TEACHING AMERICAN HISTORY
NAME: Edna Kovacs, Ph.D. SCHOOL: Fernwood Middle School and
UNIT TITLE: Westward Expansion: Settling of the West, Ethnic and Gendered Perspectives
TARGET GRADE LEVEL: 8th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies
APPROXIMATE TIME NEEDED: 2-3 weeks (3 periods each day)
PREREQUISITES: General knowledge of U.S. history, from the 1500’s through the 19th
GENERAL RESOURCES NEEDED:
• Infocus machine
• VHS Player
• ArcView GIS Software
• Overhead Projector
Westward expansion may be viewed through a variety of perspectives including that of women,
Chicanos, Native Americans, and the classic story of the white man. Students will study
Westward Expansion on a local, regional and national level becoming proficient in the societies
of America and the issues they faced during Westward Expansion.
Students will create a Wild West Through Many Eyes newspaper that incorporates understanding
of key people, places, way of life, and prominent issues such as the Donation Land Act.
Students will produce a packet that encompasses multi genre written responses to literature,
primary source documents, and GIS materials.
Students will gain awareness of Westward Expansion and their own migration to Oregon through
a timeline guided interview of family members.
Students will meet Portland Public Schools standards in reading, writing, geography, history and
social studies. Students will be assessed according to the standardized procedure which
examines academic achievement as well as effort.
NATIONAL HISTORY STANDARDS:
Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected
relations with external powers and Native Americans.
Standard 1B: The student understands federal and state Indian policy and the
strategies for survival forged by Native Americans.
Standard 1C: The student understands the ideology of Manifest Destiny, the
nation’s expansion to the Northwest, and the Mexican-American War.
How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery
and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional
Standard 2C: The student understands how antebellum immigration changed
Standard 2E: The student understands the settlement of the West.
PORTLAND SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS
3. Students will know and understand the factors, experiences and impacts of historical
and contemporary movements and settlements of people.
6. Students will know and understand the concept of culture and its relationships to
region and place, and influences on cooperation and conflict.
1. Students will examine and debate the concept of citizenship, specifically the roles,
rights (individual and group) and responsibilities of the citizens of the United States.
Fulfill Civic Responsibility
8. Students will participate in formal and informal activities to promote the well being of
Maps and Other Geographic Representations
1. Students will demonstrate their ability to use maps and other geographic
representations to locate, organize and interpret information about people, places and
3. Students will understand, analyze and study the dynamics and impact of global
PORTLAND LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS
• Recognize, pronounce, and know the meaning of words in text by using phonics,
language structure, contextual clues, and visual clues.
• Locate information and clarify meaning by skimming, scanning, close reading,
and other reading strategies.
• Demonstrate literal comprehension of a variety of printed materials.
• Draw connections and explain relationships between reading selections and other
texts, experiences, issues, and events.
• Read a variety of selections and recognize distinguishing characteristics of
various literary forms.
• Analyze how literary works are influenced by history, society, culture, and the
author’s life experiences.
• Communicate knowledge of the topic, including relevant examples, facts,
anecdotes, and details.
• Structure information in clear sequence, making connections and transitions
among ideas, paragraphs, and sentences.
• Use correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, paragraph structure,
sentence construction, and other writing conventions.
• Use a variety of modes and written forms to express ideas.
Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to
acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
Standard 12: The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.
Standard 17: How to apply geography to interpret the past.
Introduction: Westward Expansion
Lesson 1: Key Figures in America’s Westward Expansion
Lesson 2: Clashing Cultures
Lesson 3: Understanding Westward Expansion
Lesson 4: Mythology and Symbols of the Old West
Lesson 5: Oregon Atlas Scavenger Hunt
Lesson 6: Letters and Diaries of Oregon Small Group Activity
Lesson 7: The Portland Project Small Group Activity
Lesson 8: GIS Manifest Destiny Small Group Activity
Lesson 9: Additional Small Group Activities
Lesson 10: Project Presentations and Sharing
FOUNDATIONS OF KNOWLEDGE:
Students will have an underlying understanding of Manifest Destiny and Westward Expansion as
a result of reading Creating America: A History of the United States, Chapters 13 and 19.
There is a reading study guide of these chapters for students acquiring English/ESL and less
proficient readers. Chapter summaries are also available in English and Spanish on CD.
Gifted and talented students may create electronic posters to advertise passage to the Oregon
Territory and the California gold mines, and/or work in small groups to write and record
historical fiction stories about one of the following characters:
• African-American Exoduster in Kansas
• German sodbuster in Nebraska
• Norwegian farmer in Minnesota
• Female schoolteacher from Philadelphia who has come to teach in Kansas
• Railroad tycoon living in Omaha, Nebraska
• Grain elevator operator who works for the railroad tycoon in a small town in Nebraska
• Widow who inherited the family homestead
• Congressman who supported the Homestead Act of 1862
• Native American who was removed from his homeland
Chapter 13, “Manifest Destiny 1810-1853,” discusses the westward migration of the American
people and the national belief in Manifest Destiny. It also described the Texas Revolution, the
War with Mexico, and the California gold rush. (Creating America, page 389a)
Chapter 19, “Growth in the West 1860-1900,” discusses the continuing migration of white
settlers from the eastern United States to the West, at cost to both Native Americans and people
of Mexican heritage. It also described how Westerners challenged the dominant political parties
by forming the Populist Party. (Creating America, page 553a)
The format for this two to three week unit is based on the utilization of a block schedule that
consists of three forty-five minute periods encompassing the subject areas of literature, language
arts, and social studies.
The Literature block will enable students to explore the many voices and perspectives of writers
who share their racial and ethnic identities in the Many Voices Literature Series: A Multicultural
Reader (Logan, IA: Perfection Learning, 2002). An accompanying teacher’s guide offers
exercises that promotes critical thinking as students gain knowledge and understanding of
concept vocabulary, pre-reading assignments, as well as asking students to respond to themes
through discussion questions, multi-modal activities such as speaking, visual arts, debate, writing
prompts, and making interpersonal connections.
Students will have had previous immersion in Native American folklore, literature, and
mythology. They will have written pictograph myths, poems, and completed investigative
research on a particular tribe of their choice in conjunction with their study of “Societies of
North America” in their Social Studies textbook, Creating America, Chapter 1. While this
aspect of regional and national focus is covered during the fall term in my scope and sequence,
connections to those topics of related interest, including music and rock art painting, will be
referred to as we continue to make regional, national, and local explorations to the thesis topic.
The Language Arts block will give students time to research, write, and create a Wild West
Through Many Eyes newspaper project. Guidelines will be distributed in conjunction with the
Westward Expansion TAH unit. Students will be encouraged to work in small groups.
Students will be well familiar with the expository writing mode prior to this assignment.
Particular emphasis will be devoted to voice, tone, word choice, organization, and conventions.
Primary sources will include online transcriptions of mid-1800s newspapers that are available on
the Oregon History Project website (www.ohs.org).
The Social Studies block will connect the Literature and Language Arts content to Westward
Expansion through the exploration of primary sources, such as the Atlas of Oregon, Oregon
Letters and Diaries, GIS and ESRI spatial databases.
Due to the size of the class and scope of this project, the ideal learning environment would be to
create several learning centers in the classroom, where students can rotate on a daily basis from
the RLIS computer, to the Diaries and Letters center, to the Primary Sources table, to the
computer lab, in small groups.
This outline follows a structural whole class format for the first eight days, with the opportunity
to implement small group activities for the remaining five or more class periods of forty-five
Introduction to Unit on Westward Expansion (2 days)
Objective: To introduce students to idea of westward expansion and explain that the events can
be “seen” through the eyes of many different kinds of people. To introduce students to the terms
and concepts that they will be using to think about westward expansion. To provide an Oregon
context for thinking about westward expansion.
Materials: America’s Westward Expansion Video and Teacher Guide; Concept Definition
Mapping Handout and Overhead, OR Atlas CD
Introduction: Explain expectations to the class using a standards-based evaluation approach.
Begin the conceptual mapping exercise.
Concept Mapping Activity: Use a shared-responsibility approach to complete the concept
mapping handout. Begin the concept definition map with the names, terms, and events discussed
in the video (also available in the “Readiness Activity Sheet” in the America’s Westward
Expansion Teachers Guide.) Tell students that they will be using these terms to learn about
westward expansion in the U.S., so it is important that everyone have a good understanding of
what these terms mean.
• Northwest Ordinance
• Oregon Trail
• War of 1812
• Lewis & Clark
• Andrew Jackson
• “Manifest Destiny”
• The Mexican War
• Stephen Austin
• Erie Canal
• Indian Removal Act
• Louisiana Purchase
• The Civil War
Hand out enough concept maps for each student to have one for each term on the sheet. Use the
Concept Map overhead to guide students as they make a concept map of the first word. Ask
students to help fill in the map. Map each word together as a class, having students come up to
share their work on the overhead map copy.
Oregon in Context: Using the Atlas of Oregon CD, explore the settling of Oregon using the
“Human Geography” pages in the Atlas. Assessment of students’ prior knowledge of the settling
of Oregon can be accomplished through guided discussion using the various Atlas pages.
Synthesis: To close, link the concepts and terms with information about the settling of Oregon.
How did the national events and ideas that were explored in the concept mapping exercise
impact Oregon through its initial settlement period?
NOTE: Lessons 1-4 use the video and activities from America’s Westward
Expansion. See the Resources section of this unit for citation and purchase
Lesson 1: Key Figures in America’s Westward Expansion (3-4 days)
Objective: Students will learn about key figures in our nation’s history, particularly those
involved in America’s westward expansion.
Materials: “Activity Sheet for Lesson 1” in America’s Westward Expansion Teacher Guide,
Standards-based Evaluation Sheet for Research and Oral Reports
Reproduce copies of the “Activity Sheet for Lesson 1” from America’s Westward Expansion
Teacher Guide and hand them out to each student. Ask students to read the instructions on the
sheet carefully. Then answer any questions they might have about what they are to do.
Briefly discuss the figures listed on the activity sheet (Thomas Jefferson, Stephen Austin,
Meriwether Lewis, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Tecumseh, Andrew Jackson, Sacajawea,
James K. Polk). Have students choose one of these figures to research.
Using a variety of sources for their research, students should answer the questions on the activity
sheet. Some sources include the internet, encyclopedias, history books, U.S. Atlas, and articles
from historical journals. Students should also be given ample access to primary and secondary
source documents and/or the school library for their research. See RESOURCES for other
source material. Allow 2 days for research activities.
Synthesis: Once students have completed the activity sheet, a day should be set aside for
students to present a 3-4 minute oral report to the class with time for questions and compliments.
Both students and teacher will fill out the evaluation scoring sheet.
Lesson 2: Clashing Cultures (1 day + independent research time)
Objective: Students will learn about the differences in the cultural assumptions of whites and
Native Americans. Students will also see how these different cultural assumptions created
Materials: “Activity Sheet for Lesson 2” from America’s Westward Expansion Teacher Guide
Reproduce copies of the “Activity Sheet for Lesson 2” from the America’s Westward Expansion
Teacher Guide and hand them out to each student. Ask students to read the instructions
carefully. Then answer any questions they have.
Discuss the concepts on the activity sheet (trade, war, government, property, land use and the
environment) to learn more about them. The students should be familiar with some basic
information about these concepts so they can make a choice on which to research.
Have students choose one of the concepts to research. Using a variety of sources, students
should answer the questions on the activity sheet. Have students also write a short essay
explaining the significance of each idea. Research sources include the internet, encyclopedias,
history textbooks, U.S. Atlas, articles from historical journals. Students should also be given
ample access to primary and secondary source documents and/or the school library for their
research. See RESOURCES for other source materials.
Note: Make sure that students understand that this exercise is not designed for them to take sides
or blame whites or Native Americans for wartime atrocities. Instead, this exercise is designed to
help students understand why each group acted as it did.
Synthesis: Once students have completed the activity sheet, revisit the initial discussion. Ask
students to share any insights they have gained about why conflict occurs.
Lesson 3: Understanding Westward Expansion (2 days)
Objective: To provide students with practice in note taking skills and to test their overall
comprehension of the video America’s Westward Expansion.
Materials: Video America’s Westward Expansion (30 minutes), “Activity Sheet for Lesson 3”
from America’s Westward Expansion Teacher Guide
Review the basics of good note-taking skills with the class. Discuss why taking good notes is
important in understanding ideas, events, and people.
Reproduce copies of the “Activity Sheet for Lesson 3” from America’s Westward Expansion
Teacher Guide. Hand out the activity sheet before the video so students know what points to
Show the video America’s Westward Expansion and ask students to take good notes. Tell them
they will be answering questions on the activity sheet based on their notes.
After viewing the video, have students write their responses to the questions on the Activity
Sheet for Lesson 3. They may want to use an extra sheet of paper if they need more room.
Synthesis: Use these responses to help students evaluate their note taking skills, and as the basis
for a class discussion about the important concepts of the video.
Note: Hand out Timeline and Guided Questions for Family Interview
This timeline gives some key dates in Oregon history. Notice how often
attempts to control resources (land, timber, gold) or to restrict competition
in labor result in racist policies.
1787 Northwest Ordinance proclaims Indian land and property will never be taken or disturbed
or invaded unless lawfully authorized by Congress.
1844 The Provisional Government of Oregon prohibits slavery in the territory, but also enacts
measures to force blacks to leave the state. The Lash Law requires that any blacks remaining in
Oregon, be they free or slave, be whipped twice a year until they shall quit the territory.
1845 Sandwich Islander Tax Bill directed against the Pacific Islanders who were being brought
to the area to perform manual labor. To discourage Pacific Islanders from becoming permanent
residents, employers were required to pay a $5 tax for each Islander they brought to Oregon, and
$3 annually for Islanders kept in their service.
1850 Oregon Donation Act grants up to 320 free acres to white males regardless of whether or
not Indians resided on the land, and prohibits blacks from taking a claim in Oregon.
1854 Oregon's 1849 Exclusion Law is repealed; however, another Exclusion Law will be written
into the State Bill of Rights in 1857.
1857 The Oregon Constitution includes numerous provisions that prevent people of color from
entering the state and severely limit the rights of those already here. “No free Negro or mulatto
not residing in the state at the time of the adoption of the Constitution shall come, reside, or be
within the State, or hold any real estate or make any contracts in the State. No Negro, Chinaman,
or mulatto shall have the right of suffrage. No Chinaman shall hold real estate or mine a claim.”
1862 Annual Poll Tax requires all residents of color to pay a $5 tax or be forced to labor for the
state at a rate of 50 cents per day.
1864 It becomes illegal to entice an Indian or "half-breed" to leave the reservation.
1866 Oregon's legislature refuses to pass the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution, which provided citizenship to blacks, and guaranteed due process and equal
protection for all people regardless of race.
1866 The state ban on interracial marriages is extended to include anyone who is 1/4 or more
Chinese or Hawaiian or 1/2 Native American.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act makes it illegal for Chinese laborers to come to the U.S. or to
remain past 90 days if already here.
1883 Despite national passage of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, which
states "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," an
effort to remove Oregon's state ban on black suffrage fails.
1919 Portland Board of Realty approves a Code of Ethics prohibiting realtors and bankers from
selling property in white neighborhoods to people of color or providing mortgages for such
1923 The Oregon state legislature, dominated by members of the Klan, passes a number of
restrictive laws. The Alien Land Law prevents first generation Japanese Americans (those who
had immigrated to the U.S.) from owning or leasing land. The Oregon Business Restriction Law
allows cities to refuse business licenses to first generation Japanese Americans.
1926 The Exclusion Law is removed from the Oregon Bill of Rights.
1927 The Oregon Constitution is amended to remove the clause denying blacks the right to vote.
1937-1945 The state passes a number of laws restricting Indians, mostly concerning the
possession of alcohol.
1942 Following President Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, Japanese Americans
residing in Oregon were interned in Portland at what is now the Expo Center, and later sent out
of the state.
1948 National Realtors Code (based on an earlier state law) proclaims a realtor shall never
introduce into a neighborhood members of any race or nationality whose presence will be
detrimental to property values.
1949 Fair Employment Act empowers the State Labor Bureau to prevent discrimination in
1951 Oregon repeals its law prohibiting interracial marriage.
1953 Public Accommodation Law prohibits discrimination in hotels and other public
1954 Congress terminates Western Oregon Indian tribes, ending all federal services and selling
any tribal lands.
1956 Congress terminates Klamath Indian Tribe. Grand Ronde and Siletz reservations are closed.
1957 The Dalles Dam is completed, which floods Celilo Falls, the major Indian fishing area on
the Columbia River.
1999 The Oregon state legislature holds a Day of Acknowlegment to recognize the past
discrimination earlier legislatures had sanctioned.
2000 Oregon removes all racist language from its Constitution.
Lesson 4: Mythology and Symbols of the Old West (1 day)
Objective: By researching and looking at the way the West is portrayed and “imagined” in
today’s popular culture, students will be able to debate and make better judgments about myths
and symbols and their importance in how we, as a nation, view ourselves and history.
Materials: “Activity Sheet for Lesson 4” from America’s Westward Expansion Teacher Guide
Ask students what comes to mind when they think of the West. Have a class discussion about
the ways the West is portrayed in today’s society. Can the students identify western “themes” in
television shows and movies (e.g. Back to the Future II or Wild Wild West), books (e.g. Little
House on the Prairie), or western characters (e.g. Wild Bill or Calamity Jane)? How is the West
portrayed in these popular mediums – create a list of “adjectives” to describe the West.
Reproduce copies of “Activity Sheet for Lesson 4” from the America’s Westward Expansion
Teacher Guide and hand them out to each student. Have students read the instructions on the
activity sheet carefully. Then answer any questions that have.
Remind your students that they will be creating a Wild West Newspaper from a multicultural
perspective in the Language Arts part of this unit and to be sensitive to the significance of
symbols and images as cultural stereotypes.
Synthesis: Discuss students’ answers to the questions on the Activity Sheet for Lesson 4 as a
class. Emphasize and expand on those answers that speak to the issue of cultural stereotyping.
NOTE: Lesson 5 uses the Oregon Atlas CD. See the Resources section at the
end of this unit for citation and purchase information.
Lesson 5: Oregon Atlas Scavenger Hunt
Objective: To provide students with experience in using and interpreting graphic source
Materials: Laminated handouts of the Atlas of Oregon pages, Human Geography Maps.
Tell students they will be going on a scavenger hunt. Using laminated copies of map pages from
the Atlas of Oregon, students will locate the corresponding map pages on the computer and
complete interactive assignments, answering questions based on the text and maps on the Atlas
of Oregon pages.
Particular pages and questions can be developed based on student skill level and prior experience
with the subject matter with the intent to expand on students’ understanding of the settling of
Oregon. Questions should be designed to allow for simple answers (e.g. which Native American
groups occupied the area where Portland is located in 1850?) that encourage students to look
through many of the pages in the Atlas and get exposure to all the different kinds of information
Note: The “scavenger hunt” could also be one activity center that students rotate to during the
remainder of this unit. An alternate idea could be to create a large “hunt” that remains with the
activity table where students can write down their answers on a large single poster until the
“hunt” is completed.
The remainder of this unit consists of Activity Centers where students rotate in small groups to
various tables. Tasks at the different “tables” can be tailored to student skill levels, offering
opportunities for both students with special needs and advanced students.
Lesson 6: Letters and Diaries of Oregon Small Group Activity
Objective: To provide students with activities using various forms of literature (in this case
letters and diary entries) to gain an understanding of multicultural perspectives on the settling of
Materials: Shannon Applegates “Oregon’s Diaries and Letters” book, a variety of old
photographs of people, recycled manila envelopes (for “mailing”).
Introduction: First, introduce the students to the letters and diaries published in the Oregon
Literature Series. I made photocopies of many of the published letters and diary entries with
their head notes and just gave my class time to read them. They pass them back and forth and
discuss them in small groups, as well participating in a class discussion. Having the students
read some aloud also helps them recognize the power of those voices from the past.
Step 1: Find an old picture that you think would be interesting to write about.
Step 2: Choose one person in that picture to be your main character and start to imagine and
develop that person in your head (name, dates lived, hometown, favorite ice cream, etc.).
Step 3: Write a head note for your character, similar to the ones you saw in the published letters
Step 4: Write a journal entry at least two pages long in the voice of the character you have
Step 5: Exchange your journal entry with another student’s journal entry.
Step 6: In the voice of the character you created, write a letter responding to the person whose
journal entry you “found.” In your letter you should:
1. Introduce yourself.
2. Explain how you “found” the journal.
3. Describe your setting.
4. Describe an event or crisis in your life.
5. Reflect on yourself.
6. Mention some special relationship you are in.
7. Describe something you hope to accomplish.
8. Remember to stay in character!
Step 7: “Mail” your letter to the person whose journal you “found” using the manila envelopes.
Step 8: When you get your journal back in the “mail,” write the person who returned your
journal a thank-you note that responds to their letter.
Lesson 7: The Portland Project Small Group Activities
Objective: To provide students with additional source documents, specifically about Oregon
and Portland, to incorporate into the multicultural understanding of the settling of Oregon and
Materials: The Portland Project CD and Historic Photographs (from OHS), Champoeg Census
Data (from www.rootsweb.com), Donation Land Act, Whitman Massacre document, Photograph
Make copies of the Photo Analysis Worksheet (several for each student). Have the students look
at the photographs. Have the students choose 2-3 photographs of early Portland that they find
interesting. Instruct students to read the directions on the Photo Analysis Worksheet carefully
then complete the worksheet.
Have copies available of the Champoeg County, Oregon Territory 1945, Territorial Census
available for students. Have students make a list (or graph) the demographic characteristics of
the population at this time (males/females, age ranges). Have students look at the names and try
to imagine where the people are from (French names, Native American, etc.). Have students
write a short imaginative story about one of the families in the census.
Hand out copies of the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 or the account of the Whitman
Massacre. Have students read the documents carefully then create a skit around the Donation
Land Claim Act or the events leading up to and including the Whitman Massacre that
incorporate various points of view (white settler, Native American, women and/or children, etc.).
Have the students volunteer to take on the individual parts and put on the skit for the class.
NOTE: The Whitman Massacre document is rather lengthy but includes transcriptions and
translations of articles in the Oregon Spectator, letters and meetings (including meetings with
Cayuse Tribal members) immediately following the incident that provide valuable primary
source material for students. The teacher, however, may wish to “cull” some of the material to
make it easier for students to use.
www.archives.gov November 12, 2004
Photo Analysis Worksheet
Step 1. Observation
A. Study the photograph for 2 minutes. Form an overall impression of the photograph and then
examine individual items. Next, divide the photo into quadrants and study each section to see
what new details become visible.
B. Use the chart below to list people, objects, and activities in the photograph.
People Objects Activities
Step 2. Inference
Based on what you have observed above, list three things you might infer from this photograph?
Step 3. Questions
A. What questions does this photograph raise in your mind?
B. Where could you find answers to them?
Designed and developed by the
Education Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408.
Page URL: http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/analysis_worksheets/photo.html
U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408 • 1-86-NARA-NARA • 1-866-272-6272
Champoic County, Oregon Territory 1845 Territorial Census
NOTE: Champic County is now Marrion County
This Census was transcribed by Teia Neal <firstname.lastname@example.org>
and proofread by Samantha Chapa as extra credit in her American History class
for the USGenWeb Census Project http://www.usgenweb.org/census.
Copyright (c) 1999 by Teia Neal <email@example.com>
Transcriber's notes: This 1845 census was found at the Archives Building
in Salem, OR under Provisional and Territorial Records Film 24 Reel 77
Documents 12188 - 12277b
USGENWEB NOTICE: These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in
any format for profit or presentation by any other organization or
persons. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material,
must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or the legal
representative of the submitter, and contact the listed USGenWeb
archivist with proof of this consent.
State: Oregon Territorial Census
District: Champoic County
Microfilm: #24 Reel 77 Documents 12188-12277b
Date Enumerated: March, 1845
CENSUS YEAR: 1845 TERRITORY: Oregon Territorial Census DISTRICT: Champoic County ENUMERATOR: #12194 PAGE: 1
| |Names of Single Men|Names of |Under 12 Years|12 Under 18 |18 Under 45 |45 & Over |Total No. |TOTAL |
PG|Row|Keeping House |Head of Families |Males|Females |Males|Females|Males|Females|Males|Females|Males|Females|All Together|
1 1 Joseph Bourgean . . . . 1 1 . . 1 1 2
2 Antoine Bonefant . . 2 1 1 . . . 3 1 4
3 Hypobite Brousllet 2 . . . 1 1 . . 3 1 4
4 Charles Compo 3 . . . 1 1 . . 4 1 5
5 Andre CharLefoux 1 2 . 1 1 1 . 2 4 6
6 Adophus Chamberlain 1 1 . . 1 1 . . 2 2 4
7 Francois Champagne 2 1 . . 1 1 . . 3 2 5
8 X Joseph Canoyer 1 . . 1 1 1 . . 2 1 3
9 Oliver Daubin . . . . 1 1 . . 1 1 2
10 Pierre Degrais . . . . 1 . . . 1 . 1
11 Pierre Depot 2 1 . . 1 1 . . 3 2 5
Document: The Donation Land Claim Act, 1850
An Act to create the Office of Surveyor-General of the Public Lands in Oregon, and to provide
for the Survey, and to make Donations to Settlers of the said Public Lands.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in
Congress assembled, That a surveyor-general shall be appointed for the Territory of Oregon,
who shall have the same authority, perform the same duties respecting the public lands and
private land claims in the Territory of Oregon, as are vested in and required of the surveyor of
lands in the United States northwest of the Ohio, except as hereinafter provided.
Sec. 2 And be it further enacted, That the said surveyor-general shall establish his office at such
place within the said Territory as the President of the United States may from time to time direct;
he shall be allowed an annual salary of two thousand five hundred dollars, to be paid quarter-
yearly, and to commence at such time as he shall enter into bond, with competent security, for
the faithful discharge of the duties of his office. There shall be, and hereby is, appropriated the
sum of four thousand dollars, or as much thereof as is necessary for clerk hire in his office; and
the further sum of one thousand dollars per annum for office rent, fuel, books, stationary, and
other incidental expenses of his office, to be paid out of the appropriation for surveying the
Sec.3. And be it further enacted, That if, in the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior, it be
preferable, the surveys in the said Territory shall be made after what is known as the geodetic
method, under such regulations, and upon such terms, as may be provided by the Secretary of the
Interior of other Department having charge of the surveys of the public lands, and that said
geodetic surveys shall be followed by topographical surveys, as Congress may from time to time
authorize and direct; but if the present mode of survey be adhered to, then it shall be the duty of
said surveyor to cause a base line, and meridian to be surveyed, marked, and established, in the
usual manner, at or near the mouth of the Willamette River; and he shall also cause to be
surveyed, in townships and sections, in the usual manner, and in accordance with the laws of the
United States, which may be in force, the district of country lying between the summit of the
Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and south and north of the Columbia River: Provided,
however, That none other than township lines shall be run where the land is deemed unfit for
cultivation. That no deputy surveyor shall charge for any line except such as may be actually run
and marked, nor for any line not necessary to be run; and that the whole cost of surveying shall
not exceed the rate of eight dollars per mile, for every mile and part of mile actually surveyed
Sec.4. And be it further enacted, That there shall be, and hereby is, granted to every white settler
or occupant of the public lands, American half-breed Indians included, above the age of eighteen
years, being a citizen of the United States, or having made a declaration according to law, of his
intention to become a citizen, or who shall make such declaration on or before the first day of
December, eighteen hundred and fifty, and who shall have resided upon and cultivated the same
for four consecutive years, and shall otherwise conform to the provisions of this act, the quantity
of one half section, or three hundred and twenty acres of land, if a single man, and if a married
man, or if he shall become married within one year from the first day of December, eighteen
hundred and fifty, the quantity of one section, or six hundred and forty acres, one half to himself
and the other half to his wife, and enter the same on the records of his office; and in all cases
where such married persons have compiled with the provisions of this act, so as to entitle them to
the grant as above provided, whether under the late provisional government of Oregon, or since,
and either shall have died before patent issues, the survivor and children or heirs of the deceased
shall be entitled to the share or interest of the decreased in equal proportions, except where the
deceased shall otherwise dispose of it by testament duly and properly executed according to the
laws of Oregon: Provided, That no alien shall be entitled to a patent to land, granted by this act,
until he shall produce to the surveyor-general of Oregon, record evidence of his naturalization as
a citizen of the United States has been completed; but if any alien, having made his declaration
of intention to become a citizen of the United States, after the passage of this act, shall die before
his naturalization shall be completed, the possessory right acquired by him under the provisions
of this act shall descend to his heirs at law, or pass to his devisees, to whom, as the case may be,
the patent shall issue: Provided, further, That in all cases provided for in this section, the
donation shall embrace the land actually occupied and cultivated by the settler thereon: Provided,
further, That all future contracts by any person or persons entitled to the benefits of this act, for
the sale of the land to which he or they may be entitled under this act before he or they have
received a patent therefor, shall be void: Provided, further, however, That this section shall not
be so construed as to allow those claiming rights under the treaty with Great Britain relative to
the Oregon Territory, to claim both under this grant and the treaty, but merely to secure them the
election, and confine them to a single grant of land.
Sec.5. And be it further enacted, That to all white male citizens of the United States or persons
who shall have made a declaration of intention to become such, above the age of twenty-one
years, emigrating to and settling in said Territory between the first day of December, eighteen
hundred and fifty, and the first day of December, eighteen hundred and fifty-three; and to all
white male citizens, not hereinbefore provided for, becoming one and twenty years of age, in
said Territory, and settling there between the times last aforesaid, who shall in other respects
comply with the foregoing section and the provisions of this law, there shall be, and hereby is,
granted the quantity of one quarter section, or one hundred and sixty acres of land, if a single
man; or if married, or if he shall become married within one year after becoming twenty-one
years of age as aforesaid, the quantity of one half section, or three hundred and twenty acres, one
half to the husband and the other half to the wife in her own right, to be designated by the
surveyor-general as aforesaid: Provided always, That no person shall ever receive a patent for
more than one donation of land in said Territory in his or her own right: Provided, That no
mineral lands shall be located or granted under the provisions of this act.
Sec.6. And be it further enacted, That within three months after the survey has been made, or
where the survey has been made before the settlement commenced, then within three months
from the commencement of such settlement, each of said settlers shall notify the surveyor-
general, to be appointed under this act, of the precise tract or tracts claimed by them respectively
under this law, and in all cases it shall be in a compact form; and where it is practicable by legal
subdivisions; but where that cannot be done, it shall be the duty of the said surveyor-general to
survey and mark each claim with the boundaries as claimed, at the request and expense of the
claimant; the charge for the same in each case not to exceed the price paid for surveying the
public lands. The surveyor-general shall enter a description of such claims in a book to be kept
by him for that purpose, and note, temporarily, on the township plats, the tract or tracts so
designated, with the boundaries; and whenever a conflict of boundaries shall arise prior to
issuing the patent, the same shall be determined by the surveyor-general: Provided, That after the
first December next, all claims shall be bounded by lines running east and west, and north and
south: And provided, further, That after the survey is made, all claims shall be made in
conformity to the same, and in compact form.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That within twelve months after the surveys have been made,
or, where the survey has been made before the settlement, then within twelve months from the
time the settlement was commenced, each person claiming a donation right under this act shall
prove to the satisfaction of the surveyor-general, or of such other officer as may be appointed by
law for that purpose, that the settlement and cultivation required by this act has been
commenced, specifying the time of the commencement; and at any time after the expiration of
four years from the date of such settlement, whether made under the laws of the late provisional
government or not, shall prove in like manner, by two disinterested witnesses, the fact of
continued residence and cultivation required by the fourth section of this act; and upon such
proof being made, the surveyor-general, or other officer appointed by law for that purpose, shall
issue certificates under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the commissioner of
the general land office, setting forth the facts of the case, and specifying the land to which the
parties are entitled. And the said surveyor-general shall return the proof so taken to the office of
the commissioner of the general land office, and if the said commissioner shall find no valid
objections thereto, patents shall issue for the land according to the certificates aforesaid, upon the
Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That upon the death of any settler before the expiration of the
four years' continued possession required by this act, all the rights of the deceased under this act
shall descend to the heirs at law of such settler, including the widow, where one is left, in equal
parts; and proof of compliance with the conditions of this act up to the time of the death of such
settler shall be sufficient to entitle them to the patent.
Sec.9. And be it further enacted, That no claim to a donation right under the provisions of this
act, upon sections sixteen or thirty-six, shall be valid or allowed, if the residence and cultivation
upon which the same is founded shall have commenced after the survey of the same; nor shall
such claim attach to any tract or parcel of land selected for a military post, or within one mile
thereof, or to any other land reserved for governmental purposes, unless the residence and
cultivation thereof shall have commenced pervious to the selection or reservation of the same for
Sec.10. And be it further enacted, That there be, and hereby is, granted to the Territory of Oregon
the quantity of two townships of land in the said Territory, west of the Cascade Mountains, and
to be selected in legal subdivisions after the same has been surveyed, by the legislative assembly
of said Territory, in such a manner as it may deem proper, one to be located north, and the other
south, of the Columbia River, to aid in the establishment of the university in the Territory of
Oregon, in such manner as the said legislative assembly may direct, the selection to be approved
by the surveyor-general.
Sec.11. And be it further enacted, That what is known as the "Oregon city claim," excepting the
Abernathy Island, which is hereby confirmed to the legal assigns of the Willamette Milling and
Trading Companies, shall be set apart and be at the disposal of the legislative assembly, the
proceeds thereof to be applied by said legislative assembly to the establishment and endowment
of a university, to be located at such place in the Territory as the legislative assembly may
designate: Provided, however, That all lots and parts of lots in said claim, sold or granted by
Doctor John McLaughlin, previous to the fourth of March, eighteen hundred and forty-nine, shall
be confirmed to the purchaser or donee, or their assigns, to be certified to the commissioner of
the general land office, by the surveyor-general, and patents to issue on said certificates, as in
other cases: Provided, further, That nothing in this act contained shall be so construed or
executed, as in any way to destroy or affect any rights to land in said Territory, holden or
claimed under the provisions of the treaty or treaties existing between this country and Great
Sec.12. And be it further enacted, That all persons claiming land under any of the provisions of
this act, by virtue of settlement and cultivation commenced subsequent to the first of December,
in the year eighteen hundred and fifty, shall first make affidavit before the surveyor-general, who
is hereby authorized to administer all such oaths or affirmations, or before some other competent
officer, that the land claimed by them is for their own use and cultivation; that they are not acting
directly or indirectly as agent for, or in the employment of others, in making such claims; and
that they have made no sale or transfer, or any arrangement or agreement for any sale, transfer,
or alienation oft he same, or by which the said land shall ensure to the benefits of any other
person. And all affidavits required by this act shall be entered of record, by the surveyor-general,
in a book to be kept by him for that purpose; and on proof, before a court of competent
jurisdiction, that any such oaths or affirmations are false or fraudulent, the persons making such
false or fraudulent oaths or affirmations are false or fraudulent, the subject to all the pains and
penalties of perjury.
Sec.13. And be it further enacted, That all questions arising under this act shall be ajudged by the
surveyor-general as preliminary to a final decision accord to law; and it shall be the duty of the
surveyor-general, under the direction of the commissioner of the general land office, to cause
proper tract books to be opened for the lands in Oregon, and to do and perform all other acts and
things necessary and proper to carry out the provisions of this act.
Sec.14. And be it further enacted, That no mineral lands, nor lands reserved for salines, shall be
liable to any claim under and by virtue of the provisions of this act; and that such portions of the
public lands as may be designated under the authority of the President of the United States, for
forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful public uses, shall be reserved and
excepted from the operation of this act; Provided, That if it shall be deemed necessary, in the
judgement of the President, to include in any such reservation the improvements of any settler
made previous to the passage of this act, it shall in such case be the duty of the Secretary of War
to cause the value of such improvements to be ascertained, and the amount so ascertained shall
be paid to the party entitled hereto, out of any money not otherwise appropriated.
Approved, September 27, 1850.
The era of contact between the Indians and whites in the Oregon Territory had started in 1811
when some fifteen hundred Cayuses, Walla Wallas and Nez Perce had met with representatives
of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company.
With a domain that stretched from the Snake-Columbia confluence across the vast plateau to the
Snake borderlands, the Cayuses were truly a majestic tribe. Much of their influence they owed to
the animal that they had ridden to power. These sure-footed horses varied in color and stood
twelve to fifteen hands high. It was able to withstand hunger and rough treatment and its speed
and endurance were exceptional. In the early nineteenth century a Cayuse Indian owning fifteen
to twenty horses would hardly be considered affluent. Wealthier owners kept up to two thousand
for recreation, travel and trading purposes.
By the late 1820's, the importance of the Cayuses, far outweighed their numbers. The deeply
ingrained incursive life-style of the Cayuses had kept their numbers small. They were, in fact, the
smallest tribe in the vicinity. The three largest Cayuse villages being: one under Chief
Camaspelo on the headwaters of the Umatilla, another downstream on the Umatilla under two
chieftain brothers, Five Crows (Achekaia or Pahkatos) and Young Chief (Tauitau), and a third on
the upper Walla Walla under the aged Chief Umtippe.
Nevertheless, despite their lack in numbers, they still controlled the routes through which the fur
brigades passed into the Snake Country. [McLoughlin, who was widely regarded as a stern
disciplinarian of dissident Indians, handled the Cayuses with restraint.]
Cayuse trade continued to be chiefly in horses, which never ceased to be an important measure
of their wealth. However, the natural simplicity of their clothing and ornaments, in which, as
with their horses, they had taken great pride, was compromised by trappings and ornaments
obtained from traders. In some case, they had surrendered to the white man's style by sporting
trousers, shirt and cap.
The Cayuse were in a struggle to retain their supremacy among the tribes. Their population had
dwindled [by 1841 one conservative estimate put their numbers at approximately 200] and their
mother tongue was giving way to the more fluid speech of their more numerous neighbors the
If the best their Great Spirit could offer was only Indian knowledge, they believed it necessary to
find an additional powerful Supreme Being. In their contacts with the traders they had heard of a
new God, a new magic. Would this new magic bring them guns, blankets, and other goods that
would restore them to power and prestige?
In 1834, the Cayuse Indians met with Methodist Jason Lee near Fort Hall. Although Lee decided
to establish his mission in the Willamette Valley, a new hope for a mission in their country
appeared in 1836 in the form of Rev. Samuel Parker. Parker was in the area to find a site for the
proposed American Board mission that was to be headed by Dr. Marcus Whitman. After several
days, he selected a site twenty-five miles east of Fort Walla Walla at Waiilatpu [ "The Place of
the Rye Grass"] on the lands of three chiefs: Umtippe, Waptashtakmahl, and Tiloukaikt.
In the first week of October Dr. Whitman arrived with Rev. Spalding. The meeting with the
Cayuse was friendly as the Indians assessed the newcomers. A site was selected for Whitman's
home, which would serve as the heart of the mission. [In later years, the controversy over
whether Parker had promised to pay for these lands added to the hostility.]
Almost from the beginning the difference in cultures laid the ground work for misunderstandings
and conflict. The few Cayuses who had not gone to hunt buffalo helped with the house building,
but it was strange work for them. Women put up the Indians' lodges. It was noted that Narcissa,
Whitman's wife, did not help with hers.
Many of the Indians in the area were suffering from sickness, primarily inflammation of the
lungs. The sick accepted Whitman's medicine, but many found his cures of temporary benefit,
for they did not take care of themselves and relapsed. It was Indian custom that if a prominent
member of the tribe died at the hands of a medicine man, then the medicine man must give his
life to avenge the loss. Chief Umtippe, "a savage creature in his day", became ill and turned to
Dr. Whitman. The doctor's medicine helped the chief survive, a fate better than that of a war-
chief relative who, sick only six days, died at the hands of the Walla Walla tewat [medicine
man]. The day the war chief died, Umtippe's younger brother, Isiachalakia (Wet Wolf), shot the
tewat dead. All were avenged. From these developments, Whitman must have gathered that a
doctor in Indian country had little security.
The basic differences continued to cause conflicts. Whitman had only one wife while the Indians
believed that when there were many wives they all "had more to eat". The missionaries did much
of the menial tasks that the Indian wives were expected to perform which diminished their power
in the eyes of the Indians. Equally contradictory was the concepts of hospitality. When Mrs.
Whitman took a little Indian boy into her home, his relatives, who had abandoned him, believed
that such generosity should have extended to them. It was also noticed by the Indians that the
missionary lady did not welcome them into her house, not even to eat, or worse yet, to worship.
Why were they scolded for looking through the windows of the house? After all, they had helped
build it and it was on their land. And why did the missionaries extend their hospitality to
travelers when they did not extend it to the ones they called their children?
There was no end of Cayuse anxiety. Were the American Board missionaries, from whom they
had expected special magic, saving it all for themselves? Were not the missionaries rich and
getting richer? Why could their horses not graze on the land near the mission? It was Cayuse
land and there were no fences. And if the horses were eating corn, was that not the fruit of the
Soon the Indians were not merely asking questions but striking blows, with Tilkanaik, in the
summer of 1841, delivering a sharp one to Whitman's chest in the continuing argument over
ownership of the land. There were numerous incidents but after a confrontation in October 1841,
where several Indians stormed the mission over the issue of property, things quieted down for
The following winter Whitman left for the east to gain support for his mission. Rumors were
persistent among the Indians that he was planning to return with men to fight them. When
Whitman returned in late fall with a party of immigrants, the apprehension of the Indians was
somewhat softened by the opportunity to trade. But, as preceding immigrations appeared they
became increasingly hostile.
In 1845, due to increased tensions, Whitman rode out to warn a large company of immigrants
that a large party of Cayuses and Walla Wallas was headed their way. Upon finding Whitman
with the immigrants, the Indians backed off of their planned confrontation. By the fall of 1846, a
fear of invasion by the Indians was felt as far south as California.
The turmoil had no chance to cool before the fall immigration arrived, bringing with it measles.
The Indians took Whitman's medicine along with some treatments he did not prescribe such as
the sweat bath and cold water plunge. Deaths were rampant and the Indians blamed the deaths on
the white people in general and on Whitman, their high chief, in particular.
Tensions were increased by the French Canadians, eastern Indians and others who planted the
seeds of suspicion. There were rumors of whites uncorking bottles to release disease germs to
kill the Indians for their land and tales that the Whitman's were plotting to poison the Indians. As
the deaths continued, the Indians moved closer and closer toward an uprising and revenge.
By the fall of 1847 tensions were coming to a head. The fall immigration had brought more
disease and the Indians were quick to note that the doctor's mission family were not being
affected at the same rate as the Indian population. This increased the belief that they were being
Adding fuel to the fire was one Joe Lewis. Lewis, was a half breed who was said to have been
born in Canada and brought up in Maine as a Catholic. He had been in Fremont's camp in the
Mexican War and had joined the 1847 emigrants at Fort Hall. He was much disliked by the
emigrants and was not allowed to rejoin them after reaching Whitman mission. From almost the
moment he was hired by Dr. Whitman he commenced inciting unrest among the native
population by telling them that the white men were poisoning them in order to claim their lands.
By the late fall the mission house was overflowing with additional people. Josiah Osborn, a
millwright who had been previously employed by the Whitmans, rushed to add an addition to the
mission house. Joseph Smith and Elam Young of Missouri were sent with their families to live at
the sawmill in the Blue Mountains. Rebecca Hays, a widow with a four-year-old son, was hired
to help cook.
Also stopping at the mission in the late fall of 1847 was a group of emigrants led by Capt. John
William Bewley. Several in the party were ill, including Crockett Bewley and his friend Amos
Sales. An exerpt from a newspaper article reportedly attributed to one of the younger sons of
Capt. Bewley said: "...many were sick of fever and several graves were made on the Snake
River. My oldest brother became ill with mountain fever near the Whitman mission, and father,
having an ardent desire to know the good doctor decided to stop there and consult him about
treatment for my brother. It was late in the fall and the doctor was in the valley. Mrs. Whitman
informed us that he would return in about three weeks and prevailed on us to remain to see him."
"The doctor prescribed rest and put the patient to bed. Mrs. Whitman needed help in her many
cares with the sick children so it was arranged to leave my sister, Lorinda to assist her. The good
doctor promised to bring these two children with him in the spring to the Willamette Valley."
On the 29th of November the early morning fog created a blanket of eery silence. The mission
population had grown to include seventy two individuals.
Just as illness filled the mission houses, it had also struck beyond in the Cayuse encampments.
Death became almost certain in the crowded lodges despite Whitman's every effort. In a short
two months nearly half of the Cayuse population had died, including several children of Chief
On the day of the funeral for Chief Tilaukait's latest dead son, only the relatives attended, but no
other Cayuse. On the way from the burial ground Whitman had stopped by to see Mrs. Saunders
at the mansion house. Green Cap had followed him inside, taking a chair in the Saunders' home.
Then he had shadowed Whitman through the fog as far as the mission house. There had been a
time when the doctor would have told him to be about some useful business. But not now.
By the time the doctor reached home and finished dinner it was almost two o'clock. He then
climbed the steep stairs to check on Lorinda Bewley, who reportedly was deeply troubled by a
presentiment of evil to come. Unable to comfort her, he returned downstairs to get her some milk
and a prescription that was probably a mild sedative.
He was soon met by a frightened Narcissa who informed him that Tilaukait and Tomahas were in
the kitchen demanding to see him. As he entered the kitchen he was engaged in a brief parley
with Tilaukait. While his attention was diverted, Tomahas brought down a tomahawk upon the
head of the unsuspecting doctor. During the struggle, one or the other pressed the muzzle of their
white man's weapon to the base of Marcus Whitman's throat and pulled the trigger.
In the ensuing chaos, thirteen of the 72 individuals at the mission were killed. These included:
Narcissa Whitman, Andrew Rogers, Jacob Hoffman, the schoolmaster L.W. Sanders, Mr. Marsh,
John Sager, Francis Sager, Nathan Kimball, Isaac Gilliland, and Young Jr. Crockett Bewley and
Amos Sales escaped the initial massacre unharmed. However, it is reported that upon hearing of
the treatment of his sister, Lorinda, Crockett Bewley confronted the captors, resulting in his
death and the death of Amos Sales. Peter Hall, who had also escaped the original massacre, was
subsequently killed several days later by Indians.
Whitman Massacre--The Aftermath
In the days following the massacre, rumors were rampant. The Oregon Spectator, the territorial
newspaper which was published at Oregon City, provided a glimpse of the events as they
Oregon Spectator Dec 10, 1847
"Fort Vancouver, 7th Dec. 1847
Geo. Abernethy, Esq.
Sir, having received intelligence last night, by special express, from Walla Walla of the
destruction of the Missionary settlement at Waiilatpu, by the Cayuse Indians of that place; we
hasten to communicate the particulars of that dreadful event, one of the most atrocious which
darkens the annals of Indian crime.
Our lamented friend Dr. Whitman, his amiable and accomplished lady, with nine other persons
have fallen victims to the fury of these remorseless savages, who appear to have been instigated
to this appalling crime by a horrible suspicion which had taken possession of their superstitious
minds, in consequence of the number of deaths from dysentery and measles, that Dr. Whitman
was silently working the destruction of their tribe by administering poisonous drugs under the
semblance of salutary medicines.
With a goodness of heart and benevolence truly his own, Dr. Whitman had been laboring
incessantly since the appearance of the measles and dysentery among his Indian converts, to
relieve their sufferings, and such has been the reward of his generous labors.
A copy of Mr. McBean's letter herewith, will give you all the particulars, known to us, of this
indescribably painful event.
Mr. Ogden with a strong party will leave this place as soon as possible for Walla Walla, to
endeavor to prevent further evil; and we beg to suggest to you the propriety of taking instant
measures for the protection of the Rev. Mr. Spaulding; who for the sake of his family, ought to
abandon the Clear Water Mission, without delay, and retire to a place of safety, as he cannot
remain at that isolated station without imminent risk, in the present excited, and irritable state of
the Indian population.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Oregon Spectator Dec 10, 1847
"Oregon City, Dec. 8, 1847
Gentlemen-- It is my painful duty to lay the enclosed communication before your Honorable
Body. They will give you the particulars of the horrible massacre committed by the Cayuse
Indians on the residents of Waiilatpu. This is one of the most distressing circumstances that has
occurred in our Territory, and one that calls for immediate and prompt action. I am aware to
meet this case, funds will be required, and suggest the propriety of applying to the Hon. Hudson's
Bay Company and the Merchants of this place for a loan to carry out whatever plan you may fix
upon. I have no doubt but the expenses attending this affair will be promptly met by the United
The wives and children of the murdered persons, Rev. Mr. Spaulding and family and all others
who may be in the upper country, should at once be proffered assistance, and an escort to convey
them to a place of safety.
I have the honor to remain, Gentlemen,
Your ob't servant,
Oregon Spectator Dec. 10, 1847
"Fort Nez Perces, 30th Nov 1847
TO THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT:
Gentlemen, It is my painful task to make you acquainted with a horrid massacre which took
place yesterday at Waiilatpu, about which I was first apprised early this morning by an American
who had escaped, of the name of Hall, and who reached this half naked and covered with blood.
As he started at the onset, the information I obtained was not satisfactory. He, however, assured
me that the Doctor and another man were killed, but could not tell me the persons who did it, and
how it originated.
I immediately determined on sending my interpreter and one man to Dr. Whitman's to find out
the truth, and if possible to rescue Mr. Manson's two sons, and any of the survivors. It so
happened that before the interpreter had proceeded half way, the two boys were met on their way
hither escorted by Nicholas Finlay, it having been previously settled among the Indians that these
boys should not be killed as also the American women and children. Peloquoit is the Chief who
recommended this measure. I presume you are well acquainted that fever and dysentery has been
raging here, and in this vicinity, in consequence of which a great number of Indians have been
swept away, but more especially at the Doctor's place where he attended upon the Indians. About
30 souls, of the Cayuse tribe died, one after another, who eventually believed the Doctor
poisoned them, and in which opinion they were unfortunately confirmed by one of the Doctor's
party. As far as I have been able to learn, this has been the sole cause of the dreadful butchery.
In order to satisfy any doubt on that point, it is reported that they requested the Doctor to
administer medicine to three of their friends, two of whom were really sick, but the third only
feigning illness, and that the three were corpses next morning. After they were buried, and while
the Doctor's men were employed slaughtering an ox, the Indians came one by one to his house,
with their arms concealed under their blankets and being all assembled, commenced firing on
those slaughtering the animal, and in a moment the Doctor's house was surrounded. The Doctor
and a young lad brought up by himself, were shot in the house. His lady, Mr. Rogers and the
children had taken refuge in the garret, but were dragged down and dispatched (excepting the
children) outside, where their bodies were left exposed. It is reported that it was not their
intention to kill Mr. Rogers, in consequence of an avowal to the following effect, which he is
said to have made, and which nothing but a desire to save his life could have prompted him to do
so. He said, `I was one evening lying down and I overheard the Doctor telling Rev. Mr.
Spaulding that it was best you should be all poisoned at once, but that the latter told him it was
best to continue slowly and cautiously, and between this and spring not a soul would remain,
when they would take possession of your lands, cattle and horses.'
These are only Indian reports, and no person can believe the Doctor capable of such an action,
without being as ignorant and brutal as the Indians themselves. One of the murderers not having
been made acquainted with the above understanding, shot Mr. Rogers.
It is well understood that eleven lives were lost and three wounded. It is also rumored they are to
make an attack upon the Fort; let them come! If they will not listen to reason; thought I have
only five men at the establishment I am prepared to give them a warm reception; the gates are
closed day and night, and bastions in readiness. In company with Mr. Manson's two sons was
sent a young half breed Lad, brought up by Doctor Whitman--they are all here and have got over
their fright. The ring-leaders in this horrible butchery, are Telequoit, his son, Big Belly,
Tamsuchy, Esticus, Toumoulish, etc. I understand from the interpreter that they were making one
common grave for the deceased.
The houses were stripped of everything in the shape of property, but when they came to divide
the spoil, they fell out among themselves, and all agreed to put back the property. I am happy to
state the Walla Wallas had no hand in the whole business--they were all the Doctor's own people,
(the Cayuses.) One American shot another and took the Indian's part, to save his own life.
Allow me to draw a veil over this dreadful affair which is too painful to dwell upon, and which I
have explained comfortably to information received, and with sympathizing feelings.
I remain, with much respect, Gentlemen,
Your most obe't hum. serv't
N.B. I have just learnt that the Cayuses are to be here to-morrow to kill Serpent Jaune the Walla
Walla chief. W.McB.
NAMES OF THOSE WHO WERE KILLED:
1. Doctor Whitman
2. Mrs. Whitman
3. Mr. Rogers
4. Mr. Hofman
5. Mr. Sanders (Schoolmaster)
6. Mr. Osborne (Carpenter)
7. Mr. Marsh
8. Jno. Sager
9. Frs. Sager