Monday, June 4, 2012

Introduction

Photograph from Oregon Historical Photograph Collections
Salem Public Library
    
 Just consider the word History: his story. That’s true, isn’t it? The heroes, adventurers and destiny-changers are most often the men of the past. But women have played the same dramatic roles. In nineteenth century Oregon, women transplanted to this western wilderness from comfortable homes in the civilization of the eastern “States”, lived in considerable physical hardship: death in childbirth being frequent.  But an amazing number survived, nurturing their families, sometimes outliving their husbands.  Later generations of women led the way in promoting social justice and establishing the cultural community of the new city. They were torchbearers for women now pursuing professional careers.
       Pioneer women endured long sea voyages to come to the primitive Willamette Methodist Mission in 1837 and 1840. A few came already married and with their small children, others married at the mission either to a man to whom they had become engaged before leaving home or, after a hasty courtship, to one met at the mission. By 1841, the survivors had left that first unhealthy location, and their goal of "civilizing" the Indian population.
      This small colony of American families moved up-river a few miles to Chemeketa Plains where the town of Salem was established. The next generation of women lived the traditional lives of small town housekeeping and nurturing their children. Many names were forgotten to all but their descendants. Those whose husbands became prosperous businessmen and civic leaders were remembered with long obituaries in the newspaper, extolling their piety and success in cultivating local cultural institutions. It would be another generation before women left their traditional roles to pursue careers of their own.
      We look back on all these lives, honoring the courage that was required of women when marriage was their only respectable future, every childbirth a risk of life and when as many of their young children died as survived. Women, even in town, helped tend the animals and grow crops that became their meals. After the tedium of spinning wheel and hand-sewing, they welcomed a treadle sewing machine to assemble clothing for the family. Women who lived in the Salem of 1876, seen above in an artist's vision, were also teachers, or worked in the mill, were servants in other homes, or clerked in a shop. They cared for neighbors when problems threatened other families.
      With the generational changes in educational opportunities, the right to own property and vote, the evolution of what is accepted by our society, women's lives today have a freedom that would have been impossible for the earliest Salem women. We must not forget them: their family and community accomplishments established the foundation for the lives we enjoy in the Salem of today.

All the profiles in this series are based on research compiled by Virginia Green from a variety of sources. Additional information and corrections are welcome. Use Comment section that follows each article.

The Willamette Mission


Undated drawing shows front of mission.

        Almost thirty years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition, four desperate Northwest Indians trekked half way across the continent to ask General Clark for his "Book of Heaven", hoping to save their people from disease and poverty. Alerted by a sympathetic article in the Christian Advocate, the Methodist evangelical spirit responded by financing a missionary effort to Oregon led Jason Lee. His nephew, Daniel Lee, was selected to be his assistant missionary, and Cyrus Shepard was appointed as lay missionary. With the addition of two other laymen, Philip Edwards and Courtney Walker, the small party prepared to cross the continent into a fate none could have imaged.
        The 1834 overland expedition was guided by Nathaniel Wyeth, a successful Boston businessman hoping to establish western fur and dried salmon trading posts and, from Fort Hall to Fort Vancouver, by Thomas McKay, stepson of John McLoughlin, who was a Hudson Bay Company brigade leader and explorer of the Columbia River area. The Methodist mission was organized in the Willamette Valley near a French Canadian settlement, about ten miles north of the present city of Salem. In contrast to the trader/trapper attitude of living in concert with the Indians, the Americans wished, through their preaching classes for the Indian children, to "civilize" the native people by their own standards of society. As examples, the Methodist sponsors realized that American women were needed in the mission community to serve as teachers and to establish families. Aside from these practical matters, one can imagine that the young missionary gentleman were as eager to seek the comfort of women as had the retired French-Canadian trappers living nearby and to attain female help for household domestic activities in their rough frontier cabins. The Methodists recognized that, even if one of their missionaries sought Christian marriage with a native women of the area, it would not be recognized if they returned to their former homes "in the states." There was also the general observation that native women, if they displeased with their male companions, would simply leave them. The ceremony of marriage was a necessity, and with American women who understood the duties of the institution.
         The Board of Missions of the New England Conference of the Methodist Church responded by sending five women who volunteered to be in the next group of missionaries sailing in two whaling vessels from Boston in the summer of 1836. The year-long voyages, including several months in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), ended in Fort Vancouver (near the present city of Portland, Oregon) in May and September of 1837. The travelers proceeded by canoes for three days to the landing at Champoeg where horses were obtained carry them to the mission settlement on the Willamette River about 10 miles north of the present city of Salem. This route took them over the potential rich farmlands of “La Jolie Prairie”, now known as the historic French Prairie area between the two cities. Among the voyagers were three families: a future leader of the missionary community, David Leslie, arrived with his wife Mary and three daughters; a much-needed blacksmith, Anson Beers, with his wife Rachel and three children; and Dr. Elijah White, his wife Serepta and adopted son. A carpenter, William Willson, who had learned medical skills from Dr. White, came as a bachelor. Two of the four unmarried women of the group were already engaged: Susan Downing, to Cyrus Shepherd, a teacher at the mission and Elvira Johnson to minister H. K. Perkins. The Methodist church sponsors hoped that Anna Maria Pittman, acquainted with Jason Lee, would become his wife. Margaret Smith, an experienced teacher, was alone determined to continue unmarried in her profession.



The future of these seven women would be revealed in the frontier life of the structures seen above.



Today's "Ghost" structures in the State Park recall the original mission settlement. This interpretive view point  shows the reverse of the drawing above.

A Triple Wedding ~ Susan, Anna Maria, Nancy




      On July 16, 1937 a triple wedding took place in a grove of fir trees, perhaps like this one, near the mission settlement. Two of these couples are well-known in Oregon history, the other largely ignored. Jason Lee conducted the first ceremony uniting Susan Downing and Cyrus Shepherd, the most gifted of the mission teachers. They had become engaged to marry before the expeditions to Oregon. The second ceremony of marriage that day, for Jason Lee and Anna Maria Pittman, a teacher, was more of a surprise: although she was informed before she left New York that she was a "suitable" prospect as his wife, he had expressed reservations.

         Susan and Anna Maria had voyaged together to Hawaii on the ship Hamilton, then waited several months for the Diana to complete their landing at Fort Vancouver. They were still together in the canoes paddling upriver to Champoeg the next three days. At that landing, Babtiste Desporte McKay presented a letter from Daniel Lee, reporting twelve sick persons at the mission and urging Dr White and the party to hasten in relief. They found the dirt floor of the mission structure covered with the sick, covered with blankets. Susan, dressed carefully for her reunion with Cyrus, found him unkept, busy with housework and caring for the ill. Soon he, too, became sick and Susan found her duties, which continued after their marriage, would be in nursing the sick and caring for the mission children.
     Susan's daughter, born in August 1838, was named Anna Maria Lee Shepherd. Unfortunately, Susan's friend for whom the infant was named, had died a few days after her son was born in the previous June. The Lee son died as well.

     There follows an excerpt from a letter written by 34 year-old Anna Maria Pittman while she was preparing to come to Oregon. Date June 9, 1836, it was written from New York to her brother, George W. Pittman, she says:

       "I have taken my pen in hand to address you for the last time. The time is drawing nigh when I must bid a long farewell to all I love. I quit the scene of my youth, the land of my birth, and in a far and distant land among strangers I expect to dwell. Soon the rolling billows of the tempestuous ocean, and the towering mountain's rugged steep, will intervene between us, and perhaps we see each others faces no more. As the hour approaches for my departure, I still remain firm and undaunted; I have nothing to fear, God has promised to be with me even to the end of the world. Dear brother, farewell, may Heaven bless you, and oh remember your sister who goes not to seek the honors and pleasures of the world, but lays her life a willing sacrifice upon the altar of God."

       Jason Lee in his diary recorded his second meeting with Anna Maria Pittman: "In our first reinforcement in the summer of 1837 there were three single ladies, one of which was not engaged. I had seen her before in N.Y. City, but was not at all favorably impressed with her personal appearance, and least of all, did I think she would ever become my wife; even when I was informed by letter that she was coming to Oregon, and on my first interview with her there, my prejudices remained the same. I was told that she was sent out on purpose for me, and that she had come with expectation that I would marry her.
After the marriage, Jason Lee wrote "Thus I commenced a new era in my life and began an experimental acquaintance with the state of marriage, the happiness of which I had long been favorably impressed. The most perfect harmony and unanimity subsisted between us, and we were always happy in the enjoyment of each others society."

      The Lees and Shepherds took a honeymoon camping trip the coast (each way was four days by horseback) where the ministers preached to Indians and, we hope, the ladies indulged in salmon and enjoyed the dramatic Oregon coast views.  Early in the next year, Jason Lee was on his way back to the east to gain more financial support for the mission effort. Although pregnant and ill, Anna Maria accompanied him to the ship in Vancouver (again by horseback, being helped on and off by their companions). Her friends felt at that time that she would not recover. Indeed, she and the new born son died in June of 1839 and were buried together in a hastily constructed casket. Flooding caused damage to the mission grave site. Her casket was later moved to Lee Mission Cemetery in Salem. 

       In 1840, Cyrus, always in ill health due to tuberculosis, died after the amputation of a leg. Susan must have left the mission at that time. In 1841, Susan married Joseph Whitcomb in Washington and returned east the next year. He died soon after. A grandchild, Clara Shepherd Newell Traxler wrote "Stories my Grandmother Told Me", including memories of Susan's tragic four years Oregon.

        The third couple was Nancy McKay, daughter of Captain Thomas McKay and his Indian wife, Timmee T'ikul Tchinouk, to Charles Roe, an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company. The mission community festivities included a "love feast" with sermons on the joys of married life, singing, and conversions of Indian attendees. Charles Roe also joined the church that day.
        Nancy was as close to northwest aristocracy as any young lady of that day. Her father, Thomas McKay was the respected explorer, trapper and trader who acted as guide for the party that brought Jason Lee to Oregon. McKay was the step-son of John McLoughlin, the leading representative of Britain in the northwest. Nancy’s mother has been described as a daughter of a Chinook chief. With this family background, it is not surprising to find a record that Nancy and her brothers were among the “Indian” children who attended the mission school where Cyrus Shepard was teacher. However, Nancy and Charles were not a part of the mission community. They lived in the French Prairie area, among the retired French-Canadians and their families. Her home, later described as a "hut" by Gustavus Hines who found it unoccupied, was a modest one. The only recorded sighting of Nancy herself after her marriage was in 1843, near Walla Walla. Hines wrote the following: 


        "An Indian woman and her daughter joined our party, of whom mention has been made in another part of this narrative. The old woman lived many years with Thomas McKay, but he finally cast her off, and she is now the wife of an old half-breed Iroquois, by the name of Jo Gray. Her daughter is the wife of Charles Roe. They both live in the lower country, but were up on a visit to their relatives among the Indians. Their dresses were an imitation of the Boston fashions, but were much defiled by the smoke, dirt, and grease of wigwams. They were both astride their horses, the younger carrying her little son before her."

        And so Nancy and her son disappear from the records of that time. Nancy’s birth date is unknown, but she died before 1856. Charles Roe remarried in that year and in 1859 was hanged in Salem for the murder of this second wife.



Marion County photograph by TN Green, Jr.

Mission Mothers ~ Rachel Beers & Mary Leslie



     Two of the first five women who came to the mission in 1837 brought three small children.
     We know little of Rachel Beardsley Beers. She married on November 17, 1830 and came to Oregon with her husband Anson and their three young children. A description of the couple was made by Dr. and Mrs. White on the 1837 voyage to Oregon: "He was a man of low stature, rather dark complexion, rigid puritanical manners, and well versed in scripture, ever stoutly insisting on all coming to his landmark, his righteous soul chafing sorely at the least departure of his friends from his golden rule. Being rather bilious, it increased the authority of his manners, which failed to render him a favorite with either crew or passengers. Mrs. Beers was of medium height, round favored, philosophical turn of mind, docile, quiet in temperament and perfectly obedient to her husband, as the reader might suppose she had better be, after the above description of him."
       Anson was a blacksmith, an important skill in the frontier community. He also took on both a political and military role in the new village of Salem. Rachel lived in the mission settlement while he was often away on various ventures. In Oregon, one of her children died and four more were born. Their seven births were between 1834 and 1848 ~ perhaps one every two years until her death.
     When the mission enterprise in Oregon was dissolved in 1844, the mission property was sold to Beers. A note in Rev. George Gray's diary says, "Today we made a bargain with Mr. Beers to sell him the farm which he occupies with the stock, tools, etc... This puts a heavy concern off our hands. We will soon be able to dismiss Mr. Beers from the services of the mission."
     If Rachel's death was recorded, that document is now lost: he remarried in 1852 and died the next year. There is a tombstone near his in Lee Memorial Cemetery, simply marked "Beers" that may be hers. 
     However, Rachel may be remembered in another way. In 1845, a year after Rev. Gray's note quoted above, and four years after the missionaries had moved to Salem, John Minto wrote about visiting the original mission settlement, Beer's property, remarking that floods had carried away everything but "six or eight peach trees; a rose bush, some gooseberry and currant bushes and a bed of rhubarb." The rose bush was probably Rachel's. In 1837, she found a wilted rose clipping among her belongings when she unpacked in Oregon. Cyrus Shepherd planted it for her and it thrived. Later it was noted by several writers as the brightest spot of color in the mission settlement. Did another generation of that rose grow in what became her son Oliver's garden? His handsome 4000 square feet house, built in 1870, is located at 10602 Wheatland Road N in Gervais. In the successful nomination for this property on the National Register of Historic Places, there is speculation that her home was here: Evidence supports two conclusions: one, a building previously existed here...and mission occupation is inferred. The Willamette mission hospital building is the most likely candidate...The hospital, described in 1841 a a 'well-built frame edifice' was Alanson Beers' dwelling place in the 1840s and 1850s...Possibly the executor of Alanson Beers' estate, Josiah Parrish, inhabited the hospital until 1862, at which time Oliver Beers began a three-year lease and eventual purchase of the claim." Perhaps Rachel's rose will be found 
 there.

Memorial to Mary Leslie
Mary A. Kinney Leslie (the same age as Anna Maria Pittman Lee) was married to David Leslie, a minister who took over many of the duties of Jason Lee while he was traveling back and forth to the east. She brought three daughters with her to Oregon. We know that while Mary Leslie was ill (perhaps pregnant), the family shared mission housing with Elvira and Henry Perkins. The structure burned, destroying all their possessions. Mary had two more daughters before her death at the mission in her 31st year in 1841.
When the missionaries' Methodist church sponsorship was dissolved, the community moved to the new settlement at Salem and the church lands there distributed among the families. David Leslie was awarded the claim lying between the present Mission and Gilchrist streets, the east edge of what is now Bush Pasture Park and the Willamette Slough. Here he built the fourth house in Salem (a frame house of two floors) and planted an orchard with numerous varieties of apples and pears. (Bush House now stands at this site.) Mary Leslie's remains were transferred to the section of family land that has since become Pioneer Cemetery and may be considered the first burial in that historic cemetery.

Sadly, four of Mary's five daughters died at early ages: Without his wife to assist in raising the children, Leslie decided to take them to a mission in Hawaii (Sandwich Islands) where there was a school for them. As they waited to leave Astoria, one of the daughters (Satira age 15) left the ship and married Cornelius Rogers. Leslie accepted the marriage and then left two other daughters, Helen and Aurelia, in the new couples’ care. Leslie then continued on to Hawaii where he left the two remaining daughters Mary and Sarah at a boarding school. Sarah died a year later in Hawaii, while Cornelius, Satira and Aurelia (perhaps 2 years old) also died that year, February 1843, in Oregon when their canoe went over Willamette Falls. Mary grew up to marry, but at age 25 died at the birth of her second daughter in 1857. Helen, who survived the canoe accident ~ or was not present ~ did not marry, but lived with her step-mother Adelia (Leslie's second wife) in Salem. Both died in the same year, 1890.
This Google image depicts a romantic vision of pioneer life in America.

The Lady Said No ~ Margaret Smith

      Most of us have had an acquaintance (or member of the family) like Margaret Jewitt Smith. She was, to put it in more a modern-day term, "ahead of her time". Even today, when a woman in America has more choices in her future than Margaret could have imagined, there are those who seek unconventional paths. She saw herself as more than the wife and mother her society demanded of her future: she wanted to express herself as a writer of poetry, to have a career as a teacher, to see the world. She might have even had aspirations to vote! She said "No" to the limits of domestic life, always under the control of men, offered women of her time.
       Born in Saugus, Massachusetts about 1812, Margaret was able to prevail against family wishes and attend Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham. This was the institution where Jason Lee graduated in 1830 (when she was 18 years old) and one of the first to offer higher education to women. The evangelical enthusiasm to missionary work in Methodist church, inspired her go to Oregon as a teacher. She secured a "position" with the 1837 group and accompanied the Leslie family and William Willson on the nine months voyage. By the later, semi-fictional retelling of her story, she found herself as a servant to the ailing Mrs. Leslie during the trip, and was urged to marry Mr. Willson ~ her presumed suitor ~ after they arrived at the mission. She refused, even after he testified that they had been intimate during a winter at the mission settlement. When he married Chloe Clark, Margaret was relieved to have that matter settled. But her ambition to remain single, to have her writing published and to serve as a teacher were all challenged to such a degree that she left the community. Of course, she must marry someone. So her choice was Dr. William J. Bailey, not of the mission, and they settled in French Prairie. But that was far from the end of her story.
      Margaret discovered Dr. Bailey was not an ideal husband: he had a violent temper and was alcoholic. However, by 1848 her writing career was advancing as her poetry (signed by MJB) was appearing in the Oregon Spectator. She was even hopeful of editing a periodical for women. Realizing her personal situation with an abusive husband could not continue, she divorced Dr. Bailey in 1854. That same year her book, with the lengthy title of Grains, or, Passages in the Life of Ruth Rover, with Occasional Pictures of Oregon, Natural and Moral was published. In Chapter One the narrator as Ruth Rover reveals, "I am avoided and shunned, and slighted, and regarded with suspicions in every place till my life is more burdensome than death would be. I have, therefore, … been impelled by a sense of justice due to myself and a wish that my future life should not be overshadowed by the gloom of the present.” 
      This thinly disguised narration of her life at the mission changed the names of the missionaries in the novel, but revealed them in copies of actual documents inserted in the text along with her poems. Of course, this was too much! A divorced women casting suspicion on the motives and behavior of the ministers!  Amid public criticism, her career as a published Oregon writer came to an end.
      Margaret's personal story continued to be unfortunate: a year after her divorce, she married Francis Waddle in Polk County. In 1888, this marriage also ended in divorce. In Washington Territory she married for the third time. Perhaps this union brought her more comfort, but certainly not prosperity: she was reputed to be "in poverty" when she died in Seattle on May 17, 1882.

Much of this information is found in the Oregon Encyclopedia under the title "Margaret Jewett Smith Bailey (1812-1882)".

William Bailey went on to participate in Oregon's provisional government, living on his property in the French Prairie of the Willamette Valley with his second wife. He is buried in the St. Paul Cemetery.

Photograph: Oregon Historical Society, Research Library, ORHi37311

A Fatal Rescue ~ Elvira Perkins & Serepta White

Elvira Johnson had been engaged to Rev. Henry Kirk Perkins before she sailed to Oregon. In November of 1837, they were married by Rev. Leslie. She was described as "a willing worker, amiable, well-thought-of, and a person who made every effort to be useful". By March, Rev. Perkins left the Willamette mission with Daniel Lee, leaving his wife while a new mission was organized at the Dalles (Wascopan). She joined him six weeks later, traveling by canoe the 70 miles on the Willamette and then 95 more miles on the Columbia. Considering currents and weather, how would you like to undertake that canoe trip today?
By August, Elvira Perkins was ill. This might have been a difficult pregnancy as that "delicate condition" was often referred to as an "illness". David Leslie and Serepta White (with her infant son, Jason Lee White) boarded a canoe at Willamette mission to go to her aid. Mrs. White was an accomplished member of the mission company: a teacher and a medical assistant, trained by her physician husband. The trip to The Dalles was successful and Elvira was recovering as they left for the return trip. Along the way home, the canoe overturned, dumping the passengers into the water. As she later recalled, Serepta found herself under the canoe, struggling for breath, thinking, "I have done with my labors for these poor Indians ~ well, all will be over in a moment, but how will my mother feel when she learns my fate?" Then she felt someone grasp her dress and she was brought to the surface. Her first remark was, "Oh, Mr. Leslie, I lost lost my child!". Indians rescue them both and find the body of the child under the canoe. The small body was then wrapped in a blanket and the mother held it as they continued back to the mission, arriving the next day. This tragedy was compounded later that year when the White's adopted son George, age 14, became entangled in his saddle equipment and drowned while crossing the Willamette River.

Lifelines of Elvira and Serepta
Dr. Elijah White had conflicts with Jason Lee about the direction of the mission activities, the change in focus from aid to the Indian population to colonizing for American settlers. Dr. White and family left the mission in 1840. He became an Indian agent and then, ironically, led immigrants into Oregon.  While Serepta was living in New York during his expeditions, she lost another child, afterwards adopting several children. Dr. White returned to Oregon to promote the community of Pacific City. He died in California in 1879. Nothing more is known of Serepta except that they wrote "Travels of Dr. E. White and Lady". We may assume she returned to the west with him.
The Perkins returned to the mission where she was a teacher as well as caring for her own children, a son, Henry, and a daughter born in 1841. The Perkins and Leslie families shared a house, the one that burned, causing them to lose all their possessions ~ a household tragedy in these frontier circumstances. In 1844 when the mission efforts transformed into creating the community of Salem, Elvira and her family left Oregon to return to Massachusetts. Her husband's place was taken by Rev. Alvan Waller.  Like the White couple, the Perkins kept a journal of their years in Oregon, 1838-1844. The date of Elvira's death is also unknown.

Thanks to Google for this image of a typical canoe accident in river rapids.

Overland to Oregon ~ Pherne Brown Pringle



On November 25, 1846, 14 year-old Octavius Pringle wrote, "Camped on the Willamette, the handsomest valley I have ever beheld. All are charmed and we think we will be repaid for all our suffering." 
Having left Missouri April 15th, the Brown and Pringle families had borne months of an almost fatal overland journey by ox teams, especially difficult were the last 300 miles as they traversed the Applegate Cut-off enduring axel-deep muddy roads, fording icy creeks, searching for a coyote carcass to forestall starvation and the death of an 18 year-old girl. 
Octavius was the son of Pherne Tabitha Brown, daughter  of Clark Brown, an Episcopal minister who died at Mount Vernon, Virginia in 1824. Three years later, Pherne married Virgil K. Pringle in St. Charles, Missouri. In 1843, her brother came to Oregon and was so impressed that he went home and persuaded the rest of the family, including the Pringle family of six children (aged 7 to 18), to return with him. In the three generation party, along with the widowed Tabitha Brown and the Pringle family were Captain John Brown, her brother-in-law, her son Orus and family ~ 22 relatives in all.
The party arrived in Salem on Christmas Day, having been nine months on the journey. Pherne resided here for the the remainder of her life. From her obituary:  "a woman of strong individuality, she impressed her life and character upon all with whom she came in contact." We also learn that she found "no organization of the Episcopal Church and then allied herself with the Methodist Episcopal Church in which she remained she remained an earnest and constant member." 
Another biographical source tells us that she was an accomplished artist, her sketchbook on display at the museum at Old College Hall at Pacific University. This was the school founded by her mother, the outstanding educator often called the "Mother of Oregon". Her school began with twelve girls, "not only giving literary instructions, but teaching needlework and housework." We can be assured that Pherne excelled in these skills as well! 
The Pringle family took land to the south of the creek that bears their name, just south of Trade Street. They also had property several miles south, where the original Pringle School stood.The obituary continues: "Her partner in life, Virgil K. Pringle, after having passed sixty years of happy wedded life preceded her four years 'to that bourne from which no traveler returns.' There were born to them eight children four of whom still survive. Mrs. John Hughes [the mother of Lulu Hughes who became Mrs. A. N. Bush] and Mrs. C. D. Young, of Salem; Clark Pringle and Octavius Pringle, of Prineville, Oregon, who shall they continue to live her life and die her death, will merit too as she has done the good will of all with whom they came in contact. The funeral will take place today at 2 o'clock p.m., from the family residence in South Salem on High street." 

Photograph above used by the courtesy of Oregon State Library. The caption reads:
Portrait of Grandma (Pherne) Pringle and her grandson, Clifton Young, son of Ella M. Pringle and Judge Clifton D. Young in Salem, Or. His complete name was Elbert Clifton Young, he was born in 1879 and died of tuberculosis in 1904. "Pherne Pringle, daughter of Tabitha Brown, who helped found Pacific Univeristy of Forest Grove, Oregon and wife of Virgil K. Pringle." 
This house (seen below in a contemporary photograph) later became the residence of Governor and Mrs. Hatfield.

A Life of Adventure ~ Lydia Hines


Traveling by sailing ship on the world's oceans and by the "Prairie Schooner" across our continent, Lydia Bryant Hines had a life of adventure.  The following profile of this exceptional Salem woman is condensed from an article in the Pacific Christian Advocate of April, 1870.

In 1830 Lydia Bryant married Gustavus Hines. In the following winter they settled in the woods of Ellicottsville, NY.  Her husband received his first license to preach the gospel, and was appointed by his presiding elder to travel the circuit on which they were living; and she very unexpectedly found cast upon her the responsibilities of the life of a Methodist itinerant preacher's companion. In all her calculations for the future, she had made no reckoning for this and the prospect appalled her.  However she became convinced that the call of the Church was indeed the call of God: and accordingly yielded and prepared herself as best she could.
 Early in the spring of 1839 she was called upon to endure perhaps the most severe trial of her life; the severing of all ties that bound her to the land of her nativity, the committal of herself to the treacherous storms of ocean, and in connection with others, to seek, as a missionary, a far distant home on the then almost unknown shores of the great Pacific. The evening of Oct. 9th, 1839 found her for the first time on the deck of a ship. Nearly eight months of ocean life, during which she was permitted to look in upon Brazil, Chili, and the Sandwich Islands, acquainted her with the lights and shadows of a sea voyage in a crowded vessel. June 1st, 1840 found her at Vancouver, and exchanging the ship Lausanne for a Chinook canoe, by which the waters of Oregon were then navigated, she arrived on the 15th of the same month.
Early in the spring of 1841 it was her lot to occupy a small shanty located near what is called the "old parsonage" in Salem. She often feared that she and her family would fall victims to savage fury—and the more so as she now had under her protection a young and helpless sister. One day, at the dusk of evening, in the fall of the year, while the neighborhood was agitated by rumors of Indian outbreaks, there appeared immediately in front of the parsonage 12 mounted savages of the Molalla tribe, painted in the most hideous and frightful manner, and rushing up into the very dooryard, all dismounted, giving evidence at the same time that their visit was not friendly. Mr. H. went out to meet them, and approaching one who appeared to be their leader, offered him his hand in token of friendship. He refused and immediately the whole band set up a horrid laugh. This demonstration of hostility so alarmed Mrs. Hines that she resolved to take her little sister, and if possible, escape to a house on the north side of Mill Creek, occupied by the families of L. H. Judson and James Olley, (sister of Judson) the only house within many miles. She took a circuitous route for a distance down the little stream running in the rear of the parsonage, so as to keep from the sight of the Indians as long as possible. Sometimes leading little Julia by the hand and at others lifting her in her arms, she struck across the prairie northward, struggling through the tall grass with her precious burden, while expecting every moment to be pursued and feel the violent hand of a savage laid upon her. On reaching the creek, not daring to extend her flight to a footbridge a short distance below, she dashed straight through the current, bearing her sister in her arms. Not being pursued, she gained the house in safety, and collecting all the adults belonging to the families, she returned with them through the darkness to look after the fate of her husband. The savages had in the meantime encamped in [the] rear of the parsonage, where they remained quietly for a few hours, and then before daylight decamped, bearing with them as booty some provisions and a valuable horse, the property of Mr. Hines.
 In the spring of 1842, by the death of Mrs. Jason Lee, the infant daughter, but three weeks old, was taken by Mrs. Hines from the bed where its mother, just deceased, still reposed, and conveyed to her own home. For reasons that need not be inserted in this sketch, Mr. Lee, Mr. and Mrs. Hines and family, left Oregon in Feb. 1844, intending to proceed to the eastern states. But on arriving at Honolulu it was found that there was no sailing for any of the Atlantic ports for several months. It was however ascertained that a small Hawaiian schooner about to sail for Mexico, would take one person on board. And Mr. Lee being exceedingly anxious to proceed, took passage in hope of being able in some way to get from Mexico to New York: while Mr. Hines and family, including Mr. Lee's daughter, decided to return to Oregon. It was here, on the Island of Oahu on the 28th of Feb., 1844, that with flowing tears and words of sympathy and love Mrs. Hines received the daughter from the arms of the weeping father, and made a solemn pledge that all a mother could do for a daughter she would do for the motherless child that then in her heart she adopted as her own. Mrs. Hines with her family returned again to Oregon, and arrived at Oregon City the last of April. Residing there for the best part of two years, she was active in Church interests, but especially in searching out the destitute among the emigrants who crossed the plains, and in affording relief. During the years 1844-5, in company with her husband, she visited every portion of Oregon then occupied by whites, for Missionary purposes, traveling on horseback and in canoes.
Lifeline
In September 1845, it became the duty of Mrs. Hines to leave Oregon again and return to the States. Accordingly, she with Mr. H. and their two adopted daughters bade a second adieu to the wooded mountains of Oregon, and performed another voyage to the Sandwich Islands, where she spent upwards of three months. From the Islands, she had the opportunity of crossing the Pacific Ocean to the coast of China and of spending upwards of two months at Hong Kong, Macao, and Canton. From thence, in the good ship Leeland, the Chinese and Java Seas were traversed, the Straits of Sunday penetrated, the Indian Ocean crossed, the Cape of Good Hope doubled, the Atlantic Ocean again traced, and on the 5th of May the missionary family arrived in safety at New York City. [The anticipated reunion of Lucyanna and her father was not to be: Jason Lee had died at his sister's home just two months before.]
In 1852, very unexpectedly to her husband, she informed him that she would be glad to return again to the Pacific Coast, and there spend the remainder of her days. Sympathizing in this feeling, Mr. Hines asked and obtained a transfer to the Oregon Conference, with the privilege of returning to the country by way of the Plains. The journey across the Plains, which was performed the same year, was one of great interest to Mrs. Hines though attended with great toil and exposure. Their first place of residence after reaching Oregon in October 1853 was on the Vancouver circuit; and in the spring of 1854 by virtue of the appointment of Mr. H. to Salem she became a resident of that city. On this year she received a third orphan [this was Marie Smith] into her family and into her heart. Here, for fourteen years she has had a settled home, though from time to time she has extended her travels to various parts of the State and Washington Territory. In this home she closed her highly useful and eventful life in great peace, March 14th, 1870.
Lydia is buried near the original entrance to Lee Mission Cemetery, a site now unmarked.


The Shadow of Scandal ~ Orpha Carter, Nancy Judson, Almira Raymond


Three of the pioneer women who came to Oregon on the Lausanne in 1840 had lives touched with scandal. Divorce and suicide were rare in those days, but when they happened in a family, community criticism focused on the woman.

The first incidence befell Orpha Lankton Carter in 1850.
In April 1840, the ship Lausanne stopped at Honolulu bound for the Jason Lee Mission on the Willamette River in Oregon. David Carter, a carpenter, at once decided that the opportunity to enter the missionary field was at hand and joined with the others. Shortly after reaching the Oregon country, Carter and Orpha Lankton, one of the fifty missionaries from the ship, were married. When plans were made to construct a mission at The Dalles, the Carters moved to that city, and Mr. Carter worked on the mission buildings as carpenter. Finishing this work, they moved to Oregon City, where their first child was born. Later, they moved to the Jason Lee Mission, and there their second child, Joseph Lankton Carter, was born. In 1846, the family moved to a donation land claim south of Salem, and in 1848, David Carter and a Garrison Bewley went to the goldfields of California. Not finding any great gold stake, Mr. Carter returned to Oregon, and with Joseph Holman, operated the second store to be operated in the town of Salem. Soon thereafter, a large shipment of goods coming by boat to them was wrecked on the famous Peacock Spit, off the mouth of the Columbia River. Believing the goods lost, the store was closed. Carter became depressed ("bound by Satan”, it was said) and hung himself in 1850. Ironically, the family later learned that the goods had been saved.
Carter’s estate was sold at auction, leaving Orpha without support, except for her son. A Union County obituary states, “After the death of his father, Joseph removed with his mother to Brownsville, and from that place to Lebanon. He laid to rest this beloved parent in 1873, cherishing her memory not only as a devoted mother, but as a friend of the lost and ignorant Indians, and of our rising young state, and as a servant of God.”

Lewis Judson was brought to court in 1859.
Almira Roberts of Otsego, New York was married to Lewis Judson on August 13. 1831. She had aspirations of being a missionary and so readily joined her husband for the 1839-40 voyage to Oregon on the Lausanne. Tragically, this young woman of 30 years died four years later at age 30, leaving him with four children under the age of 12. Lewis Judson married Nancy Hawkins two years later and they made their residence in the Clatsop community. Nancy filed a petition for divorce with the Oregon Territorial Legislature in 1858 charging physical abuse, mistreatment of the children and fraudulent sale of her father's property.
A copy is seen here as it was printed for testimony:
I humbly Beg of the Legislator of oregon to grant me a bill of divorcement for I cannot live with Mr Judson he misuses me in everry shape he is capable of doing he has knocked me down and scolded me and beemeaned me in everry shape and lyed on me as bad as any one could lly on another and does not Provide for me Nor the family as he aught to do But has squandered all that father has givin mee and has squandered every thing wee have in the world and has mortgaged my land and his and it is all gone and he is not able to support me nor the Children neither is he capable of takin care of us the children are ragged and go not fit to bee seen and have to depend on the Neigbors for their bread and do not get mutch of that I have not lived with Mr Judson since the first of last December Ad 1857 from that time to this I have had to support my self as best I could and the children has been Poorly taken care of for they have had to take care of them selves in a maner that is too of them for I have one of them with me sending him to scool the yongest a little boy the other too is down at Clatsap where he keeps them have stalved and half naked My Children has never bee to school of any consiquenc and he never will sene them I have three children one little girl 10 years olde the 10 day of next december one boy 12 years olde 22 of February next the yongest is alittle boy 7 years olde the 26 day of may next and he knows more than all the rest for I have been sendding him to school ever since wee parted Now if it will please your honerble boddy to give me a bill and give me the Children I will every Pray ec
I ever remain your humble friend
Mrs Nancy Judson
Nancy won her divorce and, with one of their three children (William Henry, Nancy Elmira, Lewis Leslie), went to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Martha and John Boon. This caused the Boon family to be severely criticized by the Salem town folk who regarded Nancy as the party at fault in the divorce. Her residence was the Boons did not last long as she married Edward H. Staples in May of 1859. Her fate is unknown, but it is a persistent rumor (among her own family) that she later joined a circus.

Almira David Raymond charged her husband with adultery in 1864.
The Raymonds arrived in Oregon on the Lausanne and when the mission moved to Salem, moved into the residence now known as the Jason Lee House where Almira was housekeeper. She had been a teacher and perhaps also served in this capacity. There was trouble between William Willson and Almira's husband, W. W. Raymond that was settled in 1846 when he sold his claim moved to Clatsop Plains where he became a Sub Indian Agent. Between 1849 and 1880, Almira wrote letters to her family in Amsterdam, New York and to her sister, reflecting the hardships of frontier life as farmers-missionaries.
Here is one example:
"Tansy Point Oregon Feb. 20, 1852
Dear Sister (Adaline)
I have often thought I would give a few particulars of my history in this country but time and opportunity has failed untill now I seem to have a little time. I have a young babe 3 weeks old. My husband has gone up the river to Portland and Dayton to attend to his publick business and get supplies for the family and I am left with an Indian boy and my children. Sometimes get a little lonesome as I am not able to work or get about much yet but think I am gaining now. We who rais families in this country have had much to do. We have had 9 children in 13 years. In bearing these I have suffered much. I have never been less 24 hours in child birth and generally 48. My life has been despaired of a number of times. Twice I have been delivered by artificial means and the children died at both times. My husband has been my only nurse and he has done all he could for me. It has been as hard for him as for me. The Lord has brought me through a sene of trials and difficulties. I could not have believed I could have passed through but I trust they have been for my good.
Almira A. Raymond.
In 1864, Almira brought a suit for divorce against Raymond in which both Almira and her children testify to his physical abuse and his adultery with Elmira Phillips who boarded with them. 
After the divorce, Raymond and Elmira Phillips married.
Almira continued living the Clatsop area and perhaps earned her living as a nurse. Her last letter was written to her sister in 1880:
My health is very poor at present. [she describes a serious condition, perhaps cancer.] I am poorer in flesh than when I wrote last and feel much weakness. I had hopes of seeing you in this world but I have given that up now, but we will be sure to meet in heaven. I feel sorry to think that you suffer so much you are feeble as well as I am. I suffer so much at times. My youngest daughter is staying with us this winter. Nathan my son is surveying. The Lord is with me. In Him I put my trust. Give my love to all. I wrote to Ira [her brother] but have received no reply.
Your loving sister
Almira A. Raymond.

 These have been collected as Westward to Oregon : diary and letters of Almira David Raymond, and W.W. Raymond, Oregon pioneers with Rev. Jason Lee.

At Home on Court Street ~ Almira Holman & Chloe Willson


In 1867, the imposing brick Waller Hall, facing State Street, joined the 1844 Oregon Institute as representing the Willamette University campus ~ the cultural beginning of Salem. To the north, between State and Court streets, the imposing classic Oregon State House was the center of the city's political life. Willson Park adjoined the capitol building on the west, as it does today. On the north side of Court, there arose the fine homes of Salem's earliest social leaders. Two of these matrons were women who come on the Lausanne as teachers in the mission community.


Local legend recalls that as 26 year-old Almira Phelps came down the gangplank, Joseph Holman, just arrived overland, commented, "That's the girl I'm going to marry!" And so he did a year later. Their first home was a cabin on the shores of Mill Creek (the Clements house at Chemeketa and 14th is there now) where he built the first bridge across that creek. She remained in missionary work for a few years after their marriage while he worked for the Methodist enterprises. Paid in stock, he was able to purchase enough land to become a flax grower and breeder of sheep. By 1857, his Holman Building at the corner of Ferry and Commercial, was a political and commercial center. He moved Almira to a Court Street residence (above) on his many-acres property. Their son George and daughter, Mary Holman Albert, had adjoining homes on the block between Cottage and Winter streets. Two other daughters died in young adulthood. 
Almira's 1871 obituary is typical of the time and place:
"She was married to her now bereaved husband, Mr. Joseph Holman, May 6th, 1841. Sister H., having the advantage of a liberal education, received at the Wilbarham Academy, in her native State, was not only qualified to teach the heathen, but also to take her place in the front ranks of Christian civilization, and in the growth and development of the country, may be seen on all sides monuments of Christian enterprise in which her hands have been busied in founding and supporting. 
The M. E. Church in Salem, the Willamette University and the Orphans’ Home have all shared in her liberality. In her religious views, she was a thorough Methodist, endorsing fully the doctrine of a higher life - the power of Christ to save now from all sin. She not only believed this doctrine, but professed to experience its power to save her. 
Her death was occasioned by congestion of the brain, which so affected her mind that she could not converse intelligently much of the time. On one occasion, when consciousness had returned, in answer to the inquiry of her son if she did not think she would get better, she replied, 'Not until I get up to heaven.' To a friend who entered her room, she said, 'I am almost over.' At 9½ o’clock, on the evening of October 16th, she fell asleep in Jesus. Peace to her memory."
Her home was demolished for the Max Buren residence that, in turn, was demolished for the present buildings of the Presbyterian Church.


When the Lausanne missionary teachers arrived in Oregon, Chloe Clark was sent to a new mission station at Nisqually on Puget Sound where she learned enough of her students’ language to communicate.  Chloe and William Willson became acquainted and were married a month later.   In the next spring, they were moved to another station at Willamette Falls (Oregon City).  These were discouraging times:  her failure to change the way of life she found among native children; William's health, which did not seem sturdy enough for the heavy carpentry work; the serious differences that arose among the missionaries and laymen.  By late spring of 1844, Chloe and William had been asked to move to the settlement at Chemeketa Plains where Chloe had been chosen to open the Oregon Institute in the former Indian Manual Labor School, becoming their first teacher and housemother.  The next three years brought many changes beginning with the school's decision to lay out a city on the school's land and sell lots.  By 1846 the town was being called Salem.  Adjacent claims included those of William, who would serve on the school board. William built for them on the riverfront - at the present Front, Ferry-Trade Streets.  In 1848, as Oregon was transformed into a Territory, Chloe became the mother of a daughter, Frances.  Chloe wrote: "My heavenly father has increased my responsibilities by committing to my charge a lovely daughter".  Somewhat later she added this prayer, "My dear Frances is beginning to require correction and wholesome discipline... I look to Thee for help, O my Father ".  Two other daughters, Laurabelle and Kate Augusta Lee, were born in 1851 and 1855.  Before the last daughter was born, William was building an Elizabethan-style cottage on the northeast corner of Court and Capitol streets (above), not far from the new Territorial Capitol building, itself built on land donated by the Willsons.  In 1856, William died of a heart attack.  Chloe was a widow after only 16 years of marriage.  
Chloe returned to the east after his death and for some years opened her home to students.  She returned to Salem in 1863, serving in a position similar to dean of Women.  In a lecture given at Willamette University (former Oregon Institute) in the next year, she defined a "Sphere of Women" as "...not the Halls of Legislature, the Bar or the Pulpit - but the sweet Paradise of home - the refined social circle... to mold character"  She reminded the young women that "the training which you here receive is not to elevate you above your sphere, or to remove you from it, but to qualify you to move in it with ease, grace and dignity".
            By 1871 Chloe moved to the Portland home of her daughter and son-in-law, Frances and Joseph Gill, where she died three years later in the year of 1874. She was 56. Her home was sold to Willamette University where it became Lausanne Hall, a women's dormitory. It was demolished in 1921 for the present building of the same name. A auto service station now occupies the site of Chloe's home.

Women of Property ~ Elepha Waller, Adelia Leslie and Elizabeth Parrish


In the distribution of Salem land ~ either by the mission or by donation land claims ~ several missionaries and their Lausanne wives, obtained considerable property.

Waller-Chamberlain House as it appears today

In 1833 Elepha White married Alvan Waller, a circuit riding preacher of the Genessee Conference in NY.  In 1840, the family, including the two children Mary and Beverly accompanied him to Oregon on the Lausanne. After building the mill and the earliest buildings at Chemeketa, he was assigned to Willamette Falls and then to the Dalles. The threat of  Indian attacks forced the missionaries to race down the Columbia to Oregon City where he purchased a wagon in order to return with his family to the community now called Salem. He was deeded a square mile of land. (From 12th Street east including the original Lee Mission Cemetery and from Mill Creek south to Mill Street.) A son recalled the family living on their farmland raising vegetables, hay and fruit, much of which went to support the Methodist Church and community. Alvan Waller’s subsequent contributions to the Oregon Institute (Willamette University), to the construction of the original Methodist Church and to the founding of the Pacific Christian Advocate were outstanding. Of Elepha's five children, two sons were lost, one by typhoid and the other by accident. Alvan died in 1872 after catching a cold during a storm when he was attempting to board up the church during its construction.
Elepha survived her husband by a decade, living with her daughter, Julia Stratton, in a fine Queen Anne style house that replaced the original Waller residence. (The Stratton House, now a National Register property, is located at 1588 State Street). When the daughter moved to California, Elepha accompanied her and died there in 1881. Her own home had been moved by Martin Chamberlin, whose sister was married to A. O. Waller, the son of Alvan and Elepha.  The Waller house (seen above) was relocated to the corner of 17th and State, then in 1913-16 to its present location at 1658 Court Street in the Court-Chemeketa Historic Residential District where it is known as the Waller-Chamberlin House.

The Leslie house as it appeared in the original location

Adelia Judson, a sister of Lewis Judson, had planned to come to Oregon with her husband, Robert Turkington in 1837. After his death, she petitioned her brother to take her with his family, but was refused ~ he had many responsibilities of his own. Just a few days before the Lausanne sailed, she met the only bachelor on the list of passengers, James Olley, and married him. (Details unknown!) Two year after they arrived in Oregon, he drowned.  Her third husband (1844) was the widower David Leslie. Adelia had two daughters during this marriage, Sarah and Emma, but both died by the age of six. After the Leslie property was sold to Asahel Bush in 1860, their house (seen here in an early drawing) was occupied by the Bush family until they moved it to the corner of Cottage and Mission streets. Bush House Museum now stands at this location. The Leslie family relocated to the address seen in obituary below.
Adelia's 1890 obituary gives us a glimpse of her personality as reflected in her time:
"At her home, corner of Cottage and Center streets, in this city, Monday evening at 6:45, from a paralytic stroke, Mrs. Adelia J. Leslie, aged 78 years. The death of this beloved woman will be sad news to her many friends who have looked upon her with pride and admiration for the past forty years. She was a devoted christian woman and it was her highest ambition to do some christian act, to aid those in want, or to do some benevolent deed that was instrumental in doing someone good. She came around Cape Horn in 1839, from Vermont, as a missionary teacher, sailed up the Columbia River in 1840 and began her work in that portion of the country known as Missouri bottom. Her name was then Mrs. Adelia Ollie. She was a devoted worker in the cause she came west to labor for and was for several years on of the main teachers. In the 50's [1844] she was united in marriage to Rev. David Leslie … and took up a donation land claim where Hon. A. Bush now resides...[since Rev. Leslie's death in 1866] Mrs. Leslie has resided upon the homestead at the corner of Cottage and Center streets. Mother Leslie, as she was familiarly known, has always enjoyed splendid health, but for years has been quite feeble, as she was becoming more aged. Saturday afternoon she made a friendly call on a neighbor and afterward went and took tea with Rev. Rollins and family. About 6 o'clock she departed for home, notwithstanding Rev. Rollins and his wife insisted that she board a streetcar, which would take her to her door. It seems that the good mother did not go directly home, but to Rev. J. Parrish's and remained until quite late when she started home. About one o'clock Sunday afternoon a young lady stopping at Prof. Arnold's called upon Mother Leslie's and upon opening the door was horrified to see the aged mother lying prostrated upon the sitting room floor. She gave the alarm and a number of neighbors came in to render what assistance was possible. She was unconscious when found and despite all efforts never regained consciousness and died at 6:45 yesterday evening. Mrs. Leslie has always had several young ladies boarding with her, but on Saturday evening the ladies were absent and no one was at the house. How long she remained in the condition as when found, is hard to ascertain, but from all probabilities she must have remained on the floor at least fifteen hours. The funeral will be conducted Wednesday at 10 a. m. from the Methodist church, the remains being interred in the I.. O. O. F. cemetery. "
The Parrish house as it appeared on Capitol Street

Elizabeth Winn Parrish already had three children when she arrived in Oregon on the Lausanne, one more was born here. With her husband Josiah, a blacksmith and licensed preacher, they made an early home among the four couples who lived in the first house built in Salem, now known as the Jason Lee House. Eventually, Josiah obtained a square mile of land ~ essentially the northeast section of the growing city. This land surrounded his Capitol Street home, built about 1860. (This house, seen above in a 1890s photograph, is now located on Water Street and is a part of the A. C. Gilbert Discovery Village.) They donated the land on which was built the Glen Oak orphans' home, now the site of one of the buildings of the state hospital.
In January of 1869, Elizabeth donated 4.77 acres from her half of their original donation land claim to make up the original part of Lee Mission cemetery.  The cemetery was incorporated by the state of Oregon on January 27. Later that year, Elizabeth died of a “lingering illness” and the obituary gave a description of her steadfast character and her works of community service in that Methodist society:
"Mrs. Parrish has, with others, endured the hardships and perils incident to this then, far off, barbarous, and almost unknown land; many a pioneer has shared the hospitality of her house, while her hands have ministered to their necessities; these on hearing of her death, will drop a tear over the memory of past scenes. As a woman, she possessed a strong mind and commanding mien; a sound discriminating judgment, and a kind heart.  As a wife, Mrs. Parrish reverenced her husband, in her, his heart could trust; she did him good, and not evil, all the days of her life, she looked well to her household, and ate not the bread of idleness.  Her adorning was modest, not that outward adorning of plaiting the hair and wearing of gold, or putting on extravagant and gaudy apparel; but [wearing} the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God, of great price.
  As a mother, few children, if any, ever had a better than her `They will arise up and call her blessed,' and long will they cherish the memory of her motherly affection, and the words of wisdom and kindness which fell from her lips.  As a friend, she was true and could be implicitly confided in; as a neighbor, always obliging; as a Christian, Sister Parrish's religious experience was comforting and clear, and every where, she adorned her Christian profession.  To the sick within her reach, she was ever ready to administer comfort and aid.  She clothed the naked, and fed the hungry.  She blessed the orphan and wiped his tears.  She sympathized with suffering humanity, and relieved it.  She was the President of the Ladies Christian Commission Society of Salem, and among others gave of her means to relieve the wounded and suffering soldiers.   She was also President of the Children's Aid Society, and did much to promote its interests.  In her last sickness, Sister Parrish suffered as a Christian, patiently trusting in God to the last, and was sustained.  She talked freely of her passage to the heavenly state; just on the brink of the 'stream' she said, 'It is but a step over, just a step, and those on the other shore are waiting to welcome me.'"

Survivors ~ Harriet Campbell & Sarah Frost Beggs


Although two of the thirteen Salem women who came to Oregon on the Lausanne in 1840 died within three years, the average lived another thirty ~ most dying about 1870. By then Salem was a young city, the capital of the state. Two women, no longer living in Salem, lived another thirty years ~ until 1902 and after 1907. These survivors tell the last stories of our missionary wives.

Harriet Biddle Campbell was born in Amherst Court House, Virginia in 1817 and married when she was 18 year old. They lived for several years in Springfield, Illinois where their daughter Mary was born. After attending a lecture by Jason Lee, they became recruits for his Oregon mission, sailing from New York City on the Lausanne in 1939. The family landed at Fort Vancouver on June 1, 1840. Upon arriving at Lee's mission near Salem, Campbell began work on the construction of the parsonage. By the winter of 1843-44 he was superintendent of the mission's Indian school at Chemeketa. After the mission closed, the family moved to the Chehalem Valley (the present Newburg area) where he settled on a land claim and became a pastor to local Indians, preaching to them in their own languages. By 1849 they were back in Salem where he engraved the dies for the Oregon Exchange Company's "Beaver Money." the 1850 census shows Hamilton was once again making a living as a cabinetmaker. In addition to daughter Mary, the family now also included Maria A., nine; Gustavus ("Gus") Davis, eight; Hariette (or Harriet) A., six; and Lydia H, three. We can imagine her life as comfortable financially (but busy with five children!), but her husband's talents and ambitions would take soon them from Salem. 
By 1854, Hamilton had established a photography studio in Corvallis, also doing engraving, watchmaking and repair of musical instruments. They also lived in Eugene and San Francisco. In 1858, they were back in Salem where a new, grander photography studio was opened. However, Salem could not hold Hamilton Campbell: he moved the family to Portland in 1862. In the next year he was superintendent of  silver mine in Mexico when he was murdered by a workman. We can only imagine how Harriet maintained a living for herself and her children. She had given birth to eight by this time: Mary, Maria, Gustavus, Harriet, Lydia, Ester, Sarah and William. More grief was to follow Hamilton's death when, in the next year, Gustavus was accidentally killed while hunting and six months later the six year old Willie died. A postscript to Harriet's life is a report that in she was living in Portland in 1900, still "sprightly" at eighty-three. Some references give her death year as 1902.

Sarah DeBell Frost and her husband were sent to the mission at Clatsop and so briefly lived at Salem.Her husband's ministry to the Indians was not successful, he lamented the lack of support from the church, the family's isolation and the poor health of himself and Sarah. In 1843 the Frosts (no children have been identified) left Oregon with Daniel and Maria Lee. Rev. Frost returned to a ministry in New York.
Sarah's story,  as far as we know it, might have ended there. However, Edmond S Meany wrote that in July 1907 when he was visiting the reservations of Siouan tribes with Edward S. Curtis,  photographing many of the chiefs and headmen of the Sioux, Mrs. Clark, wife of the Episcopalian missionary at Rosebud, came into camp and announced that there was a very old lady in the village who would like to meet the historian from the Oregon country. 
As told by Meany, "Mrs. Curtis became interested, and so we three started for the home of Dr. E. J. De Bell, who for twenty- three years has been a physician and trader at Rosebud. In this time his aged aunt, whose maiden name was Sarah De Bell, was spending the last years of her long and eventful life.
“I am glad to meet you, friends. I cannot see you at all and 1 cannot hear a word you say unless you talk right here," pointing a long-wasted finger to her forehead.
"Is it true, Mrs. Beggs, that you went to Oregon in an early day?"
"Did you know Jason Lee, Daniel Lee, Gustavus Hines and H. K. Perkins?"
"Yes, yes.   I knew them well, and many others. Name some more of them.   Did you know any of these?" More of the missionaries were named.
",Why, then you must have known Rev. ]. H. Frost, who established the mission at Clatsop?"
"Glory be to God! He was my husband!" "What?" "Yes. You see, after we returned from            Oregon, Rev. Frost died and on January 1st, 1866, I was married to Rev. Stephen R. Beggs. So I am the widow of two Methodist ministers."
The interviewer asked questions that brought forth a flood of information and gossip about those historic days of early Oregon. The chance dropping of a word of the Chinook jargon was like an elixir. The old 1ady's face brightened and she proceeded with a lengthy discourse in that language, though probably half a century had passed since she had heard it used. In those early days she and her husband had used the Chinook in their home at Clatsop, as well as in religious services among the natives.
Mrs. Frost was the richest woman in Oregon so far as chinaware was concerned. She had carefully packed her treasures and now proudly boasts that not a thing was broken in the long journey [to Oregon], not even the handle of the fine gravy ladle. She and Miss Maria T. Ware were chums on the voyage around the Horn. At Honolulu they bought new dresses just alike. Arriving in the Columbia River, and while waiting for assignment to their several mission stations, Rev. Daniel Lee proposed marriage to Miss Ware and was accepted. On that occasion Mrs. Frost served her friend as bridesmaid.
This suggests one of the best incidents related by the old lady at Rosebud:
"When I left the States in 1839 I had a lot of fine gowns. These were all nicely packed in a barrel. When we got out to Oregon I did not need these gowns, so I just left them in the barrel. I had a bureau, too, and a fine bonnet. Now, I did not need that bonnet in Oregon, so I put it in the bureau and left it there. When I got ready to leave Oregon I took my bonnet from the bureau and found that a skunk had gnawed a hole in the top and made a nest in my bonnet. I was a good milliner. I say it, but I really was a good milliner. So I just put a fine bow of ribbon over that hole made by the skunk and had a good bonnet again. As we drew near Boston I had that barrel of gowns opened and selected the best one there. As my husband and I walked down the gangplank and along the streets folks turned around and stared at us, and they fairly snickered as we entered a missionary meeting. You see, when I left for Oregon the style was short gowns with low neck and short sleeves, and I guess the style must have changed considerably before I got back and opened that barrel again. But, do you know, my husband and I did not care a bit for their stares or their snickers."
One reason for the sensation she caused was shown by a picture of Mrs. Beggs when she was fifty-six years old. She was then tall, plump and commanding in appearance with a beautiful and intellectual face. Boston must have been pleased at that Rip Van Winkle apparition from the Far West.
"I don't know how many more days there are for me in this world, but one thing is sure, you have brought a glad hour that I will not forget. Nika tiki closh tumtum copa mika (I have a good heart toward you)."