Whitman Massacre in the Oregon Territory 1847

[ 1847 ]

Dr. Marcus Whitman (1802-47) established a mission, Waiilatpu, near present-day Walla Walla, Washington, in 1836. Blaming the white missionaries for an outbreak of measles that killed many member of their tribe, the unfriendly Cayuse Indians, whose sick members Whitman tried unsuccessfully to treat, attacked the mission on November 29, 1847, massacring Whitman, his wife, and 12 others and kidnapping 53 women and children (whom they held captive until ransomed). The Cayuse reportedly fulfilled an Indian custom that permits the survivors of deceased relatives to take revenge on a medicine man. Settlers in this part of the Oregon Territory declared war on the Cayuse.

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