By Julie Roy Jeffrey
Narcissa Whitman and her husband, Marcus, have been pioneer missionaries to the Cayuse Indians in Oregon Territory. Narcissa grew up in western ny country, her values and attitudes rigorously formed via her mom. greatly a toddler of the second one nice Awakening, she eagerly embraced the burgeoning evangelical missionary move. Following her marriage to Marcus Whitman, she spent so much of 1836 touring overland with him to Oregon. Narcissa enthusiastically all started provider as a missionary there, hoping to work out many “benighted” Indians undertake her message of salvation via Christ.But now not one Indian ever did. Cultural limitations that Narcissa by no means grasped successfully stored her at arm’s size from the Cayuse. progressively forsaking her efforts with the Indians, Narcissa constructed a extra fulfilling ministry. She taught and recommended whites at the venture compound, a lot as she had performed in her personal church circles in manhattan. in the meantime, the becoming variety of jap emigrants streaming into the territory posed an expanding possibility to the Indians. The Cayuse finally took murderous motion opposed to the Whitmans, the main seen whites, therefore finishing dramatically Narcissa’s eleven-year attempt to be a loyal Christian missionary in addition to a loyal spouse and loving mother.In this relocating biography, Julie Roy Jeffrey brings the arguable Narcissa Whitman to existence, revealing not just white assumptions and imperatives however the point of view of the Cayuse tribe to boot. Jeffrey attracts on a wealthy collection of basic and secondary fabrics, mixing narration and interpretation in her account. She sincerely lines the motivations and relationships, the possibilities and constraints that dependent Narcissa Whitman’s lifestyles as a nineteenth-century American evangelical girl.
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Additional info for Converting the West: A Biography of Narcissa Whitman
As historians now emphasize there are at least two stories to be told in the mid-nineteenth-century West. Recovering the Indian point of view, however, has proved difficult. When the Whitmans arrived in Oregon Territory in late 1836, the Cayuse had already lost some of their cultural distinctiveness. They spoke Nez Percé rather than their own language and had many close cultural ties to and connections with that powerful tribe. After the Whitmans' deaths, the tribe was reduced by war with white set- Page xiv tlers, and in the 1860s the remaining Cayuse were forced onto the Umatilla Reservation with members of the Walla Walla and Umatilla tribes.
Because American family size was beginning to shrink in the early decades of the nineteenth century, the large Prentiss family was somewhat old-fashioned. Between 1803 and 1820 Clarissa bore nine Page 15 children, all of whom lived. Two boys preceded Narcissa. After Narcissa's birth in 1808 came Jonas Galusha in 1810, Jane Abigail in 1811, Mary Ann in 1813, Clarissa in 1815, Harriet in 1818, and finally, the baby, Edward in 1820. As the first step toward conversion, Clarissa saw to it that each child was baptized as church regulations required.
It was a responsiblity that she embraced. Although Clarissa had much more domestic work than urban middle-class women, she responded to new gender expectations that encouraged middle-class women to consider child rearing as a central focus for their lives. " Like her husband, she found little humorous in life. " Clarissa's serious attitude toward life and her sense of the importance of child rearing stemmed not only from new cultural norms but also from her firm religious convictions. Although she had been baptized as a child, she had not experienced conversion when she moved to Prattsburg in 1805.
Converting the West: A Biography of Narcissa Whitman by Julie Roy Jeffrey