A Physical Description of Marcus Whitman
With the possible exception of an untitled sketch by artist Paul Kane, there are no known images of Marcus Whitman himself. Artists have used descriptions to help create paintings of Marcus. Artist Drury Haight created a painting of Marcus based on the Paul Kane sketch.
Marcus was described by many contemporaries:
Rev. Joel Wakeman in an 1898 issue of the Prattsburg, NY News describes Marcus Whitman as:
In 1834 Whitman described himself to the ABCFM as having iron-gray hair and deep blue eyes. William Gray, Whitman's associate said that Marcus had a large mouth. "Other descriptions indicate that Marcus was about six feet tall, weighed about 175 pounds, and was 'a rawboned man, muscular and sinewy, with broad shoulders, neck bent slightly forward, and firm-set limbs.'" (Woodbridge, 1970: 6).
William Mowry, in his book Marcus Whitman and the Early Days of Oregon describes the character of Dr. Whitman as:
The Sager girls, who had been orphaned on the Oregon Trail in 1844 and then formally adopted by the Whitmans, remembered him to be kind and loving, but firm.
Drury, Clifford M. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the Opening of Old Oregon. 1986. Pacific Northwest National Parks & Forest Association: Seattle, Washington.
Drury, Clifford M. Marcus Whitman, M.D., Pioneer and Martyr. 1937. The Caxton Printers, Ltd.:Caldwell, Idaho.
Mowry, William Augustus. Marcus Whitman and the Early Days of Oregon. 1901. Silver, Burdett: New York, New York.
Woodbridge, Ross. "Are These the Whitmans?" in The Whitman Alumnus: Whitman College Bulletin,Volume 73 (Number 5). 1970.
Did You Know?
Wagons used on the Oregon Trail had to carry nearly 2000 pounds of supplies. They traveled 2000 miles or more to the Oregon Country. Most wagons were pulled by oxen as they could eat the prairie grass and survive without lots of food for lengthy periods.