N. Whitman letter 1841

Waiilatpu, May 30th, 1841.

My Dear Brother Edward: –Yesterday Mr. Ermatinger left us to go to Fort Hall and the Rendezvous, and we sent our package of letters to our friends by him.There being still another opportunity of writing, I embrace it for tomorrow.Husband is to send an Indian to overtake him on account of some business forgotten to be attended to while he was here.Mr. and Mrs. Munger, who I hope you will see, left more than three weeks ago with the main party who have the goods, and Mr. E. is to overtake them.

Since writing Jane's letter, much has transpired of interest to us.Mr. Pambrun, of whom you have often heard me speak, received an injury while riding out a little way from his fort by his horse losing the rope out of his mouth and running and surging, which threw him repeatedly upon the horn of his saddle and finally upon the ground.He was so bruised and maimed in the abdomen, that he was unable to move and was carried to the house on blankets.He died in four days after the injury, a most painful death.He died as he had lived, saying that he was a Christian, but giving no evidence that he was one in heart.He was a Roman Catholic.Your brother went and stayed with him during his sickness until he died.He was so anxious to die to be relieved from pain and suffering, that he plead with the doctor to give him something to stupefy him so that he might die quick.When he was in the last agonies he insisted on having an emetic given him and when he could not prevail on the doctor or Mr. Rogers, who was with him when he was hurt and sick, he sent for his men to take him and carry him out so that he might get it himself, but he did not succeed and gave up to die without it.

His poor family feel the loss very much;he was their main support;had nine children, the youngest an infant three weeks old.His wife is a half-breed.He gave me his little daughter, Harriet, the one named just before he died.We know not what the Lord means by this providence, but we hope good will result to His cause and his afflictions may be sanctified to the living.

Dear brother, this is the Sabbath day.At this time you are doubtless engaged in the worship of God in the sanctuary, a privilege I once enjoyed, but now am deprived of. Our minds suffer for the want of such privileges.Yet in our deprivation we have our enjoyments, for we can worship God in our own dwellings and find Him here present with us.At times the special presence of His Holy Spirit appears to be manifest, and he seems to be reaching down His hand filled with blessings to this dying people.The work is a great work;but how few and feeble are the labourers already in the field.Our earnest prayer is that more labourers might be sent to aid us in our work;men after God's own heart, and not easily discouraged.

The present is a time of unusual quiet –not an Indian is to be seen about us all are scattered in little groups far and near, digging their kamas root, and taking salmon.Here is the missionary's trial in this country.The people are with him so little of the time, and they are so scattered that he cannot go with them, for but few are in a place.Notwithstanding our discouragements, I feel that we would not be situated differently if we could.We would not be out of the field for any consideration whatever, so long as the Lord has any work for us to do here.I wish Jane was here to help me.When I hear from you again I shall know what to do about sending to the Board to have her come, if Edward can spare her and will still go on with his studies.I hope you will remember what I have written to you in the other letter, and do as I have asked you to do, for your own sake as well as mine.You seem to be very near to us.It is almost June now, and I hope this letter will reach you in safety and speedily.Mrs. Littlejohn has become the mother of a fine

Oregon boy;they will go home now as soon as they can get an opportunity by ship.Whether you seem them or not, after they return I know not.Many others are getting discouraged and wishing to leave, and others are greatly disappointed in the country.I went to Walla Walla two weeks ago to attend Mr. P.'s funeral and spent about two weeks with the family.They sent for me to come home, for Mrs. Littlejohn was sick, but I did not get home until her babe was born.She is doing well and her babe also.

Dear Jane, I hear much of your watching and taking care of the sick.Do be more careful of your own health;I fear for you;you will wear out too soon.I have not been able to do much such work since I have been here.

Your brother often speaks of you and has intended to write you both, but has been pulled this way and that, so that he has not had time.Adieu;our love to you both.I have not written to pa and ma, as I intended, but husband has, which you may read if you see Mrs. Munger.

Your sister,

N. Whitman.

Last updated: October 4, 2016

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