• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Waiilatpu in 1841

Dr. Whitman in a letter to Dr. and Mrs. Bryant, dated May 24, 1841:

I will give you a little account of our situation. We are located in the pleasantest vally of the upper Columbia on the Walla Walla River. It is a River which runs out of the Blue Mountains & after a course of forty or fifty miles falls into the Columbia. The soil is better & more extensive on this than any other stream with which I am acquainted. The River makes many large Islands which gives an interesting appearance. The borders of the streams only are skirted with timber & that of a very poor kind. Consisting of Balm of Gilead Alder Birch & Willow, Thorn [?] & a kind of small cherry. Cultivation will require the aid of irrigation in order to make a business of it even in this valley. The only thing for which this country would excell would be for herding. The grass cures on the ground & remains almost as good as grain during the winter there being little rain to rot it. In case of rain there is always a fresh growth of grass at any Month in the year. Some years cattle are eating green grass all Winter. For the two past winters this has been the case. The first of January is a good time to kill grass fed beef out of the plains. The sheep belonging to the Mission breed twice a year & in some instances I think they have had lambs three times in twelve Months.

We are situated about an equal distance from the Columbia & Mountains. The Region seems inexhaustible in its stores of pastureage.

Did You Know?

picture of sawmill sign

The mission at Waiilatpu had a sawmill supplying it with needed cut lumber. It was located in the Mill Creek drainage. Lumber was needed for the split rail fences and finishing the houses built at the mission.