Where Wagons Could Go


Where Wagons Could Go

Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spaulding

Introduction and editorial notes by Clifford Merrill Drury
New introduction by Julie Roy Jeffrey

280 pages


February 1997


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Narcissa Whitman and her husband, Marcus, went to Oregon as missionaries in 1836, accompanied by the Reverend Henry Spalding and his wife, Eliza. It was, as Narcissa wrote, “an unheard of journey for females.”
Narcissa Whitman kept a diary during the long trip from New York and continued to write about her rigorous and amazing life at the Protestant mission near present-day Walla Walla, Washington. Her words convey her complex humanity and devotion to the Christian conversion and welfare of the Indians. Clifford Drury sketches in the circumstances that, for the Whitmans, resulted in tragedy.
Eliza Spalding, equally devout and also artistic, relates her experiences in a pioneering venture. Drury also includes the diary of Mary Augusta Dix Gray and a biographical sketch of Sarah Gilbert White Smith, later arrivals at the Whitman mission.

Author Bio

Clifford Merrill Drury, clergyman and historian, was known for such books as Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the Opening of Old Oregon.
Julie Roy Jeffrey, chair of the Department of History and Historical Studies at Goucher College, is the author of Converting the West: A Biography of Narcissa Whitman.


“By the skillful merging of the diaries, letters, and biographical data . . . Drury admirably attains his purpose of presenting an epic story of great Christian devotion on the Pacific Northwest frontier. . . . an exceedingly important contribution to Pacific Northwest history.”—American Historical Review

"A work that is magnificent in its conception, scholarly in its presentation, and pleasing in its appearance."—Missouri Valley Historical Review

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