Historian Charles Mattes calls the BIDWELL-BARTLESON PARTY "the first emigrant party...for Oregon." Thomas Fitzpatrick led this caravan of 36 men and families from Westport Landing on the Kansas River to Oregon. Some of the party turned off onto the trail for California at Ft. Hall. Also this year, an undetermined number of trappers, French Canadians, and Hudson Bay Company employees left their former occupations to settle in the Willamette Valley.
In January, Louise WALKER was born to Mary and Joel Walker near Salem. The Walkers, who arrived in the late summer of 1840, were the first non-missionary settler family to Oregon from the States. On January 18, 1841, missionaries H.K.W. and Elvira Johnson PERKINS had their second child, a daughter.
In February 1841, two more of the 1840 arrivals on the ship Lausanne got married: David CARTER and Orpha LANKTON. In June the couple visited the Dalles and by November returned to the Willamette Valley.
A NEW MISSION ON THE CLATSOP PLAINS (about 7 miles from the Fort George near the mouth of the Columbia River) was ready for occupancy in February 1841. Mrs.W.W. KONE had been so ill that she needed to be carried to her new mission post. The William Kones and J. H. FROST families stayed at Ft. George (Astoria) while the mission was constructed with the help of former fur trappers Solomon SMITH, Calvin TIBBETS, and an African American sailor named WALLACE.
WALLER, BABCOCK and LESLIE transported the ailing Mrs. Kone to Ft. Vancouver in February 1841. On April 18, she gave birth to a son.
A discussion after EWING YOUNG's funeral during the winter of 1840-41, led to plans for a meeting about ORGANIZING A GOVERNMENT IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY. The first meeting was held on February 17, 1841 at the Methodist Mission with Gustavus Hines as secretary (Sydney Smith also took notes) and Jason Lee presiding. At this meeting George LeBreton was named to chair the "committee of arrangement" and it was recommended that a committee of 7 be elected to draft a constitution and code of laws to govern settlements south of the Columbia River.
On February 18, the settlers met again with David Leslie presiding in place of Lee, and with Hines and Smith elected as secretaries. The attendees elected a constitutional committee (Rev. F.N. Blanchet, Rev. Jason Lee, David DonPierre, Gustavus Hines, Mr. Charlevon (or Chanlevo), Robert Moore, J.L. Parrish, Etienne Lucier, and William Johnson) and several acting officers (LeBreton as Court Clerk/Recorder, Ira L. Babcock as Supreme Judge, William Johnson as High Sheriff, and, as Constables, Xavier Landeroot, Pierre Billique, and William McCarty).
CHEMEKETA METHODIST MISSION also opened in 1841, a new Methodist Episcopal mission not too far from the Old Mission at Salem.
Daniel and Maria Ware LEE had a son, Wilbur Fisk Lee, born 3/23/1841
Ex-trapper Robert "Doc" NEWELL's WAGON arrived by boat in the Willamette Valley in April 1841. This wagon will be touted as the first wagon to come overland from the States past Ft. Hall. A missionary party brought it to Fort Hall in 1840 and gave it to Newell as payment for guiding them. In Fall of 1840, Newell drove this wagon--or at east the bare chassis--over the Blue Mountains and through the sage brush as far as Whitmans' Mission at Waiilatpu.
On May 2, 1841, the U.S. ship Vincennes under Lieutenant CHARLES WILKES anchored at Discovery Bay. It was met by a large canoe carrying English-speaking coastal Native Americans who asked if the sailors are Boston or King George (American or British).
US EXPLORING EXPEDITION: The Vincennes was the flagship of a six-vessel squadron, which left Virginia for a voyage in 1839. Its two-fold mission was to make the first military circumnavigation of the globe under the US flag and to explore the Northwest country. In May, the U.S. ship Vincennes under Lieutenant Charles Wilkes anchored at Discovery Bay.
During the summer the Expedition visited missions at Lapwaii, Waiilatpu, and the Willamette Valley as well as a number of farms and settlements. It made extensive reports on Hudson's Bay Company activities and American prospects. [The Beinecke Collection at Yale University contains the diaries of Silas HOLMES (of the US Peacock) and of Lt. George Foster EMMONS (of the overland US Exploring Expedition)]
According to Wilkes: "...the missionary field was over-crowded;...the missionary field was but small, and insufficient for the expenses which have been lavished on it.... [other] various characters settled there [the Valley]. They generally consist of those who have been hunters in the mountains, and were still full of the recklessness of that breed. Many of them, although they have taken farms and built log houses, cannot be classed among the permanent settlers"
In early May, Narcissa WHITMAN reported that the LITTLEJOHNs were mulling over a return to the States by ship. The HBC caravan began its yearly eastward trek from Ft. Vancouver. Missionary Asahel MUNGER (who had become too mentally ill to continue since his arrival in 1839) and his family journeyed with them hoping to find an eastbound American caravan at the traditional Rendezvous on the Green River. (But, by 1841, the fur trade had collapsed and there was no American Rendezvous.)
The H.B. BREWERs daughter Susan was born 5/8/1841. Mary Kinney (Mrs. David) LESLIE died giving birth to a healthy child in mid-May. A child was born on May 23, 1841 to Rev.W.W. and Mrs. RAYMOND of the Clatsop Methodist Mission and the LITTLEJOHNs also had a baby in mid-May.
A funeral was held for P.C. PAMBRUN, the HBC's commander at Ft. Walla Walla on May 16, 1841; he had died four days after a fall from a horse. The widow Pambrun, CATHERINE HUMPHERVILLE PAMBRUN, and her nine children sheltered for a time at Waiilatpu Mission after her husband's death. She took the family to the Willamette Valley by the end of 1841 and left HARRIET PAMBRUN, the youngest, in Narcissa WHITMAN's care.
OVERLAND PARTIES OF THE US EXPLORING EXPEDITION traveled south in May and reached the HBC establishment at Astoria. By late May, a party under Wilkes reached Ft. Vancouver and received a friendly welcome from Dr. MCLOUGHLIN of the HBC.
Governor George SIMPSON, head of Hudson Bay Company operations in North America, came by ship to Ft. Vancouver in 1841 before the arrival of the U.S. Exploring Expedition at the fort. Neither Britain nor the U.S. had deliberately timed the visits of their agents to coincide.
William H. and Chloe WILLSON's newborn died in 1841 and the next month the Willsons were reassigned to the Willamette Methodist mission (near present day Salem).
On May 30, HBC officer Francis ERMATINGER left Vancouver for Ft. Hall, 3 weeks behind the Mungers and the main body of the HBC.
The group of settlers which had considered OREGON GOVERNMENT in February, met again on June 1, 1841 this time at the newly built Methodist Mission at Chemetka. BLANCHET requested to be excused from the Constitutional committee and William J. BAILEY was elected as his replacement. The committee was advised to confer with Lt. Wilkes, commander of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, and with Dr. John McLoughlin, commander of Ft. Vancouver. On the first Monday of August the settlers were to meet in order to prepare recommendations which would be presented to a meeting at large on the first Thursday of October, 1841. [There are no records of meetings after June 1, 1841]
On June 4, 1841 Wilkes and company set off up the Willamette in a boat provided by McLoughlin. Wilkes encountered a group of young men building a boat. The boatwrights, discouraged about finding a livelihood and white brides in Oregon, hoped to head south. Their boat would be the first sailing vessel manufactured in Oregon THE OREGON STAR sailed the next year with all its builders except for Henry WOOD including Felix HATHAWAY, Joseph GALE, R.L. KILBORNE, Pleasant ARMSTRONG, George DAVIS, Charles MATTS and John GREEN.
During 1841, James DOUGLAS established a post at Yerba Buena (San Francisco) for the Hudson Bay Company.
The US Exploring Expedition visited Lapwaii on June 25.
In late June/early July, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman spent six weeks with the Eells at Tshimiakan. While they were gone, W.H. Gray harvested the wheat and began work on his own adobe house at Waiilatpu. Iatin, a Waiilatpu Indian, told Gray he must pay for lumber and firewood; Iatin said that during a visit to the Willamette he had learned how owners don't allow others to use their land.
In July, after the wheat harvest was in but while the corn and potatoes were still in the ground, some Cayuse trampled the Whitman's field with their horses
In July, Calvin TIBBETTS, Solomon SMITH, and TAYLOR (described as "an old sailor") made a round trip cattle drive from the coast near Clatsop to the Willamette Valley. A "sailor boy"-- a young man (name not recorded) who arrived on the ship Wave (HBC Capt. More)--went with them. He returned to become a helper at Clatsop mission and to take an Indian wife.
On July 18, 1841 the SHIP PEACOCK, part of the US Exploring Expedition, wrecked at the mouth of the Columbia.
Henry ELD, with a party of the US Exploring Expedition landed at Baker Bay and reached Ft. Vancouver by the end of the month of August.
SOURCES: Reports on the US EXPLORING EXPEDITION Charles Wilkes (OHQ 12, Wilkes, and OHS MS), Silas Holmes (Beinecke MS), Henry Eld "Letter, Oct. 29, 1841" (OHS MS), George F. Emmons (Beinecke MS), and Titan R. Peale (Peale, modern edition not located); PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT meetings are recorded in Oregon Archives (Duniway); the story of the ship OREGON STAR (TOPA 1891); CLATSOP MISSION Daniel Lee and J.H. Frost (Lee/Frost, history).
ON THE TRAIL FROM CANADA TO OREGON, JUNE 5 THROUGH OCTOBER 12, 1841:
The PUGET SOUND AGRICULTURAL COMPANY, under the aegis of the HBC, imported to the Northwest 21 families of experienced British Canadian farmers and herders along with superior breeds of sheep and swine. Despite good capitalization, the attempt to found an agricultural colony promptly failed. The "colonists" simply headed south to establish their own farms on free land. A total of 121 arrivals (19 households) went to two stations in 1841: Cowlitz river landing on the Columbia and another near Ft. Nisqually (both in present-day Washington State).
James DOUGLAS, who had warned Gov. Simpson that Nisqually was poor farm land, scouted for a site and assigned families to their parcels in November 1841. William BALDRA, John JOHNSON, and Thomas OTCHINS (earlier Oregon arrivals) transferred from the HBC to the Puget Sound AC. Angus MCDONALD, a HBC chief trader, was placed in charge of the operation. A few French Canadians were already settled in the region (Simon PLAMANDON, Francis FRAGINENET, Michel COGNOIR, and Joseph ROCHBRUNNE).
James SINCLAIR led the immigration from the Red River Country (Manitoba) to the Nisqually and Puget Sound region. The new emigrants to Oregon Country included the David FLETTs, the Charles MCKAYs, and the three Bird sisters, daughters of Gov. James Bird. Traveling via Ft. Ellice, Ft. Carlton, Edmonton, Banff, and the Whitman Pass, the emigrants reached the upper Columbia River by August 12 and Ft. Walla Walla by Oct 4.
Most of the newcomers abandoned the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. All but the BIRSTONs, the CALDERs, one FLETT brother, the TAITs, and the JOYELLEs had left the Puget Sound area by late 1842 to make homes on the Tulatin Plains or the Willamette Valley. Joe KLYNE left to join the HBC's California brigade and one family had stayed in the Kutenai region.
SOURCES, RED RIVER TO OREGON, 1841: David Flett (by his son, OHS MS), Joseph Heath (Heath), George B. Roberts "The Cowlitz Farm Journal" (OHQ 63); James Douglas (Public Archives of B. C., Vancouver); Dr. William F. Tolmie "History of Puget Sound" (Bancroft MS);Tolmie "Nisqually Journal"(Washington Historical Quarterly vol. 10, no. 3), William Tolmie, The Journals of ... (Mitchell, Large); the Hudson's Bay Company's David Douglas (Lavender) John McLoughlin (Merck's McLoughlin letters, 3 vols.), Gov. George Simpson (E.E. Rich, TOPA 1881), Francis Ermatinger, letters (McDonald); John McLoughlin, letters (Rich).
IN THE MOUNTAINS AND ON THE TRAIL TO OREGON:
In March 1841, Joseph WALKER (Joel's brother), Henry FRAEB, and other mountain men reached Brown's Hole (Ft. Crockett), where Joe had left his Shoshone wife and children. In June or July, the company headed for the Southwest
In Spring of 1841, the BIDWELL-BARTLESON PARTY departed for Oregon from Missouri. With them were Father Pierre J. DESMET, his aide, Father Nicholas POINT, and Methodist preacher, JOSEPH WILLIAMS. Although missionary fervor motivated some emigrants this year, most travelers on the trail from this year forward came for land and a new life. Many of the long-term mountain men and trailblazers switched to occupations as buffalo hunters, guides, and trail trade-post operators during and after 1841.
During this year, Jim BRIDGER and Louis VASQUEZ, former trapper/traders, built a trading post on the Black Fork of the Green River. The post opened in time for the 1842 travel season.
Thomas FITZPATRICK led the Bidwell-Bartlson caravan of 36 men and families from Westport Landing on the Kansas River to Oregon, with some of the party turning off for California at Ft. Hall. Rufus B. SAGE, a trail journalist like Bidwell, traveled with fur traders from Westport to Ft. Platte.
In early May, the eastbound Hudson Bay Company brigade left Ft. Vancouver for the usual journey for trade at the RENDEZVOUS on the Green River. Missionary Asahel MUNGER and his family traveled with them hoping return to the States with an eastbound American caravan after Rendezvous. HBC leader Francis Ermatinger also came to Rendezvous, leaving Ft. Vancouver on May 30, about three weeks after the main HBC brigade.
During summer on the trail, Joseph WALKER met the overlanders with a herd of horses and mules brought from California.
William SHOTWELL became the first trail emigrant to die of an accidental gun shot; such accidents became frequent among the inexperienced and heavily armed travelers on the Oregon Trail.
Joseph WILLIAMS recorded the building of adobe-walled FT. JOHN (at the site of Ft. William/Laramie).
James JOHN, who had been traveling with Joseph Chiles and Weaver, left the main caravan at Bear River (between Ft. Bonneville and Ft. Hall).
After Fort Hall, John BIDWELL and General John BARTLESON led a large number of the travelers on to the trail for California. With a few traveling ahead, the rest continued to Oregon led by Fitzpatrick.
An Oregon Trail traveler named FOWLER, the Josiah and/or Samuel KELSEY family, David ROSS, David HILL, OLD (Joseph?) WILLIAMS, and CARROLL passed through the Dalles on the way to the Willamette Valley in early September of 1841, slightly ahead of the other 1841 overland travelers.
Rev. Joseph WILLIAMS and his family, a member of the Methodist missions, arrived at the Dalles September 24, 1841.
The MUNGERS returned to Waiilatpu on October 1 disappointed in their search to find Rendezvous and eastbound travelers. They were soon followed by the westbound overlanders: "2 families from Missouri and 12 Jesuits from New Orleans," and the company under Fitzpatrick.
By October 6, twenty-four settlers had passed through Waiilatpu on their way to the Willamette. Mary Ann BRIDGER, the six year old daughter of Jim Bridger, came to live with the Whitmans sometime in 1841, perhaps arriving with a group of overlanders.
Narcissa WHITMAN wrote; "Doubtless every year will bring more & more into this country....These emigrants are nearly destitute of every kind of food when they arrive here & we were under the necessity of giving them provisions to help them on. Our little place is a resting spot for many a weary, way-worn traveler and will be as long as we live here. If we can do good that way, perhaps it is as important as some other things we are doing."
SOURCES, OREGON TRAIL, 1841: OREGON TRAIL JOURNALS for 1841 by Rufus Sage (Sage), James John [sometimes "Jones"], "Diary of Overland Journey, from Westport, Missouri, to Bear River, May 6 to Aug. 12, 1841" (OHS MS; more of John's papers at Rosebach Foundation Library, Philadelphia), Rev. Joseph Williams (unpublished and privately held, posted at www.seidata.com/~rchslib/diary-preface, contact Ripley County Historical Society, 125 Washington St., Versailles, Indiana 47042), Josiah Belden memoir and a letter (Belden), John Bidwell (OHS MS; Bidwell), Nicholas Point's journals 1840-47 (Donelly), Nancy Kelsey (Nunis--excerpt), Josiah Belden (Nunis--excerpt) John Bidwell (Nunis--excerpt), Pierre DeSmett (Nunis--excerpt); REMINISCENCES of 1841 journeys by Pierre J. DeSmett (DeSmett, Chittenden, and Thwaites vol. 27), "Mrs. Daboin", daughter of Louis Gagnon (Lockely), Gregory Mengarini (Mengarini), F.X. Matthieu (Bancroft MS), John Bidwell (Bidwell, "Echos of the Past: an Account of the First Emigrant Train," reprint of magazine articles from 1890-91, Chico, CA.--same as published a pamphlet "Echos of the Past: An Account of the First Emigrant Train to California" held in OHS MS); narrative on wagon trains of 1841, 1842, 1843 (Bidwell/Bancroft/Longmire), Rufus Sage also wrote "Scenes in the Rocky Mountains and Oregon" and "Rocky Mountain Life, or, Startling Scenes and Perilous Adventures", published 1846).
IN OREGON AGAIN:
In September 1841, American Board missionaries--the John S. GRIFFINs--and all the independent missionaries who had arrived in Oregon in 1840--the Harvey CLARKs, the Philo LITTLEJOHNs, and the Alvin T. SMITHs--left the Presbyterian missions at Kamiah, Waiilatpu, and Lapwaii to move to the Willamette Valley. By the end of December, the independents formally dissolved their mission and became settlers. The Littlejohns later returned to Lapwaii mission to continue as assistants to Rev. Spalding.
Father Pierre DESMETT, the FIRST AMERICAN CATHOLIC PRIEST in the Northwest, dedicated St. Mary's on the Bitteroot River (Flathead mission) in September 1841.
In September, the US EXPLORING EXPEDITION LEFT FOR CALIFORNIA overland and by ship. Three families and 4 or 5 single men, originally emigrants to Oregon, left with Lt. Emmons's party traveling overland. Men with Emmons included: Midshipmen Eld and Colvoressis; Assistant Surgeon Dr. Whittle; T.R. Peale, naturalist; W. Rich, botanist; Brackenridge, assistant botanist; J.D. Dana, geologist; A.T. Agate, artist; Seamen Doughty, Merzer, Waltham, and Sutton; Sgt. Stearns; Cpl. Hughs; Privates Marsh and Smith; and Baptist Guardipii, guide.
Departing Oregon with his family was Joel WALKER, "who came from Missouri with all his family last year : he did not like the country and wished to go to California by earliest convenience. His principle objection he told me [Eld] was to the climate, which was too wet for business."
The US Exploring Expedition caravan reached Sutters Mill on the Sacramento on October 19. The Walkers and several other former Oregonians returned within 2 or 3 years.
In October, Umtippe, a Waiilatpu area chief, died of illness. His brothers, Waptashtomakt (Red Cloak) and Ichishkaiskais, demanded payment from the Whitmans for the use of Waiilatpu mission.
Also in early October, Peopeomoxmox entered the Waiilatpu mission house and was told by W.H. Gray that he must leave. Insulted, Peopeomoxmox put his rope on a mission horse and Gray cut the rope. The Cayuse returned in the afternoon and took the horse in front of Whitman who then asked him if he wished to make himself a thief. Sakiaph (brother of PeopeoMoxmox) then threatened to kill the cattle and Whitman said he had shown his true heart.
Later Tilauak, a relative of Peopeomoxmox, came with a group of young men and ordered Gray to leave Waiilatpu, berated Whitman for taking Gray's side, and said they labored in vain on Gray's new house. After more argument, Tilauak pulled Whitman's ear and hit his chest several times without reaction from the missionary. Whitman also simply put his hat back on his head when Tilauak threw it in the mud several times. Tilauak left in disgust after Whitman asked, "perhaps you are playing." An Indian named McKay then told all his tribesmen to stop working at Waiilatpu.
At Ft. Walla Walla, HBC commander McKinlay sent word through an interpreter that he thought these Indians were behaving like dogs. On his own, the interpreter added a threat that Governor Simpson and a party in Cowlitz had removed their cattle to safety in readiness to retaliate for Black's murder. That evening, Palaistiwat brandished a hammer at the Waiilatpu house window and Sakiaph forced the door. Whitman disarmed the Indians of their hammer and ax, but was beaten by fists in the process. Narcissa Whitman and Gray took the weapons up stairs.
Sakiaph returned with a club and challenged Whitman and made a similar display with a gun asking him if he was afraid to die. Tilaukaik finally said it was impossible to bully Whitman into a fight. Waptashtamakt during this argument told Whitman that J. Gray (a part-Iroquis at Grande Ronde) had told them how the Iroquois killed until they were paid for their land. Whitman sent Rogers to Ft. Walla Walla to warn McKinlay that the Indians had threatened to go to the fort.
Few came to worship at Waiilatpu the next day and someone broke windows at the house. The Indians set off armed to the fort but the following day met peacefully with McKinlay, Ft. Walla Walla's commander. The Cayuse, in a group including Waptashtakmakt and Tilaukaik, heard McKinlay say that the fort needed no extra troops but that he would send for more from Ft. Vancouver to protect Whitman if necessary. All vowed peace.
On October 5, 1841, Whitman, with an interpreter from the Walla Walla, met with the Cayuse. Waptashtamakt (brother of Ichishkaiskais) still demanded cattle as payment for Waiilatpu. Tilaukaik said that now a payment would be more like extortion than a proper tribute. Kamashpahi also counseled to forget the matter. The meet ended in a feast also attended by Ichishkaiskais.
In late October FT. WALLA WALLA accidentally burned destroying all the stored goods brought overland by the independent missionaries in 1840.
Cornelius Rogers, disappointed in seeking the hand of Pambrun's daughter, returned the inheritance Pambrun had left him; Rogers then left the mission at Waiilatpu to go to the Willamette Valley.
The Oregon Star arrived at Astoria from the Willamette with supplies for the new mission in October 1841. In November, Solomon Smith left the mission (near Point Adams) to make a home on the Clatsop plains.
Duflot DE MOFRAS, an attaché of the French embassy, arrived in Oregon on the ship Cowlitz from Hawaii in October 1841. He was dispatched from Madrid in 1839 and charged with gathering information for France on northwestern Mexico, California, and Oregon. By chance, the timing for this official visit was the same as for the United State's first official Exploring Expedition to Oregon (and at the same time as an official inspection by the Hudson Bay Company commander, Gov. George SIMPSON from Canada). DeMofras wrote later that he hoped the French Canadians of the Northwest would throw off English rule and establish their own province or a sovereign state within the United States. [Exploration du Territoire de l'Oregon: 1844, Paris]
November 3, the Columbia set sail from Astoria for Hawaii. Aboard were the William W. KONEs who resigned from the mission at Clatsop, the A.B. SMITHs who had resigned from Kamiah mission in September to go to Ft. Vancouver, and Mary OWYHEE whose husband had died the previous August at Waiilatpu.
Narcissa and Marcus Whitman were alone in their Waiilatpu home with the girls, Helen Mar Meek and Mary Ann Bridger. Missionary-assistant Mungo Mevway had gone from Waiilatpu to the Eells at Tshimiakan Mission. The Packett family remained at Waiilatpu Mission only while Mr. Packett was too ill to return to Tshimiakan.
French attaché DeMofras left in late November 1841 on the same ship for San Francisco that carried HBC Governor George SIMPSON, the HBC's Dr. John McLoughlin, and MCLOUGHLIN's daughter, Maria (Mrs. Glenn) RAE. Weather delayed the ship Cowlitz along the Columbia River until Dec. 21, 1841 and it finally reached Hawaii on March 1, 1842.
In the winter of 1841 John MCLOUGHLIN JR. was murdered at Ft. Stikeen. Donald MANSON replaced him as commander. Edward RODGERS wintered with the Whitmans at Waiilatpu.
Rev. Asahel MUNGER, who came to Oregon with the American Board missionaries in 1839, committed suicide in December 1841. His widow married widower Henry Buxton, a former member of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, in Twality in 1843. (Buxton's wife, Frances, had died during the fall of 1841-42; she never recovered from a fall from her horse during the 1841 journey to Oregon country).
At the eastern end of the Trail, Francois X. MATTHIEU and a party of trappers returned from Santa Fe to Ft. Laramie in 1841.
MORE SOURCES IN OREGON, 1841: F.X. Matthieu (Bancroft MS), Duflot de Mofras (DeMofras, Exploration du Territoire de l'Oregon: 1844, Paris) wrote about his voyage and exploration of the Northwest. Violent encounters at Waiilatpu are described in John Toupin's testimony US Senate Documents, 35th Congress, 1st Sess., vol. 12, Ex. Doc. #40. Other records for 1841 in Asahel Munger's journal (OHQ 1907), A.T. Smith's journal 1840-46 (OHS MS), H.B. Brewer's journal 1839-43 (Seiber), Joel Walker's reminiscence (Dawson vol. 17), Robert Newell's reminiscences (Johansen, Newell, Evans, OHQ 31), Rev. J.H. Judson's diary 1837-1849 (OHS MS), Records of the Catholic Church of the Pacific Northwest (Munnick), Father F.N. Blanchet 1838-47 (Blanchet), Methodist Reports 1834-1848 (OHQ 23), Narcissa Whitman (Gay, OHS MS, and Drury, First White Women vol. 1), American Board Missions (OHS Library); Oregon Indians, 1838-1844 (OHS Library), Elija White (White, history), William H. Gray (Gray, history), Asa Bowen Smith, journal 1838-42 (Drury), Father F.N. Blanchet 1838-47 (Blanchet, DeMers, Bolduc, Langlois), Henry H. Spalding and Asa Bowen Smith, 1838-1842 (Drury), Missionary Elkanah Walker, journal 1838-1848 (Drury), Rev. John Smith Griffin, records 1839-44 (OHQ 1923), Osborne Russell, journal, 1834-1843 (Russell), James Douglas (Public Archives of B. C., Vancouver); William Tolmie, journals (Mitchell, Large), Francis Ermatinger, letters (McDonald); John McLoughlin, letters (Rich).
In the autumn of 1842, an immigration of 112-140 [there are varying estimates] persons, chiefly men with their families, arrived in the Willamette Valley, a large portion of whom found their winter's residence at or near the mission establishment, at what is now Salem. A considerable portion of the overland immigrants of 1842 left Oregon for California with Lansford W. HASTINGS in the late spring of 1843.
IN THE EAST:
Methodist Missionary Rev. ELIJA WHITE had left Oregon in 1840 on the ship Lausanne after a bitter dispute with Rev. Jason Lee. The owners of the Lausanne, Fry and Farnam, and its captain, Spaulding, urged White to travel to Washington D.C. and introduced him to government contacts. In January 1842, Congress appointed Elija White as sub-Indian Agent, meaning he had authority but only a partial salary (plus his expenses) until Oregon became an official U.S. Territory. Ironically (in view of White's disagreement with Jason Lee) White's sponsors had been convinced of the need for a government agent in Oregon by a letter that Lee wrote to the Cushing shipping family. Throughout his stay in the States, White promoted emigration to Oregon and made a last minute pitch to potential emigrants in Platte and Jackson counties in Missouri just before departure on the Oregon Trail.
SOURCE: Elija White's appointment by Congress as Oregon Indian Sub-Agent in "Government and the Emigration to Oregon" (Bancroft MS; see also White's Testimonials and Records Together with Arguments in Favor of Special Action for Our Indian Tribes, published in 1861, also at Bancroft Library)
By treaty, the United States and Britain set the border between Maine and Canada on August 9, 1842. Similar discussions about a border in the Northwest had failed.
Thomas D. KEIZUR and family emigrated from Arkansas to Missouri hoping to join the emigrants to Oregon; they arrived too late at the frontier and spent a year in Missouri before joining the next year's wagon train. James W. NESMITH also arrived too late for the 1842 train; he came as far west as Jefferson County, Iowa in 1842, spent a year as a carpenter on the construction of FT. SCOTT, and joined the 1843 emigration from Independence, Missouri.
ON THE OREGON TRAIL:
A caravan of emigrants, mostly from Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas, gathered for the traditional travel season near the town of Independence, Missouri. Elija WHITE, for a while over-all leader, and Lansford W. HASTINGS (later replacing White as leader over most of the company) led the WAGON TRAIN FROM MISSOURI on May 14, 1842.
Lt. John C. FREMONT left Missouri shortly after the caravan of emigrants, leading a troop of 21 men on an exploring expedition. This expedition, much less extensive than the one he would lead in 1843, traveled only as far as Ft. Laramie and the Wind River Mountains. Fremont's company included Kit CARSON, Lucien MAXWELL, and Charles PRUESS, an artist and map-maker.
James COATES piloted the emigrant wagon train to Ft. Laramie (under commander BISSONETTE), the furthest extent of his familiarity with the route. Here the travelers fortuitously met Jim BRIDGER and Thomas FITZPATRICK on their way east with pelts for the fur trade. Bridger continued to the States while Fitzpatrick guided the caravan west to Ft. Hall.
The wagon train--actually a collection of open wagons, carts, horse-riders and pack animals, with herds of cattle and horses-- attracted new members along the way:
Steven MEEK and his companion Andrew BISHOP joined at South Fork. At Ft. Laramie, Francois X. MATTHIEU, Paul OJET, Peter GAUTHIER, and about three other French Canadians joined the caravan to Oregon.
A man named BAILEY was accidentally shot when he passed behind a wagon just as the owner drew a blanket from the front causing the gun to go off; Bailey was buried near Independence Rock.
A.L. LOVEJOY and L.W. HASTINGS were captured passing through Sioux territory. (They had laid down their rifles while carving their names on Independence Rock.) Their Sioux captors released them for a ransom of tobacco and a few trinkets. The Sioux continued to harass the 1842 wagon train until a peace parley and gift exchange was held at the Sweetwater River.
The caravan rarely traveled as one huge company. At the Sweetwater River, White, Fitzpatrick and about a dozen others traveled ahead of the main group through South Pass in the Wind River Mountains. At Green River, the slower-moving company under Hastings further split into a faster horse troop and a group with wagons.
The caravan reunited at Ft. Hall, but White and his companions, now piloted by (probably Angus) MCDONALD, pushed far ahead after Hall.
Osborne RUSSELL and Elbridge TRASK, American fur trappers, joined the caravan on August 22, 1842.
Traveling by way of Burnt River and a more direct route to Ft. Walla Walla, White and company arrived at Ft. Vancouver on September 20, 1842 about a month ahead of the Hastings caravan.
Hastings kept south of the Snake River until near Ft. Boise and arrived at Waiilatpu (45 miles from Walla Walla) in mid- to late-September.
At Waiilatpu, A.L. LOVEJOY parted company with the caravan and Hastings. He decided to join Marcus WHITMAN for a return journey on the trail to the east. Whitman and Lovejoy headed for the States on October 3, 1842.
The main body of the caravan with Hastings reached the Willamette Valley on October 5, 1842.
SOURCES: TRAIL JOURNALS: Obadiah Oakley "Journal of a Overland Journey, 1842-45" (OHS MS); Medorum Crawford (Crawford--his full journal in Sources of Oregon History, vol. 1 and as OHS MS; his roster of emigrants in Bancroft Oregon, p. 256, and Lang, p.249); Fremont (Fremont, published Report of..., also in Shane's Early Explorations...); REMINISCENCES: narrative on wagon trains of 1841, 1842, 1843 (Bidwell/Bancroft/Longmire), P.L. Edwards "Sketch of the Oregon Country in 1842" (OHS MS); Gertrude Smith "The Story of Darlin Smith" (OHS MS); Elbridge Trask (Hafen, vol. 4); Sidney Walter Moss (OHS MS); Francois Xavier Matthieu "Refugee, Trapper, and Settler" (Bancroft MS 1878); Vandeman Bennett (Bancroft MS taken from the newspaper San Jose Pioneer, May 26 and June 2, 1877); Lansford W. Hastings Emigrants Guide to Oregon and California  (Hastings) also in Huntington Library MS; "Lansford W. Hastings Papers, 1847-49" (Bancroft MS); Hastings also wrote A New History of Oregon and California ; Asa Amos Lawrence Lovejoy "Founding of Portland; Whitman's Expedition to Washington [DC] in the Winter of 1842-3" (Bancroft MS, written 1870, Oregon City); Obadiah Oakley "Expedition to Oregon" (Bancroft MS taken from a reprint from the newspaper Peoria Register, ca 1914, New York; Oakley traveled part way to Oregon in 1839 and all the way to the Willamette Valley in 1842).
IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY DURING 1842:
During 1842, after the sale of his own ship in Hawaii, Capt. John H. COUCH sailed back to Oregon to begin the trade negotiated by Jason Lee and King Kamehameha III. Aboard with Couch were A.E. WILSON and Andre LEBRETON who managed the Cushing store in Oregon City.
This same year, James DOUGLAS and a crew sent by the Hudson Bay Company explored the coast of Vancouver Island.
In 1842 Miss PHILLIPS and Mr. and Mrs. W. RAYMOND were posted to the Methodist mission at Clatsop Plains.
Father J.B. BODUC, a Catholic priest, arrived at Ft. Vancouver by ship from Canada.
Beginning in January 1842, the Methodist Mission selected trustees and organized the college that would later become Willamette University. THE OREGON INSTITUTE opened on Wallace Prairie, just south of Salem, in October 1842.
On February 26, 1842, Lucyanna Maria LEE was born. Lucy Thomas Lee (the second Mrs. Jason Lee) died shortly after. The Gustavus HINES took in Lucyanna Lee after the death of her mother. In 1843, the Hines, Lucyanna , and Jason Lee sailed for Hawaii hoping to find a ship bound for the States.
March 12, 1842, a baby was born to the W.H. GRAYs at Waiilatpu Mission. A Hawaiian named Nina, a man named Cook, and 2 children were with the Grays at that time. On March 16, a son was born to the Elkana WALKERs at Tshimiakan and named Marcus Whitman Walker.
June 1842, Jason LEE, the ABERNETHYs, and the PARRISHes arrived at Clatsop Mission. W.W. RAYMOND also arrived about this time and dismantled the Kones' (river) mission house to move it to the Clatsop Plains.
Trouble was reported in the Clatsop region due to liquor sales to the Indians. An American ex-seaman made threats against Lee and offered 5 blankets as a bounty on his head.
Early in 1842 the Nez Perces had fined Indians of the Red River School for the death of a Nez Perce who had died in their care. Marcus Whitman reproved them for this act and convinced the mother of the deceased to return the property. Between February 12 and 14, a group of Indians led by Apashwakaikin and Himinilipilip came to Waiilatpu to confront Marcus Whitman, angered that he had interfered. The confrontation was heated--PACKETT and 2 others came to Whitman's assistance--but ended without violence.
On March 23, while Whitman was away, Apashwakaikin confronted Narcissa Whitman in a rage. He went away to sulk and expressed no more interest in the plough he had asked for. After Whitman's return, probably during the summer, Tilkaniak and Iatin were also hostile to Whitman. Iatin was enraged when Whitman docked his son's pay for neglecting the mission cattle. Iatin told others in Whitman's family and people at his own camp that he would burn the mill.
Tilkaniak purposely trampled the unharvested corn. He said he had no servants and needed a place to pen his horses; besides, the corn was a growth of Tilkaniak's own land. Whitman admitted he had never paid for the land but stated that he had been invited to Waiilatpu by other chiefs.
Tilkaniak hit Whitman twice on the chest and told Narcissa Whitman to shut up. He threatened to whip the Indians Whitman had told to drive Tikaniak's horses away. Another chief intervened and defused the incident.
In the fall and winter of 1842, the OREGON LYCEUM debated the issue of forming a provisional government immediately or waiting for the extension of U.S. jurisdiction; those who wished to wait until Oregon became a U.S. territory (if this happened within four years) won the debate.
In Spring of 1842, five travelers of a party with Father Pierre DESMETT drowned in the Willamette River when their canoe overturned. At the time of the accident, DeSmett and others of his party were making a portage on shore on the way to Ft. Vancouver.
On May 23, 1842 a child was born to John P. and America (Talley) RICHMOND.
The Oregon Star, the first ship built in Oregon, set sail June 1842 and reached the Pacific Ocean in September 1842. On board were a group of young men who hoped to find white brides and better opportunities in California: Felix HATHAWAY, Joseph GALE, R.L. KILBORNE , Pleasant ARMSTRONG, George DAVIS, Charles MATTS and John GREEN.
In August 1842, American priest Father Pierre DESMETT set out from Oregon for the Missouri border to request reinforcements for the Catholic missions of the Northwest. During his absence, Father Nicolas POINT founded Sacred Heart Church at Coeurs D'Alene (Idaho).
Henry BLACK, who had gone to California with the US Exploring Expedition from Oregon in 1841, returned to Oregon with a herd of cattle. He married August 7, 1842 to the widow Mrs. Lisette WARFIELD (the name "Warfield" also appeared on the roster of civilian families bound for California with the Exploring Expedition in 1841).
Alvan F. WALLER had established a Methodist Episcopal mission at the Willamette Falls with the help of Dr. McLaughlin in 1840. When Steven MEEK, an arrival of 1842, attempted to build on an island near the Falls, Waller said that the Methodist mission claimed a mile square of the land around the Falls. Meek left, but MCLOUGHLIN became concerned about his own land claim that he thought included this island.
A son, Lewis B. JUDSON, was born to Lewis H. and Almira (Roberts) Judson in 1842. A son was born to the BREWERs at the Dalles mission in July, and the Daniel LEE's second son was born September 7.
Calvin TIBBETTS, a former mountain man who lived on the Clatsop Plains, and others went to California for cattle and returned in September 1842. A least one man, Peter BRAINARD, emigrated from California to Oregon by joining the cattle herders on the return trip. Trapper Philip F. THOMPSON also returned to Oregon from California in 1842.
Widower Rev. David LESLIE planned to take all 5 of his daughters back to the States in 1842, but at the last minute the eldest, Satira Leslie age 15, married Cornelius ROGERS on the deck of the brig Chenamus. The newlywed Rogers took the two youngest, Aurelia Leslie and the baby, into their care in the Willamette Valley.
Leslie and the two next-to-eldest daughters sailed to Hawaii in September 1842. The brig Chenamus, captained by John Couch, also carried Susan and Joseph WHITCOMB, John and America RICHMOND, and Margaret and William J. BAILEY away from Oregon. Another Leslie daughter died of illness in Hawaii.
The OREGON STAR arrived in San Francisco September 17, 1842. The ship was sold in San Francisco in exchange for a herd of cattle. In 1842, some of the Star's ex-sailors returned to Oregon along with some former Oregonians now dissatisfied with California. The sailors came back overland with a party of 42 men [this story is in Transactions of the Oregon Pioneers, 1891]
On September 23, 1842, Elija WHITE announced to a meeting at Champoeg his appointment as official U.S. Indian agent to Oregon and shared news about Washington D.C.'s interest in the Oregon country.
In October 1842, the Methodist missionaries and some settlers established the Island Milling Company to operate a mill on an island near the Willamette Falls. This launched a long and acrimonious land dispute with Dr. John McLoughlin.
Alvin T. SMITH and Harvey CLARK, former missionaries, opened an elementary school on Tualatin Plains in November 1842; this later became PACIFIC UNIVERSITY.
On October 3, 1842, Marcus WHITMAN and Asa L. LOVEJOY began a journey eastward to the States.
On the night of October 6, with Marcus Whitman recently departed from Waiilatpu to journey to the States, an Indian attempted to break into Narcissa Whitman's bedroom. She struggled with him over the door and called out for John (who was actually no where near). The intruder fled.
Mungo MEVWAY and his wife arrived at Waiilatpu the morning of Oct. 7. Mevway left his wife with Narcissa and went to Ft. Walla Walla. W.H. Gray and McKinlay wrote back from Walla Walla that Narcissa should take refuge with them. When Mevway gave her this message, Narcissa belittled the whole incident and returned to normal life at Waiilatpu with the Mevways, John, Feathercap and his wife, Pitiitosh's wife, and Indian McKay. Ellis paid Waiilatpu a visit from Lapwaii.
On October 12, however, Narcissa Whitman agreed to go with Mr. and Mrs. McKinlay to stay at Ft. Walla Walla. Lapwaii also had trouble with nearby Indians and the Spaldings came for refuge at Ft. Walla Walla on Oct. 22. Shortly after, Narcissa Whitman left Ft. Walla Walla for more comfortable accommodations at Wascopam Mission down-river at the Dalles.
On November 11, 1842, Elija WHITE, Thomas MCKAY, interpreters Cornelius ROGERS and Baptiste DORION, went to investigate the Indian troubles at Waiilatpu and Lapwaii. Philo LITTLEJOHN and William GEIGER, on their way from the Willamette Valley to Waiilatpu and Lapwaii, joined them for the journey. Archibald MCKINLAY joined them at Ft. Walla Walla. Traveling with six armed men the party reached Lapwaii on December 3. There and at Waiilatpu, discussions with the Cayuse calmed down the hostilities. The party returned to the Dalles on Christmas Day 1842.
According to Daniel Lee and Elija White, writing in later histories, the Nez Perces and the Cayuses codified laws at this time and agreed to elect over-all leaders. (Writing at Wascopam at the time, Daniel Lee mentioned Narcissa's visit as well as White and the other travelers but mentioned no Indian troubles.) According to Narcissa Whitman very few Indians remained in the region at this time, most having abandoned the mill-less Waiilatpu and others having gone to traditional winter lodges. Narcissa wrote that she didn't "think much of the new Indian agent" and that White's threats of troops had upset the Cayuse. His interpreter Dorion also apparently had told them that Marcus Whitman would return with American troops. Another meeting with the Indians was scheduled for May 1843.
Sometime during December 1842, the SPALDINGs and the LITTLEJOHNs returned to Lapwaii mission. Shortly after they passed through Waiilatpu along the way, the mill at Waiilatpu burned--Narcissa surmised that this was an accident because the Cayuse Indians (most of whom grew wheat) seemed genuinely upset at the loss of the mill.
In winter of 1842, Marcus WHITMAN and Asa L. LOVEJOY were about two weeks' travel beyond Taos on their journey from Oregon to the States. Whitman struck out alone at this point hoping to reach an eastbound company of trappers at Bent's Fort in time to join them. Instead, Whitman lost his way, wandered, and arrived at Bent's long after Lovejoy. Meanwhile, Lovejoy had implored the trappers to wait for Whitman while he searched for him. Whitman parted from Lovejoy at Bent's Fort and headed east with the trappers arriving in St. Louis in February 1843.
SOURCES, OREGON TO STATES JOURNEYS, 1842: Rev. Joseph Williams, jounal of his return journey to the states in 1842 (unpublished and privately held, posted at www.seidata.com/~rchslib/diary-preface, contact Ripley County Historical Society, 125 Washington St., Versailles, Indiana 47042); Asa Lovejoy's journal of Oregon to States journey, winter 1842-43 (Lang, OHQ 1931, and OHS MS are all same material as Bancroft MS)
Mount St. Helens erupted December 12, 1842. In Oregon, the winter of 1842-43 was exceptionally cold; ice blocked the Columbia River until March 13, 1843.
SOURCES IN OREGON, 1842: Oregon Archives (Duniway); two censuses taken by Elija White, Fall 1842 "White's Oregon Census" and "Census of French Prairie," (microfilm and typescript, various archives and versions, such as Lake Oswego Library's "Oregon Census"); Henry H. Spalding (Letters and papers, 1842-1849, OHS MS #2101); Asa L. Lovejoy "Lovejoy's Pioneer Narrative, 1842-1848" (OHQ 1931); A.T. Smith's journal 1840-46 (OHS MS), H.B. Brewer's journal 1839-43 (Seiber), Rev. J.H. Judson's diary 1837-1849 (OHS MS), Records of the Catholic Church of the Pacific Northwest (Munnick), Father F.N. Blanchet 1838-47 (Blanchet), Methodist Reports 1834-1848 (OHQ 23), Narcissa Whitman (Gay, OHS MS, and Drury, First White Women vol. 1), American Board Missions (OHS Library); Oregon Indians, 1838-1844 (OHS Library), Asa Bowen Smith, journal 1838-42 (Drury), Father F.N. Blanchet 1838-47 (Blanchet, DeMers, Bolduc, Langlois), Henry H. Spalding and Asa Bowen Smith, 1838-1842 (Drury), Missionary Elkanah Walker, journal 1838-1848 (Drury), Rev. John Smith Griffin, records 1839-44 (OHQ 1923), Osborne Russell, journal, 1834-1843 (Russell), James Douglas (Public Archives of B. C., Vancouver); William Tolmie, journals (Mitchell, Large), Francis Ermatinger, letters (McDonald); John McLoughlin, letters (Rich).
IN THE EAST:
In February 1843, Marcus WHITMAN, head of American Board Missions in Oregon, arrived at St. Louis after a winter journey from Oregon with Asa LOVEJOY. Lovejoy, who had parted company with Whitman at Bent's Fort (Colorado) made his way westward to Ft. Hall during the early part of 1843. Meanwhile, Whitman continued east to New England and visited Washington D.C. and Boston.
ON THE OREGON TRAIL:
In April and May 1843, emigrants gathered in the Independence, Missouri region; they came from throughout Missouri and various nearby states, traveling in groups under independent leadership and without an over-all organization for a wagon train beyond the Missouri border.
In mid-May, the groups united into one large wagon train. THE WAGONS AND EMIGRANTS SET OUT from Independence, Missouri, on June 1, 1843. Marcus WHITMAN hurried to catch up with the wagon train and joined them AT THE PLATTE. (He had arrived in St Louis from Oregon in February of 1843 and then traveled to Washington D.C and Boston. He was at the Shawnee Mission on May 28)
Capt. John GANTT was hired in Independence as the caravan's pilot to Ft. Hall. AT THE KANSAS RIVER, the overlanders chose leadership for the troop of 700 to 900 people and around 120 wagons: Peter H. BURNETT as captain, J.W. NESMITH as sergeant and nine men as councilors. William MARTIN became the leader when Burnett resigned about 7 days into the march.
A party of several lay brothers with Fathers Peter DEVOS and Adrian HOEKEN had been dispatched by the Catholic Church from St. Louis slightly ahead of the 1843 wagon train. The caravan with Burnett caught up with them at the Kansas River crossing.
They divided into the Cow Column and Light Column AT THE BIG BLUE RIVER. Jesse APPLEGATE took command of the wagons, herders, and slower moving travelers.
Early in the journey, the wife of John HOBSON, an Oregon-bound settler, died of illness and Marcus Whitman promised to take in the two small Hobson daughters at Waiilatpu Mission in Oregon.
John C. FREMONT (1813-1890, a lieutenant in the engineer corps) led his second EXPLORING EXPEDITION during 1843. His troops left the Missouri and Kansas rivers junction on May 2, traveling slightly behind the 1843 wagon train. They turned off the emigrant road at Soda Springs to explore the Great Salt Lake.
Mishaps along the Trail: Mary FURLONG, a small girl traveling with the Applegate party, was frightened by the sight of an Indian and fell into the campfire; badly burned, she was wrapped by her mother in a sheet of tar. Joel HEMBREE, age approximately six, was run over by a wagon. A young man named Edward STEVENSON drowned in the Big Sandy River (a tributary of the Green River) on August 9.
The civilian caravan from Missouri reached Ft. Hall by late August. GRANT, the HBC commander in charge of Ft. Hall, advised the emigrants about the Trail ahead of them. They rejected REMEAU of the HBC's offer to guide them, preferring Marcus Whitman. On his way east, he had left a letter of travel directions at Green River. A.L. LOVEJOY (who went east with Whitman in the winter of 1842-43) met the wagon train in 1843 AT FT. HALL and returned to Oregon.
Near the vicinity of the AMERICAN FALLS ON THE SNAKE River, William J. MARTIN with John GANTT led a portion of the emigrants ONTO THE TRAIL FOR CALIFORNIA. STICCUS, a Cayuse leader sent by the then-ailing H.H.Spalding from Lapwaii, piloted the rest of the travelers from the Blue Mountains into the Columbia River region.
Further west along the trail from Ft. Hall, at the Malheur River, Joseph B. CHILES and Pierson B. READING split from the caravan to go to Sutter's Fort in California.
SOURCES: TRAIL JOURNALS, TURNED OFF TO CALIFORNIA ON THE TRAIL: Diary of P.B. Reading (Reading); Reading's edited journal (is also in Quarterly of the Society of California Pioneers, vol. 6, 1930; also "Pierson Barton Reading Collection" at Calif. State Library; ); James John "Diaries" (Rosebach Foundation Library, Philadelphia); Richard H. Grant "Report of a journey to the Rocky Mountains" (Missouri Historical Society Bulletin, 1945, no.11); E.A. Farwell letter (in the newspaper, Missouri Republican, May 5, 1846); John Gantt "Three Letters of...(California Historical Society quarterly, 1941#2) and Gantt in "Selected Items Relating to the Fur Trade" (Huntington Library).
Marcus Whitman, often traveling ahead of the main party, piloted the emigrants to Oregon after Ft. Hall. The company reached FT. BOISE (commanded by Payette) on September 20.
Meeting STICCUS along the way (before Sticcus had reached the main caravan of travelers), Whitman traveled far ahead with a small party.
Mrs. RUBEY died of illness and was buried at Grand Ronde on October 1, 1843.
By this point on the trail, many of the travelers were destitute. James WATERS, with the vanguard of the 1843 trail travelers, rushed ahead to Ft. Vancouver. He returned to the main body of the caravan with much needed supplies, provided by Waters and Dr. John McLoughlin on credit.
Other travelers, rather than traveling directly to Ft. Walla Walla, took a 90-mile detour to the mission at Waiilatpu. The 1843 trail emigrants nearly depleted the Whitmans' store of food.
On the last leg of the journey, in Columbia River rapids near the Dalles, a canoe accident drowned Edward APPLEGATE (son of Jesse and Melinda), Cornelius STRINGER, and MCCLELLAND and crippled Elisha Applegate (son of Linsay and Betsy).
In the region around the Cascades, William MCDANIEL, OTEY, and B. HAGGARD lost the trail and wandered for 20 miles before finding the Columbia River shore.
The 1843 wagon train trickled into the Willamette Valley over a period of weeks: some found a way through the mountains or along the shore with wagons and cattle; some went by way of Lapwaii, Waiilatpu and Walla Walla; and still others went directly to Ft. Walla Walla where they embarked in canoes down the Columbia River. Most had reached the Willamette Valley by late November 1843.
Meanwhile FREMONT'S EXPEDITION had rejoined the Oregon Trail from their side trip to the Great Salt Lake. At a little bay along the Columbia River just below the Cascades, Fremont encounter a German botanist named LUDER who was working on his own.
The company with Fremont arrived November 4, 1843 at the Dalles, Oregon. Fremont's Expedition continued on to California after purchasing supplies at Ft. Vancouver. They crossed the summit of the Sierra Nevadas in January 1844, on their way to Sutter's Fort, California. Back in the States, Fremont was awarded a presidential nomination as "Pathfinder"; he also won a popular reputation as the "discoverer" of Oregon.
SOURCES FOR 1843: TRAIL JOURNALS: James W. Nesmith, "Diary of the Emigration of 1843" (OHQ 1906), Laura Ann Hawn Patterson (Holmes); Edward Henry Lennox, Overland to Oregon: in the Tracks of Lewis and Clark 1843, facsimile reprint copyright 1902 (LennoxThe Journals of Theodore Talbot, 1843 and 1849-52, 1931, Metropolitan Press, Portland (Talbot) also "Theodore Talbot, Letters to His Family, 1843-1861"(Bancroft MS) and Talbot's "Journals of a Journey Beyond the Rocky Mountains in 1843-1844" (OHS MS); "John C. Fremont, Narrative of an Exploring Expedition: 1849, New York, and various later editions (Fremont. John M. Shively "Guidebook to Oregon" (written after his return to the East in 1844 is reprinted in entirety in David Rumer's Wagon Trail of '44) ; William T. Newby (OHQ vol. 40 "Diary of the Emigration of '43") ; Alva C. Shaw "Diary 1843" (OHS MS); James Scarborough's log for the ship Cadboro 1843-47 (Washington Historical Society Archives) William C. Dement "Letter to his mother on embarkation to Oregon" (Bennett); REMINISCENCES: narrative on wagon trains of 1841, 1842, 1843 (Bidwell/Bancroft/Longmire); Jesse A Applegate Recollections of My Boyhood 1989 (Applegate, lived 1835-1919); William H. Winter and Overton Johnson guidebook (Johnson); Tallmadge Benjamin Wood "Letter of April, 1844 (OHQ 3); Sidney Smith on the Sublette-Stewart hunting expedition, "Report of a Journey to the Rocky Mountains" (Missouri Historical Society Bulletin no.11, 1945); Samuel Penter (OHQ 1906) Jesse Looney "A Letter by One of the Immigrants of 1843" (Washington Historical Society, vol. 1); George W. McHaley "Letters Giving an Account of Overland Journey, 1843" (written in 1900, OHS MS); John B. McClane, "First Wagon Train to Salem," (Bancroft MS 1878); Francis W. Pettygrove, ""Oregon in 1843" (OHQ 1932 and Bancroft MS 1878); Daniel Waldo "Daniel Waldo Critiques" (Bancroft MS 1878); John B. Nelson (Washington Historical Society, "As Told by the Pioneers" vol. 1); Edward B. Applegate (Lockley Folks); Jesse Applegate "A Day with the Cow Column" (OHQ 1900 and Overland Monthly, vol. 1), Jesse Applegate "Letters" (OHS MS, lived 1811-88), Sallie Applegate Long's "History of the Applegate Family"(OHS MS); Cushing and Myra Eells "The Correspondence of...1843-1883" (OHS MS); Peter H. Burnett "Recollections of a Pioneer" (OHQ 1905) Burnett's published diary of 1880?; Nancy Dodson Hembree (Lockley Folks); William Doke (Lockley Folks); Myron Eells (TOPA 1897) and Eells's History of the Indian Missions on the Pacific Coast; 1882, Philadelphia; John Arthur "A Brief Account on the Experience of a Pioneer of 1843" (TOPA 1887); James Athey "Workshops at Oregon City" 1878 (Bancroft MS); Ninevah Ford "The Pioneer Road Makers" 1878 (Bancroft MS); N.P. Mack "From the Sandwich Islands to Oregon: Reminiscences" (Bancroft MS 1878; Mack arrived by ship in 1843); Mary Furlong "Recollections" (California Historical Society); "Fremont Family Papers, 1839-1927" (Bancroft MS); Sarah J. Hill "Description of Uncle and Aunt Hill's Journey to Oregon in 1843" (OHS MS); Thomas Keizur "Narrative" and "Emigrant Road" (spelled Kaiser in Bancroft MS); Sarah Damron Adair (TOPA 1900); Adrietta Applegate Hixon On to Oregon 1973, Ye Galleon Press; White's early activities as Indian Agent to Oregon and the laws negotiated with the Nez Perce (Bancroft MS "Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs" is the same as US government record for Nov. 25, 1844, "Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Department of War, Office of Indian Affairs/Message form the President"); John M. Shively writing about the ship Peacock in 1848 (Bancroft MS in "Oregon Miscellany," 1848-1900"); Charlotte Matheny Kirkwood Into the Eye of the Setting Sun [Reminiscence], out of print--on disk from Walt55@aol.com; Melvina Millican Hembree (Lockley Folks); Elizabeth Miller Applegate (OHS MS, Dye Collection--biography by Lillian Gertrude Applegate); Elizabeth McGary [Lovejoy] (OHQ, Vol 31, one page); Peter H. Hatch (TOPA, Vol 6, one-page); Samuel Penter (TOPA 1906) Pettygrove (OHQ vol. 31, one page).
Sometime during 1843:
The Hudson Bay Company built FT. VICTORIA on Vancouver Island.
Father J.B. BOLDUC opened the ST. JOSEPH School for boys in Champoeg.
The ship Fama arrived in Oregon with the Francis W. PETTYGROVEs, the Philip FOSTERs, the Peter HATCHes, and Nathan MACK.
Pierre PEPIN, who had boarded at the home of widow Nancy GOODRICH at Ft. Vancouver in 1838, returned to Oregon. In 1843 Pepin fulfilled his vow to marry Nancy Goodrich's daughter Susanne once she was of age.
Edmund SYLVESTER arrived on his brother's ship, the Pallas, which was importing Indian goods to Oregon for Cushing and Company. The Pallas left Oregon with 300-400 barrels of salmon.
On January 2, a daughter was born to the PERKINS at the Dalles. A man named COOPER arrived at the Clatsop Mission area on January 3.
In January 1843, Rev. James OLNEY (one of the Lausanne missionary reinforcement of 1840) drowned. He had worked as a carpenter for the Methodist Mission at Salem.
Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius ROGERS, Nathaniel CROCKER, 2 1/2 year-old, Aurelia LESLIE, and two Clatsop Indians were drowned in the Willamette Falls in February, 1843. The youngest Leslie daughter, an infant, was at that time staying with the W.H. Grays. Narcissa Whitman [letter, 2/7/43] described the accident: "the river was very high, the current frightfully rapid, boiling and whirling...
They had made one portage on foot just above the main fall as far as the trail will admit, and got into the canoe, as is usually done, and the canoe was dropped down to the landing place with a strong rope....All got in except Mr. Raymond and four Indians who had the management of the rope; they dropped down to the landing place in safety and Dr. White stepped on a log [going from boat to shore] and instantly the canoe took a sheer out into the current...it shot the canoe into the suction of the falls...at once as to sweep them over the frightful precipice in an instant....Two Indians were saved by plunging into the current....individuals below the falls [saw] the canoe [make] the final plunge, [and] instantly came to their relief. Four were seen swimming for a time but three of them sank almost immediately; one of them continued swimming until the boat came within 30 yards of him when he sunk in a whirl 'to rise no more'. This was Brother Rogers."
In February, Elija WHITE operated on Rev. FROST's throat at Clatsop and, February 27, left to return to Ft. Vancouver.
In February 1843, Narcissa Whitman was writing from Wascopam; the Perkins had invited her to stay with them after her stay at Walla Walla. By this time, SPALDING had returned to Lapwaii taking the LITTLEJOHNs with him and GEIGER was at Waiilatpu.
On March 31, Narcissa Whitman wrote she had recently heard that the Indians were preparing for war. White's mention of force to keep peace had been taken as a threat. White's interpreter Dorion had also told them that Marcus Whitman would return to Oregon with American troops.
The first government in Oregon independent of the Hudson Bay Company and the missions was born out of the WOLF ORGANIZATION. (Meetings held in 1841 seemed to have produced no permanent organization). The first meeting, on February 2, 1843 gave the loosely affiliated group its name; a small group met at the new Oregon Institute to discuss protecting herds of cattle and horses from predators. At the meeting, chaired by I.L. BABCOCK, W.H. Gray moved (and Force seconded) that a committee of six be chosen. As reported by Secretary W.H. WILLSON, the committee included GRAY, BEERS, GERVAIS, WILLSON, BARNABY, and Lucia (LUCIER).
The next meeting was held March 6, 1843 at the home of Joseph Gervais in Champoeg. James O'Neil chaired and George LeBreton was Secretary (Montour declined). W.H.Gray was chosen Treasurer and a panel of 6 were elected to verify claims of hunters who killed predators (Charles McKay, Gervais, Montour, S. Smith, Dougherty, O'Neil, Shortess, and Lucier--Clark and Willson declined). LeBreton and Bridges were to collect a herd-tax in order to pay for these bounties. The committee chosen at the last meeting gave a report. A new committee was appointed to consider civil and military organization (Babcock, chair, White, O'Neil, Shortess, Newell, Lucier, Gervais, Hubbard, McKay, W.H. Gray, and Smith, with G. Gay deleted).
On March 25, 1843, Robert SHORTESS, with A.E. WILSON as secretary, created a strongly-worded petition against the Hudson Bay Company and the British that was signed by 65 settlers at Oregon City, mostly new arrivals in Oregon. Shortess (and/or a courier for the most eastern part of the journey) delivered the petition to William C. SUTTON for delivery to the U.S. Congress (Sutton was at this time already well east on the Trail). Shortess returned to Oregon City with the 1843 westbound wagon train in September.
March through May 1843, more meetings were held about forming a PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT IN OREGON. The Wolf Organization legislative committee met in the buildings of the newly opened Methodist Oregon Institute. They planned a referendum on creating an independent government in Oregon and selected a slate of candidates.
In April 1843, Rev. FROST arrived from the Clatsop Mission to visit Abernethy and Waller in Oregon City.
Elija WHITE, who had a Congressional appointment as Oregon's Indian Agent, was also acting as a peace officer in early 1843. By April he was holding 8 in the Oregon City jail and had punished two Americans for selling liquor and operating a distillery. In April 1843, there was trouble with Indians living near the mission at the Dalles. Elija WHITE, LEBRETON, and an Indian interpreter went to the Dalles settle the problems. [Note: the "April" date for trouble at the Dalles (taken from a 19th cen. history) does not jibe with the information from N.Whitman's letters listed below.]
On April 3, Grant brought Narcissa WHITMAN from the Dalles to Ft. Walla Walla. HINDS, PERKINS and Elija WHITE joined them. On May 23, 1843 Narcissa WHITMAN attended a huge convocation at Waiilatpu with PEOPEOMOXMOX, ELLIS, and other Cayuses and Nez Perces, to make peace. MCKINLAY brought assurances from Dr. McLoughlin that no war was intended. Narcissa Whitman later wrote that the Walla Walla Valley Indians were now focused on a threat from the Americans and lamented that White was "ignorant of Indian nature."
After the meet, on June 1, McKinlay and Iatin escorted Narcissa to Ft. Vancouver with Iatin returning to the interior with dispatches.
Rev. David LESLIE returned to Salem from Hawaii in late April 1843 on the ship Llama. Margaret Jewett (Smith) BAILEY returned to Oregon from Hawaii on the same ship. Daniel Lee met the ship at Ft. Vancouver.
On May 2, a general meeting was held about forming a PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT with I.L. Babcock as chair and Willson and LeBreton as secretaries. The report of the legislative committee was refused and the gathering decided to take a vote on the whole notion of forming any government at all. A "great majority" moved to the right side of the room in favor of government and most of the dissenters left the meeting. (The Archives do not support the often repeated story that the measure passed by the slimmest of votes--by only 2 French Canadians who joined the "American side". Newell names more than 2 French Canadians or ex-HBC employees who voted for government; Hines list of those opposed to government includes the names of some who were in favor and even some who held office).
A slate of candidates were elected for a later referendum on provisional government. (A.E. Wilson, supreme judge, W.H. Willson, Treasurer, LeBreton, Court Clerk, Meek, Sheriff, Burns, Judson, and A.T. Smith, magistrates, John Howard, Major of Constables, C. McKay, Wm. McCarty, and S.Smith, captains, and, as constables, Ebbert, Bridges, Lewis, Campo, and Matthieu.)
From May 16, 1843 to June 28 the legislative committee, appointed at the May 2 meeting, met to draft the articles of a constitution. The group met in various sub-committees and included Hill, Shortess, Newell, Beers, Hubbard, Gray, O'Neil, Moore, and Dougherty.
L.W. HASTINGS LED A COMPANY TOWARD CALIFORNIA from Champoeg, Oregon, on May 30. Most of these were Oregon Trail travelers of 1842, now bound for California.
SOURCE: Lansford W. Hastings Emigrants Guide to Oregon and California  (Hastings) also in Huntington Library MS; "Lansford W. Hastings Papers, 1847-49" (Bancroft MS); Hastings also wrote A New History of Oregon and California .
Hastings arrived at the Sacramento River with only 16 men, about two-thirds of his original party. Although this party faced Indian attacks at the Shasta mountains and Sacramento River, there had been no fatalities on the way; about a third of the company had turned around and headed back to Oregon when they met a NORTH-BOUND GROUP FROM CALIFORNIA.
L.P. LESSE and John MCCLURE led the party who reached the Willamette Valley from California in the summer of 1843. Henry BLACK and Joel WALKER returned with this company to Oregon in 1843, driving a herd of horses and cattle.
The LITTLEJOHNs' only son drowned in the mill-race at Lapwaii in the summer of 1843.
On July 5, 1843, a gathering at CHAMPOEG voted on a GOVERNMENT REFERENDUM and slate of candidates proposed during the earlier meetings of the Wolf Organization. Hines chaired the meeting and Moore read the recommendations of the legislative committee. The voters divided the Valley into four districts, each with a justice of the peace and constables, and elected a triple-executive (three presidents), a supreme judge, a secretary, a treasurer, and the four magistrates with their force of constables under captains and a major. All together the police force numbered about a dozen.
Elected and sworn in July 5, 1843: David Hill, Alanson Beers, and Joseph Gale, the Executive, G.W. LeBreton, Court Clerk/Recorder, Robert Moore, magistrate (in place of Burns), L.H. Judson, magistrate, James A. O'Neil, magistrate of Yam Hill, J.L. Meek, Sheriff, C. Compo, constable, W.H. Willson, Treasurer, and Joel Turnham, constable (in place of Bridges). Others were presumably sworn in later and were likely the same as those nominated on May 2 (However, Amos Cook, not listed on the May slate of candidates, was sworn in as a constable). On September 13, Osborne Russell was appointed Supreme Judge.
After more than a month of treatment at Ft. Vancouver for illness, and visiting in the Willamette for most of July, Narcissa Whitman went to visit the Birnies at Ft. George, Astoria. Daniel Lee and David Leslie escorted her to arrive at the coast August 11. After the visit (made just before some of the Methodist missionaries would sail for Hawaii) Jason Lee escorted her as far as Clatsop and Daniel Lee and Leslie the rest of the way to the Willamette.
Due to ill health, a disorder of his throat, Rev. J. H. FROST resigned from the mission at Clatsop and returned with his family to the States in August 1843. The DANIEL LEEs and the RICHMONDs (formerly of the Nisqually Mission) left on this same ship, the Diamond under Capt. Fowler. Joseph L. and Elizabeth (Winn) PARRISH were posted to the Methodist mission at mouth of Columbia River as replacements for the Frosts.
Lucyanna LEE, the HINES, and Jason Lee also left Oregon for Hawaii in the fall of 1843 hoping to find a ship bound for the States. (They arrived February 1844 in the Islands). Ira BABCOCK, then on his way back to Oregon via Hawaii, told Lee that Lee had been replaced as head of the Methodist mission. Lee left for the States by himself in 1843, and Lucyanna Lee returned to Oregon with the Hines in June of 1844. (This same ship from Hawaii to Oregon in 1844 also carried Lee's replacement, Rev. George GARY and the BABCOCKs. Gary would close most of the Methodist Mission operations in Oregon.)
Marcus WHITMAN, who had arrived at Waiilatpu in early September, had made arrangements for the overlanders at the mission and then made calls as a physician to Lapwaii, Tshimiakan, and the Willamette Valley. During the last week of September 1843, Narcissa and Marcus Whitman were finally reunited. They took the motherless Hobson girls with them from Ft. Walla Walla to Waiilatpu. By late December, Narcissa was so ill she feared death but had recovered by the end of January, 1844.
Late in 1843, Father DEVOS sailed for Europe to recruit more Catholic missionaries. (He returned in 1844 with 5 priests, 6 nuns, and 7 lay brothers.)
The demise of the early provisional government (as well as of the Methodist Missions) began early in 1844. The arrival of the great migration of 1843 in November, contention between the United States and Britain over jurisdiction, and U.S. Congress's legislation on Oregon ended the early pioneer era.
A FINAL NOTE: On September 28,1843, J.W. Nesmith passed the Lone Pine, a frequently noted Trail landmark about 30 trail miles before the valley of Grande Ronde. By the time Lt. Fremont and his troops passed this place, someone had cut down the tree. The Lone Pine, which lent its name to the present-day city of La Pine, was only a stump after 1843.
Preview of 1844; under constructtion
"Word goes out there is a wagon road to the Pacific, and the eager throng each year wear the Trail deeper and deeper; the Mormons now appear with their ox wagons and carts, their hand-carts and wheelbarrows, to deepen the Trail and line it with their dead--this in 1846-47. Then followed the California throng on the Oregon Trail for a thousand miles or more to stir the soil that the wind might carry it away, leaving the sunken pathway a little deeper. This in 1849. Now, again comes the throng--another high tide, to the Oregon Country, when another ten years is tolled off and a great army cover the plains--gold seekers, home builders, religionists, and adventurers of every kind. Now we see the Trail filled with wagons two abreast....The graves have become common; five thousand have died in the one year alone....The trail is now ten feet deep and a hundred wide in many places, but yet destined to be worn deeper and deeper by the return tide of stock in the fullness of time, a million a year for many years, trampling the graves into dust and wearing the Trail into almost incredible widths and depths--fifteen feet deep and two hundred feet wide in one place encountered tells the wonderful story better than song or fiction."
From Ezra Meeker, one of the earliest Oregon Trail historians, The Story of the Lost Trail to Oregon.
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