Thursday, April 30, 2009

The saga continues...

This blog post continues the letter written by Josiah Osborn on April 7, 1848. He was a survivor of the Whitman Massacre, and his letter recounts his experiences. Below are sketches of Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife, Narcissa Whitman.

...A day or two afterwards we met another caravan, in which were David Findley and his family; they had buried their youngest child three days before. Putnam had taken the road to the Cascades. Thus our friends were scattered along the road, trying to find the Wallamette Valley. We now hired another crew of Indians to take us to Fort Wallawalla, up the Columbia river. After bidding farewell to our friends, we put our goods aboard of a small boat, dig out of a white cedar, and started with four Indians. With hard labor we got about half way through the Big Falls, and camped among the rocks by the water's edge. In the morning we got Indians to carry some of our goods to the upper end of the falls, and took our four little children and made our way over rocks and through sand, meanwhile the Indians pulled our boat up through the falls. We then went aboard and proceeded on our way to Dechutes' Falls, and encamped. Next morning made our portage and went on; so made our way up the river, passing thru many dangers, not only by the river, but by being almost without food, except as we bought from the Indians along the river. We ran out of provisions, and had to buy drived salmon. Our children suffered very much with the cold. In ten days after leaving the falls we arrived at Fort Wallawalla.

On Sabbath morning the team came for us, with provisions, and on Monday at noon we reached the Mission, where the doctor and Mrs. Whitman, and Mr. Andrew Rogers, met us with great friendship. We found Mr. Rogers very unwell, but on the mend. Several families had stopped here for the winter. The Cayuse Indians were dying very fast with the measles and dysentery. In about two weeks the doctor's family took them, and, as we lived in the adjoining room, Margaret was taken down on the 8th of November, and, being in a delicate situation, the disease went very hard with her, and resulted in the death of the child, which was born on the 14th and was buried next day. When it was taken to the grave Salvijane was taken down, as we supposed, with the measles, and never rose again; in five or six days she became speechless, and died on the ninth day after she was taken. Our other children - John Law, A. Rogers, and Nancy Anna - were all taken sick, but Nancy was able to be about all the time. I was also sick for several days.

In the last company there was a half-breed came to the doctor's and hired to work through the winter. One day he was at work for an Indian name Tamsicky, harrowing in wheat, and told him that the doctor and Mrs. Whitman were scattering poison into the air, and would kill them all off; that he was not working for him, but the doctor; that he (the doctor) knew they would all die, and he would get their wheat and all they had. He then proposed that, if they would agree to it, he wouldhelp them to kill the doctor and his wife, and all the Americans in the country. As they had a disposition to murder, and wanted satisfaction for the loss of the women and children, it was no difficult matter to incide them agains the be continued

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