Settled in our room at the Garden Motel there was still plenty of time to visit the Whitman Mission National Historical site located a few miles out of Walla Walla. We arrived about ten minutes after the visitors center closed but there is plenty to see just walking around the grounds. Pictured above is Sophie looking down on the area where the mission once stood. For a very brief history, in case you are unfamiliar with this tragic event, here is the story.
Whitman Mission National Historic Site was established to preserve and share the story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman’s religious mission to the Cayuse Nation in the early nineteenth century. The Whitman’s established a mission at Waiilatpu on the Columbia Plateau in 1836. During the 1840s, the mission also served as a way-stop on the Oregon Trail, providing emigrants with food, medicine, and, if needed, a place to stay during the winter. The Whitmans were killed in an attack on November 29, 1847. The local population, already weakened by malaria and other diseases, were decimated when emigrants brought measles with them. One night a few Cayuse men, thinking the Whitman’s intentionally introduced the disease, attacked, killing 11 people and taking 47 other people, including children, hostage. In retaliation 5 Indian men where hanged, but there was no evidence these five were even involved in the massacre. The real events were much more complicated than my simple story suggests but you can research that for yourselves if you are interested. Also, the story of the Sagar children is interesting. Their parents died from cholera leaving seven children, including a new born baby, alone on the Oregon Trail. Also, one of the girls had a broken leg having fallen under the wheel of the wagon.
Sophie and I climbed to the top of a high hill where a mass grave of the killed mission people were buried. There is a plaque listing their names and a huge monument has been erected in their honor. The five hanged Cayuse men were dumped in a mass grave and to this day no one knows where that is and their families are still looking for it. The buildings of the mission are gone but their foundations are still in place so we could see where everything was, along with signs naming them. Ruts of the Oregon trail can still be seen.
Leaving the Whitman Mission we stopped at Albertson’s for groceries. Eating dinner in our motel room we decided to call it a day and went to bed. After breakfast the next day we made our way to Coeur d’Alene traveling north via Moscow, ID. I made a wrong turn sending us into the back of beyond. Oh well, we decided it was a perfect time and place for Sophie to practice driving a manual vehicle, which we did. The trip north was pleasant and beautiful. We arrived in Coeur d’Alene about 1:30 and went immediately to get Teresa.
Not having had lunch yet we three stopped at Wendy’s. It was great spending time with Teresa. We didn’t do much but did get in a bit of Thrift Store shopping, which was fun. By then our motel room was ready for us so we checked in just relaxing and visiting. I could see Teresa was getting tired and was ready to go home.
The evening was still young so Sophie and I went to Tubbs Hill. We checked out the big hotel there before enjoying the park next door. The hotel is beautiful but I found its atmosphere cold and uninviting. The fireplace was burning but it wasn’t really cozy.
Sophie and I played on the toys until dark. Although the sunset wasn’t anything special that day it was lovely being outside in the evening.
Sunday morning both my nieces, Teresa and Sheila attend Mass with us at St Pius X in Coeur d’Alene. After Mass we enjoyed breakfast at Elmer’s. Thank you Teresa and Sheila for joining us. It was great spending time with you again.
Then it was time to check out of our motel and drive the 8 hours back to Pebble Creek where I spent the night, returning to my place Monday morning. I, for one, had a wonderful time !!