• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Who's Who A - G

Governor George Abernethy
George Abernethy became the first Provisional Governor of Oregon in 1845. He had sailed to the Oregon Country as part of the Lausanne Re-enforcement for the Methodist missions. The Lausanne left New York on October 10, 1839, and arrived at Fort Vancouver on June 1, 1840. While Marcus was away on his trip back East (1842-1843), Narcissa spent some time at the home of the Abernethys in Oregon City.

Dr. Lyman Beecher (1775-1863)
Dr. Beecher was a prominent Presbyterian pastor. He was the father of Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. He eventually became president of Lane Seminary. The American Board missionaries of the Oregon Country had several connections to Dr. Beecher. Henry Spalding attended Lane Theological Seminary. Eliza Spalding found Dr. Beecher's weekly lectures on theology "very interesting and profitable." The Spaldings, Whitmans, and Mr. Gray visited Dr. Beecher in 1836 and asked his advice concerning travel. They normally avoided traveling on the Sabbath, but it was necessary if they were to stay with the fur caravan. Dr. Beecher responded: "Well, if I were to cross the Atlantic, I certainly would not jump overboard when Saturday night came." Cornelius Rogers, one of the 1838 re-enforcements, was a member of the church where Dr. Beecher was pastor. Dr. Whitman briefly stopped by Beecher's church during his 1842-43 trip back east.

Rev. Hiram Bingham
Rev. Bingham was head of the American Board's Hawaiian Mission. In 1836 Whitman, Spalding, and Gray corresponded with Bingham requesting sheep and Hawaiian laborers.

Dr. and Mrs. Ira Bryant
Dr. Bryant practiced in Rushville, New York and served as Dr. Whitman's mentor in the 1820's.

Reverend Levi Chamberlain
Rev. Chamberlain was the business agent for the American Board's Hawaiian Mission. Dr. Whitman wrote to him in October of 1837, relating how all but one of the sheep that the Hawaiian mission had sent had died while being transported to the Waiilatpu mission.

Rev. and Mrs. Harvey Clark
The Clarks were part of a group of three independent missionary couples who had traveled from Quincy, Illinois. The group traveled with the American Fur Company caravan to the 1840 fur trapper's Rendezvous, which turned out to be the last Rendezvous. The missionaries arrived at Waiilatpu that August. The Clarks spent the winter with the Smiths at the Kamiah station. The Clarks left for the Willamette Valley in the spring of 1841. Though none of the three couples became members of the American Board missions, the women did become members of the Columbia Maternal Association. In 1844, Rev. Clark established the First Presbyterian Church at Willamette Falls (now Oregon City).

Reverend Cushing Eells and Mrs. Myra Eells
Missionary colleagues of the Whitmans. The Eells were part of the missionary re-enforcement that arrived at Waiilatpu in 1838. The Walker's and Eells established the Tshimikain mission station in northeastern Washington State (near modern day Spokane, Washington).

Mr. William Gray and Mrs. Mary Gray
Missionary colleagues of the Whitmans. Mr. Gray traveled with the Whitmans and Spaldings to the Oregon Country in 1836. In 1837 he returned to the East to get married and find additional workers for the mission stations. Mr. Gray led the group re-enforcements, including his new bride, to the Oregon Country in 1838. Mr. Gray became dissatisfied with his supporting role in the mission stations. In 1842 Mr. Gray resigned his post and he and his family left for the Willamette Valley.

David Greene
Corresponding Secretary of the American Board in charge of communicating with the Oregon mission stations.

Rev. John Griffin and Mrs. Desire Griffin
The Griffins arrived in the fall of 1839. They had traveled to the Oregon Country with Mr. and Mrs. Asahel Munger. Neither couple had the support of a missionary society or church. They were considered "independent missionaries." During their journey out, Rev. Griffin had met, courted, and married Miss Desire C. Smith of St. Louis. Mrs. Griffin and Mrs. Munger were the seventh and eighth white women to cross the continental divide. Upon arriving in the Oregon Country the Mungers gave up the idea of establishing an independent mission. But, in the spring of 1840, the Griffins made their own attempt to establish a mission. After a two month harrowing experience in snow bound mountains, they too gave up the idea. They traveled back to Waiilatpu and sometime after October 15, 1840, left for the Willamette Valley.

 

Sources

Drury, Clifford M. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the Opening of Old Oregon. 1994. Northwest Interpretive Association: Seattle, Washington.

Did You Know?

picture of Great Basin Wild Rye Grass

Great Basin Wild Rye Grass is part of the natural landscape at Whitman Mission. The name Waiilatpu, meaning place of rye grass, was used by the people to name the mission site.