Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the Opening of Old Oregon by Clifford M. Drury

Introductory Material
Copyright (pdf 435 kb)
Preface (pdf 3.5 mb)
Introduction (pdf 3.4 mb)
Aknowledgments, Sources, and Abbreviations (pdf 3.4 mb)
List of Illustrations
Painting of Marcus Whitman (pdf 453 kb)
Painting of Narcissa Whitman (pdf 446 kb)


Chapter 1: Whitman Volunteers for Oregon (pdf 3.4 mb)
The American Board; Samuel Parker; Oregon Indians in the Red River Mission School; Nez Perce Delegation to St. Louis; Spokane Garry; Methodists send Jason Lee to Old Oregon; Samuel Parker appointed; Marcus Whitman and Narcissa Prentiss volunteer.
Images for Chapter 1 (pdf 3.2 mb)

Chapter 2: Whitman’s First Eighteen Years (pdf 3.1 mb)
1802-1820 61 Ancestry, birth, and early years; Ten years in Massachusetts.
Chapter 3: Whitman’s Medical Training (pdf 3.0 mb)
Riding with Dr. Bryant; Whitman’s first term at Medical College; Whitman in Canada; Whitman returns to Medical College.
Chapter 4: Three Years at Wheeler, 1832–1835 (pdf 2.9 mb)
The cholera epidemic; Whitman commissioned by the American Board; Parker’s appeal for missionaries; Whitman leaves for the Rockies.
Chapter 5: Early Life of Narcissa Prentiss, 1808–1835 (pdf 2.9 mb)
Ancestry and early life; The church at Prattsburg; Her education; She rejects Spalding’s proposal; “Are Females Wanted”; Marcus and Narcissa engaged; Narcissa applies for appointment.
Chapter 6: Whitman’s First Journey to the Rockies, 1835 (pdf 2.8 mb)
His official commission; Differences of Whitman and Parker; Hostility of the men of the caravan; Cholera strikes; From Bellevue to the Rendezvous; At the Rendezvous; Whitman and Parker separate; “We could cross the mountains with a wagon.”
Chapter 7: Marcus and Narcissa are Married, 1836 (pdf 2.5 mb)
The search for associates; Henry H. Spalding; Eliza Hart Spalding; Spalding’s unfortunate remark; “We want you for Oregon”; Their personal appearance; Marcus and Narcissa are married.
Chapter 8: First White Women to Cross the Rockies, 1836 (pdf 2.5 mb)
Official passports for Oregon; Final instructions from the Board; From Narcissa’s letters; William H. Gray; Travel outfit assembled; On the march; Through South Pass, July 4, 1836.
Images for Chapter 8 (pdf 2.3 mb)
Chapter 9: From the Rendezvous to Fort Vancouver (pdf 2.2 mb)
At the Rendezvous; To Fort Boise; Narcissa’s diary; To Fort Vancouver; The missionaries at Fort Vancouver.
Images for Chapter 9 (pdf 2.1 mb)
Chapter 10: Waiilatpu, 1836–1837 (pdf 2.0 mb)
Mission site selected; Spalding selects Lapwai; Women return to Walla Walla; First house at Waiilatpu; Food supplies; Gray returns to the States; Agriculture and evangelization begin at Waiilatpu; Three Cayuse chiefs; Alice Clarissa born; Trials and triumphs.
Chapter 11: The Versatile Doctor, 1837–1838 (pdf 1.9 mb)Whitman, the doctor, farmer, and missionary teacher; Eliza Spalding born; First adobe house; Lee visits Whitman and Spalding.
Chapter 12: Jason Lee And Oregon Colonization (pdf 1.7 mb)
Lieutenant Slacum visits Oregon; Boundary issue; Methodist reenforcements; Lee leaves for New York; Whitman and Spalding ask for more missionaries; Methodists receive a government subsidy; The Lausanne reenforcement; Reaction of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Chapter 13: A Year of Adjustments, 1838–1839 (pdf 1.5 mb)
Financial matters; First Presbyterian Church of Oregon; Reenforcement of 1838; Asa Bowen Smith; “A strange company of missionaries”; Columbia Maternal Association; Tshimakain selection; Coming of Roman Catholic missionaries; Whitman’s second house; Growing dissention in the mission; Alice Clarissa drowned; Reconciliation.
Images for Chapter 13 (pdf 1.2 mb)

Chapter 14: Fourth Year of the Oregon Mission, 1839-1840 (pdf 1.2 mb)
Gray demands a separate station; Independent missionaries arrive; First native converts; Thomas J. Farnham; Emigrant House erected; Spalding criticized; More missionaries; Arrival of Father DeSmet.
Images for Chapter 14 (pdf 1.0 mb)
Chapter 15: Fifth Year of the Oregon Mission, 1840–1841 (pdf 920 kb)
Critical letters against Spalding; First wagons over the Blue Mountains; Indian troubles; Proposal to sell out to the Methodists; Munger insane; Smiths and Rogers leave; Political developments; The Wilkes expedition.
Chapter 16: The Mission in Crisis, 1841–1842 (pdf 709 kb)
Red River migration; War, diplomacy, or emigration; Whitman’s life threatened; More dissention in the mission; American Board dismisses Spalding; Roman Catholic activities; Elijah White and the 1842 emigration; Gray resigns; Whitman leaves for the East.
Chapter 17: Narcissa’s Lonely Year, 1842–1843 (pdf 3.2 mb)
Attempted assault on Narcissa; Narcissa goes to Waskopum; Laws of the Nez Perces; Ellis made First Head Chief; Restlessness among the Cayuses; White’s return visit; Cayuses accept the laws.
Chapter 18: Whitman Rides, 1842–1843 (pdf 3.1 mb)
Crossing the Rockies in severe winter; Promotes Oregon emigration; Whitman in Washington; In New York and Boston; Board rescinds fateful order; Whitman plans for the Mission’s future.
Chapter 19: “WESTWARD Ho!” 1843 . . . (pdf 2.9 mb)
Whitman’s visit with relatives; Perrin Whitman; “My plans require time and distance”; Emigrants gather; “Travel, travel, travel”; Opening the wagon road to the Columbia; An appraisal of Whitman’s ride; Reaction of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Chapter 20: A Changing Oregon, 1843–1846 (pdf 2.7 mb)
Narcissa sick and discouraged; Continued activities at Waiilatpu; More native converts; Indians becoming uneasy; 1844–1845; Arrival of the Sager orphans; Gospel of Matthew in Nez Perce; 1845–1846; Emigration of 1845; Andrew Rodgers; Reminiscences of the Sager girls; Whitman considers leaving Waiilatpu; Visit of Tom Hill; International boundary settled.
Chapter 21: Prelude to Tragedy, September 1846 to November 1847 (pdf 2.4 mb)
The emigration of 1846; Severe winter; Methodists give Waskopum to the American Board; Hinmans and Perrin Whitman move to Waskopum; Artists Kane and Stanley visit Waiilatpu; Introduction of measles; Catholics establish two missions near Waiilatpu; Oregon emigration of 1847; Last Whitman letters; Crowded Waiilatpu; Joe Lewis, chief villain; Roll‑call at Waiilatpu.
Images for Chapter 21 (pdf 2.1 mb)
Chapter 22: The Whitman Massacre (pdf 2.1 mb)
The measles epidemic; Whitman accused of poisoning the Indians; Conspirators identified; Serving Oregon through death; Ride to the Umatilla; The massacre; Some were weeping; Hudson’s Bay Company informed; Those who escaped; Father Brouillet visits Waiilatpu; Summary of the fate of those at Waiilatpu.
Images for Chapter 22 (pdf 1.7 mb)
Chapter 23: Congress Establishes Oregon as a Territory (pdf 1.3 mb)
Hudson’s Bay Company acts promptly; Experiences of the captives; Ogden secures their release; Lapwai Mission abandoned; Discovery of Stanley’s portraits; In pursuit of the murderers; Waiilatpu burned; Joe Meek goes east; End of the Oregon Mission; Territorial status.
Chapter 24: Epilogue (pdf 1.0 mb)
Apprehension of five alleged murderers; Their trial and execution; Waiilatpu inventory; Monuments, memorials, and anniversary occasions; Mystery of the skulls; Whitman literature; Whitman Mission National Historic Site; Continuing First Presbyterian Church of Oregon; I Baptize You Marcus Whitman.
Images for Chapter 24 (pdf 793 kb)
Marcus Reflects Upon His Achievements (pdf 3.4 mb)


1. Index of the Letters of the Whitmans (pdf 686 kb)

2. Financial Reports of the American Board (pdf 618 kb)

3. Evolution of the Whitman‑Saved‑Oregon Story (pdf 611 kb)

4. Literature of the Whitman Controversy (pdf 565 kb)

5. Accounts of the Massacre and the Captivity (pdf 542 kb)

6. Letter from H. K. W. Perkins to Jane Prentiss (pdf 526 kb)

7. Whitman’s Proposed Bill for Oregon (pdf 492 kb)

Bibliography (pdf 433 kb)

Last updated: January 16, 2018

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