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Letters and Journals of Narcissa Whitman (continued)

March 30, 1837

Dear Parents, Brothers and Sisters:
Again I can speak of the goodness and mercy of the Lord to us in an especial manner. On the evening of my birthday, March 14th, we received the gift of a little daughter-a treasure invaluable. During the winter my health was very good, so as to be able to do my work. About a week before her birth, I was afflicted with an inflammatory rash, which confined me mostly to my room. After repeated bleeding, it abated very considerably. Mrs. Pambrun had been with me two weeks previous to this, and has been much out of health. She, with my husband, dressed the babe. It would have made you smile to see them work over the little creature. Mrs. P. never saw one dressed before as we dress them, having been accustomed to dress her own in the native style. I was able to lend a helping hand and arrange the clothes for them, etc. Between us all, it was done very well. She slept very quiet that night, but the next night she cried very hard. All the reason of it was that she was hungry, and we did not think to feed her soon enough. On the second day I dressed her alone, sitting in the bed, and have ever since. I slept but little the two first nights, but since have got my usual sleep. She is a very quiet child, both night and day-sleeps all night without nursing more than once, sometimes not at all.

Thus you see, beloved sisters, how the missionary does in heathen lands. No mother, no sister, to relieve me of a single care-only an affectionate husband, who, as a physician and nurse, exceeds all I ever knew. He was excessively pressed with care and labor during the whole time of my confinement. I received all the attention I required of him. He had my washing and the cooking to do for the family. (Mrs. P. had two children with her, and, on account of her ill health, she could not give much assistance.) During the same week we were thronged with company, for the whole camp of Indians has arrived. Mr. Gray spent several days with us at this time; also, Mr. Pambrun and Mr. Ermatinger paid us a visit on Friday, and left on Saturday. All this, with the care of four men and two boys that know little or nothing about work, just at the commencement of plowing, etc., requires many steps for one man alone. It was a very great mercy that I have been able to take the whole care of my babe, and that she is so well and quiet. The little stranger is visited daily by the chiefs and principal men in camp, and the women throng the house continually, waiting an opportunity to see her. Her whole appearance is so new to them. Her complexion, her size and dress, etc., all excite a deal of wonder; for they never raise a child here except they are lashed tight to a board, and the girls' heads undergo the flattening process. I have not yet described my babe to you. I think her grandmother would willingly own her as one of her number of babies, could she see her. Her hair is a light brown, and we think will be like her aunts Jane and Harriet. She is plump and large, holds her head up finely, and looks about considerably. She weighs ten pounds. Fee-low-ki-ke, a kind, friendly Indian, called to see her the next day after she was born. Said she was a Cayuse te-mi (Cayuse girl), because she was born on Cayuse wai-tis (Cayuse land). He told us her arrival was expected by all the people of the country-the Nez Perces, Cayuses and Walla Wallapoos Indians, and, now she has arrived, it would soon be heard of by them all, and we must write to our land and tell our parents and friends of it. The whole tribe are highly pleased because we allow her to be called a Cayuse girl. We have beautiful weather here this month. Travel here is as pleasant as May in New York.

June 25th, 1839

My Dear Sister:
Your letter of April inst. I received but a few days ago, or it would have been answered much sooner. You make some important inquiries concerning my treatment of my precious child, Alice Clarissa, now laying by me a lifeless lump of clay. Yes, of her I loved and watched so tenderly, I am bereaved. My Jesus in love to her and us has taken her to himself.

Last Sabbath, blooming in health, cheerful, and happy in herself and in the society of her much loved parents, yet in one moment she disappeared, went to the river with two cups to get some water for the table, fell in and was drowned. Mysterious event! We can in no way account for the circumstances connected with it, otherwise than that the Lord meant it should be so, Husband and I were both engaged in reading. She had just a few minutes before been reading to her father; had got down out of his lap, and as my impression, was amusing herself by the door in the yard. After a few moments, not hearing her voice, I sent Margaret to search for her. She did not find her readily, and instead of coming to me to tell that she had not found her, she went to the garden to get some radishes for supper; on seeing her pass to the water to wash them, I looked to see if Alice was with her, but saw that she was not. That moment I began to be alarmed for Mungo had just been in and said there were two cups in the river. We immediately inquired for her, but no one had seen her. We then concluded she must be in the river. We searched down the river, and up and down again in wild dismay, but could not find her for a long time. Several were in the river searching far down. By this time we gave her up for dead. At last an old Indian got into the river where she fell in and looked along by the shore and found her a short distance below. But it was too late; she was dead. We made every effort possible to bring her to life, but all was in vain. On hearing that the cups were in the river, I resolved in my mind how they could get there, for we had not missed them. By the time I reached the water-side and saw where they were, it came to my recollection that I had a glimpse of her entering the house and saying, with her usual glee, "Ha, he, supper is most ready" (for the table had just been set), "let Alice get some water," at the same time taking two cups from the table and disappearing. Being absorbed in reading I did not see her or thank anything about her-which way she went to get her water. I had never known her to go to the river or to appear at all venturesome until within a week past. Previous to this she has been much afraid to go near the water anywhere, for her father had once put her in, which so effectually frightened her that we had lost that feeling of anxiety for her in a measure on its account. But she had gone; yes, and because my Saviour would have it so. He saw it necessary to afflict us, and has taken her away. Now we see how much we loved her, and you know the blessed Saviour will not have His children bestow and undue attachment upon creature objects without reminding us of His own superior claim upon affections. Take warning, dear sister, by our bereavement that you do not let your dear babe get between your heart and the Saviour, for you like us, are solitary and alone and in almost the dangerous necessity of loving too ardently the precious gift, to the neglect of the giver.

Saturday evening, 29,-After ceasing to restore our dear babe to life, we immediately sent for Brother Spaulding and others to come and sympathize and assist in committing to the grave her earthly remains. Tuesday afternoon Mr. Hall reached here. Mr. S. and wife took a boat and came down the river to Walla Walla, and reached here Thursday morning, nine o'clock, and we buried her that afternoon, just four days from the time her happy spirit took its flight to the bosom of her Saviour. When I write again, I will give you some particulars of her short life, which are deeply interesting to me, and will be to you, I trust, for you, too, are acquainted with a mother's feelings and a mother's heart.

Probably we may return to Clearwater with Brother and Sister S., as it is necessary for my husband to go on business for the mission. Dear sister, do pray for me in this trying bereavement, for supporting grace to bear without murmuring thought, the dealings of the blessed God toward us, and that it may sanctified to the good of our souls and of these heathen around us.

O! on what a tender thread hangs these mortal frames, and how soon we vanish and are gone. She will not come to me, but I shall soon go to her. Let me speak to you of the great mercy of my Redeemer toward one so unworthy. You know not, neither can I tell you, how much He comforts and sustains me in this trying moment. He enables me to say, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed, ever blessed, be the name of the Lord."

Sister Spaulding sends love to you and will write you soon.

In haste, as ever your affectionate, but now afflicted sister in Christ,


Rev. Mrs. H.K.W. Perkins, Wascopum
May 2, 1840
My Dear Mother:
I cannot describe how much I have longed to see you of late. I have felt the want of your sympathy, your presence and counsel more than ever. One reason doubtless is it has been so long since I have received a single letter from any one of the dear friends at home. Could they know how I feel and how much good their letters do me, they would all of them write a great deal and write often, too, at least every month or two, and sent to Boston and to Westport, to the care of Rev. Joseph McCoy; they would surely reach us. Our associates receive them in great numbers, which does not make us feel any better for ourselves. We are daily expecting the arrival of Mr. Lee's ship, laden with associates for that mission, and we have the encouragement from the board to expect four or five families for our own mission. By them we hope to receive letters in abundance. It is a consoling thought to us that we are permitted the prospect of having other fellow laborers to join us again so soon. We feel that we cannot do our work too fast to save the Indian-the hunted, despised and unprotected Indian-from entire extinction.

A tide of immigration appears to be moving this way rapidly. What a few years will bring forth we know not. A great change has taken place even since we first entered the country, and we have a reason to believe it will stop here. Instead of two lonely American females we now number fourteen, and soon may twenty or _______ more, if reports are true. We are emphatically situated on the highway between the states and the Columbia River, and are a testing place for the weary travelers, consequently a greater burden rests upon us than upon any of our associates-to be always ready. And doubtless many of those who are coming to this mission their resting place will be with us until they seek and find homes of their own among the solitary wilds of Oregon.

Could dear mother know how I have been situated the two winters past, especially winter before last, I know she would pity me. I often think how disagreeable it used to be to her feelings to do her cooking in the presence of men-sitting about the room. This I have had to bear ever since I have been here-at times it has seemed as if I could not endure it any longer. It has been the more trying because our house has been so miserable and cold-small and inconvenient for us-many people as have lived in it. But the greatest trial to a woman's feelings is to have her cooking and eating room always filled with four or five or more Indians-men-especially at meal time, but we hope this trial is nearly done, for when we get into our other house we have a room there we devote to them especially, and shall not permit them to go into the other part of the house at all. They are so filthy they make a great deal of cleaning wherever they go, and this wears out a woman very fast. We must clean after them, for we have come to elevate them and not to suffer ourselves to sink down to their standard. I hardly know how to describe my feelings at the prospect of a clean, comfortable house, and one large enough so that I can find a closet to pray in.

As a specimen I will relate a circumstance that occurred this spring. When the people began to return from their winter quarters, we told them it would be good for them to build a large house (which they often do by putting several lodges together) where it would be convenient for all to attend worship and not meet in the open air. They said they should not do it, but would worship in our new house and asked us if there were not houses in heaven to worship in. We told them our house was to live in and we could not have them worship there for they would make it so dirty and fill it so full of fleas that we could not live in it. We said to them further, that they did not help us build it and that people in other places build their houses of worship and did not let one man do it all alone, and urged them to join together by and by and build one for themselves of adobe. But it was of no avail to them; they murmured still and said we must pay them for their land we lived on. Something of this kind is occurring almost all the time when certain individuals are here; such as complaining because we do not feed them more, or that we will not let them run all over the house, etc., etc.

They are an exceedingly proud, haughty and insolent people, and keep us constantly upon the stretch after patience and forbearance. We feed them far more than any of our associates do their people, yet they will not be satisfied. Notwithstanding all this, there are many redeeming qualities in them, else we should have been discouraged long ago. We are more and more encouraged the longer we stay among them.

They are becoming quite independent in cultivation and make all their ground look as clean and mellow as a garden. Great numbers of them cultivate, and with but a single horse will take any plow we have, however large, and do their own ploughing. They have a great thirst for hogs, hens and cattle, and several of them have obtained them already.

Our greatest desire and anxiety is to see them becoming true Christians. For this we labor and pray, and trust in God for the blessing on our labors. But the labor is great and we are weak and feeble, and sometimes are ready to faint. We need the prayers of our Christian friends at home and I trust we have them. Could they know just how we are situated and all our discouragement I know they would pray more ardently for us and more importunately for us.

Dear father, I will relate one more anecdote and then must close. Te-lou-ki-ke said to my husband this morning: "Why do you take your wife with you to Mr. Walker's? Why do you not go alone? You see I am here without my wife; why do you not go alone? You see I am here without my wife; why do you always want to take your wife with you when you go from home? What do you make so much of her for?" He told him it was good for me to go with him; that we were one, and that wives were given as companions. He replied "that it was so with Adam because a rib was taken from him to make his wife, but it was not so now; it was different with us." This has often been brought up by them; the way I am treated, and contrasted with themselves; they do not like to have it so; their consciences are troubled about it. May they be more and more so until a reformation is made among them.

Plan of the mission house at Wieletpoo, drawn by Asabel Munger. We have made it larger than it was originally intended at the suggestion of Mr. Hall, so as to be more convenient to accommodate the general meeting of the mission.

A-Our own sleeping room. B-Parlor. C-Dining Hall. D-Indian Hall. E-Kitchen. F-Pantry. G-Sleeping room for Joseph and wife, our domestics. H-Cellar and room above for boys. I-Storehouse. K-Hen house. LL-Privy house-double. W-Clothes press. X-Chest of drawers set in the wall. P-Book case. O-Show case for natural curiosities, and the lower part for bed and table linen. The upper part of both of glass; also set in the wall. R-Cupboard. T-Stairs. U-Medicine case. V-Stove. Seven large windows, the remainder are small. A, I and K are yet to be built, probably this summer. M-Turkey house of wood and yard. This is all we have made.

We give you the probable plan of our yard, which we need very much; but it is yet to be built. N is the place where Alice Clarissa fell into the river, and but a short distance below, she was found. S is in the direction of her little grave, further off than is represented by this view. The exterior does not look as well as the interior. The roof is made of poles, straw and dirt thrown upon the top. It will look better when it is whitewashed on the outside. We paint the wood work a light slate color; the front door, outside, green; the floors with yellow ochre; pantry shelves the same.

I do not know how many of my letters reach home or whether any of them. I write and send twice a year to some of them. I hope all who write will be careful to mention the reception of all our letters, so then we shall know what ones fail and what reach you.

Please give our love to all our friends who are interested in us, and accept much for dear father, mother and all the family.

Your affectionate daughter,


October 1, 1841

My Dear Jane:
I wrote you a folio sheet, as full as I could write it, to you and Edward, and sent it across the mountains with the almost certain assurance that it would reach you, at least by this time, if not sooner. But it has returned, with all the other letters we sent that way. We have now sent all our spring letters to Vancouver, to go by sea, so that it is doubtful when you will get them, if at all. I mentioned in my letter to you that Mr. Munger had become unbalanced in his mind, and it was thought best for him to return to his friends in the States. He had been prevailed upon to go, and accordingly started, with his wife and one child, to go across the mountains. To them we committed our letters, with the expectation that they would pass through Quincy on their way to Oberlin. They accompanied the H.H.B. Company's party to Fort Hall, and from thence to the place of the American Rendezvous, on Green River, and found that no party had come up from the States, and, from all that they could learn, no one was expected. They accordingly returned to Fort Hall, and concluded that there was no other alternative but to retrace their steps to this country again. Mr. M. was happy in doing so, but his poor wife did it very reluctantly, for her heart was very much set on going to her friends. They came down before the main party, and brought back our letters with them. They had not retraced their steps far before a large party of emigrants and Jesuits arrived from the States. But no one brought any letters from you or Edward; consequently, I was greatly disappointed, and must wait another year before hearing from you again.

The emigrants were twenty-four in number-two families, with small children, from Missouri. This company was much larger when they started. About thirty went another route, to California. The company of Jesuits were twelve in number, consisting of three priests, three novitiates, four laborers, and their pilot, started from St. Louis, one they found on their way. Their pilot is Fitzpatrick, the same person that commanded the party we came with from the States. This company came as far as Fort Hall. They go with the Indians to the Flathead country, or Pend d'Oreille. It is not known where they will settle, but it is reported that they expect to locate themselves somewhere in that region, and in the same language that part of our mission are occupying.

Now we have Catholics on both sides of us, and, we may say, right in our midst, for Mr. Pambrun, while he was alive, failed not to secure one of the principal Indians of this tribe to that religion, and had his family baptized. He acts upon his band, and holds from us many who would be glad to come and hear us. And then, the Indians are acted upon constantly through the servants of the Company, who are all, scarcely without exception, Catholics.

We feel no disposition to retreat from our work, but hope to stand our ground, if such a thing is possible. Fitzpatrick is expected here when he has accomplished his piloting for that company, and is said to return to St. Louis this fall; if so, I hope to send this by him.

I may have mentioned the death of our kind neighbor at Walla Walla, Mr. Pambrun, in my letter this spring; although it was written before it transpired, yet it was not sent until afterwards. Early in May he received an injury from his horse, which caused his death in four days after he was hurt. Husband was with him all the time during his sickness and death. It was a most distressing scene. He was only anxious to die that he might be relieved of pain.

A short time before he was sick he got his mind upon marrying his daughter to one of our mission. I mean our Brother Rogers, who came out with the last reinforcement. This was a great trial to us, for we did not consider her worthy of him, besides being a half breed and a Catholic. She has had no education, except barely to learn to read and write. It was his subject of conversation by day and by night while he was alive, and in his will he appropriated more to her on his account, than to his other children, besides giving him much of his personal property, and willing him a hundred pounds sterling. This was that his wife and children might have a good home. In his mind the bargain was completed, and all the arrangements made, before he died. He was riding out with Brother Rogers when he was hurt. After his death the family was removed to Vancouver. We have since learned that she refused to marry Mr. Rogers, and he has returned the property willed to him. We think he has no reason to regret it on his own account. But the consequence of it all has been it has taken Brother R. out of our mission, and he has gone to settle for himself on the Willamette, or in that region.

We regret the loss very much, as he was a valuable member of our mission. This was not the only reason of his leaving us. He was stationed at Lapwai, with Mr. Spaulding, and could not be contented to remain in that part of the mission after Mr. Smith left.

Feb. 2, 1842
Dear Jane:
Since I commenced this letter much has transpired of deep interest, and is constantly transpiring that is of importance to this country, and those who are interested in her welfare. But I must talk to you a little before I tell about things here. I have just read your letter again, written in March, 1840, and it is now '42, and do you not think that is a long while to wait for letters from one's beloved sisters and friends? You have placed yourself so near us, I had hoped to receive letters from you every year, and even now I must wait until September before I can expect to hear from you again. Do, dear sister and brother, write a large parcel and have them ready-do not wait for an opportunity. It would be so comforting to get the history of you from one month to another, and from year to year. It would be such a treat that I should cry for joy over them. I suppose you feel the same about us. I write you all I possibly can-all that poor health and numerous cares will admit of. Besides, I have so many to write to, both here as well as to friends at home.

I wish you were here to comfort me with your society and aid me with your labors, for there is more work to do than we can do, although it is not with me now as it has been ever since we have been here. I am blessed with an excellent associate in Sister Gray, who is now located here. She is a sister, indeed. I love her much. It is not good to be alone-so many cares will wear out the health and life of anyone, as we feel ours to be already, although we are recruiting some this winter.

Jane, I hear things about you that I do not like to hear. Sister L. says you watch sick folks a great deal. You must stop it, or you will repent it when your health fails, and it will fail-you cannot always endure. Take care of yourself, for I want you to come here when you are through your care of Edward, if you do not marry. What do you think about it? How would you like to come? When I know your mind we can then make arrangements for your coming, by writing to the Board, etc. The missionary work is hard work, both for a body and mind, and requires health and strength. You say, "it is delightful work." So it is, when faith and love are in lively exercise, but where these are not in lively exercise, the work becomes burdensome, especially if health fails.

Feb. 4th.-I should like to give you the transactions of this day, and will if I can gather strength to do it. I was sick last night, with a severe headache, and have been so frightened to-day that I have not much strength of nerve left. The Indians are just now returning from their wintering quarters, and some of the Nez Perces have been serving the devil faithfully, especially those who spent their winter on the Columbia River below, in the region of the Des Chutes and Dalles. A young Nez Perces that had been to the Red River school died last summer. A brother of his, and three other principal men, managed to frighten the River Indians, as being the cause of his death, and compelled them to give many horses and much property, as a compensation, to keep them from other acts of violence upon them. Husband, learning of their base conduct, took advantage of their passing, on their way to Mr. S.'s station, to reprove them for what they had done. These men are all firm believers in the te-wats, or medicine men. This is a crying sin among them. They believe that the te-wat can kill or make alive at his pleasure.

Yesterday the mother of the young man that died was in to see me. She is an old medicine-woman, and as she had some of the horses and property thus basely obtained husband talked to her about it and told her it was her duty to give them back to those who stole them, as they had distributed among many. She at last said she would do it. Her talk aroused two others, as they were all that were here, who came in last evening and received the same plain admonition. They did not like such plain talk. They are great worshipers or at least feel and profess to be, and the man who would believe that they could do such great wickedness, and tell them of it and warn them of the consequences, was a bad man and would go to hell. One of them, more daring than the others, gathered twelve or fourteen of his friends and came in the forenoon to frighten us. One had a bow and arrows with iron points; another had a rope and another had the war club. When they first made their appearance these things were concealed under their blankets. The head man commenced the talk by saying that he was always good and that husband was bad and was always talking bad to them; that he had brought in his friends that were very powerful. This he said to frighten us and excite his allies. Soon husband spoke and told him to stop, and began to explain the conversation of last night. After a little, one of them took down a hair rope that was hanging near, and threw it down near the doctor, one of them that stood near put his foot on it. I began to be suspicious of that movement and thought they were intending to tie him. I told husband it was our rope and he picked it up and sent it out of the room. Soon a tall Indian advanced as the conversation increased in spirit-under his blanket I saw another rope and one behind him had a bow and arrows. I asked husband if I had not better call help, he said no, he was not afraid. I had not yet discovered the war club, but I had seen enough to excite my fears greatly. I went into another room, as slyly as I could, and called Packet, who is living in the Indian rooms, and told him what was going on; he went and got two other men and came in and seated themselves. (The gathering was in the kitchen.) The conversation continued and they soon saw that they had been led wrong by their leader, and their excitement died away. A native woman, a friend of ours, was in when they came in and I had just begun to read a chapter of the translation of Matthew to her. She was in yesterday, also, and was appealed to as a witness of what was said yesterday and was of service in quelling their rages. One of our men who came in first discovered the club, and the Indian was asked, when the excitement was over, what he came in with a club for? He flushed and put it around under his blanket out of sight. They all went away, ashamed of themselves and defeated. Their aim, doubtless, was to frighten us and cause the doctor to take back what he said yesterday; but that he would not do, but still said to them if he did not tell them plainly of their sins the Lord would be displeased with them. They said it would not do for him to talk so to Ap-ash-wa-kai-kin, their leader in wickedness, and the brother of the deceased young man; if he did, he would fight him. He told him that it was his duty to tell him that he had done wrong, and that he, as well as they, must make restitution to those whom they had so unjustly injured, and that he should not hesitate to tell them so.

March 23.-Him-in-il-ip-il-ip, one of the two that was so excited about his bad conduct being told him so plainly, promised before he left the place that he would restore the property he had so unjustly taken. About two or three weeks after the above transaction Ap-ash-wa-kai-kin came into camp. Husband was away at the time-he had gone about a day's ride to visit a sick woman, the wife of the Catholic, and spent the Sabbath with them, as there were many Indians there. He did not, however, after his return, find it convenient to converse with him under two or three days. But it was like a thunder-bolt to him, for it appeared that no one had told him of the transactions of the others. It was in the evening and we were alone with him-he raged and threatened and said he wondered how they had allowed him to escape-although husband had told him as mildly and affectionately as possible. He soon flew out of the house in great anger-leaving the door open behind him and went to his lodge and hid himself from us for several days. Before this conversation took place, he was eager to obtain a plough, but husband wished to see this business settled before he could oblige him. He finally promised before he left the place that he, also, would make restitution, and parted good friends.

I cannot give you the outrages of last fall. I have written them to our dear parents, if it reached them you will doubtless have the perusal of it. That, with this, will give you some idea what we have to meet with, but we may say that these are no trials, comparatively, to what they would be if the full use of ardent spirits was introduced among them.

May 17th.-The time has at length arrived for sending off our letters, and it is the last moment. I have not written to any of our beloved friends in Angelica, you must send these letters when you have an opportunity.

Our general meeting is now convened. All the families of the mission are here except Mr. Spaulding's who refused to attend. We are in deep waters, but we hope this meeting will decide our case as a mission in some way that will be a relief to our anxious minds. I cannot say much now, but the time will come when I hope to be able to speak freely.

Dear husband has not written a single letter to send home, nor can he, his mind is filled with so much labor, care and responsibility. He often speaks of you, but cannot write.

Mr. Munger, the man I wrote about in my letters of last spring as being deranged, has at last killed himself. H-after driving two nails in his left hand-drew out a bed of hot coals and laid himself down upon it, thrusting his hand into the hottest part of the fire and burnt it to a crisp, and died four days after. After they returned they went on to the Willamette, because we did not think it safe for him to remain here. This took place the last of December. I cannot enter into particulars as I would be glad to. My time, strength and thought are all occupied with the care of company, my children and the events of the meeting.

We have, I mean Mr. Spaulding and us, just received a box of clothing from Prattsburgh.

I have seen only one letter and that is a joint letter to both families from O. L. Porter. By some hints in that and from other sources we learn that there is a party expected from that place to come out to our help, and perhaps to come next year. If it is so, it is through Mr. S.'s influence, unbeknown to the mission. If they come out unconnected with the American Board, it will be very trying to both us and them. Those who have already come can but just live, and I believe are obliged to abandon their object, because in this country it is as much as we can do to take care of ourselves if we have no help about.

I received a letter from H.P. and Livonia Prentiss, and right glad was I for it. It is the first we have received from them since we have been here. The box was directed to Mr. S. and consequently was not opened until it went to his place, and he delayed sending the things and letters so long and gave me no information of it until the time had arrived to send our letters off, consequently I have written only one letter to P. where I should have been glad to have written several.

What I have written in the first part of this sheet about our Brother Rogers, keep to yourselves. He is here now and we would be glad to have him join us again if the circumstances of the mission were a little different.

I send this letter by Edward Rogers, a young man who came out last fall and spent the winter with us. He had partly promised to call on you; I hope he will.

I sent Edward Mr. Smith's address on "The Mission Character." I hope he will read it very attentively and often; it is all true, and what he will have to meet if he becomes a missionary.

Please give my love to Mr. and Mrs. Beardsley. It would cheer me much if they would write us.

Mr. Clarke and all his party are in the lower country.

Mr. Littlejohn has given up going home-he has not the means. We want him to come back and help us and have given him the invitation.

Love from us both to Jane and Edward.

Your sister, as ever,


Love to dear father and mother, and all the dear ones we love.

Farewell, N.W.

Miss Jane Prentiss,
Quincy, Illinois, U.S.A.
(Favor of Mr. Edward Rogers.)
March 1st, 1842.

Mr. Dear Jane and Edward:
I was busy all the forenoon in preparing my husband for his departure. He left about two o'clock p.m. to go on a professional visit to Brother Walker's, and I am once more left alone in this house with no other company than my two little half-breed girls, Mary Ann Bridger and Helen Marr Meek. Since he left I have copied a letter of one sheet and a half for him to Brother Spaulding and written a short one to Sister S., besides which kept me until nearly dark, although I wrote all with all my might, for we had detained an Indian who was going that way, to take them, and before I could get them completed he began to be quite impatient. I, however, pacified him by giving him something to eat to beguile his time, and when he left gave him a good piece of bread to eat on the way. The Indians do us many favours in this way, and get as many from us in return, for they are always glad of something from us to eat on the way. Since I got my letters off I regulated my house some, got my own and my little girl's supper and some toast and tea for a sick man who has been here a few days, from Walla Walla to be doctored; attended family worship and put my little girls to bed, and have set me down to write a letter to Jane and Edward, my dear brother and sister that I left at home in Angelica more than six years ago. Since or just as I seated myself to write, Brother Gray came in to get some medicine for the sick man. He is in Packet's lodge a few steps from the door, and he is the man who attends to my wants, such as milking, getting water, wood, etc. He is a half-breed from the east side of the mountains and was brought up at Harmony mission, but came to the mountains about eight years ago and has since become a Catholic. Brother Gray has built him a new house and it is quite a piece from us. Thus lonely situated, what would be the enjoyment to me if E. and J. would come in and enjoy my solitude with me. Surely solitude would quickly vanish, as it almost appears to, even while I am writing. Jane, I wish you were here to sleep with me, I am such a timid creature about sleeping alone that sometimes I suffer considerably, especially since my health has been not very good. It, however, gives me the opportunity for the exercise of greater trust and confidence in my heavenly protector in whose hands I am always safe and happy when I feel myself there. My eyes are much weaker than when I left home and no wonder, for I have so much use for them. I am at times obliged to use the spectacles Brother J. G. so kindly furnished me. I do not know what I could do without them; so much writing as we have to do, both in our own language and the Nez Perces; and, besides, we have no way to feast our minds with knowledge necessary for health and spirituality without reading, and here the strength of the eyes are taxed again.

Out of compassion to my eyes and exhausted frame, dear ones, I must bid you good night. You may hear from me to-morrow, perhaps, if I am not interrupted with company.

2d-After attending to the duties of the morning, and as I was nearly done hearing my children read, two native women came in bringing a miserable looking child, a boy between three and four years old, and wished me to take him. He is nearly naked, and they said his mother had thrown him away and gone off with another Indian. His father is a Spaniard and is in the mountains. It has been living with its grandmother the winter past, who is an old and adulterous woman and has no compassion for it. Its mother has several others by different white men, and one by an Indian, who are treated miserably and scarcely subsist. My feelings were greatly excited for the poor child and felt a great disposition to take him. Soon after the old grandmother came in and said she would take him to Walla Walla and dispose of him, there and accordingly took him away. Some of the women who were in, compassionated his case and followed after her and would not let her take him away, and returned with him again this eve to see what I would do about him. I told her I could not tell because my husband was gone. What I fear most is that after I have kept him awhile some of his relatives will come and take him away and my labour will be lost or worse than lost. I, however, told them they might take him away and bring him again in the morning, and in the meantime I would think about it. The care of such a child is very great at first-dirty, covered with body and head lice and starved-his clothing is a part of a skin dress that does not half cover his nakedness, and a small bit of skin over his shoulders.

Helen was in the same condition when I took her, and it was a long and tedious task to change her habits, young as she was, but little more than two years old. She was so stubborn and fretful and wanted to cry all the time if she could not have her own way. We have so subdued her that now she is a comfort to us, although she requires tight reins constantly.

Mary Ann is of a mild disposition and easily governed and makes but little trouble. She came here last August. Helen has been here nearly a year and a half. The Lord has taken our own dear child away so that we may care for the poor outcasts of the country and suffering children. We confine them altogether to English and do not allow them to speak a word of Nez Perces.

Read a portion of the Scriptures to the women who were in today, and talked awhile with them. Baked bread and crackers today, and made two rag babies for my little girls. I keep them in the house most of the time to keep them away from the natives, and find it difficult to employ their time when I wish to be engaged with the women. They have a great disposition to take a piece of board or a stick and carry it around on their backs, if I would let them, for a baby, so I thought I would make them something that would change their taste a little. You wonder, I suppose, what looking objects Narcissa would make. No matter how they look, so long as it is a piece of cloth rolled up with eyes, nose and mouth marked on it with a pen, it answers every purpose. They caress them and carry them about the room at a great rate, and are as happy as need be. So much for my children.

I have not told you that we have a cooking stove, sent us from the Board, which is a great comfort to us this winter, and enables me to do my work with comparative ease, now that I have no domestic help.

We have had but very little snow and cold this winter in this valley. The thermometer has not been lower than 20 below freezing; but in every direction from us there has been an unusual quantity of snow, and it still remains. Husband expects to find snow beyond the Snake river, which he would cross today if he has been prospered, and may perhaps be obliged to make snow shoes to travel with. Last night was a very windy night, and the same today, but it is still now. Brother Walker is situated directly north of us, so that it is not likely that the snow will decrease any in going. It is uncertain when he will return if prospered and not hindered with the snow. He expects to be gone only four weeks. May the Lord preserve and return him in safety and in His own time, and keep me from anxiety concerning him. Goodnight, J. and E.

3d.-Dear Jane, this has been washing day, and I have cleaned house some; had a native woman to help me that does the hardest part. I am unable to do my heavy work and have been for two years past.

This evening an Indian has been in who has been away all winter. I have been reading to him the fifth chapter of Matthew. Every word of it seemed to sink deep into his heart; and O may it prove a savour of life to his soul. He thinks he is a Christian, but we fear to the contrary. His mind is somewhat waked up about his living with two wives. I would not east him any, but urged him to do his duty. Others are feeling upon the subject, particularly the women; and why should they not feel?-they are the sufferers.

The little boy was brought to me again this morning and I could not shut my heart against him. I washed him, oiled and bound up his wounds, and dressed him and cleaned his head of lice. Before he came his hair was cut close to his head and a strip as wide as your finger was shaved from ear to ear, and also from his forehead to his neck, crossing the other at right angles. This the boys had done to make him look ridiculous. He had a burn on his foot where they said he had been pushed into the fire for the purpose of gratifying their malicious feelings, and because he was friendless. He feels, however, as if he had got into a strange place, ad has tried to run away once or twice. He will soon get accustomed, I think, and be happy, if I can keep him away from the native children. So much about the boy Marshall. I can write no more tonight.

4th.-There has been almost constant high wind ever since husband left and increasingly cold. Feel considerably anxious concerning him, lest the deep snow and cold may make his journey a severe one. At the best it is very wearing to nature to travel in this country. He never has been obliged to encounter so much snow before, and I do not know how it will affect him. He is a courageous man, and it is well that he is so to be a physician in this country. Common obstacles never affect him; he goes ahead when duty calls. Jane and Edward, you know but little about your brother Marcus, and all I can tell you about him at this time is that he is a bundle of thoughts.

Met this afternoon for a female prayer meeting; only two of us-Sister Gray and myself-yet they are precious seasons to us, especially when Jesus meets with us, as He often does. I am blessed with a lovely sister and an excellent associate in Sister Gray, and I trust that I am in some measure thankful, for I have found by experience that it is not good to be alone in our cares and labours.

9th.-Last evening received a letter from Sister Walker dated Feb. 21st, in which she expresses some fears lest husband should not arrive in season on account of the deep snow. The probability is that he has had as much as one day on snow shoes if not more. We are having our winter now, both of cold and snow. During the last twenty-four hours there has been quite a heavy fall of snow in the valley, and it is doubtless doubled in the mountains.

Last eve I spent at Bro. Gray's, after the monthly concert. We opened some boxes that have just arrived from the Board to the mission, containing carding, spinning and weaving apparatus, clothing and books. Our goods often get wet in coming up the river, and we are often obliged to open, dry and repack again. We have abundant evidence that our Christian friends in the States have not forgotten us, by the donations we receive from time to time. My work last eve was such cold and damp work that it gave me many rheumatic pains all night, and besides it took us so long that I feel unable to write much more tonight. There is still another evening's work of the same kind, which must be done as soon as tomorrow. We take the eve because Bro. G. has so much labour during the day, and then our children are all in bed. Goodnight, Jane.

9th.-While I was thinking about preparing to retire to rest last eve, Bro. Gray came in to see if I could go over and see and aid in the arrangement of the other boxes. I finally mustered courage to go, because they were anxious to have it out of the way. Found it an easier job than was expected, because there was but one that needed drying.

Attended maternal meeting this afternoon. Sister G. and I make all the effort our time and means will permit to edify and instruct ourselves in our responsible maternal duties. Read this p.m. the report of the New York City Association for 1840, and what a feast it was to us! It is a comforting thought to us in a desert land to know that we are so kindly remembered by sister Associations in our beloved land. But the constant watch and care and anxiety of a missionary mother cannot be known by them except by experience. Sister G. has two of her own and I have three half-breeds. I believe I feel all the care and watchfulness over them that I should is they were my own. I am sure they are a double tax upon my patience and perseverance, particularly Helen; she wants to rule every one she sees. She keeps me on guard continually lest she should get the upper hand of me. The little boy appears to be of a pretty good disposition, and I think will be easy to govern. He proves to be younger than I first thought he was; he is not yet three years old-probably he is the same age Helen was when she came here. His old grandmother has been in to see him today, but appears to have no disposition to take him. She wanted I should give her something to eat every now and then, because I had got the child to live with me and take care of, also old clothes and shoes. So it is with them; the moment you do them a favour you place yourself under lasting obligations to them and must continue to give to keep their love strong towards you. I make such bungling work of writing this eve I believe I will stop, for I can scarcely keep my head up and eyes open. So good night, J., for you do not come to sleep with me, and I must content myself with Mary Ann.

11th.-Dear Jane, I am sick tonight and in much pain-have been scarcely able to crawl about all day. The thought comes into my mind, how good to be relieved of care and to feel the blessing of a sympathizing hand administering to the necessities of a sick and suffering body, and whose presence would greatly dispel the gloom that creeps over the mind in spite of efforts to the contrary. But I must not repine or murmur at the dealings of my Heavenly Father with me, for he sees it necessary thus to afflict me that His own blessed image may be perfected in me. O, what a sinful, ungrateful creature I am-proud and disobedient. I wonder and admire the long-suffering patience of God with me, and long to be free from sin so that I shall grieve Him no more. But there is rest in heaven to the weary and wayworn traveler, and how blessed that we may "hope to the end for the grace that shall be given unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Pray for us, J. and E., for we need your prayers daily. Goodnight.

12th.-I would that I could describe to you what I have felt and passed through since writing the above. Before I could get to bed last night I was seized with such severe pains in my stomach and bowels that it was with difficulty that I could straighten myself. I succeeded in crawling about until I got something to produce perspiration, thinking that it might proceed from a cold, and went to bed. About two o'clock in the morning Sister Gray sent for me, for she was sick and needed my assistance. When I was waked I was in a profuse perspiration. What to do I did not know. Neither of them knew that I was sick the day before. I at last concluded that I would make the effort to go, casting myself for preservation on the mercy of God. Mr. Cook, the man who came after me, made a large fire for me in my room, and I was enabled to dress and dry myself without getting cold, the weather having moderated some from what it was a few days ago. I bundled myself pretty well and went with Mr. C.'s assistance, for I felt but very little better able to walk than I did the evening before, and Bro. Gray was washing it. In the meantime, after they were informed how I was, they sent me word not to come if I was not able. I took the babe and dressed it, and have been there all day with my children, although I have not been able to sit up all day. Both mother and babe are comfortable tonight, and I have come home to spend the night and Sabbath, leaving Mr. G. with the care of them tomorrow. They have a good Hawaiian woman, which is a great mercy.

Sab. Eve., 13th-Was kept awake last night by the headache considerably, and it has continued most of the day. Bro. G.'s house is very open, and the change from ours affects me unfavourable generally. Notwithstanding feeble health, this Sabbath has been a precious day to me. A quiet resting upon God is every thing, both in sickness and in health. My heart cries, O, for sanctifying grace that I may not become hardened under affliction.

14th.-I have this day entered upon my thirty-fifth year, and had my dear Alice C. been alive she would have been five years old, for this was her birthday as well as mine. Precious trust! She was taken away from the evil to come. I would not have it otherwise now. All things are for the best, although we may not see it at the time. Spent the day with Sister G., although not able to do much. Have been taking medicine and feel some better this eve, and hope to be better still tomorrow.

15th.-Have been with Sister Gray all day. There is so much there and all around us to call forth feelings of sympathy and care, that I have been so excited all day as not to scarcely realize my own state of health until I retire from it, and then I find myself completely exhausted. Thus it is that the missionary is so soon worn out, and his health fails and he is obliged to leave the field. He constantly sees work enough for his utmost time and strength, and much, very much that must remain undone for the want of hands to do it. We feel a merciful and timely relief in the association of Bro. and Sister Gray in our labours at this station. Had we continued much longer without help we should have been obliged, both of us without doubt, to have retired from the field as invalids. Yet still there is just as much as we all can possibly do, and more, too, for every year brings increased labours and demands upon us, and doubtless will continue to if there is much emigration to this country.

Edward, if you are thinking to become a missionary, you would do well to write a sermon on the word PATIENCE every day. Study well its meaning; hold fast on to patience and never let go, thinking all the time that you will have more need of her by and by than ever you can have while you remain at home. But I must stop before I exhaust myself, and gain strength for the duties of the morrow by rest.

21st.-It will be three weeks tomorrow since dear husband left, and I am feeling tonight almost impatient for his return. It has been stormy and cold every day since he left. Indeed, we have had our winter in this month, and now the rivers are so high that it is almost impossible to cross them without swimming. I feel that the Lord has mercifully and tenderly sustained and kept me from anxious feelings about him thus far during his absence. Doubtless he has suffered much, but the Lord will preserve, I hope, and return him again to me, filled with a lively sense of His goodness to us continually. The Indians feel his absence very much, especially Sabbaths. They are here so short a time they do not like to have him gone.

Today I have had the care of Sister G.'s two children and my three, which has been a hard day's work for me. I am more and more pleased with my little boy every day. He is so mild and quiet, and so happy in his new situation that I have not had the least regret that I took him in. He is learning to talk English extremely well-much faster than my two girls did. The second Sabbath he went about the room saying, "I must not work, I must not work," and also a part of a line of a hymn he had hear us sing, "Lord teach a little child to pray,"-all that he could say was, "a child to pray, a child to pray." He is learning to sing, also; he seems to have a natural voice, and learn quick. I think husband will have no objections to keeping him when he sees what a promising boy he is.

Sister Gray is recovering very fast; she came out into the kitchen yesterday to supper, and today she has dressed her babe, which is but ten days old. She took the advantage of me and dressed it before I could get over there this morning. She was going about her own room before it was a week old. Perhaps you will think we do as the natives do when we are among the natives. She certainly is very well, and we ought to be very thankful, and I trust we are. We all see so much to do that it is difficult to keep still when it is possible to stir. So goodnight, J. and E., for my sheet is full.

26th.-Husband arrived today about noon, to the joy of all the inhabitants of Waiilatpu. Mr. Eells came with him. His journey was prosperous beyond our most sanguine expectations, for the day that he would have been obliged to take snow shoes was so cold that by taking the morning very early they went on the top of the snow and arrived there in safety the Saturday after he left here. Sister Walker has a son, born on the 16th, four days after the birth of Sister Gray's. They call him Marcus Whitman. So it is, dear J. and E., that the Lord cares for and preserves us; and it seemed more than ever as if He sustained me from anxiety and gave me a spirit of prayer for him, and answered prayer in his safe return with improved health; and O, may the lives which He does so mercifully preserve, be devoted more entirely to His service.

Bro. Eells came for his boxes and will return next week. We are cheered with an occasional visit from one and another, which is a source of comfort to us in our pilgrimage here.

This sheet is full, and if you have trouble to read it, say so, and I will not do so again.

Your sister,


Sept. 29th, 1842

My Dear Jane and Edward:
I sit down to write you, but in great haste. My beloved husband has about concluded to start next Monday to go to the United States, the dear land of our birth; but I remain behind. I could not undertake the journey, if it was considered best for me to accompany him, that is to travel as he expects to. He hopes to reach the borders in less than three months, if the Lord prospers his way. It is a dreadful journey, especially at this season of the year; and as much as I want to see you all, I cannot think of ever crossing the mountains again-my present health will not admit of it. I would go by water, if a way was ever open; but I have no reason to think I ever shall.

If you are still in Quincy you may not see him until his return, as his business requires great haste. He wishes to reach Boston as early as possible so as to make arrangements to return next summer, if prospered. The interests of the missionary cause in this country calls him home.

Now, dear Jane, are you going to come and join me in my labours? Is dear Edward so far advanced as not to need your aid any more? Do you think you would be contented to come and spend the remainder of your life on mission ground? If so, make your mind known to husband and he will make arrangements for you at Boston to come. Count the cost well before you undertake it. It is a dreadful journey to cross the mountains, and becoming more and more dangerous every year; but if any mission families come, you will find no difficulty in placing yourself under their protection. Bring nothing with you but what you need for the way, and a Sunday suit, a Bible and some devotional book for your food by the way. Send the remainder by ship. When E. has well finished his education, I hope he will come, also, for there will be work enough here to do by that time. At any rate, if you do not come, spend, if you please, all the time you can in writing me until he comes back, for he wishes to return next summer. Now do not disappoint me, for I have not heard a word from either of you since March, 1840. I have written you much since that time, but it may not have reached you.

I shall be left alone at this station for a season, until Mr. Gray can send some one up from below to take the charge; and he has left the mission and goes to engage in a public school. I hope to have Mr. Rogers or Mr. Littlejohn to winter here-the latter wishes to return to the States in the spring.

Now, dear J. and E., adieu. I hope you will see husband long enough to have a good visit with him. I hope he will call as he goes along. If he has time, he will, but his business requires haste, if he returns next spring.

Please give much love to Mr. and Mrs. Beardsley; tell her I shall never cease to remember and love her, and ardently hope they will both write me. I should like to hear of the different members of her family with whom I used to be acquainted.

Gladly would I write more if I could, but must write a line to other friends. Pray for me and mine while we are separated from each other.

Much love from myself to you both.

Affectionately your sister,


P.S.-I have forgotten to speak of husband's company in travel. He is Mr. A.L. Lovejoy, a lawyer who came up from the States this summer, and now is willing and anxious to return for the good he may do in returning. He will probably come back again. He is not a Christian, but appears to be an intelligent, interesting man.


Mr. Edward W. Prentiss,
Mission Institute,
Quincy, Illinois
Favour of Dr. Whitman Care of Rev. Wm. Beardsley
Oct. 4th, 1842
My Dear Husband:
The line you sent me to-day by Aps did me great good. I thought I was cheerful and happy before it came, but on the perusal of it I found that it increased my happiness four-fold. I believe the Lord will preserve me from being anxious about you and I was glad to hear you say with so much confidence that you trusted in Him for safety. He will protect you I firmly believe. Night and day shall my prayer ascend to Him in your behalf and the cause in which you have sacrificed the endearments of home, at the risk of your life, to see advancing, more to the honor and glory of God. Mr. G and family did not leave until this morn; they spent the night here, which was a great relief to me. I am sorry we forgot your pencil, comb and journal. Aps brought back Mr. Lovejoy's-said you left it in camp. He told me quite a story about the Prince stopping you, and so did Ipuantatawiksa. Prince came in very pleasant this afternoon-said he wanted John to go up and help him to-morrow.

5th. In arranging the cupboard to-day, I found you had not taken the compass as you designed to. I fear you will suffer for the want of it; wish I could send it to you with the other things you have forgotten. I intended to have spoken to you about purchasing one or two pair of spectacles. Perhaps you will think of it. Mr. G. and family had some trouble in getting to Walla Walla yesterday. The cart broke. Hannah had an ague fit and one of the children-Helen is recovering; she has appeared quite well to-day. I feel in much better health than when you left. You will see by this that I do not neglect the tree you have given me to cultivate. Where are you tonight, precious husband? I hope you have been prosperous to-day and are sleeping sweetly. Good night, my loved one.

7th. My Dear Husband:-I got dreadfully frightened last night. About midnight I was awakened by some one trying to open my bedroom door. At first I did not know what to understand by it. I raised my head and listened awhile and then lay down again. Soon the latch was raised and the door opened a little. I sprang from the bed in a moment and closed the door again, but the ruffian pushed and pushed and tried to unlatch it, but could not succeed; finally he gained upon me until he opened the door again and as I supposed disengaged his blanket (at the same time I calling John) and ran as for his life. The east dining room door was open. I thought it was locked, but it appears that it was not. I fastened the door, lit a candle and went to bed trembling and cold, but could not rest until I had called John to bring his bed and sleep in the kitchen. It was in such a time that I found he was too far off. Had the ruffian persisted I do not know what I should have done. I did not think of the war club, but I thought of the poker. Thanks be to our Heavenly Father. He mercifully "delivered me from the hand of a savage man." Mungo arrived in the night some time and came in to see me this noon. I told him about the Indian coming into my room-the first I spoke of it to any one. Soon after he went to Walla Walla and left his wife with me. I did not think to write by him. He returned this eve bringing letters from Mr. McKinlay and Mr. Gray, who it seems is not off yet, urging me to remove immediately to Walla Walla. Mungo told them of my fright last night; it alarmed them very much. Mr. McK. and wife were coming up here to-morrow and she was going to stay some time with me, but he says he will not do it now, but insists upon my removing there immediately. He has told Mungo to stay until he comes on Monday and to-morrow he sends back the wagon for me to be ready to go on Tuesday. I shall go if I am able. They appear so anxious about me; doubtless it is not safe for me to remain alone any longer. In talking to Mr. McKay and Feathercap about it, I told them I should leave and go below-I could not stay and be treated so. I told them I came near beating him with the war club; they said it would have been good if I had done so and laid him flat so that they all might see who he was. Some think there will be no further danger. I think it safer for me to go now, as our friends are so anxious about me, and Mr. and Mrs. Mck. so kindly offer to prepare a room to make me comfortable, and Mrs. G. says "Bring a small stove with you." Mungo appears quite humble-says he is sorry for his bad conduct and wants I should teach his wife to write or rather have her work for me. He came near having a fight with the one that had the first claim upon her. In the first place the Indian stole one of his horses. M. went and took it back again. He was then met by him and others armed with bows and arrows. M. resorted to his pistol, but Charles told him not to shoot him. They settled it by his requesting some present and M. paying him a shirt. Messrs. W. and E. did not marry them, but sent him to you for your direction. M. gave for his wife 4 horses, 1 gun, 1 coat, vest, pantaloons, leggings, 2 shirts and 100 loads of ammunition and a blanket. The poor girl had everything taken from her but the dress she had on. Ask Deborah how she would like beginning in the world in that style. For my part I should prefer the winter just past rather than just begun for such a beginning.

My good woman did not go away as we expected when you paid her. She came in sick on Wednesday; I gave her some pills and this morning she cam again and has washed for me. Pitiitosh's wife came also and I set her to work as I had enough to do before the day was gone. Feathercap's wife came in and set herself to work. She has done so before, since you left. Cleaned out the cellar and helped arrange the things brought from the other house. John ground for them to-day-our Indians.

Sat. eve, 8th-I do not feel as sad and lonely this eve as I always have formerly done when you have been away. The tree you had given me to cultivate no doubt has a good effect upon me. You could not have selected one so useful to me. I see plainly that it will not fail to test my affection for my dear husband in the end. I hope you do not have a sad moment about me. Where are you to-night, my love, preparing to spend the holy Sabbath. My heart has met thine at the mercy seat and I trust blessings are in store for you on the morrow, both for body and mind. Methinks you have taken leave of Monsieur Bayette and gone a comfortable day beyond. The Indians say more Americans are coming-perhaps I shall hear from you again. Again let me say, be not anxious for me-for the sympathies of all are excited for me the moment they hear you have gone. I shall be well taken care of and no doubt shall have more letters to answer than I am able to write. Received one to-day from Mr. Spaulding expressing the kindest sympathy and concern, both for you and myself, and desire for the success of your undertaking. He is coming here next week; says Mr. Eells will be here at the same time. It is the Lord sustains me; I know it must be that or I should not feel as happy about you as I do, and I trust you feel no less his supporting hand that I do. O, may we continue to feel it until we are brought together again rejoicing in his goodness.

The Indians have been so engaged in singing their hunting songs for several days past that but few have come around the house until to-day. The bride has attracted them, I suppose. How will you feel, dear husband, when you seat yourself in Sister Julia's house, or with our mothers, and not see the windows filled with Indians, and the doors also; will you not feel lost? I can scarcely imagine how you will feel. Could it consistently with duty have been so I should rejoice to be a partaker with you of the feelings necessarily produced by a visit to those dear firesides-but I am happy in remaining, while you are permitted the prospect-and I hope for the reality of seeing those beloved objects once more.

Sabbath eve, 9th-My dear husband would like to know what kind of a Sabbath we have had here, for I know his heart is with the people. Ellice, who brought me Mr. Spaulding's letter, was their minister to-day. This afternoon I had a Bible class in English with him, John and Mungo, besides the time I spent with the children. He read and appeared to understand very well. He thinks he loves the Saviour. I urged the duty of secret prayer in addition to his family worship, and showed him the passage in Matthew. He said he would in future attend to the duty daily. He told me yesterday that if he had been here he would have gone with you to the States. Although I am alone as to associates and my husband is gone, yet I have not been lonely to-day. The presence of the Saviour fills every vacancy. My little children appear thoughtful and solemn. Helen said, "Will father come home to-day?" when the people were assembling for worship. She is quite well now.

12th.-My Dear Husband:-I am now at Walla Walla-came here yesterday; was too unwell to undertake the journey, but could not refuse, as Mr. McKinlay had come on purpose to take me. He came in the wagon and brought the trundlebed and I laid down most all the way. To-day I have been scarcely able to get off the bed; feel a little better tonight, so I thought I must write a little to you, although it must be but a little, for the want of strength. The Indians did not like my leaving very well-seemed to regret the cause. I felt strongly to prefer to stay there if it could be considered prudent, but he care and anxiety was wearing upon me too much. Good night, beloved husband.

Friday eve, 14th.-My Dear Husband:-Your letter written last Saturday, the 8th, was handed me this afternoon by Raymond. I rejoice to hear of your prosperity so far, and hope by this time you are near Fort Hall.

17th.-I undertook to write to you last Friday, but was too sick to do it and had to give it up. Took a powder of quinine and calomel that night-the next day and yesterday could scarcely go or lie in bed. I suffered much for the conveniences of our dear home; think I received serious injury in sleeping on damp made blankets for a bed, for I have been sick ever since I have been here. I anticipated being not as comfortable here as at home, and could I have been left a week longer I should have preferred it, for I did not think I should be further molested, but Mr. McKinlay would not leave me there any longer. Mr. and Mrs. McKinlay are very kind, but they know not how to make one as easy and comfortable as Mr. Pambrun used to. It has been warmer for two days past and the stove is now up, so that I am pretty comfortably situated now.

But why should I say so much about myself? My dear husband does not give me such an example. Indeed, I wish to hear so much about your own and my other self, and hear so little when you do write, that I probably am more particular than I otherwise would be in speaking of myself.

Mr. McDonald arrived yesterday from Vancouver. The ship Victoria is not in. He says Mr. Ermatinger has become a Catholic. He wrote you and sent me a box of raisins.

Letters arrived today from Messrs. W. and Eells. They have no idea that you are at Fort Hall, as you probably are at this time. They wish an "invoice of property taken by Mr. G." but he has left none. I shall write him that they wish it.

Mr. Walker has written you. His closing remark is, "Be assured that whether you go or stay, you and Mrs. W. will have our prayers and best wishes for your peace and usefulness. May the Lord direct us all." The letters came to Wieletpoo and the mule was sent, but the bearers returned without coming here, and of course no opportunity of sending them the intelligence of your departure.

I have filled this sheet-perhaps I shall another before the express arrives. Mr. Perkins has sent word to have me come down there in the express boats without fail. I have not yet determined what I shall do. Should like to be relieved of the care of David if I could while you are gone, but do not know as I can. I want to see Mr. S. before then, if I conclude to go.

Your affectionate wife,


May 27, 1843
Dear Brother Edward:
I take this opportunity to write you a few lines before I leave the border. I was sorry not to see you when I was at Quincy, but was glad to hear so much about you. It gave me great pleasure to see Sister Jane.

I suppose you think yourself a man now, and perhaps are not anxious for advice. I will venture, however, to let you know how anxious I am for you to complete your education. Entering the ministry a year or two sooner will not avail for any good purpose. We ought to aim at the greatest usefulness. I trust your manhood will only add to your firm determination to do all in your power for the glory of God, and good of his cause. I do not feel that I shall never see you, but I cannot tell how it will be likely to be, except you come to Oregon. I am sorry I have not got a letter from you for Narcissa. I need not tell you that she loves you, for I have no doubt she spoke for herself in the letter I brought you.

I cannot tell you very much about the immigrants to Oregon. They appear very willing, and I have no doubt are generally of an enterprising character. There are over two hundred men, besides women and children, as it is said. No one can well tell, until we are all on the road and get together, how many there are. Some have been gone a week and others have not yet started. I hope to start tomorrow. I shall have an easy journey as I have not much to do, having no one depending on me.

Lieut. Fremont, of the United States Engineers Corps, goes out with about thirty men to explore for the government, and expects to return this fall. His men are Canadian voyageurs mostly, and himself a Catholic. Two Papal priests and their lay helpers are along, and Father DeSmet has gone back in order to go to Europe to bring out others by ship.

I think, however, the immigrants who are going out will be a good acquisition. It will call on Christians to labor for their good. What a pity a good minister was not with us to go along at once. My expectations are high for that country. I believe it must become one of the best of countries very soon.

Let us hear from you as often as you can. If you send letters for crossing the mountains, direct to the care of Boone & Hamilton, Westport, Missouri. You can send letters every fall by merchants to be left with them; Rev. Doctor Armstrong, in New York, at the office of A.B.C.F.M., or to Boston, as the Mission House of the A.B.C.F.M., care of Rev. David Greene. Ships mostly sail in the fall, so that fall letters should go by ship and spring letters come the other way. Tell Jane two or three young lawyers will be in the party for Oregon, but I hope this will not deter her from coming if she has an opportunity.

I should not be surprised if I saw a number of your father's family west of the mountains before long. Jackson and Galusha may come. I hope to start to-morrow. It is very late starting, but I hope to go on fast after I cross the mountains, and have no more dangerous Indians.

With best regards and brotherly affection I am, dear brother,

Yours truly,



Mr. Edward Prentiss,
Quincy, Illinois.
My Dear Father and Mother:
A little more than a year has elapsed since I had the pleasure of seeing you. The remembrance of that visit will never be effaced from my mind. I did not misjudge as to my duty to return home; the importance of my accompanying the emigration on one hand and the consequent scarcity of provisions on the other, strongly called for my return, and forbid my bringing another party that year.

As I hold the settlement of this country by Americans rather than by an English colony most important, I am happy to have been the means of landing so large an emigration on to the shores of the Columbia, with their wagons, families and stock, all in safety.

The health of Narcissa was such in my absence and since my return as to call loudly from my presence. We despaired of her life at times and for the winter have not felt she could live long. But there is more hope at present, although nothing very decisive can be said. While on the way back, I had an inflammation in my foot which threatened to suppurate, but I discusses it and thought nothing more of it until I got home, when I found I had a tumor on the instep. It appears to be a bony tumor and has given me a good deal of apprehension and inconvenience, but is now some better, but not well.

It gives me much pleasure to be back again and quietly at work again for the Indians. It does not concern me so much what is to become of any particular set of Indians, as to give them the offer of salvation through the gospel and the opportunity of civilization, and then I am content to do good to all men as "I have opportunity." I have no doubt our greatest work is to be to aid the white settlement of this country and help to found its religious institutions. Providence has its full share in all these events. Although the Indians have made, and are making, rapid advance in religious knowledge and civilization, yet it cannot be hoped that time will be allowed to mature either the work of Christianization or civilization before the white settlers will demand the soil and seek the removal of both the Indians and the Mission. What Americans desire of this kind they always effect, and it is equally useless to oppose or desire it otherwise. To guide, as far as can be done, and direct these tendencies for the best, is evidently the part of wisdom. Indeed, I am fully convinced that when a people refuse or neglect to fill the designs of Providence, they ought not to complain at the results; and so it is equally useless for Christians to be anxious on their account. The Indians have in no case obeyed the command to multiply and replenish the earth, and they cannot stand in the way of others in doing so. A place will be left them to do this as fully as their ability to obey will permit, and the more we can do for them the more fully will this be realized. No exclusiveness can be asked for any portion of the human family. The exercise of his rights are all that can be desired. In order for this to its proper extent in regard to the Indians, it is necessary that they seek to preserve their rights by peaceable means only. Any violations of this rule will be visited with only evil results to themselves.

The Indians are anxious about the consequence of settlers among them, but I hope there will be no acts of violence on either hand. An evil affair at the Falls of the Willamette, resulted in the death of two white men killed and one Indian. But all is now quiet. I will try to write to Brother Jackson when I will treat of the country, etc.

It will not surprise me to see your whole family in this country in two years. Let us hear from you often. Narcissa may be able to write for herself. We wish to be remembered with your other children in your prayers.

Your affectionate son,


Hon. Stephen Prentiss
Cuba, Allegheny Co., New York.
Oct. 9th, 1844.

Beloved and Honored Parents:
I have no unanswered letters on hand, either from dear father and mother or any of the family, yet I cannot refrain from writing every stated opportunity. The season has arrived when the emigrants are beginning to pass us on their way to the Willamette. Last season there were such a multitude of starving people passed us that quite drained us of all our provisions, except potatoes. Husband has been endeavoring this summer to cultivate so as to be able to impart without so much distressing ourselves. In addition to this, he has been obliged to build a mill, and to do it principally with his own hands, which has rendered it exceedingly laborious for him. In the meantime, I have endeavored to lighten his burden as much as possible in superintending the ingathering of the garden, etc. During this period, the Indians belonging to this station and the Nez Perces go to Forts Hall and Boise to meet the emigrants for the purpose of trading their wornout cattle for horses. Last week Tuesday, several young men arrived, the first of the party that brought us any definite intelligence concerning them (having nothing but Indian reports previous), among whom was a youth from Rushville formerly, of the name of Gilbert, one of husband's scholars.

Last Friday a family of eight arrived, including the grandmother, an aged woman, probably as old, or older than my mother. Several such persons have passed, both men and women, and I often think when I gaze upon them, shall I ever be permitted to look upon the face of my dear parents in this land?

25th-When I commenced this letter I intended to write a little every day, so as to give you a picture of our situation at this time. But it has been impossible. Now I must write as briefly as possible and send off my letter, or lose the opportunity. The emigration is late in getting into the country. It is now the last of October and they have just begun to arrive with their wagons. The Blue mountains are covered with snow, and many families, if not half of the party, are back in or beyond the mountains, and what is still worse, destitute or provisions and some of them of clothing. Many are sick, several with children born on the way. One family arrived here night before last, and the next morn a child was born; another is expected in the same condition.

Here we are, one family alone, a way mark, as it were, or center post, about which multitudes will or must gather this winter. And these we must feed and warm to the extent of our powers. Blessed by God that He has given us so abundantly of the fruit of the earth that we may impart to those who are thus famishing. Two preachers with large families are here and wish to stay for the winter, both Methodist. With all this upon our hands, besides our duties and labors for the Indians, can any one think we lack employment or have any time to be idle?

Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohn left us in September and have gone below to settle in the Willamette. We have been looking for associated this fall, but the Board could get none ready, but say, they will send next year. Am I ever to see any of my family among the tide of emigration that is flowing west?

Our mill is finished and grinds well. It is a mill out of doors or without a house; that we must build next year.

We have employed a young man of the party to teach school, so that we hope to have both an English school and one for the natives. My health has been improving remarkably through the summer, and one great means has been daily bathing in the river. I was very miserable one year ago now, and was brought very low and poor; now I am better than I have been for some time, and quite fleshly for me. I weigh one hundred and sixty-seven pounds; much higher than ever before in my life. This will make the girls laugh, I know. Mrs. Spaulding's health is better than last year. She expects an increase in her family soon.

This country is destined to be filled, and we desire greatly to have good people come, and ministers and Christians, that it may be saved from being a sink of wickedness and prostitution. We need many houses to accommodate the families that will be obliged to winter here. All the house room that we have to spare is filled already. It is expected that there are more than five hundred souls back in the snow and mountains. Among the number is an orphan family of seven children, the youngest an infant born on the way, whose parents have both died since they left the States. Application has been made for us to take them, as they have not a relative in the company. What we shall do I cannot say; we cannot see them suffer, if the Lord casts them upon us. He will give us His grace and strength to do our duty to them.

I cannot write any more, I am so thronged and employed that I feel sometimes like being crazy, and my poor husband, if he had a hundred strings tied to him pulling in every direction, could not be any worse off.

Dear parents, do pray earnestly for your children here, for their situation is one of great trial, as well as of responsibility.

Love from us both to you all. I am disappointed in not getting letters from some of the dear ones this fall, but so it must be and I submit.

Your affectionate daughter



My Dear Parents:
I have now a family of eleven children. This makes me feel as if I could not write a letter, not even to my dearest friends, much as I desire to . I get along very well with them; they have been to school most of the time; we have had an excellent teacher, a young man from New York. He became hopefully converted soon after entering our family, and mother, I wish you could see me now in the midst of such a group of little ones; there are two girls of nine years, one of seven, a girl and a boy of six, another girl of five, another of three and the baby, she is now ten months. I often think of mother when she had the care of Henry Martin Curtis.

It would make me indescribably happy to have father and mother and some of the children come to Oregon; but it is such a journey I fear Mother would be sorry she undertook it, if she should conclude to come, but if once here I think there would be no cause of regret. Families can come quite comfortable and easy in wagons all the way. But why should I wish thus? It cannot be possible that I shall see my beloved parents again-is it?-Until I meet them in heaven. The Lord only knows; I will leave it with Him to direct all these things. We have had some serious trials this spring with the Indians. Two important Indians have died and they have ventured to say and intimate that the doctor has killed them by his magical power, in the same way they accuse their own sorcerers and kill them for it. Also an important young man has been killed in California by Americans; he was the son of the Walla Walla chief and went there to get cattle, with a few others. This has produced much excitement also. We are in the midst of excitement and prejudice on all sides, both from Indians and passing immigrants, but the Lord has preserved us hitherto and will continue to, if we trust Him. Love to all, as ever and forever.

Your affectionate daughter,


Miss Jane A. Prentiss,
Cuba, New York.
April 2, 1846.

My Dear Jane:
The season for sending letters has nearly arrived, and I begin to feel as if I must be about writing to some of my friends or they will complain of my negligence or forgetfulness. I believe I have written very few letters since the doctor returned. My health has been so poor, and my family has increased so rapidly, that it has been impossible. You will be astonished to know that we have eleven children in our family, and not one of them our own by birth, but so it is. Seven orphans were brought to our door in October, 1844, whose parents both died on the way to this country. Destitute and friendless, there was no other alternative-we must take them in or they must perish. The youngest was an infant five months old-born on the way-nearly famished and but just alive; the eldest was 13-two boys and five girls; the boys were the oldest. The eldest daughter was lying with a broken leg by the side of her parents as they were dying, one after the other. They were an afflicted and distressed family in the journey, and when the children arrived here they were in a miserable condition. You can better imagine than I can describe my feelings under those circumstances. Weak and feeble as I was, in an Indian country without the possibility of obtaining help, to have so many helpless children cast upon our arms at once, rolled a burden upon me insupportable. Nothing could reconcile me to it but the thought that it was the Lord that brought them here, and He would give me grace and strength so to discharge my duty to them as to be acceptable in His sight. The Lord at the same time sent us a very good young man, originally from New York, whom we employed to teach an English school. He was of great assistance to me in bringing the children into good habits and advancing them in reading, as well as in the government of them. He was not pious when he entered the family, but the influence of being once more in a Christian family, called to his mind the feeling and many prayers and tears of a pious mother and deceased father for him, and overwhelmed him. He went to a retired spot just below the house on the river side and wept bitterly and poured out his soul to God in prayer and consecrated himself to His service. He immediately engaged in religious duty and was my associate in instructing and labouring with the children in Sabbath school and otherwise. At the annual meeting of our mission he united with the mission church. He is now in the Willamette teaching in the Oregon Institute. This was the winter of 1844 and 1845.

I received no letters from you or Edward that fall and thought it surprising that in all that great company you could not have sent us a single letter. I think I wrote you in the spring by Overton's party; hope you have got it by this time. It seems to me the immigration might bring me letters from my friends every year. I have not had a letter from mother in a great while, and I most envy you your privilege and wonder why you did not send it to me, so that I might have the reading also; the last from father was when doctor returned. I have just been writing to Edward how much we wish to see you both here and hope you will three of you come; there is work enough for you to do. We could give you a school all the time-an English school-our children and the children of the other families of the mission and perhaps some others; also, and Indian school some part of the time.

Dearest Jane, you know not what special tokens of our dear Redeemer's love and mercy we have been receiving the last three months. Last Saturday, however, was a day of all days never to be forgotten by me, while I live. And can you think what it was, beloved sister? It was this: The triumphant death of a dear brother in Christ. I wish I could enter into particulars and lay out the whole scene before you so that you could see and feel it as I do and those who were witnesses of his glorious departure. The individual was Joseph L. Finley of Illinois, who came over with the last immigration for his health; his disease was consumption, and deep-seated when he left the states. He was advised to stop here for the winter because it would be so unfavourable for invalids in the lower country in the winter. You will wonder how I could have the care of him in my feeble state of health and large family. He kept about until about the middle of January and during that time boarded with a cousin that stopped for the winter; when he became confined to his room, I opened my bedroom to him, as there was no other on the premises suitable for a sick man, and a cousin, a young woman, came and took care of him until the families left for the Willamette, the first of March. Mr. Rogers, our school teacher, had the principal care of him, as also during the journey. He was without a well-grounded hope when he came here, and the Lord was pleased to bless our efforts for his salvation. He afterwards desired to unite with our church, and accordingly did Feb. 26th, in company with Mr. Rogers, who had formerly been a member of the Seceders. Being in my family, I was very much with him and read and prayed with him almost daily towards the close of his life. He grew in grace steadily and felt that he was over-privileged to die in such a quiet place, where he could have the society of those who cared for his soul. Dear sister-he was a stranger, moneyless and friendless, in one sense-no relative who felt the responsibility of caring for him. He was just such a one as the Saviour says, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Mr. Finley was nearly 32 years of age-was never married.

We felt, that is Brother Rogers and myself, that we were abundantly rewarded for all the care and labour we had bestowed upon him. It was such a glorious sight, especially to Brother Spaulding and Brother Rogers, who had never seen the like before. Husband and myself saw much the same in Mrs. Satterlee, at Liberty, when we were coming to this country. Let us praise the Lord, dear sister, and live so that our death may be as triumphantly glorious.

Affectionately your sister,


Mr. Edward W. Prentiss,
Quincy, Illinois.
April 13th, 1846.
My Dear Harriet:
I believe I have not written you since the Lord brought this orphan family under our care. How could I, for I have been so unwell and had this increase of care upon my mind, that I have written to no one in the States, as I recollect. I find the labor greater in doing for so many, especially in instructing them-where they come in all at once-than if they had come along by degrees and had received a start in their education, one before the other; whereas all their minds appear to be alike uninstructed, especially in the great truths of Christianity.

I would like to know how you and Clarissa get along in unfolding the minds of your little ones. I hope you both feel that the immortal part is of the greatest moment in all your strivings for them, and to educate the physical in such a way as to give the immortal part the utmost vigor and energy possible.

I used to think mother was the best hand to take care of babies I ever saw, but I believe, or we have the vanity to think, we have improved upon her plan. That you may see how we manage with our children, I will give you a specimen of our habits with them and we feel them important, too, especially that they may grow up healthy and strong. Take my baby, as an example: in October, 1844, she arrived here in the hands of an old filthy woman, sick, emaciated and but just alive. She was born some where on the Platte river in the first part of the journey, on the last day of May. Her mother died on the 25th of September. She was five months old when she was brought here-had suffered for the want of proper nourishment until she was nearly starved. The old woman did the best she could, but she was in distressed circumstances herself, and a wicked, disobedient family around her to see to.

Husband thought we could get along with all but the baby-he did not see how we could take that; but I felt that if I must take any, I wanted her as a charm to bind the rest to me. So we took her, a poor distressed little object, not larger than a babe three weeks old. Had she been taken past at this late season, death would have been her portion, and that in a few days. The first thing I did for her was to give her some milk and put her in the cradle. She drank a gill, she was so hungry, but soon cleared herself of it by vomiting and purging. I next had a pail of warm water and put her in it, gave her a thorough cleansing with soap and water, and put on some clean clothes;-put her in the cradle and she had a fine nap. This I followed every day, washing her thoroughly in tepid water, about the middle of the forenoon.

She soon began to mend, but I was obliged to reduce her milk with a little water, as her stomach was so weak she could not bear it in its full strength.

Now I suppose you think such a child would be very troublesome nights, but it was not so with her; we put her in the cradle and she slept until morning without waking us more than once, and that only for a few of the first nights. Her habits of eating and sleeping were as regular as clock-work. She had a little gill cup which we fed her in; she would take that full every meal, and when done would want no more for a long time. Thus I continued, giving her nothing else but milk, she only required the more until her measure became half a pint. In consequence of the derangement of her digestive powers, which did not recover their healthy tone, she had a day of sickness some time in Dec. when we gave her a little oil and calomel; this restored her completely, and since that time, and even before, she has nothing to do but to grow, and that as fast as possible; she is as large or larger than her next older sister Louisa was when she came here, then nearly three years old. She now lacks a month and a half of being two years old. She is strong, healthy, fleshy, heavy, runs any where she is permitted, talks everything nearly, is full of mischief if I am out of the room. She is energetic and active enough and has a disposition to have her own way, especially with the children, if she is not prevented.

She contended sharply for the mastery with her mother before she was a year old, but she, of course, had to submit. Since then she has been very obedient, but frequently tries the point to see if her parents are steadfast and uniform in their requirements or not. She will obey very well in sight, but loves to get out of sight for the purpose of doing as she pleases. She sings a little, but not nearly as much as Alice C. did when she was of her age. Thus much for my baby, Henrietta Naomi Sager. She had another name when she came here, but the children were anxious to call her after her parents. Her father's name was Henry and her mother's name was Naomi-we put them together.

What I call an improvement upon mother's plan is the daily bathing of children. I take a child as soon as it is born and put it in a washbowl of water and give it a thorough washing with soap. I do this the next day and the next, and so on every day as long as the washbowl will hold it; when it will not, then I get a tub or something larger, and continue to do it until the child is able to be carried to the river or to go itself. Every one of my girls go to the river all summer long for bathing every day before dinner, and they love it so well that they would as soon do without their dinner s without that. In the winter we bathe in a tub once a week at the least. This is our practice as well as the children. I do not know but these are your habits, but if they are not, I should like to have you try them just to see the benefit of them. I never gave Henrietta any food but milk until she was nearly a year-and-a-half old. She never wanted any thing else. I avoid as much as possible giving my children candies, sweetmeats, etc. such as many parents allow their children to indulge in almost all the while; neither do I permit them to eat cakes and pies very often.

It is well to study these things with regard to our children, for it saves many a doctor bill; and another thing with our children, we never give medicine if we can help it. If children complain of the headache, or are sick at the stomach, send them to bed without their supper or other meals; they are sure to get up very soon feeling as well as ever.

My husband says many times when a physician is called to see a patient he finds nothing ails him but eating too much. If he is told this he will be offended, so he is obliged to give him something, when all he needs is to do without a meal or two and to fast a day or two and drink water gruel.

Doubtless you will think this a strange letter, Harriet, but you must take it for what is worth and make the best of it.

We sleep out of doors in the summer a good deal-the boys all summer. This is a fine, healthy climate. I wish you were here to enjoy it with me, and pa and ma, too. We have as happy a family as the world affords. I do not wish to be in a better situation than this.

I never hear as much as I wish about Stephen's children. I should think Nancy Jane might write her aunt now-tell me something about them.

O, how I wish you were all here. I could find work enough for you all to do; and every winter we have a good school, so that our children are learning as fast as most children in the States.

Harriet, I do want you and that good husband of yours to come here and bring pa and ma. I know you will like it after you get here, if you do not like the journey. There are many of the last immigration that came without their families, that are now going back to bring them as quick as possible, and are only sorry they did not bring them last year. Bring as many girls as you can, but let every young man bring a wife, for he will want one after he gets here, if he never did before. Girls are in good demand for wives. I hope Edward and Jane will come. I have written to them to come. Judson wants to come, too. I hope he will, and many other Christians. Where is Jonas G.? Why does he not come? Poor man, I never can think of him without sorrow.

Love to all, and a kiss for all those little ones.


April 22, 1846.

Miss Prentiss:
An apology is due in my attempting to write to you, being an entire stranger, although I feel almost as though I had been well acquainted with you for years, having become so much attached to Mrs. Whitman.

Some days before I left Dr. Whitman's for this place, Mrs. Whitman was speaking of having a great number of letters to write to the States, and in her pleasant way wished to know if I would not write some for her. To which I replied, I would rather engage her to write for me, as she could do it so much better; but said, finally, that I would write one to any of her friends, if she would do the same for me.

To this she agreed and gave me her name. I desired her to write to my mother, who is living near Monmouth, Warren county, Illinois, where I have been living for the last ten years before the spring of '45, at which time I left home with the desire of seeing the far West.

As I learned from Mrs. Whitman that you and your brother had some thought of coming to this country, you will doubtless feel more or less interested in some of the difficulties and trials that one has to encounter on the way. One of the greatest trials that a religious mind has to encounter on the way is the company one is often compelled to travel with. There is no place where one can better see all the varieties of civilized life than here. You can see from the highest to the lowest grade. You may see all these at home, it is true, but you can't see them all brought so closely together, and under so many vicissitudes of life as have to be passed through on the way-hunger and thirst and fatigue, cold and wet weather. Now you have bad roads and no grass for your cattle; now, perhaps, some one will tell you there is much danger from Indians. After traveling all day through dust that is almost insupportable, you will come into camp at 9 or 10 o'clock at night and feel almost as though you did not care whether scalped before morning or not. And to make the trouble greater the cattle have almost nothing to eat, and may be you have no water within a mile, and perhaps no wood. Under such circumstances who is there among the sons of men that would not be likely to feel somewhat peevish, so much so that almost anything would throw him off his balance, and be likely go to beyond the bounds of propriety. Sure I am that nothing but "much of the mind of Christ," will support one under such trials. You must not think that the whole journey is just such as I have described. By no means. I have given you about as dark a picture as is likely to be met with on the road. But I must confess that I endured more fatigue during the six months we were on the way than I had ever before undergone in the same length of time. No one need think that it is like traveling in the stage or on the steamboat; yet one is not often vexed with high prices, nor are they in danger of being robbed as they are on steamboat.

One is not likely to spend a great deal by the way, without he does it in gambling, which he may do here as well as any where if he wished, as it is almost always the case that some one was thoughtful enough to bring a deck of cards with him; and if they have none of them, they bet on the distance to some hill, or on the distance traveled during the day, or that my oxen can draw more than yours.

Another trial that one has often to meet on the way is disregard for the Sabbath. I suppose there was about as much contention arose on that subject in the company in which I came as any another. A good part of the company cared nothing about that, or any other religious question, and if it suited them they wished to travel on that day as well as any other. And even when they did stop on that day it was only to mend their wagons, or wash their clothes. I do not say that all did so, for there were some of the company that were devotedly pious. There were three ministers in the company, one a Seceder minister from about Burlington. The other two were Baptist ministers, one from Iowa, the other from Rock Island county, Ill., whose name was Fisher, and who was formerly of Quincy, and is doubtless well known there. He manifested more of the true spirit of Christ while on the road than any other man with whom I was acquainted. Sometimes one is compelled to travel on the Sabbath, even if the company were willing to stop, as it happens that pasture cannot be found in sufficient quantities, though this does not often occur, but it often made a plea for traveling on that day when there would be plenty if they wished to stop to hunt buffalo. The company in which I came, traveled, may be, half the Sabbaths on the way. We had preaching most of the days on which we stopped. But I am dwelling too long on this subject, perhaps.

I desire to say to you, if you have any influence with respect to this country, I hope you will use it in endeavoring to have it settled with pious Yankees. Although not one myself, yet, as western people say, "I have a mighty liking for them." I do hope that it may be another New England, and I would to God that the mothers of this country could only be from Yankee land. Perhaps I have said more than I ought, but such are the sentiments of my heart, and I have ventured to express them. Let me but have the choice of the mothers of any country, and I will feel well satisfied as to the destiny of that country, either as to its moral, literary or civil aspect. But the moral prospect of this country is not very encouraging at this time. The "man of sin" appears to be making considerable progress in the lower settlements. One thing that makes much in his favor is, he has the influence of the H.B. Company, though it is to be hoped that God will thwart his plans, and that He will "overturn, overturn till He come whose right it is to reign." "Till the stone cut out of the mountain shall fill up the whole earth." May God hasten it in His day, is my earnest desire and prayer.

It may be interesting to you to know any one with whom I have been formerly acquainted. Mr. Bacon used to be my preceptor in music, whom I suppose you have often seen. I would like much to be remembered to him, if he is living there.

I have, perhaps, said more now than you will think worth sending more than two thousand miles, but I must say in conclusion, that Dr. and Mrs. Whitman seem very near to me. It appeared almost like parting with my mother when I left there to come to this place (which you will find marked on the map of Oregon in the November number of the Missionary Herald.) I have spent many very pleasant hours in her company and hope to spend more ere life closes.

Should you ever receive this, a letter as long as you wish to write would be most acceptable. News from the States is always scarce at Tshimakain and Waiilatpu.

Your true friend,


Miss Jane A. Prentiss,
Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois, U.S.A.
May 15th, 1846.

Edward and Jane Prentiss, My Dear Brother and Sister:
It gave us much pleasure to receive your letter by the last emigration, but it would have given us more to have seen you both here. If I could have known more when I was home I would have tried to have had you both come out with me. It is now, however, still favourable for you to come. Narcissa wants Jane to come and I want Edward, but it is not for us that you should come but for yourselves and the Lord. Edward would do well to have a wife and then come, and Jane will be agreeable with or without a husband, as suits her best; but if she comes without one, I shall try to convince her of her duty to marry. This country needs those who are able and willing to found and support society, religion, and schools. There are the best inducements to young men to come and locate a mile square of first-rate land in a better climate than in any of the States, with the broad Pacific Ocean to open in prospect before them. A good title will be secured to all who located and reside on or occupy land or mile squares, according to the Oregon laws.

You must see how fine it is for a settler not only not to have to fed his stock as a general thing, but when he first comes, his poor stock can winter the first winter without the need of providing for them. We want a school teacher every winter, and shall like to employ you the first winter, at least, until you can look around. We had a good, pious teacher last winter and may have him the next. He adds instruction to music. I believe he wrote Jane on the spur of Mrs. Whitman's promising to write his mother in case he would write one of her friends. He is studying for the ministry with one of the ministers of our mission, Rev. Elkanah Walker.

It cannot be much for you to come the rest of the way now you are so near, and more since you have become weaned from favorite spots of your youth. If Father and Mother Prentiss should consent to come with you, I think they would be rejoiced in their old age. A light wagon with an ox team is the best for families, as all must keep company on the road. Let provisions so far as can be, be the only loading. Necessities for the journey are all you want, unless you have special reasons for bringing something particular. The intimations in your letter that you might come if we would write you, give us hope to look for you in the next year. In the meantime, get Brother Jackson and Kenny, etc., to come with you, as also Galusha and Father and Mother Prentiss.

It is a hurried letter I have to give you, but I hope it will be taken as a token of our love to you both, with desire to see you.

With our united love to you both,

I am your affectionate brother,


July 4th, 1847.
My Dear Mother:
It was not convenient for me to write to any of my friends in the States, the past spring by the returning of immigrants except sister Jane. To her I wrote briefly, in answer to the one received in March by the hand of Mr. and Mrs. Thornton, who came from Quincy, Illinois. It was nearly a year in reaching me in consequence of Mr. and Mrs. Thornton taking the southern route with the majority of the immigrants. What would dear mother and father think if they knew how anxiously and eagerly I am expecting Jane and Edward to come with the immigrants this season. It is, indeed so. We are looking for them with deep solicitude, and hope and pray that we may not be disappointed. From what she wrote me last spring, I think she would have come with Mrs. Thornton, except for her mother; she desired very much to see her first. It was the same with her when Marcus was there. She could not come with him without seeing mother first. Although I think she might have been prevailed upon at that time to have come with him, if he could have seen a way to have brought her, when he was in Quincy. He learned afterwards that she might have come very safely and comfortably with one of the families that were coming at that time. I was greatly disappointed and felt almost inclined to reproach my husband for not making more effort to bring her. But it was all right; he did the best he could under existing circumstances. Since that time I have rather been waiting in hopes Edward would complete his course of study and be appointed by the Board to come and bring her with him.

From their letters it appears he has not been making that progress desirable, and in his last he intimated that he desired to come to this country and wished to know of us if we would encourage it. Accordingly, last spring a year, we wrote to them both and set before them every possible inducement to have them come immediately. Consequently we are looking for them and shall be not a little disappointed if they should not come. Perhaps my beloved parents would wish to know some of the reasons why, or the object for which we wish to have them here. I need not speak of the comfort and enjoyment their society would afford us here in this far-distant land. That is self-evident. In a temporal view, we feel that they would be better situated here than where they now are. As it regards their usefulness, perhaps no place could be found where they could do more for the advancement of the precious cause of our dear Redeemer, and with better success, than here, whether it be as missionaries to the Indians or as Christian teachers among the white population of this country. Good help of every kind is needed here in our missionary work, and if they were now here we could fill their hands (or the Lord could) and their hearts, too, with just as much missionary work as they could well do. If E. still desires to finish his preparation for the Gospel ministry, we would certainly do all in our power to facilitate him, and at the same time he could render himself useful in teaching a part of the time and be of great service to us. We have now in our family a young man of real worth (and he has been with us almost two years), who came to this country principally for the benefit of his health, thinking to return again after a season, but finding it improving he has for more than a year past been pursuing a course of reading and study with a view to the ministry. He had commenced studying before leaving home, but had been obliged to desist on account of his health. Since living with us, he has had his mind much drawn towards the subject of devoting his life for the benefit of the heathen, and last spring came to the determination of doing so; consequently, he is now pursuing the study of Nez Perces language in connection with his other studies. Thus the Lord has had compassion on us and inclined the heart of one dear youth to enter this field of missionary labour.

We have often asked for more associates of the Board, and they have met our solicitations with encouragement and many promises, and at one time had an individual appointed for this station; but he failed to meet his engagements and went over to the Presbyterian Board and was sent by them to some other part of the world. At present we have no encouragement that any will be sent very soon. There seems to be a great destitution of laborers at the present time, or of those who are qualified and willing to go forth to the missionary work. This mission is needing another missionary very much to occupy a new station just offered us by the superintendent of the Methodist Mission. It is the Waskopum station, situated at the Dalles, where I spent the winter while my husband was absent to the States. It is an interesting and very important station, particularly so with reference to its locality to this mission, as well as to the cause of civilization and Christianity in the country at large. Our mission have appointed Mr. Walker, of the Tshimakain station, to occupy it for the present, until some other one can be obtained.

Tuesday, July 15th-While engaged in writing the above, I was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Hinman from the Willamette. He is the young man that taught our school the winter of 1844, of whom I wrote as becoming a Christian and uniting with our church. He has come up to try to obtain the use of the mission press for the purpose of printing another paper in the Willamette. He had now gone on to see the other members of the mission, and will probably visit both stations before he returns. He has given us much intelligence concerning the lower country. Five ships are now in the river from different parts of the world.

Christians of all denominations are trying to do something for the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom in the land; but the enemies of the cross of Christ are doing must faster.

If I had time I might write much concerning the lower country that would be of interest, but for the present I desire to speak of our own prospects as a mission, which we feel were never brighter than at the present moment. Shortly after closing my letter to Sister Jane, I took a journey. Since that time I have been obliged to avoid journeying on horseback, on account of my health until the present season. I am happy to inform you that my health has so much improved that I endured the journey well, even much better than for three years previous to relinquishing the saddle altogether. For this I desire to be thankful. I was absent from home a little more than three weeks. Our meeting was an interesting one. Never probably since our existence at a mission has a meeting been characterized by so great a manifestation of the influence of the spirit of God upon each member, as at that time. All seemed to feel that we had come to an important crisis and that God alone could and must direct us. Our Board had written and advised to abandon the Tshimakain station in consequence of the discouragements under with our brethren of that station were laboring. Mr. Eells is advised to remove to this station, and Mr. Walker to go to Kamish, the station Mr. Smith formerly occupied. This advice, however, was accompanied with discretionary power. Soon after the arrival of Mr. Green's letters, came the offer of the station at the Dalles. This all acknowledged to be an important acquisition; but who of our limited number should occupy it? After much deliberation and consultation, it was finally determined not to abandon altogether the station at Tshimakain, but that during the winter Mr. Eells with his family remove to this station to act as a minister in the English language for the benefit of our own families and those who may winter with us, and that during the summer his time be spent at Tshimakain, and in internerating among the Indians in that language. This arrangement is very much in consequence of the severity of the winter with them, it occupying so much of their time and strength in caring for themselves and their animals. Mr. Walker is recommended to occupy the station at the Dalles for the present, at least, or until it is thought best to make some other arrangements.

August 23-My Dear Parents:-I see I cannot finish my letter without interruptions, and long ones, too. Another resolution of the meeting was that husband see to getting houses built for the mothers of the mission families, so that they could spend the winter here for the sake of having the children attend school. This would relieve me greatly of having to board them as I have done.

Since I commenced this letter many changes have taken place, which entirely prostrate the plans and resolutions of the meeting. Mr. W. is unwilling to remove with his family this year, on account of Mrs. W. being in a state of pregnancy, which was known at the time of the meeting, but not made an objection. Mr. Eells and family must remain with them throughout the winter, and consequently will not need a house here as was expected. Mrs. S. and children expect to come and winter here unless circumstances prevent. Marcus has now gone to Vancouver on business to bring up the property of the mission and see to the occupancy of the Dalles station. We are unwilling to let it pass out of our hands and fall into the hands of Catholics. He expects to hire Mr. Hinman, as he has a wife now, and both are pious, to take the charge of the secular affairs of the station, and in case we can do no better, let Perrin (the little boy that was with us in Cuba, but now grown to be quite a young man), his nephew, spend the winter with Mr. Hinman, as he is very successful in speaking the language, and can read and talk to them a little. Perrin, with one of our good Indians and Mr. Hinman, we think, will do very well in keeping up the station until a missionary can be sent. Perrin also indulges a hope.

Husband has been absent more than two weeks and it will be three more probably before he returns.

For the last two weeks immigrants have been passing, probably 80 or 100 wagons have already passed and 1,000 are said to be on the road, besides the Mormons. Sixty have gone the southern route that proved so disastrous last year to all that went that way. I have heard that an individual passed us who had letters for us and others, so that we are deprived of hearing from our friends as soon as we otherwise should. It was just so last year. Mother's letter was carried by the Dalles and brought up again after a week or two by Mr. Geiger and Mr. Littlejohn, who came up here on a visit. Mr. G. spent the winter and taught school. Mr. Littlejohn and family have gone home to the States; they started this spring and came here while I was absent at the meeting. I was very sorry not to see her. She was Adeline Saddler; I presume you knew her. She was very unwilling to leave the country, but her husband has become such an hypochondriac that there was no living with him in peace. He wanted to kill himself last winter. It is well for him that he has gone to the States, where he can be taken care of. Poor woman; she is disconsolate and sad, and greatly changed from what she used to be. It is difficult to define the cause of his malady. He seems to be very much like Mr. Munger, the individual we had here that became crazy, and at last caused his own death by driving two nails into one of his hands, and afterwards putting it into a hot fire until it was burnt to a crisp, as was supposed, to work a miracle.

I said in the commencement of my letter that I was expecting to see Jane and Edward this fall; but from those who have already passed we can hear nothing from them, notwithstanding they may be on the road, for among so many, it is not expected that all will be known to each other.

It is difficult to imagine what kind of a winter we shall have this winter, for it will not be possible for so many to all pass through the Cascade mountains into the Willamette this fall, even if they should succeed in getting through the Blue Mountains as far as here. From the Dalles on to the Willamette is considered the worst part of the route from the States to the end, that is, to the Willamette valley. We are not likely to be as well off for provisions this season as usual-our crops are not as abundant.

Poor people-those that are not able to get one, or pay for what they need-are those that will most likely wish to stop here, judging from the past; and connected with this, is a disposition not to work, at any rate, not more than they can help. The poor Indians are amazed at the overwhelming numbers of Americans coming into the country. They seem not to know what to make of it. Very many of the principal ones are dying, and some have been killed by other Indians, in going south into the region of California. The remaining ones seem attached to us, and cling to us the closer; cultivate their farms quite extensively, and do not wish to see any Sniapus (Americans) settle among them here; they are willing to have them spend the winter here, but in the spring they must all go on. They would be willing to have more missionaries stop and those devoted to their good. They expect that eventually this country will be settled by them, but they wish to see the Willamette filled up first.

We wish to employ a teacher for the winter. If J. and E. do not come, we must look out for some one among the immigrants. We should prefer an accomplished young lady from the Eastern States, if such could be found to teach the children of our families. Young ladies are greatly needed in this country as teachers-also female help of all kinds. Many more men than women come into the country. Almost every body has been sick in the Western States which is said to be the cause of so large influx this way. When I heard that dear brother Harvey was going to Virginia, I could not help desiring him to come this way. O, if he was here now to take our farm, how much better it would be for him and us, too; we need just such a man. I would that he would come and two or three others just like him, for their help is greatly needed. I wrote him to come, but do not know that he got my letter. Husband is wearing out fast; his heart and hands are so full all the time, that his brethren feel solicitous about him, but cannot help him; his benevolence is unbounded, and he often goes to the extent of his ability, and often beyond, in doing good to the Indians and white men.

It is probably not right for me to desire to have father and mother here; but still I cannot help thinking all the time. O, if they were here. God grant that they may live long to pray for their unworthy children among the Indians.

We hear that a monthly mail route is to be, or already is, established on the coast south-a steamer to take packages from Panama, that come across the Isthmus of Darien. I hope it will not be so difficult to hear from home as formerly. I intend to send this that way for an experiment. I send this by our man and John, one of the orphan boys, who go with two ox teams to the Dalles to bring up the threshing machine, cornsheller, ploughs for Indians, and other goods for the mission, also books for Mr. Rogers, the pious young man of whom I have spoken, that husband brings up in a boat from Vancouver.

Now I have the care of two additional boys for a year, who are left here by their fathers for the benefit of school; they are native half breeds. May the richest of heaven's blessings ever rest upon my beloved father and mother.

From your ever affectionate daughter,


Oct. 12th, 1847.

Dear Jane:
Two men are at this place on their way to the States. One of them, Mr. Glenday, intends to return to this country next spring with his family. I have importuned him, and made an arrangement to have you accompany them to Waiilatpu. Now Jane, will you do it? I know you will not refuse to come. At least I feel that you must and will come. I wrote you last spring and told you that I was expecting you and E. this fall, and I have been looking for you in every company that have passed. But I have not seen you nor received any letter from either of you. But a week or two ago when I was on the Utilla river, I saw an individual that told me that he had seen a brother of mine that was near Independence with his family, that he was intending to come to Oregon this season, but could not get ready, but would come next year. He furthermore told him that he wished to send a package to us, and would go to his house and get it, which was five miles distant, if he would bring it. This individual said he promised to bring it and would have waited for it had it been possible, but the company with whom he traveled started before he expected and he was obliged to leave before he returned with the package. From his description, I was confident that it was Brother Harvey, and you can better imagine than I can describe, the joy I felt on receiving such intelligence. I have also received a letter from father and Brother J.G. They tell me that H. was in the West and that you were with him. Mr. Glenday tells me that there is a teacher in Monticello Seminary of the name of Prentiss, and he thinks it must be you. I am at a loss to know where you are. I write you every spring, but I am not informed if you ever receive my letters.

I will not give you the arrangements we have made with Mr. Glenday to have you come immediately and directly to us. He says when you receive this letter, he wishes you to get into a boat or stage and go directly to St. Charles and see Mrs. Glenday and make her acquaintance. She is a pious woman and he is highly pleased with the idea of your accompanying them to be company for her on the way. He says he will bring you free of all expense. Of course we shall satisfy him when you arrive. We are confident that you could not have so good an opportunity to come to this country in any other way as with Mr. G. he is accustomed to travel in an Indian country, and knows how perfectly. I am satisfied that if Brother H. and his family and E. and yourself would make the arrangement to come with him and would submit to be controlled by him (as he is coming in a small party by himself), you would be the gainers by it in the end. Perhaps you would think that for so small a party it would be dangerous traveling through the Indian country. It would be for persons entirely unacquainted with the Indians and with traveling in the Indian country. But you may rely upon Mr. Glenday; that he knows how to travel and can escort you here quicker and safer and with less annoyance from dust and fatigue and worn out cattle and with half the expense that you would be at to come any other way. You will always hear it said by every one who knows anything about the way, "Bring as few things as possible." I would advise you and my brothers and Sister L. to be governed by Mr. G.'s advice about what you bring, as well as the amount. I will add however, that I would prefer you would not encumber yourself with anything except what you need on the way, and to bring your minds to need as little as possible. I consider Mr. G. capable of giving you directions upon this subject, and such, too, as will meet my mind more fully than I can express by writing. We have enough to supply you when you get here; and if we have not we can get it here.

You know not how much you are all needed here this present moment; yes, I may say, we are suffering and shall suffer for the want of your assistance and presence here this winter.

Dear Jane, I have written in great haste, as I have but a moment to write, and a hurried one at that; for it is all confusion as usual when immigrants are about us. I would write Brothers H. and E. and Sister L., but Mr. G. wishes to be burdened with as little as possible, for he may have to go on snow shoes a part of the way. He wishes to return next spring, and about the last of August encourages me to think that, if spared and prospered, he will set you down at our door. I cannot help feeling rejoiced that Providence has opened up a way, to appearance so favorable, for the safe, easy and speedy transport of my dear Jane to my arms. I long to see you all, and should much prefer to have you all come with him if you felt it best. But he seems to think that my brothers would not be willing to come with him on account of traveling in so small a party.

Wednesday morn-Dear Jane and Edward:-I have been talking this morning to Mr. Glenday about you coming with him. I am at a loss how to direct him to find you. I do not know where Brother Harvey is. Father says he is in Quincy and that you are with him and that Edward is in Hazel Green, Wisconsin. He is confident, however, that He will find you all and Brother H. as he goes in, especially if he is anywhere in the vicinity of Independence. I expect husband will write Harvey if he gets away from his cares long enough; but lest he should not, I will suppose you all together and talk to you en masse, for it is impossible to write separate letters. We, that is husband and self, think it best for you all to come with him; and he is willing, provided you all would be willing to submit to his laws. He is a rigid mountaineer, and the principal laws in an Indian country are to be particular in guarding your animals lest you be robbed of them and left on foot. You cannot imagine the distress such an event would occasion. Many events of that kind have happened to the immigrants of the present year. It is hard work to cross the Rocky Mountains in the easiest way it can be arranged. If I had the journey to make, and knew as much as I now do about traveling, I should by all means, prefer to travel in the camp of such a man as Mr. Glenday. If E. comes as a single man he will employ him and pay him wages to assist in driving sheep; consequently he could come without its costing him anything. If he has a wife in view, he had better marry (that is if he has found a good one)-let his motto be "a good one or none." Mr. G. says he will be to the expense of Jane's outfit, and I think you may rely upon it. When you get this letter you must write him and direct to St. Charles post office, then he will write you and invite you to come.

It may not be strange for you to be a little unbelieving and think it not true that we have sent for you, but when you see the big mule that we have sent for you, Jane, your heart may faint within you, and you will feel that it is, indeed, so. The name of the big mule is Uncle Sam. He was left here by Fremont when he was here on business for Uncle Sam. Mr. Rodgers is expecting a brother-in-law, sister and parents, some time next summer.

Jane, there will be no use in your going home to see ma and pa before you come here-it will only make the matter worse with your heart. I want to see her as much as you. If you will all come here it will not be long before they will be climbing over the Rocky Mountains to see us. The love of parents for their children is very great. I see already in their movements, indications that they will ere long come this way, for father is becoming quite a traveler. Believe me, dear Jane, and come without fail, when you have so good an opportunity.



April 6, 1848.

To Stephen Prentiss, Esq., and Mrs. Prentiss,
the Father and Mother of the late Mrs. Whitman of the Oregon Mission
My Dear Father and Mother in Christ:
Through the wonderful interposition of God in delivering me from the hand of the murderer, it has become my painful duty to apprise you of the death of your beloved daughter, Narcissa, and her worthy and appreciated husband, your honored son-in-law, Dr. Whitman, both my own entirely devoted, ever faithful and eminently useful associates in the work of Christ. They were inhumanly butchered by their own, up to the last moment, beloved Indians, for whom their warm Christian hearts had prayed for eleven years, and their unwearied hands had administered to their every want in sickness and in distress, and had bestowed unnumbered blessings; who claimed to be, and were considered, in a high state of civilization and Christianity. Some of them were members of our church; others candidates for admission; some of them adherents of the Catholic church-all praying Indians. They were, doubtless, urged on to the dreadful deed by foreign influences, which we have felt coming in upon us like a devastating flood for the last three or four years; and we have begged the authors, with tears in our eyes, to desist, not so much on account of our own lives and property, but for the sake of those coming, and the safety of those already in the country. But the authors thought none would be injured by the hated missionaries-the devoted heretics, and the work of hell was urged on, and has ended, not only in the death of three missionaries, the ruin of our mission, but in a bloody war with the settlements, which may end in the massacre of every family.

God alone can save us. I must refer you to the Herald for my views as to the direct and remote causes which have conspired to bring about the terrible calamity. I cannot write all to every one, having a large family to care for; Mrs. Spaulding is suffering from the dreadful exposure during the flight and since we have been this country-destitute of almost every thing, no dwelling place as yet, food and raiment to be found, many, many afflicted friends to be informed, my own soul bleeding from many wounds; my dear sister, Narcissa, with whom I have grown up as a child of the same family, with whom I have labored so long and so intimately in the work of teaching the Indians, and my beloved Dr. Whitman, with whom I have for so many years kneeled in praying, taking sweet counsel, have been murdered, and their bones scattered upon the plains-the labors and hopes of many years in an hour at an end, the house of the Lord to the amount of thousands of dollars, in the hands of the robbers, a once large and happy family reduced to a few helpless children, made orphans a second time, to be separated and compelled to find homes among strangers; our fears for our dear brothers Walker and Eells of the most alarming character; our infant settlements involved in a bloody war with hostile Indians and on the brink of ruin-all, all, chill my blood and fetter my hands.

The massacre took place on the fatal 29th of November last, commencing at half past one. Fourteen persons were murdered first and last. Nine men the first day. Five men escaped from the Station, three in a most wonderful manner, one of whom was the trembling writer, with whom I know you will unite in praising God for delivering even one. The names and places of the slain are as follows: The two precious names already given, my hand refuses to write them again. Mr. Rogers, young man, teacher of our Mission school in winter of '46; since then has been aiding us in our mission work and studying for the ministry, with a view to be ordained and join our Mission; John and Francis Sager, the two eldest of the orphan family, ages 17 and 15; Mr. Kimball of Laporte, Indiana, killed second day, left a widow and five children; Mr. Saunders of Oskaloosa, Iowa, left a widow and five children; Mr. Hall of Missouri, escaped to Fort Walla Walla, was refused protection, put over the Columbia river, killed by the Wall Wallas, left a widow and five children; Mr. Marsh of Missouri, left a son grown and a young daughter; Mr. Hoffman of Elmira, New York; Mr. Gillan of Oskaloosa, Iowa; Mr. Sails of latter place; Mr. Bewley of Missouri. Two last dragged from sick beds eight days after the first massacre and butchered; Mr. Young, killed second day. Last five were unmarried men. Forty women and children fell captives into the hands of the murderers, among them my own beloved daughter, Eliza, ten years old. Three of the captive children soon died, left without parental care, two of them your dear Narcissa's, one a widow woman's. The young women were dragged from the house by night and beastly treated. Three of them became wives to the murderers. One, the daughter of Mrs. Kimball, became the wife of him who killed her father-often told her of it. One, Miss Bewley, was taken twenty miles to the Utilla and became the wife of Hezekiah, a principal chief and member of our church who, up till that time had exhibited a good character. Eight days after the first butchery, the two families at the saw-mill, twenty miles distant, were brought down and the men spared to do work for the Indians. This increased the number of captives to forty-seven, after the three children died. In various ways they were cruelly treated and compelled to cook and work late and early for the Indians.

As soon as Mrs. Spaulding heard of my probable death and the captivity of Eliza, she sent two Indians (Nez Perces) to effect her deliverance, if possible. The murderers refused to give her up until they knew whether I was alive, as I had escaped their hands, and whether the Americans would come up to avenge the death of their countrymen. Should the Americans show themselves, every woman and child should be butchered. The two sick men had just been beaten and cut to pieces before the eyes of the helpless children and women, their blood spilled upon the floor, and their mangled bodies lay at the door for forty-eight hours, over which the captives were compelled to pass for wood and water.

Eliza says when she heard the heavy blows and heard dying groans, she stopped her ears. She was and such had been for several days the situation of Eliza, when the two Nez Perces, particular friends to our children, told Eliza they must return without her. The murderers would not give her up. She had given up her father as dead, but her mother was alive and up to this hour she hoped to reach her bosom, but now this hope went out and she began to pine. Besides, she was the only one left who understood the language, and was called up at all hours of the night and kept out for hours in the cold and wet, with almost no clothing left by the hand of the robbers, to interpret for whites and Indians, till she was not able to stand upon her feet, and they beset her lying upon the floor-bed she had none-till her voice failed from weakness.

I had reached home before the Indians who went for her returned, and shared with my wife the anguish of seeing the Indians return without her child. Had she been dead, we could have given her up; but to have a living child a captive in the hands of Indians whose hands were stained with the blood of our slain friends, and not able to deliver her, was the sharpest dagger that ever entered my soul. Suffice to say, we found our daughter at Fort Walla Walla with the ransomed captives, too weak to stand, a mere skeleton, her mind as much injured as her health. Through the astonishing goodness of God she has regained her health and strength, and her mind has resumed its usual tone.

The captives were delivered by the prompt interposition and judicious management of Mr. Ogden, Chief Factor of the H.B. Co., to whom too much praise cannot be awarded. He arrived at Walla Walla Dec. 12th. In about two weeks he succeeded in ransoming all the captives for blankets, shirts, guns, ammunition, tobacco, to the amount of some five hundred dollars. They were brought into the fort on Dec. 30th. Myself and those with me arrived on the first of January. Oh, what a meeting-remnants of once large and happy families; but our tears of grief were mingled with tears of joy. We had not dared to hope that deliverance could come so soon and so complete.

For some time previous to the massacre the measles, followed by the dysentery, had been raging in the country. The families at Waiilatpu had been great sufferers. I arrived at Waiilatpu the 22nd of November; eight days before the dreadful deed. All the doctor's family had been sick, but were recovering; three of the children were yet dangerously sick; besides Mr. Osborn, with his sick family, were in the same house. Mrs. Osborn and three children were dangerous; one of their children died during the week. A young man, Mr. Bewley, was also very sick. The doctor's hands were more than full among the Indians; three and sometimes five died in a day. Dear sister Whitman seemed ready to sink under the immense weight of labor and care. But like an angel of mercy, she continued to administer with her ever-ready hand to the wants of all. Late and early, night and day, she was by the bed of the sick, the dying, and the afflicted. During the week, I enjoyed several precious seasons with her. She was the same devoted servant of the Lord she was when we enjoyed like precious seasons in our beloved Prattsburg many years ago, ready to live or die for the name of the the Lord Jesus Christ. Saturday the Indians from the Utilla, sent for the doctor to visit their sick. He wished me to accompany him. We started late, rode in a heavy rain through the night, arrived in the morning. The doctor attended upon the sick and returned on the Sabbath on account of the dangerous sickness in his family. I remained till Wednesday. Monday morning the doctor assisted in burying an Indian; returned to the house and was reading-several Indians, as usual were in the house; one sat down by him to attract his attention by asking for the medicine; another came behind him with tomahawk concealed under his blanket and with two blows in the back of the head, brought him to the floor senseless, probably, but not lifeless; soon after Telaukaikt, a candidate for admission in our church, and who was receiving unnumbered favors every day from brother and sister Whitman, came in and took particular pains to cut and beat his face and cut his throat; but he still lingered till near night. As soon as the firing commenced at the different places, Mrs. Hayes ran in and assisted sister Whitman in taking the doctor from the kitchen to the sitting-room and placed him upon the settee. This was before his face was cut. His dear wife bent over him mingled her flowing tears with his precious blood. It was all she could do. They were her last fears. To whatever she said, he would reply "no" in a whisper, probably not sensible. John Sager was sitting by the doctor when he received the first blow, drew his pistol, but his arm was seized, the room filling with Indians, and his head was cut to pieces. He lingered till near night. Mr. Rogers, attacked at the water, escaped with a broken arm and wound in the head, and rushing into the house, shut the door. The Indians seemed to have left the house now to assist in murdering others. Mr. Kimball, with a broken arm rushed in; both secreted themselves upstairs. Sister Whitman in anguish, now bending over her dying husband and now over the sick; now comforting the flying, screaming children, was passing by the window, when she received the first shot in her right breast, and fell to the floor. She immediately arose and kneeled by the settee on which lay her bleeding husband, and in humble prayer commended her soul to God and prayed for her dear children who were about to be made a second time orphans and fall into the hands of her direct murderers. I am certain she prayed for her murderers, too. She now went into the chamber with Mrs. Hayes, Miss Bewley, Catharine, and the sick children. They remained till near night. In the meantime the doors and windows were broken in and the Indians entered and commenced plundering, but they feared to go into the chamber. They called for sister Whitman and brother Rogers to come down and promised they should not be hurt. This promise was often repeated, and they came down. Your dear Narcissa, faint with the loss of blood, was carried on a settee to the door by brother Rogers and Miss Bewley. Every corner of the room was crowded with Indians having their guns ready to fire. The children had not been brought down and huddled together to be shot. Eliza was one. Here they had stood for a long time surrounded by guns pointing at their breasts. She often hear the cry "Shall we shoot?" and her blood became cold, she says, and she fell upon the floor. But now the order was given, "Do not shoot the children," as the settee passed through the children over the bleeding, dying body of John. Fatal moment! The settee advanced about its length from the door, when the guns were discharged from without and within, the powder actually burning the faces of the children. Brother Rogers raised his hand and cried, "my God," and fell upon his face, pierced with many balls. But he fell not alone. An equal number of deadly weapons were leveled at the settee and, oh! that this discharge had been deadly. But oh! Father of Mercy, so it seemed good in thy sight. She groaned, she lingered. The settee was rudely upset.-Oh, what have I done? Can the aged mother read and live? Think of Jesus in the hands of the cruel Jews. I thought to withhold the worse facts, but then they would go to you from other sources, and the uncertainty would be worse than the reality. Pardon me, if I have erred.

And now, shall I attempt to sooth your bleeding hearts? It would be like one drowning man stretching out his hand to hold up another. I, myself, am in the deepest waters of affliction. My dear brother and sister Whitman no more; their mission house demolished; myself and family driven from our first own home, and the little church which we had been gathered around; our brothers, Walker and Eells, perhaps, slain and their wives and children captives in the hands of the murderers. "But why art thou disquieted, oh my soul?" "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in Thy sight." "This world is poor from shore to shore." There is no place like heaven, and it has seemed doubly precious since the day my dear associates ended their toils, and left this world of blood and sin to enter upon the unending song of Moses and the Lamb. I know where you will go, my honored father and mother in Christ, when you have read this letter, you will go to the Mercy Seat, and there you will find balm for your deeply wounded soul, for you know how to ask for it. And when there, you will not forget the scattered sheep and the trembling lambs of our broken mission.

At the same time of the massacre, Perrin Whitman nephew of Dr. Whitman, was at The Dalles in the family of Mr. Hinman, whom we had employed to occupy the station which had been lately transferred to our mission by the Methodist mission. On hearing of the bloody tragedy, they left the station and came to the Wallamette. He is here. The little half-breed Spanish boy by the name of David Malin was retained at Walla Walla. I fear he will fall into the hands of the priests who remain in the country. Catherine, Elizabeth, Matilda, Henrietta and Mary Ann, we brought with us to this place; Mary Ann has since died. For the other four we have obtained good places and they seem satisfied and happy. Catharine is in the family of the Rev. Mr. Roberts, Superintendent of the Methodist mission.

Three Papists, one an Indian formerly from Canada and late from the state of Maine, had been in the employ of the doctor a few weeks; one a half breed with Cayuse wife, and one a Canadian who had been in the employ of the doctor for more than a year, seemed to have aided in the massacre, and probably secured most of the money, watches and valuable property. The Canadian came down with the captives, was arrested, brought before a justice bound over for trial at next court charged with having aided in the murders. The night before he was arrested, he secreted in the ground and between the boards of a house considerable of Mr. Hoffman's money and a watch of one of the widows. The Canadian Indian, Jo Lewis, shot Francis with his own hand and was the first to commence breaking the windows and doors; is now with the hostile Indians. The half-breed named Finley was camped near the station, and in his lodge the murderers held their councils before and during the massacre. He was at the head of the Cayuses at the battle near the Utilla; managed by pretended friendship, to attract the attention of our officers, while his warriors, unobserved, surrounded our army. As soon as they had gained their desired position, he wheeled and fired his gun, as the signal for the Indians to commence. Although they had had the advantage of the ground, far superior in number, and the first fire, they were completely defeated, driven from the field and finally from their possession of the country, and expect to fortify at the mission station at Waiilatpu. The Cayuses have removed their families and their stock over Snake river into the Palouse country in the direction of brothers Walker and Eells. Our army came upon them at Snake river as they about were to cross. About 1,500 head of cattle and the whole Cayuse camp were completely in their hands. But here our officers were again for the third and fourth time outwitted by some Indians riding up to them and pretending friendship, saying that some of their own cattle were in the band, and begged time to separate them. Our commander having received orders not to involve the innocent with the guilty, gave them till morning. It is said his men actually wept at the terrible mistake. Next morning, as might be expected, most of the cattle and nearly all the Cayuse property had been crossed over and were safe. Our army started away with some 500 head. The Indians with the pretended friendly ones at the head, fought all day. At night, being double the number of the whites, the Indians retook their cattle. The whites were obliged to retreat to the station. The Indians continued to fight them through the night and the next day. The third day the officers reached the station, none killed, but seven wounded. The commander and half of the army immediately started for this country for provisions, ammunition and more men. If the few left are not soon reinforced, and supplied, they will be in danger of being cut off, and the Indians will be down on the settlements. The commander was accidentally killed on his way down.

The Lord has transferred us from one field of labor to another. Through the kindness of Rev. Mr. Clark, Mr. Smith and others, we have been brought to this place, "Tualatin Plains." Mrs. Spaulding has a large school, and I am to preach, God assisting, at three stations through the summer.

As I cannot write to all, I wish this letter printed and copies of the papers sent to Rev. David Greene, Mission House, Boston, Mass.; Dudley Allen, M.D., Kinsman, Trumbull Co., Ohio; Rev. C.F. Scoville, Holland Patent, Oneida Co., New York; Calvin C. Stowe, Lane Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio; Mr. Seth Paine, Troy, Bradford Co., Penn.; Mr. G.W. Hoffman, Elmira, Chemung Co., New York; Hon. Stratton H. Wheeler, Wheeler Streuben Co., New York, and Christian Observer, Philadelphia, Penn.

Yours in deep water of affliction,


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