual in appearance, and attracted attention. Their
bare heads in front were as flat as boards, and their long hair was
interwoven with eagle quills; their dress and dignified bearing all
indicated notable men from some far-distant tribe that the people had
not before seen.

[Illustration: CASCADES OF THE COLUMBIA. (B. H. Gifford, photo)]

General George Rogers Clark, then in command of the department, was
promptly notified of the visit of the strangers, and sent two of his
aids to escort them to the barracks, where they could be comfortably
lodged and fed. It is a singular historical fact that General Clark,
in command at St. Louis in 1831 and 1832, was "the great red-head
chief," as the Indians called him, who, with Captain Lewis, made the
exploration of the Oregon country in 1804-1806, an exploration which
for romance and completeness of its success has never been equaled in
American history. General Clark in that expedition received marked
kindness and aid from the Nez Perces and the Flathead Indians. He
knew them in their homes, in eastern Oregon, and had a keen
remembrance of their savage hospitality to him in his time of need. A
band of the Flatheads also owned a large territory south of the
Columbia and east from Astoria, and not far from the winter camp of
the explorers. The author found them there, and spent a day with
them in one of their villages in 1850.

General Clark had been in many hard Indian fights, and was of a
family of famous Indian fighters, but he learned in that far western
expedition to respect the hospitality, the courage, the heroism, and
manliness of the Indian. He resolved to leave nothing undone to
express his gratitude to his old Oregon friends, and he charged his
young men to see to it personally that they had every comfort. He
knew Indian character and stoicism, and when his aids told him they
"could make nothing out of the Indians, or learn what they wanted,"
he replied, "Don't hurry them, give them time, and they will make
known their mission to this far-away place." General Clark was an
earnest and devoted Catholic, and he ordered that the Indians be
taken to all the services in the cathedral, and also to all places of
amusement likely to entertain them. Week after week passed, and the
Indian stoicism continued; but finally in an audience with the
General they told him all. The Indians all spoke "the Chinook," a
pleasing word language invented by the Hudson Bay Company, and was to
all the Indian tribes, from Hudson's Bay to the Columbia, what the
classic languages are to the learned world. It was their trading

The General had a good interpreter, and knew something of the
Chinook himself, so that he soon fully understood the meaning of
their long journey, and wondered at it. They said, "Our people have
heard of the white man's book of heaven, and we have been sent the
long journey over mountains and wide rivers, and among strange
people, to find it and carry it back with us."

In that far-away period there were few newspapers in the West, to
print the news, and General Clark, with his many duties and cares,
left no written account of these interviews or of his advice to the
Indians, but we can rest assured that, as a soldier, a friend, and
Christian gentleman, it was the most kindly he could give.

During the winter, as it was thought at the time, either from
exposure in the long journey, or from the rich food to which they
were not accustomed, two of the old chiefs died, and were given
honored soldier burials. The first to die was the memorable "Black
Eagle," recalled to-day by the Nez Perces as "Speaking Eagle." He was
an aged man, greatly loved by his people. The records of the old St.
Louis Cathedral have the account of Black Eagle's death and burial.
The second death followed soon after. It proved latterly that this
was the beginning of that terrible scourge, Asiatic cholera, which
spread, in 1832, over a wide section. Mrs. Clark, who kindly
ministered to the Indians with her own hands, was "stricken with a
malady that no physician could master, and died." As the spring
approached, the two surviving chiefs began preparation to return to
their distant homes, and General Clark left nothing undone to outfit
them with every comfort for the journey. The steamer Yellowstone was
just then loading for her first trip up the Missouri River, and he
engaged berths for the two chiefs--the boat was to run as far up the
river as it could go with safety--and would save the Indians many
long, weary marches.

In addition to their necessary outfit, they had received numerous
presents for themselves and friends at home, they greatly prized, to
which Chief Min refers in his banquet speech, in the words, "You make
my feet heavy with gifts." The night before their departure General
Clark gave them a banquet, to which all his officers and many leading
citizens were invited. Upon that occasion Chief H. C. O. Hcotes Min
(no horns on his head), at the request of the General, made a speech
in the Chinook language.

_The Speech_

    "I came to you over the trail of many moons, from the setting
    sun. You were the friends of my fathers, who have all gone the
    long way. I came with an eye partly open for my people who sit in
    darkness. I go back with both eyes closed. How can I go back
    blind to my blind people? I made my way to you with strong arms
    through many enemies and strange lands that I might carry back
    much to them. I go back with both arms broken and empty! Two
    fathers came with us; they were the braves of many winters and
    wars. We leave them asleep here by your great water and wigwams.
    They were tired in many moons, and their moccasins wore out.

    "My people sent me to get the White Man's Book of Heaven. You
    took me to where you allow your women to dance, as we do not
    ours; and the book was not there! You took me to where they
    worship the Great Spirit with candles, and the Book was not
    there! You showed me images of the Great Spirit and pictures of
    the Good Land beyond, but the Book was not among them to tell me
    the way. I am going back the long trail to my people in the dark
    land. You make my feet heavy with gifts, and my moccasins will
    grow old in carrying them, and yet the Book is not among them!
    When I tell my poor blind people, after one more snow, in the big
    Council, that I did not bring the Book, no word will be spoken by
    our old men or by our young braves. One by one they will rise up
    and go out in silence. My people will die in darkness, and they
    will go on a long path to other hunting-grounds. No white man
    will go with them, and no White Man's Book to make the way plain.
    I have no more words."

Translated into English, doubtless the charm of the speech has been
marred, and loses much of its terse and simple beauty. Those who
doubt and sneer about a savage making such a speech do not know
Indians. I have listened to Indian orators, and been charmed by their
ease, eloquence, and wonderfully electrifying power, amid rugged
surroundings. Indians have their orators and storytellers, and are as
proud of them as ever cultivated people are of their Beechers,
Phillipses, Douglases, and Depews; and their animal stories far excel
those of "Uncle Remus." In long evenings under the summer skies, or
winters by the wigwam fire, they gather, and listen spellbound to the
weird stories--wild, visionary, and superstitious--of the present
life, and of the happy hunting-ground to which all are urged to

The Indian is a spiritualist, not an idolater. The medicine man is
the great man of the tribe. When an Indian feels the call of the
Spirit to become a medicine man, he goes off alone to the forest or
to the mountains, or to some noted healing spring, fasts, prays, and
seeks there for his power, through all the agencies of nature that
surround him. Like Joan of Arc, he "hears voices" in the trees and
from the rocks, the winds, the waters, the animals, and the birds.
When he returns to his tribe and convinces the braves that he has
received the Spirit, from that day he is entirely trusted. The
greatest chief must consult him concerning every movement; whether it
be the distant chase, change of location, or of war. He is Sir


The writer does not speak at random or by hearsay of Indian life. He
saw and studied something of it, more than half a century ago, before
civilization had wrought the changes now seen. Indians are
profound believers in the immortality of the soul. Some suspend their
dead in the leafy treetops, that they may the more easily ascend to
"the happy hunting-grounds." The custom of many is to kill the
favorite horse and bury it with all accoutrements and implements of
war, as well as their finest garments, believing the spirit will need
them and receive greater honor. The leading thought of the Indian
seems to be that all material things have a spirit that is immortal.
The Indian burying-grounds are sacred spots and seldom if ever are
desecrated in savage life, even by their worst enemies. Some of the
beautiful little islands in the rivers of the Far West have thus been
used, as the many ruins testify. It has long been noted that Indians
in war will risk their own lives to carry off and bury their dead and
prevent mutilation of bodies.

_Is the Story of the Flathead Chiefs of 1831-32 Authentic?_

So strange and so without precedent in savage life was the mission of
the Indians to St. Louis, that many have doubted the truthfulness of
the report, and have called it "visionary." Fortunately the reader
need not be in doubt in regard to the entire truthfulness of the
event as reported. The Christian people of that time believed and
acted upon it in a way to convince every honest mind of their
earnestness. It may be said the incident made a profound impression
in the religious world, and the history we are to recite of the
after-results mark it as one of the providential events guiding the
nation by unseen hands to its destiny.

Had such a notable event occurred in modern days, it would have
entered at once into current literature. That it did not at the time
is no disparagement of its truthfulness. There is one strong chain of
evidence regarding the mission of the Nez Perces chiefs, not easily
broken; that is, the written evidence of George Catlin. Aboard the
steamer Yellowstone, upon which General Clark sent his savage
friends, there happened to be a celebrated artist, George Catlin,
then on one of his visits to the West to paint Indian pictures and
study Indian life. These Nez Perces chiefs at once attracted him, and
they became intimate friends--during the long journey he made
pictures of them. Indians are not great talkers, and he did not learn
much from them as to the object of their long journey. From others
afterward he heard of their strange mission to St. Louis, and
believing he had secured two historic pictures, he first wrote
General Clark, and afterward met him, and was assured by him that
such was the mission of the four Flathead chiefs. Catlin, in his
Smithsonian report for eight years, in 1885, says:

    "These two men, when I painted them, were in beautiful Sioux
    dresses, which had been presented them in a talk with the Sioux,
    who treated them very kindly, while passing through the Sioux
    country. These two were part of a delegation that came across the
    Rocky Mountains to St. Louis a few years ago to inquire for the
    truth of a representation which they said some white man had made
    among them, that the white man's religion was better than theirs,
    and that they would all be lost if they did not embrace it. Two
    of the old and venerable men of the party died in St. Louis, and
    I traveled two thousand miles, companions with those two fellows,
    toward their own country, and became much pleased with their
    manners and dispositions. When I first heard the report of the
    object of their mission, I could scarcely believe it, but upon
    conversing with General Clark, on a future occasion, I was fully
    convinced of the fact."

The two pictures are now numbered 207 and 208 in the Smithsonian
Institution, and highly prized. H. H. Hcotes Min (no horns on his
head), who made the notable banquet speech, died near the Yellowstone
River on the journey home, and but one, the youngest of the four,
Hee-Ah-K. S. Te Kin (the rabbit skin leggins), lived to reach his
tribe beyond the Rockies. As was customary with the Indians, a large
band was sent along the trail far away to the Rocky Mountains to meet
the expected delegation of chiefs with "the book of heaven." Their
legends say, "Rabbit Skin Leggins shouted when far off, 'A man will
be sent with the book.'" The world of to-day may well give thanks,
that both Christian men and women were "sent with the Book" at that
earnest and honest appeal. Christianity is broad, and its command is
to "preach the Gospel to every creature." The Nez Perces Indians,
who, in blind faith, sent for teachers, were blessed in the act above
all Indian tribes in the land, and the blessing has followed them
from that day to this. In another connection in a later chapter will
be read facts in proof of their condition, and showing the effect of
the Gospel verses upon Indians. Indian men, like the whites, are made
up of good and bad. The missionaries were bright, shrewd men and
women, and they easily saw that so fair a land could not much longer
be held by savages in its unfruitful condition. They bent themselves
to the heavy tasks laid upon them, to do the best they could for
their savage wards. The true story for our pages, however, does not
take us into any large study of missionary work, but mainly along the
lines of Christian patriotism.

The author in answer to any critics of the missionaries to the
Indians will relate a simple incident in his own experience, which
dates fourteen years after their advent in Oregon. It shows how the
seeds of Christianity they planted made of savages unselfish and
humane men. It was on a Saturday, after days of weary traveling, we
came to a little valley where we at once resolved to rest for a
couple of days. It was such a little paradise that we named it "The
Valley of Blessing." On Sunday morning, with a single companion, the
writer wandered for miles up the narrow valley, enjoying its
luxurious surroundings. To the right was a mountain whose rugged
sides were covered with dwarf firs and cedars; while rocks were piled
on rocks looking like ancient castles in ruins. Flowering vines
climbed to the tops of the trees, and their fragrance filled the air.
A clear stream divided the valley where flocked myriads of birds from
the mountain, as they drank and bathed, whistled cheerily to their
fellows in the mountain home. As we were admiring all this wilderness
of beauty, on rising a little eminence, we came suddenly in view of
four Indians, digging at a short distance away. We immediately
dropped behind the hill, but not before we had been observed by the
Indians. We were watchful and well armed, but the old Indian gave us
a peace signal, and we approached the spot. The company was made up
of an aged Indian, eighty or more, his grandson, and two half-breeds.
They were digging a grave and were silent as we stood until its
completion. The old Indian then invited us to look at the corpse
under the shade of a near-by tree. We were astonished to find it the
emaciated body of a white man. It was wrapped in a well-tanned
buffalo skin, white and clean. The four Indians took the body and
placed it in the grave, and the old man, removing his cap, to our
astonishment, said, "Now, maybe some white man who knows religion
will make a little prayer over the poor fellow!" The half-breeds,
perhaps not understanding the English the old chief spoke, began
pushing in the sand with their moccasined feet. Thus the Argonaut of
1850 was laid to his final rest, with only the wild birds to sing his
requiem. The old Indian had brought along a smooth board to place at
the head of the grave, and at his request, I wrote:

           John Wilson, St. Louis, Mo., 1850.
     Left by his company and nursed by Hoo Goo Chee.

He told us Wilson had traveled as long as he was able, and begged his
companions to leave him there alone to die. He told the chief he had
no complaint to make of his fellows. We mention the incident to show
that the beautiful trait of unselfishness has a place even among
Indians. The old chief could easily have buried the body near his
mountain home without bearing it the long distance to be near the
road, where the grave could be seen by his friends. He might have
used an old blanket instead of the costly dressed robe the Indian
prized so highly. Here we found a savage who, like the Flatheads, had
heard of "the white man's book of heaven," had practically caught
its unselfishness and humanity, and its spirit of love.

It is well to remember that the Indian has no literature, and has
ever been dependent upon his enemies to write his history and his
achievements. They have chosen to write only of his savagery. This is
not fair treatment by the United States government, incited by
justice, and the wholesome Christian sentiments of the land has
during the past thirty years done much to correct all abuses of its
savage wards.


    _The Effect of the Banquet Speech. How it Stirred Christian
    People. The American Board Acts. Drs. Parker and Whitman Go on a
    Voyage of Discovery. His Indian Boys. His Marriage and Journey
    through Savage Lands to Oregon._

The Indian oration at the St. Louis banquet was translated by a young
man present, William Walker, who was an Indian chief, but a white
man, and it was first published some months later in "The Christian
Advocate" in New York, with a ringing editorial from its editor, Rev.
Dr. Fiske, headed, "Who will Carry the Book of Life to the Indians of

The effect was electrical among religious people in the East. The
Methodist Foreign Missionary Society were prompt to act, and the very
next year sent two able-bodied, earnest Christian ministers, Jason
and Daniel Lee, with one layman to aid them. They reached their field
by the long, round-about waterway, via London and the Hawaiian
Islands. For many years they did effective work, far up on the
Willamette River. The American Board, then under the control of
Congregational and Presbyterian churches, was more cautious. It was
an unheard-of proposition to come from savage life so far away from
civilization, and they wanted time to investigate. The Rev. Dr.
Samuel Parker of Utica, New York, became restive under the delay,
believing fully in the call of the Indians, and resolved to join some
trading company to the Far West and go to Oregon. In 1834 he reached
the border upon the Missouri, but the fur-traders had departed. He
returned home and renewed his efforts to arouse the American Board to
action. He found Marcus Whitman, M. D., as much of an enthusiast in
the work as he, and the Board resolved to send the two men upon a
voyage of discovery in 1835, and to have them return and report upon
the possibility of establishing missions in that well-nigh unknown
land. So in 1835, the minister and the young physician were on the
western border in time to join a company of American fur-traders,
bound for Green River, in what is now northern Utah. Upon reaching
this point they met some two thousand Indians, representing various
tribes living within five to seven hundred miles. There were large
delegations of Oregon Indians to trade their furs for articles
needed. When the object of the missionaries was explained to the
Indians, they received the news with such enthusiasm as to dispel
every doubt from the minds of the missionaries of the wisdom of
their course and the Indians' sincerity in asking for Christian
teachers. Upon consultation they agreed that it was wise to make no
delay in reporting to the American Board. While Dr. Parker was to
continue his journey to Oregon with the Indians, Dr. Whitman was to
return with the convoy, make the report, and return the next year
with reinforcements to begin mission work. The Indians showed such
confidence in Dr. Whitman's promise to come to them after one more
snow, that they selected two of their brightest, most intelligent,
and muscular boys about eighteen years to accompany him, and help him
on his way the coming year. Dr. Parker, with his Indian guides,
reached Oregon, over which country he traveled extensively. He
organized no mission, but studied the situation fully, so as to be
able to make a wise report for the future guidance of the American

Finding a ship sailing next year for the Hawaiian Islands he did not
wait for Whitman and his company. Dr. Parker was a scholarly man and
a keen observer, and upon his return wrote a book of great value. It
was a true description of Indian life and conditions, the wealth of
forest and the prospective finds of coal and minerals in the hills
and mountains, the magnificence of rivers, the healthfulness and
mildness of the climate. The book passed through six editions, and
was interesting reading, but it was of a far-away land, and induced
little or no immigration at that time.

[Illustration: AN INDIAN WELCOME.]

Dr. Whitman and his two Indian boys joined the fur company for escort
on its return trip. While on the plains a scourge of cholera broke
out, and the Doctor's skill and his untiring work to save the lives
of the men, won all their hearts, and they united in giving him a
cordial invitation to join them in the spring, upon their annual
visit to Green River. This was gladly accepted, as such an escort was
a necessity in that day. The Doctor and his two Indian aids reached
Rushville, New York, late on a Saturday night in November, 1835. His
return was unexpected, and his first appearance to his friends was
when he marched up the aisle of the church with his Indian boys, as
they sang the opening hymn. His good old mother was so astonished
that she spoke right out in meeting, "If there ain't Mark Whitman!"
It is easy to conceive that such an incident called out a wide
interest and inquiry, which was just what the Doctor desired,
enthused as he was himself in the importance of the work before him.
The Doctor had taken great pains all summer to instruct his Indian
boys in English, and they proved apt pupils. He put them at once in
school, where they made rapid progress, and were general favorites.
Never was the enthusiastic young Doctor more active than in the fall
and winter months in making his preparations. The American Board had
resolved to establish a mission in Oregon, and they notified him that
they preferred to send married men into the missionary field. This
was unexpected but welcome news to Whitman, and was in accordance
with the last advice from Dr. Parker: "Bring with you a good wife."
He had already in his own mind made his selection in the person of
Miss Narcissa Prentice, a daughter of Judge Prentice, of Angelica,
New York, but owing to the privations and perils of the journey, and
the isolated life among savages, he had hesitated to ask her to make
such sacrifice. One can easily imagine his happiness, when upon fully
explaining all, he found her with a courage equal to his own, and an
abounding enthusiasm for the prospective work. After a time the
clear-headed men of the Board, doubtless guided by their
clearer-headed wives, raised a point, and said, upon such an
expedition, so full of care and responsibility and danger, it would
not do to send a woman unless accompanied by another of her sex. Here
was a new dilemma. Time was passing, and candidates for such perils
were not plentiful. The day of the wedding was postponed, and Whitman
endeavored to meet the requirements. He finally heard of Dr.
Spalding and his newly wedded wife, who were en route to the Osage
Indian Mission. He learned their proposed route and set out to find
them. Whether through chance or Providence, he succeeded. It was a
cold day and a driving snow, when in his sleigh he sighted them
ahead, after a long chase. When in hallooing distance he shouted,
"Ship ahoy, you are wanted for Oregon!" Hearing the cheery, pleasant
voice, they halted, Whitman driving his sleigh by the side of theirs,
and he at once bounded into the subject of which he was full. Dr.
Spalding proposed that they go to the hotel in the town just ahead,
where they could talk the matter over without freezing. By a glowing
fire Dr. Whitman retold the story of the Flatheads, about whom they
had read; of his journey to the Far West to verify the facts, and the
result, and of the two Indian boys ready to escort them to Oregon,
where they would meet with an enthusiastic reception such as he and
Dr. Parker had received on Green River. Whitman was often called "The
Silent Man," but when aroused and enthused, he was an eloquent
pleader. And with all at stake, as in this instance, he was doubtless
at his best. They listened with profound attention. Mrs. Spalding was
an educated woman, of great decision of character, an earnest
"Christian," and a firm believer in a power higher than herself
ready to guide her in life's duties. They were silent for a moment,
when she arose and said, "I desire a few moments to myself for
prayer," and retired to her room. The two men sat by the fire
canvassing all the dangers of the expedition and the hopefulness of
the outlook. Dr. Spalding afterward wrote, in speaking of the
meeting, "I do not think she was gone from us more than ten minutes
before she returned, her face all aglow with happiness and
enthusiasm, and said, 'Yes, we will go to Oregon!'" He continues, "I
gently expostulated, 'My dear, we must consider your health in such a
hazardous undertaking.' She replied, in the words, 'Go ye into all
the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, there is no
exception made for ill health.' And no words of mine could alter her
determination." Mrs. Spalding had been a semi-invalid for months, but
her faith and Christian courage were strong. It was her prompt
decision which decided the fate of the Oregon mission, of the four
notable characters, and we may add, the fate of questions so great
and grave to the nation, as to be unfathomable by man's wisdom.

The wedding day was again fixed. In this case there was more than
usual interest in the bride, for her friends all knew of her
destination. The late Mrs. H. P. Jackson, of Oberlin, Ohio, sister
of the bride, has told me in letters, of the events of the pleasant
occasion. The two Indian boys, dressed in their best, were guests of
honor. Dr. Whitman introduced them to his wife, and says Mrs.
Jackson, "When he told them she would go with them to their far-away
home in Oregon, and teach them, they did not try to conceal their

Narcissa Prentice was the eldest daughter of Judge Prentice, an
influential, earnest Christian man, then residing in Angelica, New
York. The daughter was well educated, loved for her womanly qualities
and famed in all the country around for the sweetness of her voice.
She was the leader of the church choir of the village, and the people
crowded the building the evening before their departure to bid the
little party a good by and give them a blessing. After a good social
time, the minister, the Rev. Dr. Hull, called the meeting to order,
and gave out the old familiar hymn:

   "Yes, my native land, I love thee,
     All thy scenes I love them well;
   Friends, connections, happy country,
     Can I bid you all farewell?" Etc.

The late Martha J. Lamb, editor of the "Magazine of American
History," who wrote the report of the farewell gathering, says:

    "The great audience joined in singing the opening stanzas, but
    soon they began to drop out by ones and scores, and sobs were
    heard all over the audience. The last stanza was sung by one
    voice alone in a clear, sweet soprano, and not a faulty note; it
    was the voice of Narcissa Whitman."

It was the last time her old friends heard the sweet voice, for
daylight found them braving the winter storm on their way to Oregon.

The late Eli G. Coe, of Illinois, then a young man, drove them in his
sleigh to the mountains, en route to Pittsburg, where they were to
take boat for St. Louis. He has given me a delightful sketch of the
journey, upon which he marks Whitman "The Silent Man, ever thoughtful
of all his guests," and Mrs. Whitman, "The lovely little woman who
was the life of the company, who often dispelled gloom, and made all
forget the winter cold, by a song of cheer."

Their route was from Pittsburg down the Ohio River to the Mississippi
up to St. Louis, thence up the Missouri River to near where Fort
Leavenworth now stands. The journey had no mishaps until they reached
"The Big Muddy," as the Missouri has long been called. Those who
navigated it half and three-quarters of a century ago, will never
forget the journey. It was sand bars on sand bars, forever shifting
with each freshet, and snags galore! The engineer stood constantly at
his lever, to answer the bell, a leadsman stood in the bow casting a
lead and calling in loud, singsong the depth of water, until
suddenly, like an electric shock, came the sharp, "five feet scant,"
and the bell rang, and the wheels reversed with a suddenness that
aroused every one, until he got used to it. They were hung on snags,
"hard aground" on sand bars, and as a consequence were four or five
days behind the time at Leavenworth.

The reader will recollect that the fur-traders had given Dr. Whitman
a cordial invitation to join them in the spring, and he was impatient
but helpless in the delay. To the great discomfiture of the
missionaries upon reaching the landing, they learned that the fur
company had left four days before. What added to Whitman's trouble
was, that at St. Louis he had been told he could get all the
provisions he lacked at the fort, and upon inquiry, found nearly
everything sold, and that he would have to start in poorly equipped
with provisions, without a hope of being able to add to his stock,
except by chance and courtesy of the traders.

This was the first great test of the courage of Dr. Whitman. Dr.
Spalding was outspoken, "We must turn back and never think of such
madness as to brave a journey among savages without an escort."
Whitman said little, but rapidly made his preparation, simply
declaring, "We will go on." Mrs. Spalding nobly seconded Whitman, and
said, "I have started for Oregon, and to Oregon I will go or leave
my body upon the plains." Mrs. Whitman was alike cheerful. So soon as
harness could be adjusted, the loads packed, and the cattle rounded
up, the man of courage gave the order, and the little train began to
move through the deep mud of the Missouri River bottoms. We learned
after that the fur company waited one day over the stipulated time.
But they had in some way learned at St. Louis that the Doctor was
going to bring with him some American women for the journey,
something never heard of before, and as they were expecting to have
to fight their way at times, they did not care for such encumbrances,
anxious as they were to have the services of the good Doctor. Thus it
was a gloomy start for the brave little company. Dr. Whitman had made
ample preparation for the comfort of the women in a spring-wagon,
"the brides' wagon," fitted up with various little comforts and a
protection in every storm. But it is doubtful whether two cultivated
American brides before, or since, ever made so memorable a wedding
journey. The party consisted of the two brides and their husbands,
Dr. W. H. Gray, two teamsters, and the two Indian boys. We may add
that somewhere in the Sioux country the boys picked up three other
Nez Perces friends; one of them, Samuel, was added permanently to the
company. Mrs. Whitman writes, "When the boys get together they make
a great chattering."

They were in an Indian country from the first day's start, and met
great numbers of savages, out on their hunts, many moving to new
camps, and some on the war-path. At no time were the missionaries
molested, but on the contrary, were treated with great courtesy, and
as Mrs. Whitman wrote, "They seemed greatly surprised to see white
women in the party." The Indian boys were soon in their element, and
of inestimable value; they could swim the rivers like ducks, and took
all the care of the loose stock, and were wise in the ways of plains'
life. They could explain to any suspicious Indians the coming of "the
great medicine men" they were taking to their people, and in a
hundred ways were helpers to the little company. Mrs. Whitman, from
the outset, rode on horseback with her husband, only occasionally
resting in the wagon, and for company to Mrs. Spalding, who was yet
an invalid.

We make no pretense of writing a continued narrative of the journey,
but just enough to catch its spirit. We have seen in it a dreary and
discouraged start, and none but a hero with heroines to encourage him
would have entered upon it. They had now been a whole month on the
way making forced marches, the trail of the fur-traders getting
fresher every day, until finally hearing they were in camp on Loupe
Fork, the wagons pushed on and joined them. The Doctor and Mrs.
Whitman were behind helping to hurry forward the loose stock.
Finally, late at night, the Indian boys begged the Doctor and his
wife to ride on to camp and leave them to drive the stock in at
daylight. But they refused to leave them. Picketing their horses out
to graze, then with their saddles for pillows, they lay upon the warm
ground looking up at the stars and slept. At daylight they rode into
camp and were courteously received and praised as "a plucky set."

The two American women, who had so alarmed the old plainsmen as a
burden and an encumbrance, by their tact and kindness soon won them
as friends, and nothing was left undone that the rough old fellows
could do for their comfort. They had succeeded so admirably in
passing safely for a month alone through the Indian country, that
they began to have confidence in themselves. But they learned that
they had not yet reached the point of real danger, and were glad to
be protected by such a stalwart troop. The Indians had a great
respect for these pioneer traders, who were veterans of the plains
and splendidly armed. The greatest anxiety was for the safety of
their stock at night, when picketed out to graze. The Indians
especially coveted the oxen and cows, which required careful guarding
to prevent stampeding. Cattle when frightened at night lose all
sense, breaking away and running as long as they can stand, becoming
easy prey for the savages, while horses and mules almost invariably
break for the tents and wagons, and the company of men.

Camp at night is always made by driving the wagons in a circle, with
tents pitched inside. The wagons make a protection from an enemy, and
all their contents are in easy reach.

The year 1836 was a peaceable year among the Indians, and the buffalo
and other game was so plentiful as to make small temptation for
Indian depredation upon the white man's stock during this portion of
the journey, but we may add they cast longing eyes at all times upon
every good horse the white man rode.

_In the Buffalo Country_

The company had now reached the buffalo country, and soon began to
see great herds containing thousands, and even tens of thousands.
Every spring the buffalo journeyed northward to the valleys and
plains to feed on the rich grasses. It is a feast occasion, one of
the greatest the Indian enjoys. Tribes travel four and five hundred
miles from their homes to meet the buffalo, and lay in a supply of
dried meat, calf skins, and robes, and never forgetting to feast for
a month while laying up winter stores. It is a novel and exhilarating
sight to view the annual Indian migration to meet these noble wild
cattle of the plains--the whole tribe, old and young, dogs and loose
horses, with all their movable worldly goods brought with them packed
on poles drawn by ponies. They settle down in the little valleys near
springs, or along running waters, and arrange for work in advance
with as much system as the farmer in the spring plows and sows. The
buffalo country has generally, by mutual consent, been regarded as
"peace grounds," but the desire for revenge has many times made it
the scene of bloody contests and massacres. Hunting buffalo in those
days, either by the Indians or white men, was not sport, but
butchery. They were in such immense herds that, when running from
their enemies, those in the rear could not get out of the way, and
were an easy prey to any kind of weapon of death. The buffalo bull is
the most gallant and noble among animals. On the march he leads,
brings up the rear, and marches on the flanks, while all the cows and
calves are kept in the center of the herd and protected from the
bands of wolves, mountain-lions, and bears which linger around ready
to devour the straying members of the herd. By a wonderful provision
of nature, the buffalo calves are practically all of the same age, so
that a herd in the long summer outing is not much detained upon its
way, for the little one trots gayly beside its mother in a few hours.
But while the little fellows are thus comparatively helpless, those
who have witnessed the scene, bear testimony to the courage of the
great, strong-necked, sharp-horned bulls who will attack a grizzly or
a whole pack of wolves, or a mountain-lion regardless of his own
danger. At such times he is even at night a sleepless, faithful
picket ever on duty. He walks backward and forward along his picketed
line like a trained soldier, and when the ground is wet, he treads a
deep path in the sod, and the picket line of a sleeping herd can
easily be traced long afterward, and often is referred to as "Indian
trails." One would suppose that such nobility would command respect.
But it never did. Even such explorers and writers as Parkman and his
men never seem to have enjoyed the day unless, in addition to the
calves they killed for food, they were able to tell of the slaughter
of many "savage old bulls." At the time of which I write buffalo were
seen by the million. Fourteen years later, when the writer visited
the same region, they could be seen in single herds covering a
thousand acres. When frightened and running, they were turned from
their course with the greatest difficulty.

A train on the trail they were crossing was only safe in halting and
allowing it to pass. The pressure from the rear was so great that the
front could not halt. Some of the old plainsmen told of "a
tenderfoot's" experience, who was going to have some "rare sport, and
his pick of an entire bunch." He observed a large herd quietly
grazing and saw by making a detour, up a dry ravine, where he would
be hidden from view, he could get immediately in their front. He
succeeded, and tying his mule behind him, concealed himself in the
edge of some bushes upon the bank of the creek. He did not have long
to wait, something in the rear frightened the herd and it began to
come directly toward him. As soon as in reach, he began to fire and
kill. It would break the ranks for an instant only, and he at once
saw death impending, as there was not a tree large enough to climb.
He had shot until his gun was hot, but all in vain. Just then his old
mule tied in the bushes opened up his musical "honk, honk," such as
only a thoroughly frightened mule can utter, and the whole herd
opened right and left, and the man was saved.

Some have expressed a wonder that these noble animals, in such
myriads, should so soon have disappeared. It is easily seen, in the
fact of the improved firearms used by the Indians, and that they
killed, for food, skins for clothing, and robes for the market, only
the cows and calves. They selected only the choice cuts of the meat,
and left the great bodies for the wolves and other varments. They
could tan only the skins of cows and calves for clothing and for
tepee covers. It was a sickening sight to pass over the place of
slaughter, and thus see hundreds of bodies, with only tongues and
choice cuts and skins taken. American hunters were equally
sacrificial. Half a century later the writer rode over the same land
and saw Indians, all across the region, with carts and pack ponies
gathering up bones of the buffalo. Passing stations along the Great
Northern and Northern Pacific railroads, one passes ricks of bones
half a mile long on each side, and as high as the tops of the cars,
waiting for shipment East as fertilizers, and horn handles for knives
and other uses in the arts. Only two living wild herds of buffalo are
now reported, one small one in Texas, and one carefully protected by
the government in Yellowstone Park. It would have been wise and
humane had they been protected sooner by the strong arm of the law.

But it was the great good fortune to our missionaries to meet the
buffalo herds. They started out poorly provided, and would soon have
been in distress, for they had added three Nez Perces Indian boys to
their company, and the pure air and exercise upon the plains
provokes great appetites. It was equally good for the fur-traders,
who had calculated upon the event. So the whole train stopped and
began to kill and "jerk" meat. The Indian boys were in their element
and veterans in the business, and laid in bountiful supplies. While
it is fresh and juicy few animals furnish more nutritious food. A
buffalo porterhouse steak, cooked over coals at the end of a forked
stick, when the thermometer of appetite is up to "one hundred degrees
in the shade," is a royal feast to be remembered. If however kept up
long enough, the good old-fashioned pig with lean and fat strips on
his ribs, is quite a relief. But the dried meat was the staple food
of the little company from that time on. Mrs. Whitman cheerfully and
jokingly writes in her diary, "We have dried buffalo meat and tea for
breakfast, and tea and jerked buffalo for supper, but the Doctor has
a different way of cooking each piece to give variety to the

Mrs. Whitman kept carefully a daily diary of events of travel, which
was luckily preserved, and passed into the hands of her sister, Mrs.
Jackson, of Oberlin, Ohio, which I have been permitted to read and
from which have copious selections in my larger work, "How Marcus
Whitman Saved Oregon," after which it was passed on to the Whitman
College Library, where it is preserved as a precious treasure. The
notable feature of this diary is its self-sacrificing spirit and good
cheer. The scorching sun, the clouds of alkaline dust that stung the
eyes and throat, the impure water they were compelled to use, the
myriads of mosquitoes and buffalo gnats, all of which the author so
well remembers as the dreariest things encountered in a long life,
did not daunt the spirit of this delicate little woman. Not a word of
complaint can be found in that daily diary, which was never written
for the public eye, or for effect. The nearest to it was once, after
being without flour or bread for weeks, she writes, "O for a few
crusts of mother's bread; girls, don't waste the bread in the old
home!" Men and women are all human, and I have no desire to picture
my characters as perfect beings. They doubtless had their faults, but
none who have not experienced some of the difficulties of that
pioneer band, who, tired and worn with travel, sought sleep while
hungry (after shaking out their blankets to be sure no snakes were
within them), can censure. I repeat, it takes such experience to
fully appreciate the heroism and unselfishness of such consecrated

The old pioneers were wise geographers and surveyors. There were two
things necessary for life upon the plains, viz., water and grass.
They studied their maps and saw the Platte, North and South Forks,
reaching northward and westward. So they made their trails along the
banks, cutting off bends, avoiding impossible sloughs and hills, but
keeping an eye upon the river in the distance, and ever working
nearer to it when a detour had been made. The two Plattes thus
furnish supplies for from five to six hundred miles. Travellers
struck across the divide for the Sweetwater and its tributaries,
until the foot of the Rockies is reached.

As the eyes of our travelers had rested for a month upon the
snow-covered peaks of the great stony mountains, one can imagine it
was a day of rejoicing when they began the ascent. The trail up "the
South Pass" was so easy a grade that the horses and cattle scarcely
felt the strain. One looking at it would surmise that this break in
the great mountain was not an accident, but it was left for a great
highway between the oceans, to make one family, and a United Nation.
Striking mountains, after the long dreary summer upon the alkaline
plains, hard as mountain-climbing is, was yet a change to be
appreciated. I recollect distinctly, it turned our little company of
sturdy men (a few years later) into rollicking boys who whooped and
sang to get the echoes, and rolled great stones, until their arms
ached, crushing down the mountain-side.

[Illustration: PACIFIC SPRING--JULY 4, 1835]

_A Notable Celebration_

Here on the top of the Rockies, or just beyond the summit, is a
spring appropriately named "The Pacific Spring," for its pure,
ice-cold water bubbles up and in a silvery stream winds its way
westward. It is a beauty spot as the author well remembers. A little
valley upon the mountains, covered with grass and wild flowers, with
grand views of valleys and mountains reaching farther away than the
eye can follow. Here the missionaries halted and allowed the
fur-traders to pass on. It was the Fourth Day of July, a day ever
memorable in the mind of every patriotic American. True they were but
missionaries, and far from home and friends, but they were
home-lovers and patriots. So spreading their blankets upon the bunch
grass, they brought out the American flag, unfurled it, and with
prayer and song dedicated the fair land thence to the Pacific, to God
and the Union. It was a prayer and song which after history proved a
prophecy; and one in which the actors in this little celebration took
so brave a part as to deserve their names enrolled among the nation's
royal benefactors. God rules the world, and all history shows that he
oftenest leaves the great and strong, and takes the weak and humble
to accomplish his grand purposes. Eternity will reveal whether that
dedication was one of the agencies which brought the after grand
results. Certain it was, that it was the agency of Dr. Whitman and
his heroism in carrying out that vow years after, and stirred up a
spirit never before experienced, and aroused the nation to action.

No stage could have been grander for such a celebration. Behind were
the long stretches of the great plains, and still beyond the
civilization of the continent, the hope of the Christian world; while
before was the wilderness in all its wildness, reaching to the

The Rockies towered about them, glittering in the sunshine! The
craggy peaks of the Wind River mountains loomed up in the north, with
the Coast Range visible, like floating clouds in the far west. The
luxurious grass, the towering pines, and flowers that perfumed the
air, made the spot beautiful, while the history of the event is a fit
theme for a grand national epic or painting. There have been many
historic celebrations of the nation's birth, some upon battle-fields
where victory perched upon the "the banner of beauty and glory," but
none more impressive than when upon that mountain top, in 1836, Mrs.
Whitman's musical voice echoed from the rocks and trees,

   "The star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
   O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

They had now entered upon the scenic stage of their journey, and it
was a delightful change from the dead levels of the plains. They
luxuriated in the pure ice-cold water, and magnificent scenery, but
it was well for them that they knew none of the weary climbs ahead.
We will not pause to note events from thence to Green River.

There they met with exciting and interesting savage life in all its
realities. They found at "the rendezvous" two thousand Indians in
camp, waiting for the coming of the traders. A thousand or more were
from the Oregon country, and among them friends and relatives of the
Indian boys, who had come the long distance to meet and welcome them,
as well as to trade. They gave the boys a royal greeting, as they
regarded them as heroes and great travelers. They were proud of their
accomplishments in speaking like the "Bostons," and when the
missionaries vouched for their earnest, faithful services, the
Indians were proud of their boys. Here they stayed for nearly two
weeks waiting for the completion of the trading. The Indians regarded
the missionaries as their guests, and taxed themselves to the utmost
to amuse them by wild games and feats of horsemanship and mimic
battles. They scoured the hills and woods for game, brought fish from
the river, and seemed to think even that not doing enough. They at
all times treated "the white squaws" with the greatest courtesy.
Mrs. Whitman marks this in her diary. She says:

    "One of the chiefs brought his wife to our tent, and taking off
    his cap and bowing gracefully, introduced her as politely as any
    civilized man. Such encourages me to believe that much can be
    done for these poor people, and I long to be at work."


    _"Old Click-Click-Clackety-Clackety," the Historic Wagon.
    Breaking Camps and its Incidents, and the End of the Journey._

Breaking camp at Green River was a noisy and gleeful occasion.
Half-starved Indian ponies, when they have rested a few weeks,
generally rebel when packs are cinched with a "diamond hitch" around
their well-marked ribs. Upon this occasion amusement was diversified
and enjoyable, even to the actors. But both Indians and traders were
no novices in such business, and soon the companies bade good by to
each other and started along the trails to their widely scattered
homes. It was the great exciting social event of Indian life, this
distant visit to trade. The Indians there met friends and relatives,
exchanged gossip, gathered the few luxuries and necessaries of life
for the year to come. They brought with them squaws and some of their
children, and enjoyed their outing in their savage way as much as the
élite do the seashore or Saratoga, and judging of both, one would say
they had more fun. The Oregon Indians were all anxious to be escorts
to "the Boston teachers." There were two intelligent traders from
Oregon, Messrs. McKay and McLeod, who offered escort to the little
company, which was gladly accepted, and they were of invaluable
service in that most difficult portion of the journey. The faithful
Indian boys, however, held their places of honor and trust to the
last. Mrs. Spalding had for some time been on horseback, and enjoyed
it more than the wagon, traversing the rocky roads. There was no
longer need of two wagons, and one was left at the rendezvous; but
"the brides' wagon" pulled out with the pack-train. My young readers
may think it an uninteresting object to write about, but they must
remember it is "the brides' wagon," fitted up with all the little
accommodations for the first two white women who braved the dangerous
journey across the great stony mountains to the Pacific. True, it was
battered and worn, dust and mud and storms had robbed it of style. It
is well for those who ride in palace cars and whizzing 'autos to
remember the days of their great grandfathers and grandmothers, who,
amid privations and perils, with the parting blessings of Puritan
homes, pulled across the Alleghanies in rough wagons and hewed out
homes, and built this great empire of the Middle West. The more often
we remember the heroines of the past the more we will enjoy this
grandest inheritance of the present ever left to any people. But
there was more than sentiment to this wagon as we shall see later on.
It figuratively blazed the way, and "marked a wagon-road to the
Columbia," and years after silenced the eloquence of America's
greatest orator!

The battered old wagon was a source of amusement to the Indians, who
rode in troops by its side to see the wheels go round, and hear its
clatter. Especially was it a novelty to the younger Indians, who at
once named it "Old Click-Click-Clackety-Clackety." There was a plain
wagon-road from the Missouri to Green River, and from thence to Fort
Hall--there it stopped. The royal owners of Oregon had long before
prophesied and decreed, "there would never be a wagon-road to the
Columbia!" They did not want one.


The company reached Fort Hall safely, which was an outpost of the
English Company, and only a pack trail led westward to the Columbia.
Captain Grant, in command of the post, knew his business, and that
was never to allow a wagon to go beyond Fort Hall. He at once told
the company of the dangers and perils of the journey, of the
impracticability of hauling a wagon. If tried it would so detain them
that they would be caught in the snows upon the mountains and perish.
His earnestness and arguments were such that he convinced most of
them, who favored abandoning the wagon. Even Mrs. Whitman joined
others in the entreaty to Dr. Whitman to leave the wagon and move on.
"The Silent Man" said little, but went on with his preparations, and
when the pack-train moved out, "Old Click-Click-Clackety-Clackety"
clacked in the rear as usual. The real facts are, that Captain Grant
had scarcely overstated the dangers and difficulties of the
undertaking. From the day they left Fort Hall until the memorable
baptism of the wagon in Snake River, the old wagon is one of the
constant themes of Mrs. Whitman's diary. We read, "Husband had a
tedious time with the wagon to-day. It got stuck in a creek and he
had to wade to get it out. After that in going up the mountain the
wagon upset twice." She describes the steep up and down mountain
trails where at times the mules had to be unhitched and the wagon
lowered with ropes (as the writer a few years later was compelled to
do). She adds, "I wondered that the wagon was not turning somersaults
all the time. It is not grateful to my feelings to see him wearing
himself out with such fatigue. All the mountain part of the way he
has walked in laborious attempts to take the wagon." About one week
later Mrs. Whitman writes, gleefully, "The axletree of the wagon
broke to-day. I was a little rejoiced, for we are in hopes it will
now be left." She adds, in her next note, "Our rejoicing was in
vain; they have made the wagon into a cart with the back wheels, and
lashed the front wheels to the sides, determined to take it through
in some shape or other." "Worse yet" (she writes a week later), "The
hills are so steep and rocky, husband thinks it best to lighten the
load as much as possible, and haul nothing but the wheels, leaving
the box and the trunk!" What do you think of that, my girl readers?
The brides' trunk, that came from the far-away home, with all its
mementoes and tender memories to be sacrificed, and "only the wheels"
taken! But the gallant McLeod solved the problem and ordered the
trunk packed on one of his mules, and it made the journey safely, and
the old wagon made into a cart, but its wheels and every iron
sacredly preserved, was still a wagon; and under a power impressed
upon one brave soul it moved on its great way, marking a wagon-road
and a highway between the oceans. Those may smile who will, but they
do not think deep, nor do they estimate how small and seemingly
insignificant events shape the greatest events in a personal, and
even national, life.

The last note of Mrs. Whitman's diary referring to the wagon says:

    "August 13. We have just crossed the Snake River, the packs were
    removed from the ponies and placed on the tallest horses, while
    two of the highest were selected for Mrs. Spalding and me. Mr.
    McLeod gave me his and rode mine. The river is divided into three
    channels by islands, the last, a half a mile wide, and our
    direction was against the current, which made it hard for the
    horses, as the water was up to their sides. Husband had a
    difficult time with the cart, as both mules and cart upset in
    midstream, and the animals got tangled in the harness, and would
    have drowned but for the desperate struggle for their release.
    Two of the strongest horses were taken into the river and hitched
    to the cart, while two men swam behind and guided it safely to
    the shore."

There they were at Fort Boise, beyond the Snake, and in Oregon! The
wagon-road was made! It was within easy reach of their future home.
There it was decided to leave the cart until spring, together with
half a dozen footsore cattle, which could be sent for, or exchanged
for others at Fort Walla Walla. Packs were now divided and the
patient mules, which had long drawn the cart, became packers.

An old wagon is the common rubbish in every farm-yard, and if my
reader enters a protest to the large place I have given it, or to
protest against Marcus Whitman for his persistent refusal to take the
advice of his companions, I will state in simple defense, I believe
Whitman was an inspired man! He never once made such claim, even to
the wife he almost adored. Later on, as we shall see, he obeyed the
same voice under far more trying circumstances, when called to make
his midwinter ride to save Oregon.

When his friends insisted in saying, "It is like going down into the
valley and shadow of death; wait until spring," his only answer was,
"I must go now!" Who can fathom such mysteries in any other way than
that I have mentioned. The chances are, he never dreamed of making a
trail for a great transcontinental traffic. It is not at all likely
that ever the thought came to him that he should guide a great
immigrant train over the same route a few years later and the brides'
wagon proved a notable factor in his success.

_The Last March_

The incumbrances left behind, the company moved on as rapidly as the
loose stock could be driven. It was still a wild, rugged road, but
much of the country traversed was beautiful. They were all now on
horseback, and all their worldly possessions on pack-saddles. The
weather was delightful, game abundant, and there was now no danger of
starving, although they had long been without all the luxuries common
to civilization. But best of all, they were buoyed up by the near
completion of a nearly seven months' journey of hardships and danger.
The day before they were to reach Fort Walla Walla, the Doctor and
Mrs. Whitman rode ahead of the company, and camped under the trees on
the bank of the river, eight miles from the Fort. At daylight they
were upon the road. Who can imagine the delight of the tired
travelers, as they came in sight, at a distance, of human habitations
and civilization! They spurred their horses into a gallop and rode to
the gates of the Fort just as the occupants were sitting down to
breakfast. The men and women of the Fort came at once and admitted
them through the gates, and gave them a cordial welcome, and did
their best to make them feel at ease.

Mrs. Whitman writes in her diary:

    "September 1, 1836. We reached here this morning just as they
    were sitting down to breakfast. We were soon seated at table and
    treated to fresh salmon, potatoes, tea, bread, and butter; what a
    variety thought I. You cannot imagine what an appetite those
    rides in the mountain air give a person."

She playfully adds that,

    "While at breakfast a rooster perched himself upon the doorstep,
    and crowed lustily. Whether it was in honor of the arrival of the
    first two white women, or as a general compliment to the company,
    I know not, but he pleased me."

The rest of the company reached the fort during the afternoon. Here
they all were, and none missing, right upon the scene of their
probable future labor.

The Cayuse Indians who had earnestly interceded for teachers were
the owners of a great tract of fertile land on both sides of the
Walla Walla River. Adjoining them, one hundred miles distant, was the
Nez Perces, to whom all the missionaries felt indebted and attracted,
because of the boy friends who had so faithfully served them during
the long journey, and as well for their amiable dispositions. The
Cayuse were smart Indians, whose wealth was in horses, which roamed
over their rich pastures, and without care, kept fat the year
through. But the Cayuse were not like the Nez Perces, always to be
relied upon. They were sharp traders, and notably tricky. But our
missionaries found they could do nothing by way of settlement until
they presented their credentials and consulted with the ruling
authorities--the English Hudson Bay Company at Vancouver, two hundred
and fifty miles down the Columbia. They were urged to stop and rest
before making the long journey, but so eager were they to get to
their work, and to make preparations for the winter, that they
declined the kind invitation. Large boats were secured, and
strong-armed, experienced Indian rowers soon bore the party to their
destination, through a land, and along rivers romantically
interesting. They found great bands of Indians on their route,
especially at the rapids, and The Dalles, where many found
employment, as boats and goods had to be carried for miles to smooth
water. Dr. Whitman at once marked The Dalles as an ideal place for a

  [1] Years after, and just before Dr. Whitman's death, he purchased
  the old Methodist Mission at The Dalles. His later judgment justified
  his first impressions.

Dr. McLoughlin, the chief factor of the Hudson Bay Company, received
the party most cordially, and bade them welcome. He was known among
the Indians as "The great white head chief." He was a giant in
stature, a gentleman of culture and education, and a man with a soul
as large as his body. From the outset there seemed to be a
freemasonry attachment between Whitman and McLoughlin. They were much
alike, physically and mentally. They were both physicians and men
with high moral character, stamped in every act of their lives.
McLoughlin carried out fixed principles in all his dealings with the
Indians; he never allowed them cheated in any trade; he lived up to
every promise made; and the savage tribes, in every quarter, obeyed
his commands like good soldiers do their general. Whitman laid bare
the whole case, how and why they were there, and concealed nothing.
His ideas freely given were, that he believed savages must first be
taught to build homes, plant and sow, and raise cattle, sheep, and
stop their roaming life. This was directly what the Hudson Bay people
did not want. They wanted furs and skins, and to get them whole
tribes must each year migrate to the distant hunting and trapping
regions. Dr. McLoughlin, while anxious to serve the missionaries, was
yet true to his company. He had placed the Methodist missionaries
Jason and Daniel Lee the year before far up the Willamette, and he
explained to Dr. Whitman that The Dalles was not the place for a
mission, and that it would be far better for the company and for the
missionaries, to settle in a more distant quarter. It all resulted in
Dr. Whitman going to the Cayuse on the Walla Walla, and Dr. Spalding
to the Nez Perces, one hundred and twenty-five miles further on.

McLoughlin was so impressed with the honesty and earnestness of his
guests, that he gave them liberty to draw upon him for anything he
could furnish for their use and comfort. Such an unlooked-for
kindness was greatly appreciated. And we may add, as far as Dr.
McLoughlin could execute the promise, it was sacredly fulfilled. It
is well to constantly remember that without his kindly aid the
missionaries of Oregon would have suffered, or even starved. Having
settled these important preliminaries, the little company was
impatient to be at its work. McLoughlin saw the necessity of
house-building in preparation for the winter, but protested against
the wives leaving his roof until homes were provided, and when he
saw that they hesitated and feared that they would tax hospitality,
he at once overcome all by stating it would not overtax, but would be
a great favor to him if Mrs. Whitman would remain and give his
daughter lessons in music. So it was arranged--The husbands with
helpers, tools, and seeds departed for the scene of their future

The Cayuse Indians were delighted with the arrangement, and at once
set off six hundred and forty acres of their best land at the
junction of two branches of the Walla Walla River for the mission.
Here the Doctor, his two teamsters, and two he had hired set about
house-building. There were small trees all about the grounds and
along the river, but none suitable for lumber or boards. For all such
they had to go from eight to ten miles up the river to the foot of
the Blue Mountains, and saw by hand, or rive boards, pack them on
horses, or float them down the rapid river. It is easy to see that
house-building was no picnic job under such circumstances. But
Whitman was not an "eight-hour man," and he never "struck." He toiled
early and late, and camped down in the forest, and went to sleep with
the musical howl of the wolf in his ears. The result was, in less
than six weeks there loomed up "a commodious house," of one great
room, with a large open fireplace and nearly ready for guests. It
had a shingled roof, places for windows and doors, and while the
Doctor added the many little conveniences for comfort, Dr. Spalding
went to Vancouver to escort the women, who were impatient, and
anxious to be helpers of their husbands. A house, whether a cabin or
a palace, is never a home until a good wife enters its doors. A man
alone can no more make a home home-like than he can pack a trunk.


    _The Home-coming. The Beginning of Missionary Life. Clarissa,
    "the Little White Cayuse Queen." Her Death. Sketches of Daily

After a somewhat tedious journey up the river for two hundred and
fifty miles, against the current and strong winds, Mrs. Whitman and
her escort reached the mission station December 10th, and alighted
from her horse at the cabin door after dark, while the wolves from
the farther banks of the Walla Walla united in a vigorous howl,
either of protest or of welcome. My girl readers may imagine that the
surroundings were not such as would call out any enthusiasm in a
young wife, entering her first home. And yet there is a beautiful
lesson of contentment, thankfulness, and love shown in the words of
this earnest little Christian woman, surrounded by savage life. She
writes in her diary:

    "We reached our new home December 10th, found a house reared, and
    the lean-to inclosed, a good chimney and fireplace, and the floor
    laid, but no windows or doors, except blankets. My heart truly
    leaped for joy as I alighted from my horse, entered, and seated
    myself before a pleasant fire, for it was night and the air

Again, December 26th, she writes (you will observe the date, one day
after the world's greatest anniversary):

    "Where are we now, and who are we, that we should be so blessed
    of the Lord? I can scarcely realize that we are thus comfortably
    fixed and keeping house, so soon after our marriage, when I
    consider what was before us."

Think of it, girls! no chairs except those rudely made with skins
stretched across them. Table made of four posts, covered with boards
sawed by hand; stools made of logs sawed of proper length; pegs along
the walls upon which to hang the clothing, nails being too expensive
a luxury to use. Beds were bunks fastened to the walls, and filled
with dried grass and leaves, and yet the young bride, accustomed to
the luxuries of civilization, set about building a home around which
always cluster life's comforts and joys. Every page of her diary
speaks her thankfulness for unnumbered blessings, and not a
discordant note, or a complaint, or a regret in all the pages. If I
were to stop to moralize, I should mark the love that only comes
where gold glitters, as the demoralizing agency of our day in this
Christian land. Young people desire too often to start in life rich,
even when their honored parents toiled for years for life comforts.
This desire for wealth is to-day so universal as to mark it the chief
aim of life. To start rich and be happy have lured a multitude to
misery. The little story I relate, however, tells its own moral in
its simple facts, and needs few words to impress its beautiful

Mrs. Whitman thus describes the great farm and its surroundings. I
have many times wandered over the old place, and cannot better
describe it than to insert a note from her diary:

    "It is a lovely situation. We are on a level peninsula formed by
    the two branches of the Walla Walla River. Our house stands on
    the southeast shore of the main river. To run a fence across,
    from river to river, will inclose three hundred acres of good
    land, and all directly under the eye. Just east of the house
    rises a range of low hills, covered with bunch grass almost as
    rich as oats, for the stock. The Indians have named the place
    'Waiilatpui,' the place of the rye grass."

Upon one of the highest of those hills in the East, which Mrs.
Whitman refers to, the pioneers of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho
recently erected a stately marble monument to Whitman, and at its
base is "the great grave" containing the remains of Dr. and Mrs.
Whitman, and twelve others who perished in the massacre, which will
be referred to more particularly in another chapter.

Dr. Whitman regarded it his first duty to plan to live in comfort,
and set his Indians a good example. He toiled day and night in making
his arrangements to plant and sow in the early spring months. The
Indians flocked about the mission in great numbers, curious to see
the active, earnest work of the man, and wondering at his
accomplishments. Mrs. Whitman soon organized classes of Indian
children, and entered with enthusiasm upon the work to which she had
dedicated her life. Indian children are bright, docile, and
quick-witted, and she soon had them under control, and saw rapid
progress, considering the fact that each had to learn the language of
the other at the start. The Cayuse were very anxious for their
children to learn all the secrets of "great medicine" and often sat
around the yard and grounds in groups to take mental note of events.
Whitman tried hard, by example and otherwise, to persuade the Indians
to lend a helping hand at work; now and then they would join him in
some heavy lifting which one man could not do, but they did not
believe that Indian men were made to work, that "work was only for

What Whitman accomplished may be best seen by a short extract from a
book written by T. J. Farnham, who visited the mission in 1839, three
years later. He writes:

    "I found two hundred and fifty acres inclosed and two hundred
    acres under good cultivation. I found from forty to fifty Indian
    children in the school, and Mrs. Whitman an indefatigable
    instructor. One new building was in course of construction, and
    a small grist mill in running order. It appeared to me quite
    remarkable that the Doctor could have accomplished so much since
    1836, and act as physician to the Indians, and also to the
    distant mission stations at Clearwater and Spokane. He could not
    have done so, and kept the mission work to its high standard,
    only by the tactful and unceasing work of Mrs. Whitman."

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Edwards, writing of the mission, which he
visited in 1842, says:

    "I found the Indians had taken a practical lesson from the
    Doctor, and were each cultivating for themselves from one-fourth
    to four acres of ground, and they had seventy head of cattle and
    a few sheep."

The great crops of wheat, barley, potatoes, melons, and vegetables so
easily raised in the rich soil were a revelation to the Indians, and
taught them just the practical lessons the Doctor so much desired.
His theory was, that little could be done in a religious way with the
Indians until he could induce them to build homes, and plant and sow
and reap, and adopt the methods of civilized people. Many had been
induced to build houses, and much of the unnecessary nomadic life had
been abandoned. Mrs. Whitman retained her wonderful voice and sang
and won the hearts of the savages, long before she knew enough of the
language to make the sentiment of her songs impressive lessons. From
the outset she was regarded as their friend, and they embraced every
opportunity, in their crude way, to show their appreciation. They
often brought her presents of venison and wild fowl, which was an
agreeable change of diet from the horse meat they were compelled to
use for over three years. Their stock of cattle and sheep and hogs
was too small to be used for food.

Mrs. Whitman says in her diary, in 1838: "To supply our men and many
visitors we have this year bought of the Indians and eaten ten wild
horses." Those young Cayuse horses that roamed over the rich pastures
and nearly as wild as the deer, are not such bad food, as the author
can testify. They are not to be compared with the old broken-down
horses sometimes used for food by civilized people. Mrs. Whitman, in
her diary, seldom enters a complaint against her Indian wards. She
treated them as friends; nothing was kept under lock and key, and she
declares nothing was ever stolen. But they liked to roam all over the
house and were curious to see everything. After the home had been
enlarged, as it had been each year, and bedrooms were added, she had
a difficult task in teaching the Indian men that it was not proper
for them to open the door or enter a lady's bedroom. They seemed to
have difficulty in understanding that it was "a sacred place," and
appeared hurt and aggrieved, lest that in some way they had lost
favor with their good friend.

_A Notable Event_

Perhaps I should have noted it long before this, for it was a
distinct event to these two people, so far separated from kindred and
civilized friends, when a little girl baby came to cheer their rude
home in the wilderness, seemed a gracious gift direct from paradise.
To the Indians she was a wonder and delight. Great burly savages with
their squaws came from miles and miles away to look upon the "little
white squaw baby." They seemed to think it a great privilege and
honor to be permitted to touch the soft, white cheek with a finger.
To the sixty and seventy Indian children in the school, the baby was
more interesting than their lessons, and the older and more careful
Indian girls who were permitted to nurse and care for the little one
during school hours were envied by all others.

In the pure health-giving air, with her vigorous constitution, the
baby grew strong and vigorous. She was a precocious child physically
and mentally, and before she was a year and a half old, she spoke
both the English and Indian language. Her constant association with
Indian children made her even more familiar with their language than
the English. She had inherited a wonderful musical voice from her
mother, and sang as the birds sing, because they cannot help

[Illustration: MT. TACOMA FROM LONGMIRE SPRINGS. (The home of

Later on, she incorporated Cayuse words in her songs which delighted
the Indians, and they thought her almost more than human. Every day
they would lounge around the yard and watch every movement and listen
to her songs. The old chief was one of her great admirers; he called
her "the little white Cayuse Queen," and openly gave notice that he
would make her the heir to all his wealth, for he was rich, as the
Indians understood riches. We have had but the meager facts, those
written by Mrs. Whitman to her family and the notes in her diary, to
guide us in telling the story of this fleeting beautiful young life.

_An Impending Calamity_

But an affliction was impending, even before the child reached two
and a half years of age. It was Sunday morning in June, and none
brighter or more glorious than June days in Oregon, and the little
girl had been permitted by her father as usual to select the hymn for
the morning service. The hymn was one unusual for the child of her
tender years, but you must remember that at that far-away date there
were few hymns adapted to children, and she selected one she had
memorized. It was the olden-time favorite

   "_Rock of Ages_

   "While I draw this fleeting breath,
   When my eyelids close in death,
   When I rise to worlds unknown,
   And behold Thee on Thy throne;
   Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
   May I hide myself in Thee."

This was the morning family service; in the afternoon there was a
large attendance of the Indians. The Doctor led the service, and for
the opening hymn selected the same one sung in the morning, and the
little girl's sweet childish voice chimed in beautifully with the
rich soprano of her mother. Mrs. Whitman writes, "This was the last
we ever heard her sing." I never hear "Rock of Ages," but it calls to
mind little Clarissa, and her wilderness home, where the angelic
messengers hovered even then, to bear the dear child, in the words of
her song, "to worlds unknown."

After the service Mrs. Whitman was busy in the preparation of the
evening meal for her large family; the little child was here and
there, busy as usual, and had not been missed until five minutes
before the alarm was given, and a hurried search made in every
direction, with calls that were unanswered. They had a path which led
to the Walla Walla River, sixty or more yards away, and a platform
built out, so that pure water could be dipped up for family use.
There upon the platform they found one of her little red tin cups,
which was a treasure she greatly prized. The Indian who found it at
once reached the conclusion that the little girl had fallen in while
attempting to dip the water. He at once dived in, and allowing the
rapid current to drift his body as it would the child, he soon seized
the clothing and bore the little body, yet warm, to its father's
arms. Every effort was made to recall the life which had departed,
but in vain. Possibly my young readers may inquire why was this
permitted? Why was the dear child taken, and such sorrow left in the
home? Such thoughts and utterances have occurred thousands of times
during the centuries. The pure, the good, and the true depart, and
the vicious often live on. We indeed "look through a glass darkly" on
this earth, but we may know more for the reasons of life when we
reach the life beyond.

Certainly such events are trials of Christian faith in multitudes of
Christian homes! Did they come too near worshiping the child? Was it
likely the great, strong man who was to be called to a great work
would have been turned aside from it had the child lived? Could the
"Silent Man" have left that tender charge in the wilderness to answer
a call to duty? Who can answer? Dr. Whitman himself writes nothing of
the event. But one glancing at the notes of Mrs. Whitman's diary,
will see revealed the profoundly Christian character of the mother.
She writes, "Lord, it is right, it is right! She is not mine, but
Thine! She was only lent to me to comfort me for a little season, and
now, dear Saviour, Thou hast the best right to her. Thy will, not
mine, be done!" One seldom reads a better sermon upon Christian faith
than that.

The effect of the death of "the little white Cayuse Queen" upon the
Indians was marked. They had but little of the faith of the mother's
heart to buoy them up. They could not understand it. The Indians were
superstitious, and they conceived it to be a judgment, sent by the
Great Spirit, upon Dr. Whitman, and that he was displeased with
"Great White Medicine." From that event the older Indians appear to
have lost most of their interest in the mission and its work, and the
task of the missionaries never after ran as smoothly as before. The
best of them still attended the religious services, and the school
flourished. The medicine men of the Cayuse had long been jealous of
Whitman's power, and they helped the grumblers and mischief-makers to
lessen the Doctor's power and influence with the tribe.

The occupants of the mission were very busy people. The fields and
gardens produced bountiful crops, but it required it all to feed the
many at the mission, and the hungry transient guests. It was upon the
direct route of immigrants--many sick and impoverished, and they all
met with hospitable welcome. Mrs. Whitman writes, in her diary, "In
some respects we are in a trying situation, being missionaries and
not traders." Dr. Spalding, who was more intimately associated with
Whitman and his work than any other man, years after Whitman's death,
made this record.

    "Immigrants by the hundreds, and later on, and near the close of
    his life, by the thousands, reached his mission, weary, worn,
    hungry, sick, and often destitute, but he cared for them all.
    Seven small children of one family, by the death of parents, were
    left upon the hands of the Doctor and his wife, one a babe four
    months old. They adopted them with four others, furnishing food
    and clothing without pay. Frequently the Doctor would give away
    his entire food supply, and send to me for grain to get him
    through the winter."

The Cayuse Indians were scarcely a fair test of Dr. Whitman's
theories of Indian elevation and civilization. They were smart,
shrewd traders, and not fur-hunters, and a low state of morals
existed. While many of the older ones accepted the Doctor's advice of
living in peace with surrounding tribes and treating them honestly,
yet many of the younger Indians rebelled against his strict rules,
and went on forays that he severely condemned. In one case a distant
tribe owed a debt which they had failed to pay, and the Cayuse
braves made a foray and stole their horses to pay the debt. The
Doctor made a vigorous protest, and the young bloods had to take back
their booty, but it estranged many of the influential, younger
Indians, who rebelled against such strict moral methods. Such
conditions grew with the years. They were near the fort, and came
oftener under the influence of the Canadian fur-traders and
hangers-on of the Hudson Bay Company, and as we shall see later on,
were easily led to believe the stories started at the time of the
great ride, that "Whitman's designs were to kill off all the Indians,
and take possession of their lands." But we will not enter into any
discussion of the direct causes which led up to the great disaster of
1847, many of them not well authenticated.

The Nez Perces presided over by Dr. Spalding, whose mission was
intimately associated with that of Whitman, and one in which he took
a deep interest, was a much more tractable tribe, and have ever since
proved their training. They are perhaps to-day as fine specimens of
civilized Indians as can be found in the United States. From the year
1836, when Dr. and Mrs. Spalding took charge of them, they have never
raised an arm or showed enmity against white people. One little
faction led by a minor chief, at one time joined a war party, which,
however, was not countenanced by the tribe. At the time of the great
massacre, when Dr. and Mrs. Spalding were also expecting death, the
Nez Perces rallied around them, and five hundred of their bravest
warriors escorted them to civilization and safety, braving the scorn
and enmity of hostile tribes. To-day they are Christian people, have
five flourishing Presbyterian churches, good schools, and productive
farms. Every fourth of July all the churches unite in "a yearly
meeting," raise American flags, hear speeches and sermons, and
patriotic songs. In the fine two-volume history and biography of his
father, General Stevens, who was the first governor of Washington
Territory, Captain Hazard Stevens pays a noble tribute to the work of
the early missionaries and the Nez Perces. He specifies as many as
three occasions when all the other tribes were on the war-path, the
Nez Perces stood loyal, and saved the lives of the governor and his
party. True, we cannot, in view of the facts, have much to say of the
Cayuse, but they were not all bad. It was related by those who
visited the Cayuse in their reservation, to which they were banished
after the massacre, that "fourteen years after, old Istikus, every
Sunday morning went to the door of his tent and rang the old sacred
mission bell, and invited all to come to prayers." How little or how
much of Christianity was planted in Indian souls by the pioneer
missionaries of Oregon eternity alone will reveal.

But we venture the assertion that the American Board and Christian
people, in view of the good we know of the Indians such as I have
recited, and the overwhelmingly invaluable services of Dr. Whitman to
Christianity and the nation, no wiser expenditure was ever made by
that great organization.

There is not a blight nor a blur upon the lives of the messengers of
salvation who answered the Indian's call for "The White Man's Book of
Heaven." They sacrificed ease and comfort and home and friends that
they might brighten Indian life and point the way to the life to
come. The strange thing about it all is, that the great multitude
even of intelligent, Christian people have either never heard of or
forgot to do them honor.

We must now turn for a brief retrospect of pioneer history relating
to early Oregon. The author begs his young readers not to shun the
chapter. It is important, for it is the key that unlocks the brave
story to follow, of "Whitman's ride." It is good history to know, for
it shows the stepping-stones of the nation's greatest progress.


    _Brief Sketch of Discovery and History of Oregon Country. When
    Discovered! Who Owned It! By What Title! The Various Treaties,
    and Final Contest._

Upon the opening of the year 1792, the Oregon country was an unknown
and unexplored land. It had been believed that a great river entered
the Northern Pacific, and several nations had, from time to time,
made investigations. It had been reported that ancient navigators had
discovered it a century previous, but if so, it had no place upon any
map. It was in that year that Captain Robert Gray, a merchant trader,
whose ship was fitted out in Boston by a syndicate of merchants
achieved the honor. Captain Gray was a native American, born in
Tiverton, Rhode Island, in 1755, and died in Charleston, South
Carolina, in 1800, eight years after his discovery. He was an
observant sailor, as well as a Yankee trader, and as he was sailing
leisurely in a gentle breeze, from forty to sixty miles from the
shore, he observed a change in the color of the water, and upon
testing it, found it comparatively fresh. He at once reached the
conclusion that he had found the mysterious, long-sought river.
Turning the bow of his vessel toward the shore, and keeping as near
what appeared the middle of the fresh-water current, he, at first
venture, entered the mouth of the river, and luckily one of its most
easily navigated outlets (for it has several). He sailed up the
river, anchored in its wide bay near where Astoria now stands, and
raising the American flag, took possession in the name of the United
States. He was impressed with the immense volume of water pouring
into the ocean, and the grandeur of the great harbor, from six to ten
miles wide, and the wild beauty of the new land. He sailed up and
down the river, sounded its depths, traded his goods with savage
tribes for furs and skins, got fresh supplies of pure water, fish,
and venison. After a more than usual prolonged stay for a trading
vessel, he again put out to sea, having named the great river after
his staunch vessel, "The Columbia."[2]


     ................"He was the first,
     That ever burst, into that silent sea."

It so happened that a week or more before making his great discovery
he had spoken, at sea, to Captain Vancouver, of the English navy, who
was upon a voyage of discovery on the Northern Pacific Coast. A few
days after emerging from the river he again came in hailing distance
of the English ship, and announced to Captain Vancouver his great
discovery, giving him all the bearings which had been accurately
taken. Captain Vancouver immediately changed his course, found the
entrance, entered the river, sailed up the Willamette to its falls,
up the Columbia to the rapids, and formally took possession in the
name of England! It is a singular fact that both Spain and England
that year each had a ship along the coast upon voyages of discovery.
We are accustomed to call such events as "it so happened," but
whether accidental or providential, America was ahead. It will be
well to keep these facts in mind, for upon them hinges all claims
England had upon Oregon! Yet, weak as they were, she held supreme
possession of all Oregon for nearly half a century, and as we shall
show, had it not been for the heroic work of the old pioneer
missionaries, would probably have held the whole fair land for all
time to come. England owned the territory northward from the United
States, whose boundaries were not accurately defined. Even those
along the borders of the New England states were not definitely
fixed, and were a source of constant conflict until settled by the
Ashburton treaty as late as 1846. The line between the United States
and Canada ran westward to the Rocky Mountains, and there ended.
Thirty-five years later, while England was in full possession of
Oregon, by a treaty signed in 1818, to run for ten years (and was
renewed in 1827 for ten years more), her commissioners claimed that
they were "the owners of Oregon by discovery." They argued that
"Captain Gray only discovered the mouth of the river, while Captain
Vancouver made full and complete discovery"; that "Captain Gray's
claim was limited to the mouth of the river, and that he was only a
merchant, sailor, and trader, and not a legitimate discoverer, while
Captain Vancouver was a commander in his Majesty's navy."

Mark, then, the discovery, in 1792, as the United States' first claim
to Oregon. When the United States purchased the claims of France to
all the great possession west of the Mississippi River, it was
supposed at the time to reach the Pacific Ocean and include the
Oregon country, and was so marked on the maps until the publication
of the latest government map, which marks "The Louisiana Purchase,"
reaching only to the Rockies. So, by the after-light of history, we
can make no claim to Oregon from that purchase. But President
Jefferson, who had a more enthusiastic interest in the Oregon country
than did any other of the statesmen of his day, evidently believed
his purchase from France included the Oregon country, for he at once
began to plan a voyage, for survey and discovery, of all the lands
from the Mississippi to the Pacific.

Jefferson looked much farther into the future grandeur of the nation
than his fellows. While minister to France he met the great traveler
and ornithologist, Audubon, and became deeply interested in the
mysteries of the Western wilderness. He attempted upon his return to
America, by private subscription, to send out an exploring expedition
under the guidance of Audubon. But the death of the great naturalist
defeated the enterprise.

Jefferson, in 1800, was elected President; he made the great
Louisiana purchase; he believed it extended to the Pacific; and it
was through him that the Lewis and Clark expedition was fitted out in
1804, and sent on its mission to explore the land. My young readers
who desire the complete and thrilling story of the Lewis and Clark
expedition can find it in "The Conquest," by Mrs. Eva Emory Dye of
Oregon City.

The third claim for American ownership was the settlement at Astoria
by the Astor Fur Company, in 1811. It had but a short life, as it was
captured by the English early in the year of 1812, and not returned
until after the final treaty of 1846.

Spain held an old fort on lands south of the Oregon country, really a
shadowy and uncertain title. In 1818 a general treaty with Spain was
signed in which she gave to the United States all claims she
possessed in the Oregon country. This made the fourth claim to
ownership. Mexico, which was a part of Spain at that time, in her
northern possessions, laid claim to the same, and this was quieted by
the treaty with Mexico in 1828. This made the fifth claim to
ownership. It will thus be seen that the United States had but one
competitor for title to Oregon, and that was Great Britain.

I have thus in the briefest way recited the important historical
events relating to our title to the now valued country beyond "the
great stony mountains." No facts of American history are stranger or
more interesting, and the reader must catch the spirit of that period
to find interest, and give due credit to the pioneers of that distant
land for their grand work of rescuing it from a foreign power.

It is well to bear in mind that American statesmen, who in 1802-1803
arranged for the purchase of the territory west of the Mississippi
River from France, had but two objects in view: one was to get
possession of the mouth of the Missouri River, upon a demand made by
the commerce of the western states; and the other was to get
possession of the rich, alluvial bottoms of Louisiana for slave
labor. It was those two elements combined which enabled President
Jefferson to get the measure through Congress, in spite of the
united opposition of New England, which was opposed to expansion. It
is also a notable fact, worthy of remembrance, that sixty years
later, all the great states carved out of the Louisiana Territory,
except two, were solidly massed behind the flag and the Union to
crush human slavery.

It reads like romance, but is true history, and caught in its spirit,
shows an overruling Power dominating the nation's destiny.

The great Louisiana purchase not only failed to make slavery strong,
but it eventually, and within half a century, was one of the strong
agents for slavery's destruction.


    _Why Did the United States Dicker with England for Half a
    Century, before Asserting her Rights to Oregon? The
    Answer--American Statesmen had no Appreciation of Oregon, and
    Determinedly Opposed Expansion._

It is no pleasure for an American to call in question and criticise
the wisdom and statesmanship of the men of the first half of the
nineteenth century. But history is made of stubborn facts.

From 1792, the time of discovery of the Columbia River, up to 1845,
the United States government never, by an official act in any way
aided Oregon, or attempted to control it. Time and time again some
statesman in Congress offered a resolution, or framed an act looking
to that end, and upon several occasions one branch of Congress
permitted the act to pass, simply to avoid discussion, knowing that
it would fall dead in the other house. Thus, year by year our
statesmen went on such record, as for their credit and wisdom it
would be well if it could be obliterated from the records. They were
men, brave and true; they had guided the nation to an honorable
place among the nations of the earth, but they were, after all,
willing to stand still, and let well enough alone. They regarded
their territory as already vaster and larger than would ever be
peopled. The readers can best understand the canny sentiment of the
period by a few quotations from speeches made in Congress from time
to time when the Oregon question was brought before them. Senator
Winthrop of Massachusetts, in one of his great speeches, said:

    "What do we want with Oregon? We will not need elbow room for a
    thousand years."

Another senator, second to none in influence, Benton of Missouri, in
a speech, while in Congress in 1825, said:

    "The ridge of the Rocky Mountains may be named as a convenient,
    natural, and everlasting boundary. Along this ridge the western
    limits of the Republic should be drawn, and the statue of the
    fabled god Terminus should be erected upon its highest peak,
    never to be thrown down."

In justice to Benton, we may observe he later on was convinced of the
unwisdom of the sentiment, and became, with his co-worker, Senator
Linn of Missouri, an ardent friend of Oregon. But his colleague,
Senator Winthrop of Massachusetts, as late as 1846, when the Oregon
treaty was before the Senate, and when the question had reached
almost a war stage, repeated the words of Benton's speech of 1825,
and commended it for its wisdom and statesmanship.

General Jackson, who was a power in the nation's counsels in that
day, in a letter to President Monroe, concisely stated his opinion in
these words:

    "It should be our policy to concentrate our population, and
    confine our frontier to proper limits, until our country in those
    limits is filled with a dense population. It is denseness of
    population that gives strength and security to our frontier."

That was a diplomatic and conservative opinion, which doubtless
reflected the sentiment of the multitude. The Calhouns, the Websters,
the Daytons, and a host of others were more pronounced, and less
diplomatic. They pointedly hated the very name of Oregon, and did not
propose to endanger the nation's safety or defile its garments by
making it a part of the Union.

To all that class, and I shall mention but few of them in
illustration, Oregon was an aversion. The great Webster said:

    "Oregon is a vast worthless area, a region of savages, wild
    beasts, deserts of shifting sands, cactus, and prairie dogs. What
    can we ever hope to do with a coast of three thousand miles, rock
    bound, cheerless, and not a harbor on it. What use have we for
    such a country?"

Senator McDuffie of South Carolina, was fiery with his oratory, and
can easily be understood. He said in one of his several speeches:

    "The whole of Oregon is not worth a pinch of snuff."

Again he said:

    "As I understand it, there are seven hundred miles this side of
    the Rocky Mountains uninhabitable, where rain never falls,
    mountains wholly impassable except through gaps. What are you
    going to do in such a case? Can you apply steam? Have you
    estimated the cost of a railroad to the mouth of the Columbia?
    The wealth of the Indies would not build it. I wish the Rocky
    Mountains were an impassable barrier. If there was an embankment
    five feet high to be removed, I would not vote five dollars to
    remove it, and encourage our people to go there."

That speech was delivered in Congress only a few months before
Whitman's memorable ride to save Oregon. Senator Dayton of New Jersey
was marked as an able man, and yet his knowledge of Oregon was as
limited as that of Webster, Winthrop, or McDuffie. In one of his
speeches he called "Oregon a Sahara, except along the little streams
and bottom lands!"

We have in modern times had some eloquent opponents to expansion, but
they were "childlike and bland" when compared with the old statesmen
of the first half of the nineteenth century, who easily saw ruin to
the country by acknowledging practical ownership of that distant

The public press was not behindhand with statesmen in ridiculing
Oregon. The Louisville Journal and the National Intelligencer, then
the two most influential newspapers in the land, were bitter. The
Journal wrote, and the Intelligencer copied and approved:

    "Of all the countries upon the face of the earth, Oregon is the
    one least favored by heaven. It is the riddlings of creation. It
    is almost as barren as Sahara, and quite as unhealthy as the
    Campana of Italy. Russia has her Siberia, and England her Botany
    Bay, and if the United States should ever need a country to which
    to banish her rogues and scoundrels, the utility of such a region
    as Oregon would be demonstrated. Until then, we are perfectly
    willing to leave this magnificent country to the Indians and
    trappers and buffalo-hunters that roam over its sand banks."

One passing over that beautiful and fertile land, after only half a
century and ten years have passed, can easily conceive how dense was
the ignorance of the common people upon the subject, when a man,
eminent in letters, and the wisest journalist of his day, George D.
Prentice, would give expression to such sentiments.

The English press if possible was even more pronounced, and used
every argument to discourage emigration. The Hudson Bay Fur Company
was owned and controlled by the titled nobility of England. It had
made every owner rich by its wealth of furs. It was in full control
of all the territory by the consent of the United States, and only
desired "to be let alone" and in peace to enjoy the monopoly.


The London Examiner, in 1842, just when the United States was waking
from its lethargy, wrote:

    "Ignorant Americans are disposed to quarrel over a country, the
    whole of which in dispute not being worth, to either party,
    twenty thousand pounds."

About the same time the Edinburgh Review wrote:

    "Only a small portion of the land is capable of cultivation. It
    is a case where the American people have been misled, as to soil
    and climate. In a few years all that gave life to the country,
    both the hunter and his prey, will be extinct, and their places
    supplied by a thin half-breed population, scattered along the
    fertile valleys, who will gradually degenerate into a barbarism
    far more offensive than backwoodsmen."

In view of the utterances of the American press and statesmen, we
remain silent in any criticism of England. It was acting no
dishonorable part in Oregon. They were simply using to their great
profit a vast territory the United States owned, but did not want to
be troubled with. They, it is true, knew more of its worth than did
Americans, but as far as the Hudson Bay people were concerned, they
did not covet immigration, even of their own kind, only enough to
hold the balance of power, and keep themselves in readiness to
organize the territory, and retain it under terms of the treaty of
1818. They had great interests at stake.

Modern writers have asserted over and over again that "the United
States was never in any danger of losing Oregon, and needed no
Whitman and his missionaries to save it!" But they cannot do away
with the record which I have only tersely recited.

A volume could be written, along the same line, to prove the utter
lack of interest in that country. But if statesmen, in Congress and
out, and the press had been silent, the single official act of the
government, in signing the treaty of 1818, giving entire control of
the land to England (for the Hudson Bay Company represented England),
would tell the whole story of the neglect of Oregon. When ever before
or since has the United States made such a deal, giving by solemn
treaty, a country thirty times as large as Massachusetts, for a full
twenty years and more, without a dollar of compensation, to a great
foreign nation, and unresistingly seen American traders driven out or
starved out of the entire country? Those making the charge of "no
danger of losing Oregon by the United States" would do well to
explain _this one act, which was official_, even if they make light
of the utterances of the men who refused, for more than fifty years,
to legislate by a single act for Oregon. It is true the treaty said:

    "It should not be to the prejudice of either of the high
    contracting parties, the only object being to prevent disputes
    and differences among themselves!"

Who does not see and acknowledge that the treaty was a virtual
acknowledgment of England's ownership by "discovery" as claimed at
that time? These modern critics find no flaw in the title of the
United States, they simply shout "no danger" for no other conceivable
purpose than to attempt to dishonor and disparage the heroic work of
the missionaries and pioneers of early Oregon, in which they have
succeeded only too well. They were poor men, who made no claim for
honors. The leading, heroic actor made no demands for his services,
neither money nor official recognition. Our historians, until modern
justice cried out in shame, have sought to bolster up the statesmen,
lawmakers and molders of public opinion of that day, only giving
sneers to a man who sacrificed ease, comfort, home and life to
patriotic Christian duty.


    _The Conditions of Oregon in 1842. The Arrival of a Large Party
    of Americans. The News They Bore. The Great Ride to Save Oregon.
    The Incidents of Travel. Whitman Reaches Washington._

We now reach a critical period in Oregon history, and are to study
events crowded with exciting interest. Several new missions had been
organized by the American Board, and were manned by a scholarly,
heroic band of missionary workers. They were Christian men and women
in the best sense of the term, and were there in answer to the
savage's appeal made at St. Louis, to teach and read to them "the
Book of Heaven." But at the same time, they were intensely patriotic
American citizens. They had been given passports by the United States
authorities before leaving the States; a copy of that given Dr.
Cushing Eells is still in the possession of his son, Myron Eells, now
living in Washington. It varied, it is true, from regular passports,
but nevertheless was enough foreign to make its possessor understand
he was destined to "a foreign land," and under the direction of "the
Foreign Missionary Society."

The missionaries often met in conference, and generally at
Waiilatpui, that being central, having larger accommodations than
other posts.

Notwithstanding the courtesies and constant kindness personally
received from Dr. McLoughlin, of the Hudson Bay Company, they were
ill at ease. They had now been six years in Oregon, and realized its
grand possibilities. Their bountiful crops of grains and fruits told
them of the productive soil; the healthful climate, the great
forests, the wild grand scenery, all emphasized its value. They were
missionaries, far away from home, yet Americans, and patriots, to see
so fair a domain year by year slipping away from the Union, ground
them to the quick. In their private correspondence to friends, and
Dr. Parker, in his able book, had encouraged immigrants to brave the
dangers of the journey.

The heroic Methodist missionary, Rev. Jason Lee, made a trip across
the plains to Washington and brought back with him several Americans.
Despite all their efforts, Canadians and adherents of the Hudson Bay
Company outnumbered them three to one. The missionaries and all
others in Oregon knew that the meaning of the treaty of 1818 was
that, whichever nation settled the country would hold and own it.
They knew it had been practically in possession of England for many
years with the direct sanction of American authorities. They knew the
low esteem in which Oregon was held by many American statesmen, but
what could they do? Such were the conditions in 1842, when Elijah
White, a former Indian agent of the government, reached Whitman's
mission in the month of September. With him came one hundred and
twenty-five American immigrants. He was an intelligent man, and had
many in his company who were thoroughly posted upon American affairs.
They found Whitman an intensely interested listener and questioner.
In this company was a young lawyer, Amos L. Lovejoy, a most
intelligent man, who, in after years, filled a large and honored
place in Oregon history, and latterly shared with our hero the daring
and danger of his great work.

_What was before Congress_

These men informed the Doctor that "the Ashburton treaty," fixing the
boundary line between the United States and Canada, which had run up
against the Rocky Mountain and rested there for half a century, was
under discussion between the two governments, and would probably come
before the United States Senate for final action during the session
of 1842-1843.

Whitman was a man of few words, and quick action. He pondered deeply.
He felt that a climax was impending, and in the contest Oregon was to
be lost or won for his country. I do not stop to argue whether it was
simply the call of patriotism of the man as an American, or whether,
like the men of old, "he was called of God," but when we remember the
perils to be met, the sacrifices to be made, and none knew them
better than Whitman, I cannot believe that so clear-headed a man
would ever have entertained the idea, if he had not heard and obeyed
a call higher and more commanding than that of man!

He laid the matter before his wife, his chief counselor, that he
fondly loved and cherished. The two were as one. They had met dangers
and hardships, sacrifices and sorrows, together for seven years. This
meant separation and dangers unknown to both for a whole year, during
which not a line or a word could pass between them to tell of the
fate of the other. Words would fail to express or picture that
September conference in the wilds of Oregon if it had ever been
written. But Narcissa Whitman was the same heroic woman who years
before sacrificed the ease of civilized life and rode on horseback
across the dreary plains, climbed mountains, and swam rivers,
endured hunger at the call of duty! She was an ideal missionary, and
the patriotic wife of a missionary who, in song and prayer, had
dedicated the whole fair land to God and the Union upon that
memorable anniversary upon the Rockies in 1836, and she answered,

The Doctor at once sent messengers to the several missionary
stations, summoning them to an immediate council at Waiilatpui for
important business. They all responded promptly, glad to come in
contact with the many new guests from the States, and hear words from
home, as well as to learn the meaning of this sudden and unusual call
for conference. Of this meeting, and what was said and done, we have
more complete reports, from the written words of Dr. Eells, Dr.
Spalding, and other members. When assembled Dr. Whitman lost no time
in explaining his call, and that it was to obtain leave of absence
from the local conference for one year, to visit Washington and the
States! The proposition was astounding to his brethren, and caused
wide discussion. While they were, in the main, in full sympathy with
Whitman, they well knew the prejudices of the rulers of the American
Board against ministers "dabbling in politics," or concerning
themselves with questions of state. A second important question was
discussed, viz.: "If it became known to the ruling powers in Oregon,
upon which all the missions were wholly dependent, would it not
greatly embarrass if not destroy them all?" They had the kindliest
feeling for Dr. McLoughlin for his eminent services rendered, but
they well knew the Hudson Bay Company was there for business, and
that it had starved out every American trader who had intruded upon
their domain, even the wealthy John Jacob Astor was permitted only
one year in Oregon, although he came with the direct sanction of the
American government. The company owned all the ships which came and
went each year to Hawaii and London, bearing their letters and
bringing all the supplies they received from civilization. Would the
good Dr. McLoughlin under such conditions be able to shield and
protect them? (Further along it will appear that he did, and was
driven from his great office for his aid to the missionaries.)

A third reason given was the immensity of the danger of such a
journey in mid-winter--was like, as one expressed it, "Going down
into the valley and shadow of death to attempt it."

A fourth objection was that while the local board was the adviser in
regard to all local affairs of the missions, the home board at Boston
required a permit officially signed for any missionary to separate
himself from his work. All these questions were canvassed pro and
con. The men of that conference were as brothers joined in the one
great work, and the counsels given were free and earnest.

Dr. Whitman was mainly a silent listener. When the dangers of his
trip were pointed out, and he was asked to "wait until spring," his
sententious reply was, "I must go now!" In reply to the objection
that he would violate the rules of the Board, Dr. Eells says:

    "Dr. Whitman was so fixed in his purpose that he declared he
    would make the attempt even if he had to withdraw from the
    mission, remarking, 'I am not expatriated by becoming a

Continuing, says Dr. Eells:

    "The idea of his withdrawal could not be entertained. Therefore,
    to retain him in the mission, a vote to approve his making the
    perilous journey prevailed."

There has been a contention made by persons ignorant of the facts,
that "the sole purpose of Whitman's ride was to save his mission from
being closed." It is a silly charge, and unworthy of refutation,
except to state the facts. The immigrants in Oregon were curious to
know the cause of such a journey, and the people of the Hudson Bay
Company doubtless made inquiry, but it was enough for them all to
know that "Whitman had business with the American Board," and let it
go at that. The missionaries were under no obligations to make known
facts detrimental to all their interests, and when the proper time
came, all the actors told the whole truth in regard to it. The
silence of the missionaries, which was imperative for their own
safety, doubtless misled many. Whitman's object was definite and

Dr. Spalding, explaining years after, says:

    "The last words Whitman spoke to me as he mounted his horse for
    the long journey, were: 'My life is of little worth if I can save
    this country to the American people.'"

The time fixed for his departure by the Board was October 5th, and
all set about writing voluminous letters, for it was seldom they had
such opportunity. There was much talk and counsel as to a companion
and helper of the Doctor on his way. A score of his trusted Indians
would have been glad of the opportunity.

The Doctor pondered over the matter, and made up his mind, and
approached General Lovejoy, and explained to him the urgency of the
case that compelled him to go, and asked the blunt question, "Will
you go with me?" He was delighted with the prompt response, "Yes!"

Mrs. Whitman was delighted that "a Christian gentleman like General
Lovejoy would bear her husband company, and he would not be left
alone to Indians and guides on the long and dreary way." All was now
hurry and preparation, and the few things the good wife could find
from her stores were gathered and packed. On the 2d of October, for a
double purpose of visiting a sick man and securing some needed
stores, the Doctor rode to the fort, and while there heard news of an
incoming colony of immigrants from Canada. As he galloped home to the
mission, he saw increasing danger, and resolved there should be no

It was a great occasion, that beautiful October morning at
Waiilatpui. A number of Indians were to go with the party to make
sure they got on the new trail to Fort Hall, much shorter and easier
than that traversed by the missionaries in 1836.

There were a large number of immigrants around Waiilatpui, and they
with many Indians, without knowing the real objects of the
expedition, were there to see. One can easily believe that it was a
great event in the wilderness country. The ever-faithful Indian
Istikus was there as leader of the Indians; as they sat mounted upon
their ponies, they added picturesqueness to the group.

The sun was just gilding the treetops along the Walla Walla as it
wended its swift and winding way like a silver thread in the
distance. The last adieu had been said, and the Doctor emerged from
his room and mounted his horse. The faithful old dog, which had run
by the side of his master in hundreds of journeys along blind trails,
was to be permitted to accompany them, barked impatiently.

They were off, an imposing little cavalcade with Whitman and General
Lovejoy in the lead, the Indians led by old Istikus following, the
pack mules in the rear, while the old dog ran barking up and down the
line as if he was responsible commander of the entire outfit.

I have many times in the years since stood upon the ground of this
historic scene, and tried to picture it in my mind, in the full
grandeur of its intentions and achievements. I have since marched
with great armies with music and banners, bright equipments, guns
gleaming in the sunlight and their pageantry was imposing, but I most
like to catch the spirit of the history they were all making, and it
has seemed as if this little band in the wilderness, made up of
Christian and savage life was, even in its simplicity, more notably
an expression of God's leadings, when I view them in the light of the
great events which followed.

Nor can the reader forget to honor the heroic little Christian
American woman, who looking through her tear-dimmed eyes, as she
waved farewells to her departing husband until the hills away toward
the Blue Mountains hid him from view.

After going to her silent and deserted room, she wrote:

    "I look from my window and see the grave of our dear child,
    surely God will take care of my noble husband and return him to

Love is the greatest word in the English language, and when united to
Faith, it lifts the heaviest burdens of life. Who can measure the
power of the prayers of one faithful, trusting soul, in guiding that
heroic little band over the dangers of their unknown way? Possibly
some reader may scoff at such sentiment, but unnumbered instances
have proved that there comes an emergency in every human life, when
the soul, if reason is not clouded, cries out in prayer to a Being
higher than itself.

The cavalcade is made up of rapid riders. The favorite gait of Cayuse
horses is a lope, and small as they are, carry a heavy man fifty and
sixty miles per day. But as the journey was to be a long one, they
selected the finest horses to be found, only those thoroughly broken
and tested. They knew the value of caring for their animals in the
earlier stages, and lessened their speed.

The first four hundred and fifty miles to Fort Hall was made in
eleven days. The Indians, except two to look after the animals, had
returned to Waiilatpui.

At Fort Hall their old friend, Captain Grant, was still in command,
and when he learned of the proposed journey to the States, openly
protested that "it was madness to attempt it at this season of the
year." Undoubtedly Captain Grant this time was right, even if Whitman
had proved him, to his chagrin, wrong about the wagon in 1836. "It so
happened" that a company of scouts just then reached the fort, and
confirmed all Captain Grant had said, and more. They reported that
the snow in many of the cañons was from ten to twenty feet deep, and
badly drifting. The Silent Man listened, and sat thinking. He knew
those mountains and cañons, and could readily believe the statement
of the scouts, and the old Captain, who was an admirer of Whitman,
felt certain that he would give up his dangerous expedition and
return home. But he did not yet know his man.

_The Old Map_

Whitman was face to face with a new problem. As he prayed and
pondered, a new inspiration came to him. We have no reason to believe
that such an idea had occurred to the missionaries, when discussing
the dangers of the journey by the route they knew. We have no
knowledge that even Whitman had ever before studied the possibilities
of a new and undiscovered way to the States.

The old trappers and scouts sat around the stove swapping stories of
bears, mountain-lions, of Indians, and wonderful escapes. Whitman,
upon looking up, discovered an old United States map hanging upon
the wall. It at once attracted his attention, and he brought it to
the light and began to study. It had the outlines of all the great
West as far as geographers of that day knew and understood. The
ranges of the mountains were nearly accurately pictured. "The great
Stony," the Sierra and Coast ranges, the Shasta, and Wind River, and
the possible passes were marked, so as to give some idea of the lay
of the land.

The thought came to him, why not strike west and south and get
between the great ranges so as to avoid the earlier snows of winter?
He found marked upon the map Fort Uintah, an old abandoned Spanish
fort, which came into possession of the United States in 1818, by the
Florida treaty. He then began inquiry among the old mountaineers and
found a man who knew the blind trail to Uintah, located in what is
now northern Utah. He learned also there was an abandoned trail from
that point southward. The old scout was ready to pilot them to
Uintah, and was at once engaged. At break of day Whitman and Lovejoy
were in their saddles en route, led by the guide, not homeward, but
upon a voyage of discovery of the unknown way. The route led south
through what is now Idaho, thence through Utah leaving Great Salt
Lake to the right. General Lovejoy gives very indistinct notes, not
sufficiently clear to accurately verify locations. He kept a record
of daily events, but Whitman never a line. Lovejoy writes:

    "From Fort Hall to Uintah we met with terribly severe weather.
    The deep snow caused us to lose much time. At Uintah we took a
    new guide to Fort Uncompagra in old Spanish territory, which
    place we safely reached. There we hired a new guide, and while
    passing over a high mountain on the trail toward Grand River, we
    encountered a terrible snow storm which compelled us to seek
    shelter in a deep, dark cañon. We made several attempts to pass
    on, but were driven back, and detained ten days. We finally got
    well upon the mountain again, when we met with a violent storm of
    snow and wind, which almost blinded us, maddened the animals, and
    made them nearly unmanageable. Finally the guide stopped and
    said, 'I am lost and can lead you no farther.' In this dire
    dilemma, adds General Lovejoy, Dr. Whitman got off his horse, and
    kneeling in the snow, committed his little company, his loved
    wife, his work, and his Oregon to the Infinite One for guidance
    and protection. The lead pack mule being left to himself by the
    guide pricked up his long ears, turning them this way and that,
    and began plunging through the snowdrifts. The Mexican guide
    called out, 'Follow this old mule, he will find the camp if he
    lives long enough to reach it.'"

And he did lead them to the still burning fire they had left in the
morning in the deep, dark cañon. The instinct of dumb animals is a
wonderful gift, superior to that of wise men. The writer has, twice
in his life, been rescued by his horse when hopelessly lost. One
instance I will recite, simply to impress a lesson of kindness upon
my young readers for dumb animal life. Two of us, in a large hunting
party in Arkansas, got separated from the rest, and found ourselves
in the back-water of the Mississippi River, which was many miles
away. My companion was an old woodsman, and pretended to know his
direction. He assured me "We will come out all right." He led on and
on for hours, the water growing constantly deeper. I finally called
to him and pointed to the water-mark on the trees as high as our
heads as we sat on our horses. I said to him: "You are lost, now I am
going to trust to my horse to lead me from danger." He insisted he
knew the way, but followed. My horse was a sleepy old fellow, and I
gave him a little cut with a whip to wake him up, then gave him a
loose rein to go as he pleased. He wound around fallen trees and
brush until he got his direction, then turning nearly at a right
angle, struck a line like a surveyor, and in two hours we were upon
dry land and in camp.

[Illustration: LOST IN THE ROCKIES.]

But to our story. They were safely in camp, by a roaring log fire,
the deep cañon protecting them from the raging winds. As they
discussed with thankful hearts the perils of the day, from which they
had been rescued, they made plans for to-morrow, but here the guide
spoke up and said, "I go back, I cannot take you over this mountain."
General Lovejoy says, "Whitman talked and plead with the guide until
a late hour, but could not change his mind. To any except such a
character as Whitman, the situation would have been indeed hopeless;
but before he slept his plans were made. He said to General Lovejoy:
"You stay here in the cañon and recuperate the stock, and I will
return to the fort and get a new guide." At the first streak of dawn
the men were mounted and on their way. It was a cheerless wait for
Lovejoy, but he had the companionship of his dog, and he busied
himself in cutting bunch grass and tender twigs for the animals and
bringing in logs for his fire. The General says, "Whitman was gone
just one week, when the old dog heard his distant halloo and answered
it with a rejoicing bark." He and his new guide, hungry and tired,
were soon enjoying the bright log fire, always the crowning comfort
of camp-life.

I trust that my readers may all live to have a camp-fire experience.
Permit me to tell you of one great camp-fire, near the summit of the
Sierras, which lives in the memory after nearly fifty years of busy
life. Our pack-train had been toiling up the mountain, hoping for a
resting-place, when our scouts came and reported. Following them
along winding paths which grizzlies and Indians had made, around the
rugged rocks, we reached a beautiful little valley covered with
luxuriant grass. We picketed our tired animals in the meadow, built
a great fire of cedar logs against a marble wall straight up for a
thousand feet, sang songs, sounded the bugle, and listened to the
scores of echoes from the mountain peaks. But we were young and ready
to enjoy nature's grand scenes.--Nowhere are they grander than in our
own Western mountains.

But our heroic snow-bound travelers were burdened with far too much
anxiety to enjoy nature in her magnificent winter adornment. Their
eyes were not upon the lofty mountain peaks, but far along unknown
trails towards the nation's capital. After they had succeeded in
passing the well-nigh impassable mountains, they struck a more level
country with sheltered valleys having a bountiful supply of wood and
good water. I have often asked myself, when pondering over these
events, was it a simple accident that the old scouts reached Fort
Hall that October night and turned Whitman and Lovejoy a thousand
miles off their direct route? That year the snow lay unusually deep
all over the great plains. Had they started and been able to have
crossed the Rockies, they would have met snow-covered, treeless
plains, and for weeks at a time would have had to go without fires,
having to depend upon the _Bois de vache_ for fuel, which, covered
deep with the snow, would have been impossible to find. This, with
the lack of grass for the animals, would have made the route, not
only impracticable, but nearly impossible. The scout and the old map
seemed insignificant events, but yet how often they and their kind
loom up in grand proportions. They may be marked by the thoughtless
as mere happenings, but it is not a tax upon reason to believe that
the soul attuned to listen and receive ever has a guidance higher
than the wisdom of men.

This detention in the cañon and along other parts of the route caused
the scant supplies to run lower. The bears were holed up in their
winter quarters, they could have found deer and elk, had they stopped
and hunted; but Whitman's maxim was forever, "travel, travel." He led
upon the trail from morning until night, with eyes ever to the front.
General Lovejoy tells us they finally reached a great emergency, and
the first animal sacrificed to keep them from starving was the
faithful old dog. I doubt not, that some of my young readers will
stop to criticize so noble a man as Whitman for having any part in
such an act, and the writer would sympathize with the sentiment. The
dog is man's closest friend, that clings to him when all others
forsake him. Seventy-four years ago, when the author's parents came
to the Western wilderness across the Alleghanies, we had a great dog
named Watch. He kept guard over us children as we rambled through
the woods and along the way, as if he were wholly responsible for our
safety. He grew old and nearly helpless. A conference was held among
the older members, and it was thought merciful to put him out of his
obvious misery, and an old friend of the family was selected for the
task. I believe that after all three-quarters of a century of years
the children, who loved the old dog, never quite forgave his

General Lovejoy tells us none of the particulars, but it is
reasonable to suppose that Whitman was not consulted at all in the
matter, and likely knew nothing of it until long after. The second
animal used for food was one of the pack mules. They knew if they
could live until they reached Taos, in New Mexico, they could secure
supplies, and trade their broken-down stock for fresh animals. So
they made forced marches.

I have indulged in only enough description of locality as to keep in
touch with the travelers, and to note historic events. To-day the
same scenes they viewed are the wonderlands of thousands of tourists
each year.

_They Reach Grand River_

A little incident at Grand River reveals Marcus Whitman's indomitable
spirit. It is a deep, dangerous, treacherous river, and many an
immigrant has lost his life in the Grand or the Green river. The
water is icy cold, even in mid-summer.

When the bold group of travelers stood on the bank they found a
stream six hundred feet wide, two hundred feet on each side ice, and
two hundred in the middle rolled the rapid torrent. The guide shook
his head and said, "It is impossible! We cannot cross." Whitman
replied, "We must cross, and now." He got down from his horse, cut a
strong cottonwood pole about eight feet long. Mounting his horse, he
put the pole upon his shoulder, and said, "Now push us in." The guide
and the General skated them to the brink, and "horse and rider," says
the General, "entirely disappeared, coming to the surface some
distance below." The horse soon found footing and made for the shore,
where Whitman broke the ice with his pole, and helped his horse to
the firm ice. He soon had a rousing fire from the logs and driftwood.
Those conversant with animal habits know that when the lead animal
has passed any point, however dangerous, the rest are eager to
follow. The General and guide broke the ice for a roadway to the
water, and each seizing a tail, were towed safely to the farther

_They Reach Santa Fé_

Upon reaching Santa Fé, in New Mexico, they felt quite in touch with
civilization. They would no longer have to grope in the dark, along
doubtful and unknown trails, but it all the more made Whitman anxious
to push forward. They paused only long enough to inquire for news
from the States, and to purchase a few needed supplies. It was still
a long journey, and as it proved, more perilous to life than any
portion they had already passed. Their next point was Bent's Fort on
the head waters of the Arkansas River, now in Colorado. It was a
cheerless, dreary plains journey, with none of the magnificent
scenery of the mountain route to keep them company. Water was often
scarce, as well as wood, except along the small streams. The
intensely cold winter and deep snows had made the big gray wolves a
menace to life of men and beasts. One very cold night they reached a
little river which had no wood on the side they camped, but was
plentiful on the opposite bank. Whitman seized his ax, but found the
ice would break under his feet. He then lay flat upon the ice, wormed
himself across, skated a bountiful supply across the glossy surface,
and then returned in safety as he had gone.

Unfortunately, one of his heavy blows split his ax-handle. When he
returned to his tent, he took a piece of rawhide, wrapped the spliced
pieces carefully, and threw it down at the door of the tent. In the
morning it was discovered that some thieving wolf attracted by the
rawhide had stolen the implement, and they never saw it again. Had
this occurred two months before, it would have been regarded as an
irreparable disaster.

Four days before reaching Bent's Fort they met Colonel Bent's son
with a pack-train en route to El Paso. He informed them that in two
days a company of fifty packers would leave the fort for St. Louis,
and that there would not be another until towards spring.

He told them that it would be impossible for them with pack animals
to reach the fort before the departure of the company. Whitman was at
once aroused by the information. He proposed that he should take his
blankets and two days' provision, make a forced march, and catch the
convoy, while General Lovejoy and the guide could bring on the pack
animals and remain at the fort, recuperate the stock, and meet him on
the Missouri border in the spring. This was agreed to, and Whitman
started on his lonely ride to Bent's. General Lovejoy and the guide
moved on leisurely, reaching Bent's Fort four days later. They were
astonished and alarmed when told that the Doctor had not arrived.

_Whitman is Lost_

General Lovejoy stated the whole case to Colonel Bent, who was at
once aroused to action. He started runners after the company,
ordering them to go into camp on the Cottonwood, and await further

    "He sent out his best scouts in the search. Myself, guide, and
    one of the scouts passed up the banks of the Arkansas for one
    hundred miles, knowing if Whitman was alive he would make for the
    river. Every night our camp would be surrounded by hungry, gaunt,
    gray wolves, which as they were shot down would be torn in pieces
    and devoured by their fellows."

This gave them great uneasiness about Whitman, alone and without a
shelter. They encountered some Indians who told them they had met a
white man two days before who was hunting for Bent's Fort, and they
had pointed out the way to him. They, in all haste, retraced their
steps, along the way the Indians directed, and in an hour after they
reached the fort Whitman came in greatly fatigued, and well-nigh
despairing. But wearied as he was, he was deeply touched with Colonel
Bent's kindness and thoughtfulness, and was buoyed up with new heart
and hope that after all the hardships of the long journey he was yet
able to prosecute it to the end. In the early morning he was in the
saddle upon a fresh horse, with a good guide, and ready to ride forty
miles before night to the camp on the Cottonwood, with credentials
which would give them safe convoy to St. Louis. General Lovejoy, the
guide, and all the stock remained until the next convoy was sent out
in the spring, and found Whitman upon the Missouri border. In that
early day the route from Bent's Fort to St. Louis was invested by
bands of outlaws, as well as savage wild beasts, so that an escort of
well-armed men was a necessity for all travelers. Thus a good
Providence seemed from the outset to have guided the little band
through all its perils in safety.

_They Reach St. Louis_

Dr. Barrows, in his interesting book, "Oregon, the Struggle for
Possession," says:

    "Upon the arrival of Whitman in St. Louis, it was my good fortune
    that he should be quartered as a guest under the same roof, and
    at the same table. Trappers and traders all eagerly asked
    questions, and he answered all courteously. He in turn asked
    about Congress; whether the Ashburton treaty had been passed by
    the Senate; and whether it covered the Northwestern Territory? He
    then learned, for the first time, that the Ashburton treaty had
    been signed, even before he left Oregon, and was confirmed by the
    Senate about the time he was lost and floundering in the snow
    upon the mountains."

He was eager to learn whether the Oregon question was still pending,
and greatly relieved when told that the treaty only covered a little
strip of twelve thousand acres, up in Maine, and that Oregon was left
untouched in its boundaries. Dr. Barrows continues:

    "Marcus Whitman once seen, and in one's family circle, telling of
    his business, for he apparently had but one, was a man not to be
    forgotten by the writer. He was of medium height, more compact
    than spare, a stout shoulder, and a large head covered with
    iron-gray hair. He carried himself awkwardly. He seemed built as
    a man for whom more stock had been furnished than used
    systematically and gracefully. He was not quick in motion or
    speech, and no trace of a fanatic, but he was a profound
    enthusiast. He wore coarse, fur garments, with buckskin breeches.
    He had a buffalo overcoat with a head hood for emergencies, with
    fur leggins and foot moccasins. If my memory is not at fault, his
    entire dress when on the street did not show an inch of woven

We copy thus fully Dr. Barrows's description of Whitman and his
dress, and it agrees with other descriptions less complete, as we
trace him to Cincinnati, and again to the door of his old cherished
friend, Dr. Parker, and have the testimony of his son, Professor
Parker, who opened the door of his father's home to admit the guest
in strange costume. Whitman had little confidence in his own power of
oratory, and was even timid, while brave. He knew the persuasive
eloquence of his old associate, and his enthusiasm for Oregon, and he
had hoped and expected to have his help to plead for Oregon in
Washington. But the Doctor was confined to his room by ill health,
and it was impossible for him to undertake the journey. Glad again to
meet his old friend, and sorrowing that he was not to have his aid in
this critical time, he resumed his way, and reaching Washington,
ended one of the most memorable trans-continental journeys ever


    _Whitman in Washington. His Conference with President Tyler and
    Secretary Webster and the Secretary of War. Visits New York and
    the American Board, Boston. His Return to the Frontier and to

The exact date of Whitman's arrival at the national capital can be
determined only from letters, but was probably on March 3, 1843, the
day before the close of Congress, when, as usual, there was hurry and
confusion. But it matters little for our purposes, for we have seen
that the "Oregon boundary question had been up," and as usual had
been ignored, and only the disputed lines upon a few thousand acres
up in Maine had been adjudicated, while the Oregon boundary line was
left in its old place, "up against the Rocky Mountains," as Senator
Benton expressed it, "the natural, convenient, and everlasting
boundary of the United States!" So Whitman had only to meet the
President and his officials and individual members to press the
claims of Oregon.

Washington in that day was not the beautiful city now seen, and its
manners and customs were wholly different. It was before the day of
enterprising newspaper work. McCullough and Halstead had not then
introduced the modern methods of "the interview" in daily journals,
or we should not now have to depend upon meager details and verbal
messages to tell of this thrilling episode in American history. But
it requires no imagination to believe that this heroic pioneer,
dressed in the garb of the plains, attracted full attention. No man
better knew the opinions of statesmen regarding Oregon, and we may
well believe he felt, modest man as he was, appalled at the magnitude
of the work before him. But with such a man we can believe there was
no loitering for preparation. Fortunately the Secretary of War was an
old school fellow of Whitman's and arranged for a speedy conference
with the President and his Secretary of State, Webster, the latter
the well-known active enemy of Oregon. Nothing is more discouraging
to a writer than just such an occasion when giants meet in combat,
and to be unable to report the words and acts of the actors, except
from scrappy notes and verbal reports. Whitman never left any written
record of that great discussion, for he never wrote a note in his
life for the purpose of exalting himself in public estimation.

For the story of the great ride we are wholly dependent upon General
Lovejoy's notes and utterances. And upon the return journey to
Oregon, and during the long rides, the General says, "Whitman told me
over and over all that was said and done," in that notable conference
at Washington. Along the same lines we have the testimony of a score
of his associates and co-workers in Oregon, to whom he was in duty
bound to make full report, for they were parties in interest. So from
such sources we glean our facts, and in their true spirit and meaning
can rest upon them with much confidence, even if not so satisfactory,
as if written down at the time.

The characters are before us, they had met in consultation--Marcus
Whitman, the man with frosted hands and feet, dressed in furs and
buckskin, who had so loved his country that he had braved the winter
storms, and over unknown ways, without pay or hoped-for honors or
rewards, had come four thousand five hundred miles to plead for
Oregon to be placed under the flag. There was the President, the
nation's chief; John Tyler, dignified, clear-eyed, honest, earnest,
and as he proved, sympathetic and anxious to do his whole duty to the
nation; and there was Daniel Webster, known the nation over as "the
Great Orator," and "the brainy, far-seeing statesman," who was in
this case all out of sympathy with Oregon. He had repeatedly marked
its "worthlessness"; he was in full accord with those who had
declared "it would endanger the republic," "was nearer Asia than the
United States," and, we may add, that it was fully stated, he was at
that very time actively negotiating the trade of Oregon for the
Newfoundland fishing banks.

Such, tersely, is a vague pen-picture of three men who met and made
history in the executive chamber, noonday, the 5th of March, 1843!
The picture is worthy of the skilled brush of some master artist,
instead of the poor words of the writer. It matters not if their work
failed to be conclusive, it was but forging a link in the golden
chain of the nation's grandeur, which had it been severed, no
imagination can measure the calamity that would have resulted.


It is the pride of the whole loyal people that the humblest citizen
with something important to say may have audience with the nation's
chief official. President John Tyler was no exception, and when
notified of Whitman's wishes by Secretary of War Porter, he arranged
to give him audience without delay. The President was, every day and
hour, importuned to meet men, who came to beg for office or honors or
emoluments of some kind, but as he learned from Secretary Porter,
this man from Oregon was not of that kind he was curiously anxious to
meet him. As we have stated, we make no effort to report speeches.
It is well known that "the Silent Man" when aroused was strong and
eloquent. Upon that long journey, with the weight and importance of
his mission pressing upon him, my readers can well believe that
Whitman's words were strong and true and impressive. As he told it to
his friends, he dwelt upon the marvelous fertility of the soil, and
the great crops of grain and fruits his fields and gardens and
orchards had produced for six years; how stock ranged the pastures,
fat the year round, without protection or feed from barns. He told of
the magnificent forests, not equaled in other portions of the world,
of the undoubted mineral riches in mountains, of the pure water in
springs, flowing rivers navigable for the greatest ships, and of the
inviting, balmy, healthful climate. Who could describe better than
Whitman the grandeur of the Oregon country, destined, as he hoped,
"for millions of American people!" It was then that the keen Webster
made the remark, but "Doctor, how can you ever make a wagon-road for
American immigration to Oregon?" and received the prompt reply,
"There, Mr. Secretary, you have been deceived and misinformed. There
is a wagon-road to Oregon now, and I made it and took a wagon over it
six years ago, and it is there to-day!" That is the triumph of the
old wagon turned into a cart with its front wheels lashed to its
sides. The patient, good little wife, in the years before, was
sorrowing over the labors of her husband in his hard work, and
mourned through many pages of her diary, as we have seen, over the
folly of hauling along "the old wagon." She was not permitted to look
into the future and hear how the Indian boys' "Old
Click-Click-Clackety-Clackety" would strike dumb the nation's
greatest orator. Nor is it at all likely that Whitman himself ever
dreamed of such results. He simply obeyed a silent voice within, as
was his rule of life, and old "Click," amid trials and perils never
half told, rolled on, and made history.

Whitman referred also to the current rumors, of the purpose of
"trading Oregon for the Newfoundland fishing banks," and said, "Mr.
President, you had far better trade all New England than Oregon for
the fishing banks!" This was a hard blow at the great secretary, who
was as much wrapped up in New England as New England was in him. He
referred to the treaty of 1818-1828, and "its understood meaning in
Oregon, that whichever of the two nations settled Oregon should own
and hold it"; he said, all I ask is, that you make no barter of
Oregon until we can settle loyal Americans there in numbers
sufficient to hold that which is their own. I hope to help lead such
a band this summer, a group already gathering upon the Missouri,
worthy of your consideration and protection. I do not here pretend to
give the exact words of Whitman, for reasons stated, but they are
truthful to the spirit, as verified by scores of men, to whom all the
scenes were related, and whose veracity cannot be doubted. Dr.
Spalding says:

    "Whitman concluded his address by saying, 'Mr. President, all
    that remains for me to say is, to ask, that you will not barter
    any of Oregon or allow English interference, until I can lead a
    band of stalwart American settlers across the plains, which I
    hope and expect to do.' To this President Tyler, deeply
    impressed, promptly and positively replied, 'Dr. Whitman, your
    long ride and frosted limbs speak of your courage and patriotism,
    and your missionary credentials are good vouchers for your
    character,' and he unhesitatingly granted his simple requests."

Whitman then held a long conference with the Secretary of War, and
agreed that he at an early a date as possible would prepare an act
which could be laid before Congress, covering the important points in
the territorial organization of Oregon, and also a second article
upon the strategic points along the immigrant route, where forts,
resting places and protection could be vouchsafed. Both these
important documents were written by Whitman during the summer, and
are to be found in the archives of the war department in Washington,
and can be read in the Appendix to my larger work, "How Marcus
Whitman Saved Oregon." He held conference with many members of
Congress, and felt that his work at the national capital was ended.

Whitman was not a man to loiter, and we next hear of him closeted
with the staunch friend of Oregon, Horace Greeley of the New York
Tribune. Greeley knew and admired a heroic character, and he highly
complimented Whitman and his work in the Tribune. He proceeded to
Boston to report to the American Board, to receive any reprimand for
violation of rules and to transact minor affairs of the missions in
Oregon. The enemies of Whitman have again and again gone over the old
records of the American Board to find some severe rebuke to the man
who "dabbled in politics." But if any rebuke was offered, it was
careful to make no record of it. But it may be said the governors of
the American Board evidently failed to comprehend in their anxiety to
keep clear of all complications between "Church and State," that they
were dealing with an _inspired man_, who had rendered the greatest
possible service to the nation and to Protestant Christianity. They
did another good act, either through pride for one of their
missionaries or from generosity they sent him to a tailor shop for a
complete suit of cloth clothes, which his own slim pocket-book could
not afford. It took the American Board just fifty years from the
date of his death to see that the man in furs and leather breeches
from Oregon, who stood humbly before them upon that occasion, was one
of the grandest characters, as Christian and patriot, that they ever
before or since enrolled as missionary! They waked up to that fact in
1897, when the great organization assembled in annual council, called
attention to the fact, that it was "the fiftieth anniversary of the
death of Dr. Marcus Whitman, an eminent missionary of the Board," and
appointed special services to be held in several leading cities, and
a general observance of that day. It was a thoughtful, educational,
Christian act, which, if the old martyr could from his eternal
mansion look down and hear, would make him glad.

The good Presbyterians who were a part of the American Board at that
time, and were not then at all anxious to share in any honors to
Whitman, latterly saw new light in something of the character
grandeur of the neglected missionary. They caused a beautiful statue
of Dr. Marcus Whitman to be placed in their Witherspoon building at
Philadelphia. To the boys and young men, let me say the lesson in
this is, that all good things come to the good who wait! Stand true
for the right. It was that which has resurrected the name and honor
of Whitman, after long years of neglect, and will make his name
shine, and glow with increasing luster, as the years come and go!

As Mrs. Whitman playfully wrote her father and mother, "I expect my
dear husband will be so full of his great mission that he will not
take time to tell you of home affairs, I will do so." That was in a
measure true. He made a hurried visit to his mother in her home, to
his wife's parents, and to his brother, who had moved West. But his
eyes and thoughts and hopes were ever westward. He had heard from
General Lovejoy, who was on the ground, of the bright prospect of a
large company for Oregon. As the spring months opened in 1843, there
were stirring times along the border, such as never before seen.
Great wagons, with white canvas covers, drawn by long-horned oxen,
sturdy mules, and horses, herds of fine cattle to stock the new
farms, with from eight hundred to a thousand men, women, and
children, with their household treasures, were there. They had
received the same inspiration as their fathers who had peopled the
great West across the Alleghanies, and the motto still was, "Westward
the Star of Empire takes its way." Such were the inspiring conditions
which greeted Whitman when he reached the border. He was a man of
great faith, and firmly believed in success, but such an imposing
body filled his soul with gratitude and thankfulness.

The company was made up mainly from the rural districts, strong,
muscular men, their wives and children, and eager young people. There
were many anxious mothers, who saw the responsibility of the great
undertaking, and whose perils women intuitively feel more certainly
than men. Who can tell the secret of that sudden gathering of pioneer
heroes, on the banks of "the Great Muddy" in 1843? True, the old
missionaries had written many letters. New immigrants had done the
same. But Congress and the national authorities had done nothing but
ridicule, and in no single case had lent a helping hand. There must
have been some secret telepathetic power which had sounded a call!

True, Whitman and Lovejoy had been busy, but neither one ever made
claim of inducing the great immigration of 1843. The honor was
sufficient for them, as the only men acquainted with the road, to
lead the great company to the promised land in safety. But the
enemies of these missionaries, especially of Whitman, tried so often
to make light of his eminent services, that the Rev. Dr. Myron Eells
of Twana, Washington, some years ago, sat down and wrote to every
living pioneer of that immigration he could locate (and he knew most
of them), and asked the question, "Did Dr. Whitman induce you to
immigrate to Oregon in 1843?" Two-fifths replied, "Yes."

The last weeks of April and the first of May found most of the
immigrants pulled out upon the road, in companies of fifties and
hundreds. They were in the Indian country on the first day of travel,
and not sure how such an invasion would be received by the savages,
they were warned to keep compact, and in bodies large enough for
protection. The Indians, men, women, and children, swarmed about
every camp, and watched every movement. They were invariably treated
kindly, and responded with kindness. The warriors sat upon their
horses stolidly by the trails and watched the long wagon-trains, the
herds of cattle, and especially the women and children, the like of
which had never before invaded their domain. The weeks of travel
across the grass-grown, flower-covered prairies of Kansas and
Nebraska was a picnic occasion for the immigrants. It was well that
it was so. They did not have many afterward.

[Illustration: MARMADUKE ISLAND. (B. H. Gifford, photo.)]

The wagons were soon strung out over a long line. Dr. Whitman did not
start with the head of the company. In a letter to a friend he wrote,
"I remained behind until the last wagon was on the road." There were
many who needed advice as to proper outfit, what to take, and what to
leave, many who needed encouragement to start at all. When all had
moved he rode rapidly to the head of the column, to overtake it
before it reached the Platte, the first wide river to be crossed.

The Platte is not a dangerous river if forded properly, but it looks
threatening to timid people. It is nearly one mile wide, and it is
about breast deep in ordinary stages. It runs over a bed of sand, and
the secret of safety is to keep on the sand bars and keep moving. A
halt, even for a few minutes, allows the feet of animals, or the
wagon wheels to sink into the sands, and they are not easily
extricated. Upon reaching the bank of the river, horsemen upon the
best horses survey the route by zigzagging up and down, finding the
shallowest water upon the bars, which are constantly shifting. The
train of wagons are arranged to follow each other, a dozen or more
yards apart, with horsemen at each vehicle to give immediate
assistance in case of break or accident. The first driver keeps his
eye upon the careful guides, picking the shallowest route. Careless
endeavors to pull straight across, instead of pulling two miles
around to gain one, involved trouble. The murky water is surcharged
with sand, which is forever blown into it as it winds through the
great plains, and is the source of the Missouri River's excessive
supply of sand. It proves to be pure water if allowed to stand and
settle. A bucket of water standing over night in the morning will be
clear, with an inch of pure sand on the bottom. If the old maxim is
true, "A fellow needs sand in his craw," he easily gets it on the
Platte. Our immigrant party, wisely directed, forded the river safely
with all its stock. Care was taken in fording all rivers to place
heavy articles not easily injured by water low in the bed of the

_The Buffalo Country_

Here the caravan entered the buffalo country, where they were likely
to meet large bodies of armed Indians who came there from long
distances, to lay in their winter stores of meat and furs and skins.
Many of these tribes were jealous of each other, and of white men who
intruded upon their domain on such occasions, and bloody encounters
frequently occurred while upon the way. The caravan had elected a
captain to direct affairs and a guide to make orders for travel. But
now they found so many questions arising in this large company, that
a council or superior court was organized, from which there was no
appeal. It held its sessions at night and upon rest days, and many of
the members of that court upon the plains, after in the territory and
states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, held the highest offices of
trust and honor.

A halt to lay in a supply of buffalo meat was looked forward to with
great satisfaction. But it was found impracticable for so large a
company to make a permanent halt, so they kept moving.

The hunters in large numbers went out each morning, with pack horses,
and came in loaded at night with spoils of the chase. The noble bison
was there by the million.

When reaching the dusty alkaline plains, where both good water and
grass were scarce, naturally the best tempered people often turned
grumblers. One of the chief causes of complaint laid before the
superior court was that which arose between the horse companies and
the cattle companies. They did not agree well together. The court
decided to divide the caravan into two columns, "the horse" and "the
cow" column. In 1876 the Honorable Jesse Applegate, a member of that
immigration, delivered an address before The Historical Society of
Oregon, entitled "A Day with the Cow Column." It is one of the most
precise and graphic pictures ever drawn of life as it was, in this
advance column of civilization, destined for its great work in the
future Pacific states. The last third of the distance of that
memorable journey proves the courage of the American, and at the same
time arouses our commiseration and pity. I passed over the larger
portion of the same road a few years later, with goggles drawn over
my eyes, and a handkerchief bound about my face, as a defense from
the dust and the myriad buffalo gnats, and can the more easily
sympathize with those hundred mothers, often forced to travel on foot
with little and well-nigh helpless children pulling at their skirts.
As I think, I can but say, "O the pity of it!"

Mr. Applegate remarks:

    "There was no time to pause and recruit the hungry stock, or to
    hunt for the withered herbage, for a marauding enemy hung upon
    the rear, and hovered on our flanks, and skulked in ambuscade in
    front. The road was strewn with dead cattle, abandoned wagons,
    and every article of household goods, even the sacred keepsakes.
    The failing strength of teams, required shorter couplings so as
    to save a few pounds. An ox or a horse would fall. Men would
    remove the yoke or harness, and secure a substitute from the
    almost equally tired animals in the corral."

Oh, it is well for the sons and daughters of these states of the
Pacific, as well as the tourist in his parlor car, as they look upon
flower-decked meadows, waving wheat-fields, orchards, and homes of
comfort, with beauty everywhere, to remember the heroic deeds of
heroic men and women who won for them this grand inheritance.

When the immigrants reached Fort Hall they met Captain Grant, who
made the old appeal: "Leave your wagons, impossible to take them, no
wagon-road to Oregon." He showed them the many wagons already left as
proof of his statement. But here comes Whitman, who says, "Men, you
have with incredible hardship brought your wagons thus far, they are
a necessity for your wives' and children's comfort, even their lives.
They will be invaluable to you when the end of the journey is
reached. I took a wagon, made into a cart, to Fort Boise six years
ago." And thus "Old Click," on its last round, gave out its best
blessing, which it conferred upon tired mothers and little children.
The company took Whitman's advice, and the wagons rolled on. His
watch-word was, "Travel, travel, travel, nothing else will bring rest
and the end of the journey."

Upon reaching Snake River, the doctor devised an ingenious and safe
method for the weaker teams to cross. There were still remaining
about one hundred wagons, which Whitman arranged in one long line,
placing the strong teams in front. The wagons rear and front were
then roped together and the procession started with fifty men on
horseback, pulling upon a long rope in front, while others attended
the various teams to keep every one in line and moving.

It was a daring venture, but so well managed that the deep and
dangerous river, the worst upon the route, was passed without
accident. Many years ago the author, while making a talk in the opera
house at Walla Walla, where many of the old pioneers and their
descendants were gathered, recited the incident of the crossing of
the Snake. After the close of the meeting a venerable old gentleman
came to me and taking my hand said:

    "Yes, that story of the crossing of the Snake is true, I was
    there. But I had four yoke of as good steers as ever pulled in
    yokes, and I was determined they should not be tied up in that
    long string of wagons to drown. I stood upon the bank and waited
    until the whole line was fully one-third across when I whipped
    in. I got about a quarter of a mile from shore, when I struck
    deep water, and felt my wagon floating, and soon oxen and wagon
    were facing squarely up stream, and the oxen barely getting
    foothold. I saw it only a question of time when we would drift
    into the deep water below and be lost. Just then I heard a shout,
    'hold them steady,' 'hold them steady,' and I looked and saw a
    man rushing through the water, and as he came in reach he deftly
    dropped a rope over the horns of the lead ox, and beginning to
    pull gently said, 'Now whip up.' The noble animals responded, and
    taking a wide circuit, the water grew shallower, and we reached
    the shore in safety! And that man was Marcus Whitman!"

At the Snake the doctor met his faithful old Indian Istikus, and a
pack-train loaded with flour sent to them by Dr. Spalding. Never was
a generous gift so fraught with blessing. He also received letters
telling him of the dangerous illness of Mrs. Spalding and urging him
to leave all and ride with speed to the Spalding Mission. So the rest
of the journey was made under the guidance of Istikus, who knew every
foot of the way, and could give excellent advice.

The doctor, mounted upon a fresh horse sent by Dr. Spalding, was soon
galloping on his way, and his wonderful ride ended when he reached
home a few days later. Less than three weeks after that one hundred
wagons, with their precious loads of wearied humanity, rolled down
the sides of the Blue Mountains into the grassy, flower-decked
meadows of the Walla Walla Valley, and American history made one of
its grandest records. Old Glory went up, never to be hauled down
while patriots live! The entire land between the oceans was ours.
While perhaps one distinctive personage stands conspicuously in the
front, there were honors enough to crown the whole band of heroes and
heroines which, in 1843, at a critical period, marked plainly the
great highway across the continent.


    _Whitman Joins the Great Immigrating Column. The News of the Safe
    Arrival in Oregon, and its Effects Upon the People. The Part
    Taken by Dr. Whitman, and Oregon's Importance to the Nation. The
    Great Political Contest. The Massacre._

The great immigration of 1843 to Oregon had called out wide attention
from the thinking people all over the land. Congressmen in Washington
began to hear from the people; still, in both houses of Congress were
heard mutterings of "the desert waste" and "dangers of expansion."
Lawmakers have a way of listening to the voices of men who make
lawmakers, and they heard it on the Oregon question. President Tyler
was true to his pledge to Whitman, and if there ever was a thought on
the part of Webster to barter off Oregon, it was never heard of
again. A great political party saw in it a popular national issue,
and emblazoned upon their banners "Oregon and 54' 40° or fight!"

Nobody ever before or since saw such a political upheaval and
somersault. The issue elected both a President and a Congress.
President Tyler was unwilling to let all the glory of it go to his
political enemies, and in his closing message, gave large place to
the importance of Oregon! The incoming President James K. Polk gave
about one-fourth of his entire message to the Oregon question.

Such was the status of the question within a year and a half after
Whitman's great ride.

The question was up to England, and the western boundary of the
United States, which had been so easily settled in 1842, by
compromising on a few farms in Maine, had to move westward from its
fixed place in "the great Stony Mountains," or war was imminent.

England, as well as America, was aroused, and she sent over her
experienced minister plenipotentiary Packingham. James Buchanan
represented the United States, and they began their great task
without delay. We no longer heard the old congressional cry of "No
value in Oregon." Both nations saw great issues at stake, and keen
and prolonged negotiations resulted. It was a battle royal between
experienced diplomatists. Now, please note a prominent fact, this
demand to settle the national dispute began in 1844, and it was not
until April, 1846, that the treaty was signed, after most laborious

I wish to impress upon my readers the importance of dates in this,
for they emphasize and make clear the timely acts of Whitman. In less
than seven months the United States declared war against Mexico, and
California was at stake. Suppose England could have foreseen that
event, and the nine hundred million dollars of pure gold mined in
California and Oregon, during the following ten years, would she have
signed the treaty even in 1846? When did that great nation ever allow
such a golden opportunity to pass without reserving tribute? Had
England been given more time and more thorough knowledge, there is
scarcely a doubt but that she would have tenaciously held to Oregon.
It would have been easy for her to have joined hands with Mexico, and
if so, had the United States held any of her present Pacific
possessions, it would have been after a long and desolating war, in
which the United States would have been at a great disadvantage, from
its small navy at that time.

_"I Must Go Now"_

You will recollect when Dr. Whitman's old friends at the mission
conference recited to him the dangers of such a trip, and said "Wait
until spring," he simply and solemnly replied "_I must go now._" The
plain facts of history are the keys that explain that answer! It
would not have done "to wait until spring." In all the sacred record,
dealing with men's duties, the command is "go," "do," not to-morrow,
not next year, but "now." Whitman made no boast to his
fellow-missionaries of any inspiration, but they were of the class of
men who could understand and appreciate his acts. In the glow of
light from history, every thoughtful Christian can read their deeper

No, it would have been all too late had he waited to pilot that great
immigration of 1843. No reader can but know, upon the safety of that
band of immigrants, the fate of Oregon was dependent for years to
come. Had another great Donnelley disaster come to them, and they had
perished, who knows when another would have followed? No, it would
not do to "wait until spring." It even then, with an awakened people,
required two years to get England's consent to sign the treaty. Then,
having Oregon we wanted and needed California. More reason still,
great perils were in front, and less than a dozen years later, the
existence of the Union was in danger. With the gold of California and
Oregon, and the three great loyal states behind the flag, it is easy
to see the timeliness of the act, and the immensity of the danger
from delay, _not only to Oregon, but to the nation_.

Some may say, "this is only a supposable case," and it would be
true, but the facts are that England, through her Hudson Bay Company,
had virtually owned and controlled Oregon for nearly half a century,
from 1818 up to the day Whitman started upon his great ride,
altogether with the official sanction of the American people. There
can scarcely be a doubt in regard to it, for reasons before stated,
that England expected to continue to hold it all, or at least a large
portion of it. Those who shout no danger are blind to historic facts.

Had England at the date mentioned owned Oregon, or any part of it, it
is reasonably certain she would have thrown her great influence with
the South in that terrible struggle in 1861-1865, when "cotton was
king," and when it required all the eloquence of America's greatest
orators, backed up by many of England's wisest statesmen, to prevent
England at the most critical period of the struggle, "acknowledging
the belligerent rights of the South."

Old Glory floats to-day from ocean to ocean, and from lakes to the
Gulf the men once at war are at peace: "the gray" and "the blue" have
since marched and fought under the same flag, and have rejoiced
together alike in its achievements.


The brave pioneers of Oregon, without waiting for authority of
Congress, raised the American flag, organized a territorial
government, elected officials to make and execute laws, and from 1843
to 1848, without the aid of Congress, by a single official act, they
carried on the government as becomes good citizens of the Republic.
True, there were murmurings in Congress as of old, but they were only
half-hearted, and half in earnest. The final signing of the treaty in
1846 was the doom, however, of the regime of England in Oregon.

_England in its Saddle_

She did not wait for signatures to the treaty to set on foot an
inquiry, as to the loss of Oregon, or who was responsible for it, and
how this great immigration from the states had originated. The
English company forthwith sent a commission, made up of Messrs. Peel,
Park, and Wavaseur, to Oregon, to learn all the facts. When they
reached there they had an easy task, for both Englishmen and
Americans understood the matter.

When Whitman and Spalding, with their wives, caught up with the
convoy of fur-traders, in that memorable journey in 1836, one of the
old voyageurs who had felt the iron hand of the Hudson Bay Company,
sententiously remarked, as he pointed his finger at the two American
women, "There is something the royal Hudson Bay Company and its
masters can't drive out of Oregon!" And it proved true prophecy. We
have already noted the courtesy and kindness with which Dr. John
McLoughlin, the chief factor, received the missionaries. The London
officials soon learned that they had to deal with but one man, and he
was in their power.

If that interview between the doctor and these eminent Englishmen,
who had grown great and rich through his management, could be fully
reported, it would doubtless make interesting reading. However modern
historians may differ as to the cause of the sudden large immigration
of Americans to Oregon, the commissioners from London had no doubt
upon the subject. They made the direct charge that it was due to
McLoughlin's over-kindness to the missionaries, that had he treated
them as he did the American traders, such conditions would not have
existed. It mattered not that the good old doctor knew that the
charge was substantially true, and yet he arose in righteous
indignation, and replied:

    "What would you have? Would you have me turn a cold shoulder on
    the men of God, who came to do for the Indians, that which this
    company had ever neglected to do? If we had not helped them, and
    the immigrants of '42 and '43, Fort Vancouver would have been
    destroyed, and the world would have treated our inhuman conduct
    as it deserved. Every officer of the Company, from governor down,
    would have been covered with obloquy and the business ruined."

This conference was about one year and eight months before the
signing of the treaty, and the English people and the Hudson Bay
Company, while worried over the situation, still had small fear of
losing the entire country. They felt sure of at least owning, upon
final settlement, all north of the Columbia River. They still
expected to undo the work of the man who had for more than a quarter
of a century been coining them fortunes, and they promptly turned him
adrift, and appointed his successor.

After the treaty was signed, in 1846, and came fully into American
possession, the great monopoly continued to show its modesty, and
sent in a bill of damages to the United States for $4,950,036.17, of
which amount the United States paid in cash $650,000. Then the
Company "squatted" upon one of our islands some six miles from shore,
raised the English flag, and the United States had another siege
lasting thirty years, with threatened war, before the question, "who
owns San Juan Island?" was left to the arbitration of the emperor of
Germany, who, in 1875, decided in favor of the United States. With
this brief history we dismiss the Hudson Bay Company from our further
concern, except to note its humane act, in the prompt rescuing of the
captive women and children, after the massacre. Still there is
another good thing that should be said of the Hudson Bay Company.
Under the rule of Dr. McLoughlin "the great white head chief," the
Indians over so large a district were never before so well and wisely
ruled. They obeyed his orders as promptly as loyal subjects to their
king. The desire in these pages has been to do no injustice, or make
unfair criticism. There are "trusts" and "monopolies" in the United
States to-day even more selfish than the Hudson Bay Company. The
English people were not usurpers in Oregon. They only accepted and
used for the first half of the nineteenth century, with the full
official consent of the American people, one of our great
possessions, which we had marked as "worthless." It is well to bear
such facts in mind, and thus allow the mischief done, as well as the
good attained, to rest where it belongs.

_Whitman on the March and at the Mission_

"Who led the great immigration of 1843 safely to Oregon?" has often
been a subject of discussion.

Upon the safety of that band was that of Oregon dependent. Whitman
was not the captain of the caravan, but he was the one man in the
cavalcade who had been three times over the route. In that day there
was not a guide-book in existence, and he, with General Lovejoy (who
had been over this route once, and that from Fort Hall twice), was
relied upon by captain, guide, and people for advice and direction.
It is easy to see the important place he held.

Perhaps no man among the pioneers of Oregon was better qualified to
tell of Whitman's services than was the Honorable Jesse Applegate,
who was a member of the expedition, and for many years after, one of
the most honored citizens of Oregon.

In a great oration, delivered before the State Historical Society of
Oregon, in 1876, he calls Dr. Whitman the "good angel of the
immigration." In closing his address, after noting many eminent men
and their good work, he said:

    "Now, I will intrude no other name of that noble band but that
    devoted man, Dr. Marcus Whitman. His stay with us was transient,
    but the good he did was permanent. From the day he joined us on
    the Platte, his indomitable energy was of priceless value to the
    migrating column, and it is no disparagement to any individual to
    say, that to no other man are the immigrants of 1843 so deeply
    indebted for a successful conclusion of their journey as to Dr.

Dr. Spalding, who was present at the Whitman Mission when the
immigrants reached there, says:

    "Hundreds of the immigrants stopped at Waiilatpui to take Whitman
    by the hand, and many with tears in their eyes, acknowledged
    their obligations for his untiring labor and skill, which brought
    them in safety over the weary way."

Whitman was not a politician in the sense the term is generally
used, but only a few months before his death he rode on horseback to
Oregon City to induce his old friend Judge Thornton to visit
Washington and try to persuade the authorities to organize a
territorial government in Oregon. The Judge accepted, and was on that
mission at the time of the massacre at Waiilatpui (November 29,

_The Massacre_

Whitman was a tireless worker. Frequently, after toiling all day in
his fields or upon his buildings, he spent long hours of the night on
the rounds to visit his sick; yet he did not fail to see the bad
influences used upon the Cayuse Indians.

They feared him and his influence. There had been mutterings of
discontent among the Cayuse Indians; too many whites were coming in.
There was much sickness among the Indians; the measles had prevailed;
with their unsanitary living and barbarous treatment of the sick many
had died. They laid it all to the white settlers, and blamed those
who encouraged and helped them. Good old Istikus, their faithful
Indian friend of many years, had warned them that some of his people
had bad hearts toward them, and begged them to go away until their
hearts were good again. But how could they go. On the fatal morning
when the conspiracy was brought to execution, seventy people were in
the mission station, mostly women, children, and sick men worn out by
long travel and exposure. It was two hundred and fifty miles to Fort
Vancouver by trail or in open boats down the Columbia River. That was
the only place of safety, and they could not leave all these people,
nor could they take them. Moreover, Whitman still had faith in his
Indians, which was partly justified by the facts, as it was proved
that no Cayuse could quite bring himself to strike the first blow.
But they found one more treacherous who was ready to take the Judas
part in the tragedy. He was called Joe Tahamas, a half-breed
Canadian, who had come to the mission station several months before
hungry, sick, and half-clad. As their custom was they took him in,
clothed, fed, and nursed him back to health again. After a time they
found him fomenting quarrels among their people, and stirring up
their evil passions in various ways. They finally procured him a
place as teamster to go to the Willamette River, and hoped their
troubles with him were ended. He had returned, and from after
evidence, had no doubt been going through the tribe, and with a lying
tongue rousing the Indians to a mad passion against their friends and
benefactors. Some distant chief of the tribe had armed him with what
was known as "The Charmed Tomahawk." It had long before been
presented to them by the warring Sioux, in some great peace talk, and
was to bring them victory and good fortune wherever it was used.
After the massacre at Waiilatpui and the war following, with the
banishment and partial destruction of their tribe, "The Charmed
Tomahawk" became "Bad Medicine." No one wished to keep it, but with
the old superstition of a living spirit in everything, they feared to
destroy it, lest some greater punishment should fall upon them, and
it passed from one to another as they would receive it.

_The Charmed Tomahawk_

An Indian agent, named Logan, learned the story and purchased it, as
we may believe, for but a small sum. During the Civil War, in an
auction sale for the benefit of The Sanitary Commission, the hatchet
with its story was sold for a hundred dollars, and was presented to
the legislature of Oregon. It has finally lodged among the treasured
relics of the Oregon Pioneer Association in Portland, where it will
doubtless be seen by many during the coming summer. The 29th of
November, 1847, the fatal morning dawned that ended the career of the
devoted missionary band gathered on the Walla Walla. The Doctor no
doubt with a heavy heart, after all his warnings, went out on his
round of duty, to look after the farm and stock, to visit the sick,
and supply any wants of the emigrants camped about them. Returning to
the house, he sat down in his office before his desk and was reading
with John Sager, one of his adopted boys seated by his side. An
Indian came in, saying he was sick and wanted some medicine. While
his attention was engaged by him, Tahamas stole silently in, armed
with "The Charmed Tomahawk," and with one blow on the back of the
head, crushed in the skull, and the poor Doctor sank unconscious to
the floor, though he lived for several hours after. The brave boy by
his side, drew a small pistol from his pocket, and attempted to shoot
the murderer, but was struck down with the same weapon and
immediately killed. The Indians then left the house, where there were
only women and children, to join the great company gathering outside
and find the unarmed men scattered about the place. Two of these
badly wounded made their way back to the house, and barred doors and
windows as best they could to protect the helpless ones inside. Only
four men made their escape unharmed to carry the news to Fort
Vancouver and ask for help. Mr. Spalding, one of their fellow
missionaries, was on his way, and near Waiilatpui, when the massacre
occurred. His little daughter was in Mrs. Whitman's school, a witness
of the whole bloody tragedy, and afterward one of the captives,
carried away by the Indians. From her descriptions, and that of
others who lived to tell the tale, he wrote a full description of the
tragic scenes to the parents of Mrs. Whitman. It is needless to say
they were too terrible to repeat in detail. Still it is well to know
how the heroic wife met death, still giving her thought and life for
others. She and one of the young women had carried the body of her
dying husband to a private room, and she was kneeling by his side,
when the host of savages returned to the house. Maddened like wild
beasts with the sight of blood, they tore the weak bars from doors
and windows, and with savage war-whoops entered the house. Their
superstitions prevented them from entering the death chamber, but
they began looting the house and threatening to kill the women and
children, whose frantic cries added terror to the scene. It was then
the heroic wife left the side of her dying husband, and her safe
retreat, going from one to another trying to comfort and soothe them.
As she walked past a window, a bullet struck her in the breast; she
grasped the window-sill to keep from falling, and recognized her
murderer as Tahamas, for whom she had done so much. She exclaimed,
"Oh, Joe, is it you!" It was like the dying cry of Cæsar, when he
saw his old-time friend in the mob about him, "Thou, too, Brutus!"
and a sharper pang than her wound gave entered that tender heart. She
was carried back to her room. A few hours later the Indians sent word
to her that if she would come out they would not harm her, but would
go away after they had seen her. She was then too weak from loss of
blood to walk, but she asked Mr. Rogers, one of their helpers, and
Miss Beulah, a friend, to carry her into the next room, where the
Indians had gathered. They had hardly entered it when a volley of
shots were fired, and both she and Rogers were pierced by many balls.

Some one now in authority gave an order not to shoot the women and
children. The little ones were all gathered in one corner, witnessing
the whole terrible scene, but one Indian more humane picked up some
blankets and screened it all from their view. One of the men, a guest
at the mission, raised a board in the floor and hid himself, wife,
and three children beneath. They suffered agony in their
imprisonment, with the blood of the murdered ones trickling through
the floor upon them. On a visit to Walla Walla and out to the old
mission farm, two years ago, we met a very intelligent and
interesting lady, who, in the course of conversation, told us that
she was one of the three children hidden under the floor during that
terrible day and that she was then but a little child the remembrance
had never left her, nor could she see an Indian without a shudder.
The Indians went at their work leisurely, and seemed anxious to
prolong the torture. They knew it was two hundred and fifty miles to
Vancouver, and they had no fear of molestation from any other source.
For five days they kept up their orgies, guarding against escape of
their victims. At the end of that time they began to be anxious for
their own safety, and gathering the women and children, forty in
number, they started for a friendly tribe to wait for developments.

[Illustration: D. K PEARSONS, M. D., LL. D]

Runners were sent in haste to Fort Vancouver telling of the disaster,
and Chief Factor Ogden of the Hudson Bay Company lost no time in
starting for the scene with twenty picked men, boats and provisions.
Upon reaching Waiilatpui they found everything in ruins, the houses
wrecked, the mill burned, and the dead bodies of eleven men, one boy,
besides the bodies of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman. These were all tenderly
gathered and buried together, in what has been called ever since "the
Great Grave." In the mean time Chief Ogden had sent runners after the
Indians, with a peremptory order to return all the captive women and
children to him at once, to Fort Walla Walla. For many years the
Indians had been accustomed to obey orders from this source, and
they thought it wise now to comply; besides they soon began to find
the helpless captives a burden to feed. Chief Ogden assured them he
would pay them a handsome ransom if all were brought in safely. One
or two of the chiefs, who were enamored of the young women, insisted
they should be allowed to keep them in captivity and make them their
wives. It required strategy, threats, and promise of larger reward
before that trouble was overcome. All were finally brought in, except
three delicate children, one the adopted child of the doctor, and two
others, who perished from exposure. Ogden gave the Indians blankets,
powder, lead, and other articles they demanded, to the value of five
hundred dollars, and all were conveyed to Fort Vancouver, and places
of safety.

Four men only escaped the massacre. One of these was Dr. Spalding. He
was on his way to visit the doctor on business, and to see his little
daughter, who was a pupil in Mrs. Whitman's school. When nearing the
station he met one of the Jesuit priests, who told him of the
disaster. He immediately retraced his steps, fully expecting a like
work at his own mission. He reached home the second night in a dazed
condition. His Nez Perces, when they heard of it, rallied around him
some five hundred of their bravest warriors, and escorted Dr. and
Mrs. Spalding quickly to a place of safety. Their little daughter
Eliza, nearly ten, was rescued and returned to them.

_Cayuse Thought the Flurry Over_

The Cayuse received their presents and seemed to think their work was
over. In this they were mistaken. The hardy old pioneers of Oregon,
who loved and honored Dr. and Mrs. Whitman, arose as one man, and in
winter, without tents or proper equipments, moved down upon the
Cayuse country. I do not intend to burthen my readers with the story
of a long, desolating Indian war. It was a bloody and savage contest,
where General Phil H. Sheridan was initiated into active military
life and won his first honors.

The leaders in the massacre, Tilcokait, Tahamas, Ouichmarsum,
Klvakamus, and Sichsalucus were arrested and hung at Oregon City,
just before the author reached there. In 1850 one of the most
miserable of the villains, Tarntsaky, was killed while being
arrested. My room-mate in Oregon in 1850, the late Samuel Campbell of
Idaho, spent the winter and spring of 1847 at the Whitman Mission,
and never tired in telling of the lovely Christian character of Mrs.
Whitman, of her kindness and patience to whites and Indians alike.
She had retained the same glorious musical voice, and life wherever
she went was filled with what Matthew Arnold would call "sweetness
and light." Mr. Campbell said while he was a prisoner at Grand Ronde,
old Tarntsaky one day boasted in his presence that he took the scalp
from Mrs. Whitman's head, and told him of the long, golden, silky
hair. He said, "Prisoner as I was, it was all I could do to keep my
fingers from his throat." The many tribes around sided with the
Cayuse, except the Nez Perces, and the whole land was closed to white
settlers for over ten years, as the state government deemed it
impossible to protect the scattered settlements.

_The Result_

The final result was that the tribes engaging in the war were all
removed to distant reservations, and forty thousand square miles of
rich territory were opened to settlement. Thus the great sacrifice
resulted for the good of the people. The work of the American Board
in sending missionaries to Oregon has sometimes been called "a
disaster" and "failure." Was it? What could have been grander work
for any Christian man than Whitman's brave part in saving the whole
great territory to the Union? Patriotism is a part of Christianity,
and an important part. That man is a feeble Christian who does not
love his home and fatherland.

The American Board never claimed, or received, a moiety of the reward
deserved, because of its poor estimate of the great work done at
that time by its servants. Well did Dr. Frank Gunsaulus say:

    "Marcus Whitman was more to the ulterior Northwest than John
    Harvard has ever been to the Northeast of our common country."

Two names which shine brightest upon the pages of English history are
Dr. Robert Livingstone and Dr. John McKenzie, both missionaries, and
both poor men. Their eminent services were along much the same lines
as those of Dr. Whitman--services to the whole people and the nation.
Dr. McKenzie made three trips to London before he could persuade the
English authorities to plant their flag over Bechuanaland, the flower
and wealth of all South Africa. But how England and English people
have ever since loved to do honor to both these noble men! Dr.
Whitman, by his eminent and heroic service, laid the American people
under as great a debt of gratitude, and I simply point to facts
already narrated to sustain that position. Have the people of the
United States done their simple duty to its noble martyrs?

_The Benefits to the Indians_

As to the benefits from the missionaries to the Indians themselves
eternity alone will reveal how little or how much good was conferred.

Cayuse was a trading tribe of Indians, and were almost as
unscrupulous in their dealings as Wall Street is to-day. Dr. Whitman
had hard uphill work in changing their customs. Yet many of the
Cayuse became Christians. Old Istikus was a prince among Christian
men, savage as he was. For sixteen years after the death of his loved
friends, he regularly went to the door of his wigwam, rang the old
mission bell, and invited all to come in to prayers. General Joel
Barlow, who was one of the commissioners after the treaty of peace in
1855, to settle the Indians upon their reservations, says:

    "I found forty-five Cayuse and one thousand Nez Perces who have
    kept up regular family worship, singing from the old hymn books,
    translated into their language by Mrs. Spalding. Many of them
    showed surprising evidences of piety."

The most successful of the missions, as far as good to the Indians
was concerned, was doubtless that of Mr. and Mrs. Spalding among the
Nez Perces. They were the friends and companions of Dr. and Mrs.
Whitman on that long wedding journey over plains and mountains. They
were pushed far out in the wilderness by the Hudson Bay Company in
what is now eastern Washington, and the Spokane country near where
the city of that name is located. They were gentle, kind, and
self-sacrificing, and perhaps were fortunate in being so isolated.
The Indians received them and their message kindly, and soon there
were many sincere and earnest Christians among them. A small
printing-press was sent them from Honolulu that had become
insufficient for their work there. Mrs. Spalding translated the Book
of Matthew, some psalms, hymns, and a few school books, into the Nez
Perces language, and they printed them with their little hand-press.
It is said that, now after sixty years have passed, they still have
some of them that are carefully treasured relics. They have never
engaged in wars, remain in the lands of their fathers, are farmers
and stock raisers, have churches and schools, and are respected by
their white neighbors. One little touch of nature lingers with them
still, one will often see an Indian teepee or wigwam in the yard or
some place near a comfortable house. Doubtless the father often goes
there to smoke his pipe in peace and comfort. Mr. Spalding lived to
be an old man, and told and wrote much of the early life of the

In these chapters we have purposely avoided discussing the motives
which led up to the massacre. There have been many charges not fully
sustained, that have caused ill feeling and done harm. But it is
undoubtedly true that Dr. Whitman's activity to help settle Oregon
with Americans was the direct cause of the great disaster. Dr.
McLoughlin was driven from office for no other reason than his
kindness to the missionaries that made Whitman's ride possible. Just
as certainly Dr. and Mrs. Whitman perished because they loved the
flag and all it represented, and were brave enough to express it by
heroic acts whose results would not be misunderstood by the enemies
of the republic. There is good evidence that Dr. Whitman understood
the perils of his mission before entering upon it, but in such a
character fear played a small part when confronted by duty.


    _The Memorials to Whitman. Why Delayed. Why the History was not
    Written Earlier. Whitman College the Grand Monument! Professor
    Harris Defines "History the window through which the soul looks
    down upon the past and reads its lessons."_

It is of great importance that history be written accurately, and is
best when written at the time of action by reliable observers. But
there is much history of great value which was not currently
recorded. The Bible record is an instance of this. Take the history
of the battles of the great Civil War as another illustration.
General Sherman, president of "The Army of the Tennessee," in every
annual meeting, long after the war, declared the papers read before
the society, and those read before "The Loyal Legion," descriptions
of skirmishes, campaigns, and battles of the great conflict, as of
greater value to history than were even the official reports made at
the time of action; they were the personal experiences of many
participants; that they caught the very spirit of the time and
events, and were reliable although written thirty and more years

There were many valid reasons why the history of the North Pacific
states in pioneer days was left unwritten for many years. It was most
fortunate that when the subject first began to receive attention so
many of the pioneers were still living, and that so much of the
history had been preserved by the Pioneer Association of Oregon, and
by individual records and letters. The writer reached Oregon soon
after the massacre at Waiilatpui. He was a teacher of the boys and
girls of the first settlers, and had access to their homes soon after
the execution of the five Indian leaders. The scene of the execution
was not far distant from the school-house in the fir woods. Naturally
it was a subject for discussion in every intelligent circle. I thus
learned historic facts not from books of written history, but from
men who were makers of the history.

_Why the Writing was Delayed_

In less than eight months after the massacre, gold was discovered in
California and Oregon, and no other event so absorbed the attention
of the population of the Pacific Coast or we might say of the whole
United States. They thought of little else for ten years. During the
same period, an Indian war following the Whitman massacre was in
progress in Oregon. Before these excitements ceased, the political
upheavals, beginning in 1856, culminated in 1860. Then followed the
great struggle of the Civil War, when giants met in battle, and the
very existence of the nation hung upon the success of the men behind
the flag. After 1865, the starry flag floated from ocean to ocean,
from the lakes to the Gulf, came the troublous period of
reconstruction--railroad-building and money-making as never before
witnessed in the Republic.

It is not at all strange that under such conditions, at least such
history as was made by a poor country doctor and his noble, unselfish
wife should have been for the time neglected. Who will say that it is
too late to remember such? In every civilized land the historian's
pen, the painter's brush, and the sculptor's art have been taxed to
place upon the library shelves historical books, upon the walls
paintings, and upon pedestals sculptured marble; thus commemorating
the noble dead, their great names live again as educators of the

_The Memorials to Whitman Few_

After leaving Oregon, the writer did not return for forty-five years;
in the interim were wondrous changes. The giant forests of firs had
disappeared, while cities, towns, and country homes, and waving
wheat-fields had taken their places. But as I stood at "the Great
Grave" of the martyrs, it alone was undisturbed and unchanged, in all
these years!

To the great credit of loyal pioneers of Oregon who knew Whitman and
his work, upon the fiftieth anniversary of his death erected a
stately marble column above the grave and secured five acres of
ground about it, while the Christian people of Walla Walla built a
little Memorial Mission Church at the place of the massacre.

In a previous chapter we noted the action of the American Board and
the Presbyterian statue to Whitman upon the fiftieth anniversary of
his death.

It is gratifying to observe these marked evidences of awakened
interest in the long-neglected Oregonian hero. It is but the
beginning, for the name and honor of Marcus Whitman will shine with
new luster in the years to come.

_The Grand Memorial is Whitman College_

It needs no argument to convince intelligent readers, young or old,
that to such a character as Whitman, a great institution of learning
is the best and most appropriate memorial. While it is a constant
reminder of a noble, unselfish, patriotic Christian life, it is also
a blessing to the whole people within its reach, by building up
intellectual and moral character in the young men and women of that
land for which he gave his life.

The story of Whitman College, like the life of the man it
commemorates, gives a lesson in faith.

Dr. Cushing Eells was the co-worker with Whitman, and perhaps knew
the inner life of the man better than any other. After the massacre
he was driven from his post, but returned to the Indian country as
soon as it was opened to white people. He at once visited the tragic
grounds at Waiilatpui. As he stood uncovered at the great grave of
his beloved friends, he writes in his diary:

    "I believe the power of the Highest came upon me, and I asked,
    What can I do to honor the memory of these Christian martyrs who
    did so much for the nation and humanity? I felt if Dr. Whitman
    could be consulted he would prefer a high school for the benefit
    of both sexes, rather than a monument of marble."

We must remember that at that time there were very few schools in the
Pacific States above the grade of the ordinary country district

The subject impressed him, and as he thought and prayed, it came to
him as his life work and duty, to build such a monument. In memory of
his friend he laid the matter before his good wife, it met with her
cordial approval; and then before the Congregational Council, and
they enthusiastically indorsed the work, and in a closing minute
said, "The Whitman Seminary is in memory of the noble deeds and great
work of the late lamented Dr. Whitman and his noble wife."



Dr. Eells, like Whitman, was a very poor man. The people about them
were poor. But they were rich in the kind of "Faith that removes
mountains." To financiers of modern times who demand millions for
schools the outlook for Whitman Seminary would not have been marked
as "promising." Dr. Eells bought the great Whitman Mission farm from
the American Board for one thousand dollars (on credit), and began
work. He and his wife were then well along in years, but that did not
count, and they had two sons of like mind who still live to tell the
story. For six years he plowed, sowed, reaped, and preached a free
Gospel up and down the valley; while the good wife made butter,
raised chickens, spun and wove, and at the end of that time, they had
accumulated six thousand dollars to start Whitman Seminary. The
charter was granted, the foundations laid, and work begun. The time
came, years later, when the seminary grew into a college, and Dr.
Eells had such strong and able men to aid and advise him as Dr.
Anderson, the first president, Dr. Atkinson, Dr. Lyman, Dr. Spalding,
and many others. But the college, while it had from the outset a
good reputation, was poor; there was no endowment, and the young men
and women to be educated were poor. Dr. Eells devoted his time and
life energies to his task, but in spite of all they had to place a
mortgage of thirteen thousand five hundred dollars upon the property.
One has to read the story in Dr. Eells' diary to know it in its
completeness. In its darkest days, when the faith of others was
small, his was still as strong as at the beginning. The last entries
in his diary, just before his death, were prayers for the upbuilding
and full success of Whitman College.

_The Story of Long Ago, and its Sequel_

The sacred word says, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in
pictures of silver!" Who can overestimate the power of a good word or
a good act? Drop a stone in the middle of a placid lake and the
circles begin and widen until they reach the farthest shore. So with
good words and good acts, they go on and on into the great future, in
ways we know not of.

Congressman Thurston was a Maine man--a fine type physically,
intellectually, and morally. He had early immigrated to Oregon, and
was the first congressman from that territory. It was too far to
return to Oregon for his summer vacation, over the slow routes of
that day, so he went up to Chicopee, Massachusetts, to spend the
summers of 1848 and 1849. The house where he boarded was one of the
old-fashioned New England double houses, with a wide porch across the
entire front. It so happened that a young doctor and his wife
occupied the other side of the house, and the front portico was the
common retreat in the long summer evenings. He loved to tell of the
majestic forests of fir and pine trees, fifteen feet in diameter and
three hundred feet high, of the grand rivers, rich soil, and its
great future. It was not until 1848 that word reached the States of
the tragic disaster at Waiilatpui, and the death of his dear friends,
Dr. and Mrs. Whitman. The incidents and heroism of their lives were
told by the eloquent, earnest congressman, in a way that made a deep
and lasting impression upon the young doctor and his good wife. They
were seriously casting about for some wider field in life, and were
almost persuaded to make Oregon their future home. Upon the homeward
journey to Oregon in 1850, Congressman Thurston lost his life in a
great ocean disaster upon the Pacific. The writer was in Oregon at
the time, and well remembers the wave of sorrow that spread
throughout the territory. After the death of Thurston, the young
doctor gave up the Far Western journey, but he still had "the western
fever," removed to Illinois, and bought a small farm. Prospecting
through that state, Wisconsin and Michigan, he made up his mind that
there was money in pine land, and beginning in a small way, marketed
the timber, and made money. He at once invested all his money in pine
timberland, bought and sold, and ever bought more pine, and the time
came when he could readily sell for four times the cost of it. He was
an observant man, and his success in locating and selling, by his
straightforward way of doing business, soon attracted the attention
of capitalists, and they persuaded him to settle in Chicago and buy
and sell for them. Soon an immense business was in his hands, which
continued for years, and left him with a fortune. He wearied with the
years of intense business activity, retired, and said to himself,
here is a snug little fortune, what is to be done with it? In the
language of a notable address, delivered by the doctor before a great
audience at Battle Creek, when he said, "These dead hands can carry
nothing out! What, gentlemen, are you going to do with your money?"
He soon settled upon a plan to spend his, and that was to use it
through deserving struggling Colleges, to give to poor young men and
women an intellectual, moral, and religious training. He believed
that every institution for its permanency and security should have a
healthy, interested, money-giving constituency about it, and so he
gave in a way to induce others to give, and aids no institution where
the Bible and moral training are neglected. I scarcely need tell my
intelligent readers this person is D. K. Pearsons, M.D., LL.D., of
Chicago, now eighty-six years old.

I have given, in brief, a sketch of his work in this connection,
first because of his direct association with it, and secondly,
because it pointedly marks what we have tried to show from historic
facts in all the chapters--that Power higher than man's power can be
traced and studied.

We often speak of all such as "accidental happenings." _Were they?_
Did the four Flathead chiefs accidentally, in 1831-32, appear in the
streets of St. Louis upon their strange mission and there meet their
old friend the great red-head chief? Were Drs. Whitman and Spalding
and their wives accidentally in Oregon? Was his heroic ride to save
Oregon in 1842 an accident? Was it accidental that he was on the
border in 1843 to lead that great immigration to Oregon in safety?
The Oregon of to-day was dependent upon the safety of that great
company in 1843. Was it all accidental that Congressman Thurston met
Dr. Pearsons in 1848-49 at Chicopee, Massachusetts, and by "words
fitly spoken," that forty-five years after he had rested in his
watery grave were found to be "apples of gold in pictures of

We all view such events from different standpoints, and I do not stop
to argue, only to state facts historically accurate. There are
accidents in the physical world from violated laws certainly, but in
the moral uplift of the race there seems to be an invisible hand, and
an agency greater than man's power. Wise as the race has grown, we
cannot understand and explain the mysteries that surround us. I see
the poor young Doctor in 1848 struggling to master his professional
work, and I see him again in 1894, old and rich, and in January of
that year, he sat musing by the fire in his winter home in Georgia,
and he took his pen and wrote:

    LITHIA SPRINGS, GEORGIA, January, 1894.

    _Dear Sir:_

       I will give Whitman College fifty thousand dollars for endowment,
       provided friends of the College will raise one hundred and fifty
       thousand additional,



Some may say "Nothing strange in that. Dr. Pearsons had made large
gifts to thirty-four different colleges." That is true. I one day
asked him, "Did any one ever ask that gift to Whitman College?" He
replied, "No; no one asked me for a dollar, and the president of
the college evidently thought my proposition preposterous, for he
never even replied to my letter." It was in the dark days of the
college. President Eaton was a good man, but he had lost the strong
faith of his predecessors, and soon after resigned. Just then the
Yale Band of Missionaries invaded Washington, and Rev. S. B. L.
Penrose, a man of Eells faith and Whitman's courage and perseverance,
was chosen president. He at once visited Dr. Pearsons, thanked him
for his generous offer, and set about his task of raising the money.
The difficulty was in getting a start. On June 20, 1895, the book
"How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon" was published in Chicago, and on
the Fourth of July, Sunday, two weeks later, forty ministers in
Chicago and neighboring places took Marcus Whitman as a patriotic
text. Many of them took up collections for the memorial college, and
the Congregational Club gave its check for one thousand dollars.
Virginia Dox, an eloquent and enthusiastic pleader, took up the work,
carrying it through Michigan, along northern and central Ohio and all
New England from Maine to Massachusetts, and the one hundred and
fifty thousand was raised, and the Doctor's fifty thousand added. The
Doctor, in the meanwhile has paid off the mortgage debt of thirteen
thousand five hundred dollars. Everything looked brighter. But the
buildings were poor and over-crowded, the campus of five acres too
small. It was a good fortune which enabled the directors to buy
eighteen acres adjoining, and admirably adapted for the purpose.

Dr. Pearsons then said, "You need a dormitory for young men, where
they can be cheaply and comfortably fed and housed, and I will give
fifty thousand dollars to erect a memorial building to Dr. and Mrs.
Whitman if others will erect the dormitory." Through the aid of Mrs.
Billings of New York (the largest giver), Billings and Memorial halls
went up simultaneously. Then Dr. Pearsons said, the girls need a
dormitory as well as the boys, let others build it, and I will give
fifty thousand to endowment. It was done.

The people of Walla Walla, though possessed of no surplus wealth,
came nobly to the rescue and contributed several thousand dollars,
and the poor professors and many students literally gave "all that
they had, even all their living," in making up the required sum. And
so it has been from the beginning a college built by faith and
self-denial. It has still many great needs, but its friends still
hope and believe that its wants will be supplied.

Some time ago the writer read the story of an orphan newsboy, a waif
of the streets, but a manly little chap. He attended a mission Sunday
school and became a Christian boy. Some weeks later, one of the
smart young men half-sneeringly said to the boy, as he looked at his
broken shoes and tattered garments, "Well, my boy, if I believed in
God as you do, I would ask Him to tell some of those rich church
people to give me some better shoes and nicer clothes." The little
fellow looked troubled for a moment, and then replied, "I expect He
did, but they forgot."

It was one of the great characteristics of the men and women of these
pages, that they listened, heard, and never "forgot."

The world to-day, and in the generation to follow, is in need of
strong men and noble women. Greater problems than the fathers have
solved will the sons be called to solve. Be ready for them. Mistaken
Christian teachers have sometimes used the words "Prepare to die."
Change them to read "Prepare to live," and may you live long and
bless the world by your living. In this land of ours, the poorest can
aspire to and reach out for grand achievements. The poor, half-orphan
boy, conning his lessons by a pine knot fire in his grandfather
Whitman's old New England home, or as he went through his classical
course, and the study of his profession, then learned to be a
millwright, and learned all about machinery, perhaps never dreamed of
the great work he was to be called to do. He simply did it all well!
That is the key which unlocks the future good things of earth, and
swings wide open the everlasting doors of the eternal world. You are
here for work in a broad field, and while you toil, be happy, joyous,
contented, and make others the same. The children of earth are in
partnership with the Great Ruler of the universe in the moral
government of this world. His great law is love. Love is the greatest
word in the language. The Bible represents God's love, as "like a
flowing river." Drink deep of it, as have our heroes and heroines,
and when taps are sounded, whether in the quiet of your homes or amid
the yells of savage men, as befell our loved ones, you can say with
St. Paul, even when the feet of his murderers echoed from the walls
of his dungeon, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith, thenceforth there is laid up for me a
crown of righteousness." You can sing with Tennyson in his age:

   "Twilight and evening bell,
     And after that the dark;
   And may there be no sadness of farewell
     When I embark.

   "And though from out the bourne of Time and Place
     The flood may bear me far,
   I hope to see my Pilot face to face
     When I have crossed the bar."


      *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been
retained except in obvious cases of typographical error.

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