Loneliness, Hardship, Frustration - Willamette Mission State Park - Marion County, Oregon
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member ddtfamily
N 45° 05.045 W 123° 02.640
10T E 496537 N 4992291
One of a series of signs describing life at the Methodist Mission established here in 1834
Waymark Code: WMHYY5
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 08/29/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 1

Located in Willamette Mission State Park, this marker is one of a series of three describing the Reverend Jason Lee's establishment of the Methodist Mission at this site. From the platform, visitors can view the "ghost buildings," a set of steel "skeletons" which replicate the dimensions, orientation and chimney locations of the mission.

Text of the marker reads:

Loneliness, hardship, frustration.

You may never see your friends or family again. You must build your own house. You must grow your own food and make your own clothes. You are sick most of the time. And somehow, you must explain "salvation" to people who don't speak your language. You are an Oregon missionary.

A struggle to live...
Life at Willamette Mission was always difficult, but during the first two years it was little more than a struggle for survival. The first arrivals--five men who came to preach and teach--instead spent nearly all their waking hours acting as farmers, cooks, carpenters, seamstresses, housekeepers and nurses. They took in as many as 30 Indian children. Every child needed food that had to be grown, clothing that had to be patched together, and a bed that had to be built.

Thanksgiving dinner, 1837: "stewed peas, fried bread, and pea coffee" -Margaret Smith, mission teacher

...and a time to die.
Illness and death were constant companions. Tuberculosis was rampant. New missionaries contracted malaria almost as soon as they arrived, leaving them weak or bedridden for days at a time. A child, laughing and playing one week, might suddenly die the next. When Jason Lee left Oregon after ten years of tremendous effort, he left behind the graves of two wives and an infant son. Lee himself was mortally ill, and died less than a year after his return east. He was 41.

The language barrier --
Preaching was paramount. To preach, the missionaries needed to learn the Indians' language. But they quickly discovered that the Indians spoke too many different dialects. Frustrated, they decided to teach English to the children who lived with them. To communicate with adults, they learned Chinook "jargon," a simplified trade language used by all the nearby tribes.

Teacher Margaret Smith delivered this sermon in trade jargon on the left. Her direct translation is on the right.

Mican tum-tum cloosh? Your heart good?
Mican tum-tum wake cloosh. Your heart no good.
Alaka mican ma-ma lose. Bye-and-bye you die.
Mican tum-tum cloosh mican clatamay Sakalatie Your heart good you go to God.
Mican tum-tum wake cloosh mican wake clatamay Sakalatie. Your heart no good you no go to God.
Mican clatamay sayyah; hiyas wake cloosh Schochen. Go ye great way off, very bad devil.
Sakalatie mamoke tum-tum cloosh. God make heart good.
Wah-wah Sakalatie. Speak to God.
Sakalatie mamoke hiyas cloosh mican tum-tum. God make very good your heart.
Hiyack wah-wah Sakalatie. Quick speak to God.

Photo Captions:

  • Orphaned Indian children--starving, and often with little or no clothing--might suddenly appear at any time.
  • The children's new clothes were patched together from any cloth that could be found.

Click a photo to enlarge

Historic Topic: Pioneer

Group Responsible for placement: State of Oregon

Marker Type: Trail

Region: Willamette Valley

County: Marion

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

Web link to additional information: Not listed

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