• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

A Missionary Saga - Season 1

These articles were produced for a history column in a local weekly paper. Season one is about the trip out. Season two focuses on the early years. Season three covers the years 1843 through 1847. In season four we meet some of the people in their lives.


The Trip Out

Part 1: Beginnings and Farewells
Narcissa Prentiss marries Dr. Marcus Whitman. She leaves the next day on a trip that will span the continent, possibly never to see her family again.

Part 2: Packing for an "Unheard of Journey for Females"
What does one bring on such a trip?

Part 3: Unexpected Complications
Of miscommunications and making an essential rendezvous, or not.

Part 4: A Final Dash
Can the missionaries catch the caravan in time?

Part 5: Life on the "Road"
Narcissa provides a detailed account of what it is like to travel with the fur traders' caravan.

Part 6: An Unexpected Encounter
Just when you think you have prepared for everything...

Part 7: A Brief Respite
The missionary party takes a well deserved rest at Fort Vancouver.

Part 8: Setting Up House - A Time Apart
The men leave to find mission sites; the women make preparations.

Part 9: Rain, Foam, and Fury - Ten Days on the Columbia River
Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding spend 10 days traveling upstream in inclement weather to reach Fort Walla Walla.

Part 10: The Spaldings' Mission at the "Place of Butterflies"
The missionary group splits. The Spaldings leave to establish a mission to the Nez Perce.

Part 11: The Whitmans' Mission at the "Place of the People of the Rye Grass"
The Whitmans establish a mission to the Cayuse.

Part 12: Beginnings and Endings
Alice Clarissa and Eliza Spalding are born. The future looks bright. We leave them here.

Did You Know?

singing sparrow

Over 200 different species of birds can be found at Whitman Mission National Historic Site. A large proportion of these are migratory and wintering birds indicating the importance of the 139-acre parcel as a stop over for those species. More...