First Reinforcements


    The reinforcements that left Boston July 29, 1836 on the ship Hamilton under Captain Barker arrived at the Sandwich Islands 148 days later.  Here they rested until they could get a connecting ship to the mainland.  On April 8, 1837 they sailed on the Diana under Captain Wm. Hinckley.  Although they encountered several severe gales they arrived safely May 11, 1837.  Included in the newcomers were Dr. Elijah White, physician, accompanied by his wife and infant son and an adopted son, George, age 14; Mr. Alanson Beers, blacksmith, with his wife, Rachel and three children, one unnamed, Ellen, 4 and Benjamin, 2; Mr. William H. Willson, carpenter; and Misses Anna Maria Pittman, Susan Downing, and Elvira Johnson, teachers.
   As soon as the news of their coming reached the mission, Jason Lee hastened to Vancouver, to greet the newly arrived and assist them in their journey to their new home.  Arrangements were made to store some of the supplies sent by the mission board.  In order to transport the remaining supplies, baggage and the newly arrived persons it was necessary to hire additional help.  Lee hired J.L. Whitcom, an American, who had served as second mate with Captain Hinckley until the arrival of the ship on the Columbia.  He remained employed in the farming department of the mission at Willamette.  
    The new addition of fifty souls filled the mission house and it became evident that new housing would need to be built.  Mr. Beers set up his anvil and erected a small shop.  Mr. Willson was a carpenter and joiner and his material for his axe and plane were to be found in the surrounding forests.  Dr. White was able to put his medical skills to immediate use.
    Capt. Hinckley and his lady paid a visit to the mission prior to taking their leave.  Not long after their departure Cyrus Shepard was attacked with fever, which laid him low for a time.  Although he recovered he fought ill health until his death.
    During this time, an attempt was made to murder a Chief of the Calappoya tribe.  The perpetrator was a former slave of the chief and came close to succeeding but the severely wounded man was found and taken to the mission and nursed back to health.  His lack of gratitude was expressed when he stated that "the Bostons should never have made him good."  (The term Boston was used to refer to any of the white Americans and English that the Indians encountered.)
    The mission school was taken over by Miss Johnson, but the education of the Indians was prevented from ready advancement by their labors and the sickness that continually had hold on the mission.  The mission burial site became the final resting spot of many of the mission Indians as well as surrounding families.  Joining others in 1837 were the bodies of Mrs Nancy Payette, Mrs. Rondeau and their brother Joseph, aged 17.
    On Sunday, July 16, 1837, during a service held in a grove of firs, surrounded by a congregation consisting of Fremchmen, Americans, Indians, Metis and others, a double wedding ceremony united missionaries, Rev. Jason Lee with Anna Maria Pittman and Cyrus Shepard with Susan Downing.  


Second Reinforcements