Wednesday, September 2, 2015

First Western Anglo Women For Western Wednesday...!

As promised before, I found a story about women in the early western days.

Anglo women were not a common sight west of the Rockies, so these two were a big part of our early history.

First Anglo women settle west of the Rockies

On this day in 1836, Narcissa Whitman arrives in Walla Walla, Washington, becoming one of the first Anglo women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains.

Narcissa and Marcus Whitman, along with their close friends Eliza and Henry Spalding, had departed from New York earlier that year on the long overland journey to the far western edge of the continent. The two couples were missionaries, and Narcissa wrote that they were determined to convert the “benighted ones” living in “the thick darkness of heathenism” to Christianity. That summer when they crossed the continental divide at South Pass, Narcissa and Eliza became the first Anglo-American women in history to travel west of the Rocky Mountains. Toward the end of their difficult 1,800-mile overland journey, the two couples split up, with the Spaldings heading for Idaho while Narcissa and her husband traveled to a settlement near present-day Walla Walla, Washington, where they established a mission for the Cayuse Indians. For 11 years the couples’ missionary work went well, and they succeeded in converting many of the Cayuse to Christianity. But in 1847, a devastating measles epidemic swept through the area, killing many of the Cayuse, who had no immunity to the disease, while leaving most of the white people at the mission suspiciously unharmed. Convinced that the missionaries or their god had cursed them with an evil plague, in November of 1847, a band of Cayuse attacked the mission and killed 14 people, including Narcissa and her husband. Narcissa Whitman thus became not only one of the first white women to live in the Far West, but also one of the first white women to die there.

So many native Americans were killed by exposure to diseases that the Anglos unknowingly brought with them. Something like the measles were a disaster for those never exposed before. That's really sad!

Coffee out on the slightly wet patio this morning.


Chickenmom said...

Ah, Mr. Hermit - always sending me on more information trips....! Send a little bit of that rain up here.

linda m said...

Great article this morning. It is sad that in the name of spreading religion mankind managed to wii out entire civilizations by spreading diseases that the natives had no immunity to. Another hot, humid day here. Leaves are starting to turn colors and fall off the trees.

JO said...

I read a book that was written about this family. It was written from a diary that she had kept. Quite a store.

humid here today wonder if we will get even more rain.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I believe that the Spanish also carried new diseases to the natives of South America. Disease travels with people and sometimes with animals, birds, and insects.

Rob said...

One of the displays at Ft Vancouver (WA state) is about a 14 yr old girl who came with her family over the Oregon Trail & in 1847 marries a widower with 5 kids, the oldest was 10.
That was the same year the Whitmans died.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
You know how much you love to do research! I just didn't want you to get bored!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Linda...
I'm sure that happened more times than we will ever know.
Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Jo...
It is quite a story and shows that the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.
Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Dizzy...
The British did the same thing in their colonization of folks in their day.
Thanks for the visit this morning!

Hey Rob...
Now that's something I didn't know. Have to read up on her, I reckon.
Thanks for the info and for stopping by today!

Samuel Gonzalez said...

Hi my name is Sam and I think you have a really cool site. I run The Last Tradition blog
and I was wondering if you’d be interested in a blog roll exchange? Check me out and if you like what you see I hope you add me to your blog roll. I’ll gladly do likewise.