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 big apple country, her values and attitudes rigorously formed through her mom. greatly a toddler of the second one nice Awakening, she eagerly embraced the burgeoning evangelical missionary flow. Following her marriage to Marcus Whitman, she spent such a lot of 1836 touring overland with him to Oregon. Narcissa enthusiastically all started carrier 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 obstacles that Narcissa by no means grasped successfully saved her at arm’s size from the Cayuse. steadily leaving behind her efforts with the Indians, Narcissa built a extra pleasing ministry. She taught and recommended whites at the undertaking compound, a lot as she had performed in her personal church circles in big apple. in the meantime, the turning out to be variety of japanese emigrants streaming into the territory posed an expanding hazard to the Indians. The Cayuse finally took murderous motion opposed to the Whitmans, the main noticeable whites, hence finishing dramatically Narcissa’s eleven-year attempt to be a loyal Christian missionary in addition to a faithful spouse and loving mother.In this relocating biography, Julie Roy Jeffrey brings the debatable Narcissa Whitman to lifestyles, revealing not just white assumptions and imperatives however the standpoint of the Cayuse tribe in addition. Jeffrey attracts on a wealthy collection of fundamental and secondary fabrics, mixing narration and interpretation in her account. She sincerely lines the motivations and relationships, the possibilities and constraints that based Narcissa Whitman’s lifestyles as a nineteenth-century American evangelical lady.
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Extra resources for Converting the West: A Biography of Narcissa Whitman
11. " Given its emotional power, this rite of passage remained vivid for Narcissa for years, and she traced her "particular [if intermittent] interest for the salvation of the heathen'' to this event. While no detailed description exists of this important event, a diary kept by young William Pratt only a few years after Narcissa left Prattsburg reveals the rich and compelling assortment of activities organized to increase spiritual fervor. During one week in January 1843 William attended two services on the Sabbath; a pastor's prayer meeting the next evening, followed by a discourse from the minister; both daytime and evening meetings on Tuesday; a meeting as well as a special youth prayer meeting with sermon on Wednesday; on Thursday, which was a day of fasting and prayer, another youth prayer meeting; a morning and evening meeting on Friday; and finally an early afternoon meeting on Saturday "for prayer and personal conversation"a grand total of eleven services in six days.
Clarissa's profession of faith also testified to her independent spirit in religious matters. Between 1805 and 1808 only three married women (out of approximately sixty-six men and women who joined the church) united with the Congregational church without their husbands. Clarissa was one of them. Some Prattsburg men actively opposed their wives' religious decisions and the rejection of female submission that church membership could signify. Records of the Prattsburg church reveal, for example, that one woman's family dis- Page 14 approved of her affiliation and "used every endeavor to hinder" it.
Mary Fay named her child born that year after Clarissa. But Clarissa made little progress with Stephen. Feelings of discouragement, despair, and even anger at her husband must have occasionally bothered Clarissa. But in the end, Stephen responded to her efforts. In 1817, five years after his sister and ten years after his wife, Stephen joined the Prattsburg Presbyterian Church. When Stephen became a member of the church, his age (he was then forty) and his social and economic position in the community virtually assured him of a place in the all-male governing group.